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Tuesday, 14 May 1957

Mr STOKES (Maribyrnong) .- Section 14 of the Principal Act provides that-

The prescribed form of registration shall be in such form as will enable a person to indicate (if he so desires) a preference for service with the Naval Forces, the Military Forces or the Air Force and, if a preference is so indicated, the Registrar shall record it.

That section gives a prospective trainee the option to elect to serve in a particular service. I contend that trainees who are called up to undergo a period of training should be given the opportunity to serve continuously, if they elect to do so, or overseas, in the same way as they have been given the opportunity to join the Air Force or the Navy, thus exempting themselves from training with the Citizen Military Forces for the three years following, unless they volunteered to undertake it. The idea behind that provision arises from a defect in the original scheme, from a defence point of view, in that none of the trainees volunteered for service overseas, with the result that mobilization time was increased to six months or eight months, instead of it being from six weeks to eight weeks. The provision was intended to allow for the creation of a special reserve of trained personnel who could serve overseas.

I believe that this suggestion is not unreasonable, and that it could be covered by the present scheme. I suggest that clause 6 is the proper place to incorporate provision for trainees to volunteer for overseas service, or to elect to serve continuously. If trainees were permitted to do that, they would be available as a special overseas reserve force to augment the permanent mixed brigade group. I do not think that the matter should be left in the air in the hope that everything will work out for the best. That is not good enough. Instead of the whole section of the original act being repealed, I think that provision along the lines that I have indicated should be incorporated.

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