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Thursday, 24 March 1966


Mr STEWART (LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES) - My question is addressed to the Minister for the Army. I ask him whether his predecessor, in August and October 1964, just prior to the introduction of national service training, stated that the unanimous advice of the Government's military advisers was against the introduction of such a scheme on the grounds that it would interfere with the readiness, efficiency and availability of the Australian Regular Army and would not give value for the $494 million such a scheme would cost in the first five years of its operation. Has the first year's operation of the national service training scheme shown this advice to be correct? If not, who were the Service personnel responsible for giving incorrect advice to the Government on such an important subject, and have all or any of them been removed from their positions of trust? If not, why not?

Mr. MALCOLMFRASER__ The first year's operation of the national service scheme has shown it to be a remarkable success. The scheme has involved a great expansion of the Army. This has proceeded smoothly and national servicemen are being integrated throughout the Australian Regular Army in a fashion which indicates, I believe, extremely good management by the Army. I think the honorable member has not read my predecessor's speech in full, or has not given a proper interpretation of it; and to redress the balance I should like to read one paragraph from the Minister's speech. He said -

I think it is generally agreed that the ingredients of any workable scheme -

He was speaking of the national service scheme - must be, first, two years of continuous service with the A.R.A. followed by three years on the reserve; secondly, liability for compulsory service overseas; thirdly, while on the reserve, liability to call up for war service with either A.R.A. or C.M.F. units; and, fourthly, the age of call up to be at least 20 years, so that we will have an opportunity lo get into the Services at least some of the skills that we require. This view accords with those of our military -advisers.

This was in the honorable member's speech of August 1964 and it is a part of the speech that the honorable member to Lang ignores.







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