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Friday, 29 April 1921

Senator ELLIOTT (Victoria) .." - I have strong sympathy with the view expressed by Senator Earle. Very many of these men won commissions and did brilliant work in the field. But I realize the difficulties confronting the Government. These men are married, and have families dependent upon them, so that if they enter the college even for a comparatively short term, some living allowance will have to be made for their families.

Senator Crawford - Surely they are not all married !

Senator ELLIOTT - The majority of them are men up to middle age, forty years and over, so that the Government will have to face a considerable increase in expenditure if anything is done on the lines suggested. There is another difficulty. The Duntroon students are given an all-round training, and, when they go out from the college, may be posted to the artillery, engineers, infantry, or any other branch of the Service.

Senator Pearce - I think the students are posted to a particular arm in the Service during the last year of training.

Senator ELLIOTT - If the practice here is the same as in Great Britain, the men who get the highest marks in the last year are posted to the more scientific arm, that is to say, they go to the engineers or artillery. But every student has a grounding in all branches of the Service, whereas these sergeantmajors, who have strong claims for consideration, have been trained in only one branch. They are infantrymen or artillerymen pure and simple, so it will be difficult to adjust these men to a proper course of study. They have, however, rendered this country invaluable service. Long before the war they laid the foundation, in many cases, of out Citizen Army, and carried it on right through the war, doing, really magnificent work. They realize now that they are coming nearer to the time when they will be displaced by Duntroon students, and so, in the latter part of their middle age, they are faced with the probability of being obliged to take some labouring job.

Senator Pearce - Quite a number1 - I think twenty-five - have been appointed quarter-masters, and I believe another twenty-five are filling . temporary positions. As other vacancies occur we are doing what we can for these men.

Senator ELLIOTT - I am very glad, indeed, to have the Minister's assurance that some provision is being made for them in this way.

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