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Wednesday, 7 August 1946

Mr HOLT (Fawkner) (12:45 PM) .I intend to move an amendment to the clause, but, before doing so, I should like to outline the effect that it would have if accepted. The clause contains one of the key provisions of Part VII. - Incorporated Provisions. It applies to all the different committees that are proposed to be set- up. it contains the requirement that an applicant for training must have acquired his trade experience during his service in the forces. I dealt with the matter at some length in my secondreading speech, but I wish briefly to repeat my criticism of the clause as it stands. In 'the first place, it automatically excludes the right to participate in the trainee tradesmen scheme all the men whose experience was gained before the war - assuming that they were neither apprentices nor full fledged tradesmen - if, in the course- of the war, they were members, of a fighting unit and could not continue in their trades. My second comment is that, far from this bill widening the right's available to members of the forces with some trade- experience, it restricts the right that they previously had, if they had trade experience during the war but not necessarily in the forces, because if makes it obligatory on them to have obtained that experience in the forces. I move1 -

That, in sub-clause (1.), paragraph (6), the words ' ", during the period of the war, acquired, by reason of his service in the forces " be left out with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word ''"' acquired ".

The effect of the amendment would be. that if a member of the forces had trade experience, whether or not it was gained as a member of the forces, he would be' eligible for training. The honorable member for Boothby (Mr. Sheehy)' quoted what was said by the federal president of the Returned Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen's Imperial League of Australia, Mr. Millhouse. Therefore I bring ' to the notice of the committee a copy of a communication sent by him, in his official capacity, to the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Holloway), because, in the course of that letter, he gives a few instances of men who will be adversely affected if this bill becomes law in its present form. The first case he cites is that of a man who enlisted on 4th July, 1942, at eighteen years of age. He was discharged on 25th May. 1946. Before enlisting he worked at Messrs. Eglinton and Company, engineers, Kent Town, as a general shop machinist. He was there for one year: Before that he worked for Ward Bagshaw Limited and Simpson and Sons Limited. He made application for training on the 25th May, 1946,' and was told that if he found an employer, he could be trained in the occupation that he had on his enlistment. He could not find an employer, and changed his application to cover the trade of a motor mechanic. He was again told to find an employer, but he could not find one. Then he changed his application to coVer fitting and turning, and the Kerry Engineering Company Limited accepted him, but his .application was rejected by the local committee on the 11th July, as he had had no trade experience in the forces. As he enlisted in an infantry battalion, he had no chance of gaining experience. He is receiving a 20 per cent, pension for a war disability. The next case is that of a man who enlisted on the 2nd February, 1942, at eighteen years of age and was discharged on the 14th June, 1946. Before enlistment, he was an electrical improver with Battery and Electrical Service Limited. Before that he was for two years an electrical improver at the Croker Electrical Company, 39 Franklin-street, Adelaide. He was a driver in a battery for the most of the time he was on service. He was told that he would not be accepted for training owing to the central committee's ruling, which is similar to the proposal in the bill. He had two and a half years of experience in the electrical trade, but cannot be accepted, except as a labourer, but, under the National Security Regulations, he would have been accepted. The third case that I wish to place before the committee concerns 'a. man who enlisted on the 17th December, 1942, at the age of eighteen years and was discharged on the 11th June, 1946. This lad, who is

Mr Holloway - He is entitled to apprenticeship under the Reestablishment and Employment Act.

Mr HOLT - I am glad of that, but there are many other similar cases. The cases that I have cited are those of people in Adelaide. I daresay they could be multiplied in the other capital cities. They are disqualified because war service interrupted their trade experience. But for that service they could have become added tradesmen or qualified as trainee tradesmen under this scheme. It is intolerable that the Government should exclude them because they went on active service .in combatant units. I do not believe that any government could hold its position in this Parliament, if the people knew what was being done. Now that the position ha3 been placed before him and the committee, I ask the Minister to accept, the amendment which is reasonable. It does not seek to prejudice recognized tradesmen, but it does seek to bring within the ambit of the trainee tradesmen scheme men whose trade experience was interrupted by war service, but for which they would have been eligible to come within the scheme. Under the regulations which the Government originally promulgated to deal with this problem, they would have been admitted. 1 have been informed officially that if this provision in the bill had operated from the outset, 50 per cent, of the persons who have already been accepted as trainee tradesmen would have been excluded.

Mr Rosevear - Under what regulations would they have been admitted?

Mr HOLT - The National Security (Engineering. Trades) Regulations.

Mr Rosevear - Those .regulations were based on the agreement made by the previous Government.

Mr HOLT - The regulations were promulgated by this Government, but the bill imposes the restriction that I have mentioned. I urge the Minister to . accept the amendment.

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