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Tuesday, 14 May 1957

Sir WILFRED KENT HUGHES (Chisholm) . - Clause 16 is an entirely new clause which repeals section 33 of the principal act. The clause deals with a period of service in the Citizen Military Forces. I would like to ask the Minister something which to me at the moment is by no means clear. I can understand a certain number of men being called up by ballot and proceeding to do a camp of 77 days. They might, as a result of the ballot, be called up from Brisbane or some other centre further north. They might do their training in Brisbane, at Puckapunyal, or anywhere else if necessary, but the remaining term of the service is done over a period of four years with units of the C.M.F. How can the Government determine by ballot the selection of men who will have to be near enough to a C.M.F. unit in order to carry out the rest of their training after the original 77 days in camp?

Sub-section (3.) of section 33 lays down -

Where the Military Board determines that a unit, or portion of a unit, of the Citizen Military Forces cannot continue to be efficiently maintained, a person who, but for this sub-section, would be liable to render service under this Act with that unit or portion of a unit, is not liable to render further service . . .

That is all right when he is doing his service with the unit which is disbanded, but what I want to ask the Minister to explain is how it is proposed to work out the different units of the C.M.F. which are to be disbanded before it is known from what areas the national service trainees are coming. I cannot for the life of me see how this scheme is going to work when men are selected from all over Australia by ballot and then have to be fitted into C.M.F. units, which may be at great distances from the place from which they come.

It comes down again to the fact that only those youths who live in thickly populated centres will be selected for service and Citizen Military Forces units, apparently, will be maintained only in the same thickly populated centres. Even so, very few men may be selected from a centre such as, say, Newcastle, in a ballot, and the number obtained may be insufficient to maintain the C.M.F. unit. Therefore, I ask the Minister for the Army to explain to the committee how the scheme will work. Perhaps I am dense, but I cannot see how it will work if C.M.F. units are to be maintained in areas other than those that are densely populated.

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