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Wednesday, 15 May 1957

Mr CRAMER (BENNELONG, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Army) - I welcome this question from the honorable member because a report concerning this matter appeared in the Sydney " Daily Telegraph " to-day under the heading of " National service trainees may go abroad ". It said that the Military Board was examining a scheme for national servicemen to serve overseas with the Regular Army. I want to make it perfectly clear that at no time did I indicate that the Military Board was examining any such scheme to send national servicemen overseas. Yesterday, the honorable member for Maribyrnong did put forward a valuable proposal in this House that those young men who might miss out under the ballot scheme under the National Service Bill and who wished to do a six months' course of training should be provided with the opportunity to do it. I pointed out that that could be done if they enlisted in the Regular Army and, of course, any person who enlists in the Regular Army does enlist for overseas service. Never at any time did I say that national servicemen would go overseas or that the Government was considering that they might go overseas. The scheme suggested by thi; honorable member for Maribyrnong would mean that those men who enlisted in t'.ie Regular Army would not be national servicemen at all. They would be Regular Army men under a special scheme of training. If they went in to the Regular Army for six months' training, they would not be in any condition to enable them to be sent overseas. I am glad of the opportunity to clear up that matter and to state that no such consideration has been given by the Military Board to overseas service by national service trainees.

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