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Thursday, 31 March 1966

Mr HAROLD HOLT - I should first point out that the conditions of pay and of service in the Australian Regular Army are so attractive these days that we have had the highest re-engagement rate in the history of the Army, or a rate ranking with the highest that the Army has ever known. I make that point because national service trainees who are taken into the Army receive the same pay and conditions while serving with Regular Army units as the members of the Regular Army themselves. My information is that among the lower ranks of the Army the rates of pay are the highest to be found in any army in the world for a soldier of that category - higher even than in the United States Army. So it can hardly be said that the rates of pay provided by the Australian Government are not reasonable. It should also be borne in mind that national service trainees who serve in one of the recognised theatres of war where military activities are in progress return to this country with full repatriation rights and with war service home entitlements. As has been mentioned previously, it is unlikely that the tour of duty overseas would be longer than one year. So not merely are rates of pay and conditions comparable with those of members of the Regular Army but also full repatriation rights and war service home entitlements are part of the conditions of service of national service trainees.

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