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Tuesday, 7 December 1976
Page: 3453

Mr Les McMahon (SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice:

(   1 ) Has the strength of the permanent Armed Forces of Australia fallen for the third successive month and are enlistments declining.

(2)   Did he, and other Ministers, repeatedly claim during and after the 1975 election campaign that recruitment to, and re-enlistment in, the Defence Services would increase if a Liberal-Country Party Government was returned.

(3)   If so, why have these predictions come unstuck, and what action is being taken to maintain our Defence Forces at a satisfactory strength.

Mr Killen - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   (2) and (3) Monthly strength variations of -43, -1, -66 and +27 since June 1976 are too small to be meaningful. As recruiting is seasonal it is expected that strengths will decline in periods of low recruiting- such as the latter part of the year.

The results of recruiting efforts during 1976 have been quite satisfactory. Total enlistments in the Permanent Defence Force for the six months ending October 1976 numbered 3927, an increase of 236, or 6.4 per cent, on enlistments for the same period in 1975. Similarly re-engagement rates are continuing at satisfactory levels.

It is expected that with the intakes planned for January 1977 the Defence Forces should reach their target strengths for June 1977.

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