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Thursday, 17 March 1966

Mr HAROLD HOLT - The honorable gentleman has marred an otherwise sensible question by importing unjustifiable comments and deductions.

Mr Bryant - Don't be nasty.

Mr HAROLD HOLT - The question invited comment and what I am pointing out is that to that extent he marred his request for the facts. I would be glad to supply the facts. They would show that there has been a response of volunteers. What honorable members opposite seem not to realise is that the objective of the Army is to secure the most effective fighting force that this country can provide. We have heard a good deal from honorable gentlemen opposite about the concern that is felt for those who come in under the national service training scheme. The Government is also concerned with the safety and welfare of the tens of thousands of Australians who have volunteered and who are serving in th.: three fighting forces of this country. We believe it important that they be supported by an effective body of men. These men are being secured with the assistance of the national service scheme and not solely from the volunteers who come forward. It is weil known in this House that the proportion of volunteers coming forward who are eventually taken into the Army is comparatively small because, understandably, the Army wants to ensure that those who will be taking their places alongside the trained military men already in the Army will be of a standard and a capacity sufficient to maintain the efficiency of the forces, and that the newcomers will not cause an increase in the hazards to their colleagues in the forces.

Mr Webb - Turn over the record.

Mr HAROLD HOLT - I know the facts are unpalatable to honorable members opposite. They want to throw a big emotional screen about the whole operation. It is only when the facts are bared that the Australian people can realise what shabby humbug is coming from members of the Opposition.

Mr Calwell - We know who the shabby humbugs are. Why don't you call them conscripts? That is what they are.

Mr HAROLD HOLT - The honorable gentleman asks why I do not call them conscripts.

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