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Thursday, 24 March 1966

Mr Malcolm Fraser (WANNON, VICTORIA) - Basically the size of the call-up is fixed as a result of advice which has been given to the Government and which the Government has accepted concerning the size of the standing Army which it is believed we require in the present circumstances. That size, in present circumstances, is stated to be 40.000. Since we know the number of regular servicemen in the Australian Regular Army, this dictates the number of national servicemen required. Quite clearly - I think all honorable members know this - the fairly rapid expansion of the Army has placed some strain on the numbers of instructors, non-commissioned officers and junior officers.

Some steps are being undertaken to overcome any shortages that may exist in this field. One I would mention is that national servicemen, at the beginning of each intake, are carefully examined and all those who are thought to have officer potential go to Scheyville for officer training. At the end of six months, if they pass this fairly stiff course - most are passing it - they come out as second lieutenants in the Regular Army. This is one of the things being done to over come any shortages that may exist in this field. However, I emphasise that the prime matter that governs the numbers of servicemen to be selected in any one year is the assessment of the strategic situation and the size of the Army which we believe to be required as a result.

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