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Tuesday, 14 May 1957

Mr CRAMER (Bennelong) (Minister for the Army) . - There is really no need to retain this section in the National Service Act, because under the Defence Act, it is possible for all members of the Citizen Military Forces, having completed their national service training, to enlist for overseas service. They are asked whether they wish to do so.

Mr Stokes - I was referring to a time prior to that.

Mr CRAMER - Before they register?

Mr Stokes - When they register.

Mr CRAMER - There is no real need for that. The reason that this section is being repealed is that the Army will, in future, be the only service to which trainees may go. It has been decided that they will not go into the Navy or the Air Force. On the matter of the six months' continuous training with the Regular Army, to which the honorable member has referred, it is physically possible, of course, for that to be done, but at this pointI cannot say that it will be done. However, the matter is being very closely examined. If it should be decided that there would be a sufficient number of recruits to warrant the adoption of that system, there is nothing in the act, as it stands, to prevent trainees from enlisting for overseas service and serving with the Regular Army. That is not inconsistent with the proposal to repeal this section. It is being repealed simply because the provision does not now apply to the Navy and the Air Force, which will not in future take recruits from the national service training scheme. Provided that there was a sufficient number of volunteers, the suggestion of the honorable gentleman would be very valuable. AsI have said, the matter is under the close examination of the Military Board at the present time.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 7 (Changes of address to be notified).

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