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Friday, 9 August 1946

Mr Harrison n asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice -

1.   Is it intended that members of the Australian Imperial Force will be required to carry out the hazardous task of disposing of the 2,000 tons of Japanese bombs recently discovered near Rabaul, and that these bombs are already "weeping" and therefore highly dangerous to handle?

2.   If the answer is in the affirmative, will he give consideration to employing Japanese prisoners of war to remove the bombs which were placed there by their own forces?

Mr Forde - Sufficient information is not immediately available to supply a detailed answer to the honorable member's question. Japanese bombs and ammunition ' located in this area must of necessity be disposed of, and Australian Army personnel will be employed on these duties. The number of Japanese prisoners of war in this locality has been reduced considerably, but those remaining are. required to perform labouring duties and also work of the above nature.

Real Estates Transaction : Acquisition at Regent's Park.

Mr Johnson n. - Recently the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Morgan) asked a question concerning land at Regent'.1 Park which has been acquired by the Commonwealth. I am now in a position to furnish the following information to the honorable member : -

On the 6th June, 1946, an area of about 117 acres of land atRegents Park was acquired by the Commonwealth for defence purposes.

The acquired area, which has been held under National Security (General) Regulations since 1941, is used as a storage depot by the Army and Royal Australian Air Force. As large Commonwealth expenditure has been incurred, and the depot is required for defence purposes indefinitely, the acquisition was necessary in the Commonwealth's interest. Part of the land was formerly owned by Hume Steel Limited, and Babcock and Wilcox, two large industrial concerns. Although the acquired portions of their properties were vacant scrubcovered land before being occupied by the Commonwealth, representations, have been made to the effect that each company wishes to embark on an expansion of its works on to the land acquired by the Commonwealth. There have been several preliminary conferences between some of the owners affected and departmental officers who were examining the owners' representations with a view to reaching some suitable compromise, which, while meeting Commonwealth requirements, would cause a. minimum of disturbance to the development of the companies concerned. Although no finality was reached before the acquisition was effected, it did not appearpossible that certain parts of the land taken by the Commonwealth but not actually occupied by Commonwealth buildings of importance could, perhaps, be released. I recently took this up with the Minister for the Army, to ascertain whether in fact and without detriment to Commonwealth requirements, any of the acquired land could be released. A decision on this aspect of the matter has not yet been reached, and it must be appreciated that a fairly exhaustive examination of post-war defence requirements, particularly in respect of storage accommodation, will be required before such a decision is given. I have, however, assured each of the companies mentioned above that, as soon as finality is reached on the question of whether or not any of the acquired land can be released, I will arrange for a senior officer of the department to confer with them to examine the' proposals they have submitted, with a view to arriving at a satisfactory arrangement. In view of the Government's policy of assisting industrial development it may be assumed that the department will give most careful consideration to the companies' proposals and endeavourto cause as little disturbance as possible to the plans for the expansionof their factories. The honorable member forReid is assured therefore, that his consistent representation's will receive careful and sympathetic consideration.

ArmedForces: Medical Officers; Members in Detention Camps; Rabaul Garrison.

Mr Ryan (FLINDERS, VICTORIA) asked the Acting Minister for Defence, upon notice -

1.   Is it a fact that medical officers serving with the forces received from the Government a questionnaire in which they were asked to indicate, amongst other things - (a) Whether they would appreciate assistance from the Government to proceed abroad for the purpose of pursuing their medical studies, and (6) whether they were prepared to join a national medical service? 2. (a) If so, to how many officers was the questionnaire sent, and (6) How many officers expressed a desire to join a national medical service ?

Mr Forde e. - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows:- 1 and 2. No questionnaire as mentioned has been issued by the Government. It has been ascertained from the service departments that a questionnaire was originated and circulated by the Services Medical Directorates to all full-time serving medical officers of the Navy-, Army and Air' Force for the purpose of obtaining information which would assist in the rehabilitation of medical officers. A copy of the questionnaire is as follows: -



1.   Surname (Block Letters).

Christian Names.

2.   No.

3.   Dale of Birth.

4.   Date of Graduation / /

5.   Where Graduated.

6.   Highest degree obtained. Year.

7.   Registration. Year.

8.   Duration of Service. (Full Time) -



10.   Conjugal state. No. of children.

11.   In what medical work engaged, prior to entering the services.

(a)   If a hospital resident officer, state Junior or Senior.

(b)   If a hospital staff member, state capacity.

(c)   General Practitioner, Yes/No.

(d)   If a specialist, state specialty.

(e)   If a Research Worker, state where and how engaged. In a Government Service, Teaching Institution, or in some other occupation.

12.   Is additional training desired before return to civilian medical occupation.


13.   If so, state your desire in order of preference -

(   1 ) Medicine.

(2)   Surgery.

(3)   Obstetrics.

(4)   Pediatrics.

(5)   Other special study.

(6)   Gynaecology.

(7)   General Revision.

(8)   Orthopaedics.

(   9 ) Dermatology.

(10)   Radiology.

(11)   Ophthalmology.

(12)   Oto-Rhino-Laryngology.

(13)   Pathology andBacteriology.

(   14 ) Anaesthesiology.

(15)   Psychiatry and Neurology.

(16)   Public Health.

(17)   Industrial Medicine.

Indicate preference by using numbers opposite items above.

1   4. In which Statedo you prefer to undergo additional training. Mark in order of preference.


New South Wales.



South Australia.

West Australia.

15.   Would you desire to undergo additional training -

(a)   In residence at a hospital, state City or Country.

(b)   Living away from hospital. (Indicate preference by using numbers opposite items above.)

(c)   Leave Australia and study abroad.

16.   Do you desire to study for -

(a)   Senior degree.

(b   ) Special diploma. (Cross out not applicable.)

17   . General remarks on answers to above, more particularly to time prepared to give and financial ability to do so. -

18.   After the war, do you wish to return to -

(a)   Your former type of practice.

(b)   Your former locality.


19.   Do you desire to engage in private prac tice. Yes/No.

If Yes- fa) General.

(6)   Specialty.

(c)   Partnership.

(d)   Assistancy. (Mark in order of preference.)

20.   State where - (a.) A Metropolis.

(b)   A Large Country Town

(c)   A Small Country Town.

21.   Doyou prefer to practice on full time salaried basis. Yes/No.

22.   If Yes, state in what sort of medical work, hospital administration, e.g., Teaching, Research, Government Medi- cal Service, Repatriation Department, Public Health Department, Navy, Army, Air Force or other Service.

Mr Forde e. - This morning the honorable member for Hunter (Mr. James) asked me what action was proposed in regard to the release from detention of men who saw active service overseas, and are still serving sentences in detention camps.

In reply, I gave certain information to him, and the following further particulars are now furnished : -

Personnel who were sentenced by courtmartial prior to the 31st December, 1945, for illegal absence will have their cases reviewed forthwith, and the balance of sentence will be remitted in each case, provided conduct while in detention has been good. The cases of those who were sentenced after 31st December, 1945, who have served three months or more of their sentences will be similarly reviewed with a view to the remission of the balance of the sentences. The sentences of those who are at present undergoing detention, but who have not yet served three months of such sentences, will be reviewed on a similar basis on completion of a period of three months in detention: The policy to be followed in future in regard to the remission or otherwise of sentences of members undergoing detention or imprisonment for military offences other than illegal absence, is at present under review, and a, public announcement will be made as soon as a decision is arrived at.

Mr Harrison asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice -

1.   Are members of the Australian Imperial Force with the requisite points for discharge being retained in Rabaul; if so, what is the number of men in this category?

2.   Are these men to be retained for a further three or four months before being discharged; if so, for what reasons?

3.   How many militiamen, if any, are now serving at Rabaul ?

4.   Are Army personnel required to transport civilian cargoes from one island to another, including New Britain to Manus?

5.   Is it a fact that clothing for these men is in short supply, that rations are of poor quality, and amenities practically nonexistent?

Mr Forde e. - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : -

1.   The total of both Australian Imperial Force and Citizen Military Force personnel with the requisite points for discharge, who are at present serving in the Rabaul area, is 93, but this number will be reduced as demobilization progresses.

2.   These men are employed in specific appointments for which replacements with the necessary qualifications are not available at present.

3.   297 militia personnel were serving in that area as at 20th July, 1946.

4.   The military authorities in Melbourne have no knowledge of Army personnel being used for this purpose, but inquiries are proceeding.

5.   No.

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