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Tuesday, 14 May 1957

Mr WARD (East Sydney) .- The Minister for the Army (Mr. Cramer) made rather a remarkable statement, in reply to the honorable member for Chisholm (Sir Wilfred Kent Hughes), when he said that a great many problems associated with the operation of the new national service training scheme had not yet been worked out. I should have imagined that the Minister and his experts would have worked out all the details before they presented this measure to the Parliament for the consideration of members. How does the Minister expect honorable members to discuss it logically when he himself has to admit that he and his experts have not yet been able to work out certain details? Are we expected to vote for the bill in its present form? The Minister admits that it is full of complexities. I read it carefully, but I could not understand exactly what will happen to the men associated with Citizen Military Forces units that are disbanded. If trainees have not completed their five-year training period when their C.M.F. unit is disbanded, they will continue as members of the C.M.F. Will they be drafted to other units, or will new units be formed? Is it proposed merely that the existing number of units will be reduced? It is obvious that the Minister does not know the answers to these questions, although he is doing his best. I suggest that he adjourn the consideration of the bill so that he may consult his experts and then return to this chamber briefed to answer the questions asked by honorable members.

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