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Wednesday, 11 November 1936

Senator FOLL (QUEENSLAND) .- I was pleased to hear Senator Marwick urge the training of members of rifle clubs in machine gunnery. I have discussed that matter on a previous occasion and I think that it should be possible to have instructors visit the various drill halts in order to give to rifle club members some training, even of an elementary nature, in the use of machine guns.

Senator Arkins - It is nonsense to say that it is impossible to do so.

SenatorFOLL. - I fail to see why such instruction should not. be given. In view of the important part played by machine guns in modern warfare, it is not enough to instruct men merely in the use of rifles.

In Brisbane recently I discussed with a senior military officer the subject of enlistments in the voluntary services, and was surprised to learn that the amount of wastage of enlistments in the infantry section of the militia is about 50 per cent. This shows that the figures cited in reference to enlistments do not indicate the true strength of the militia forces.I understand that there is not the same amount of wastage in the garrison artillery and the other technical branches, but in one infantry battalion in South Queensland 50 per cent, of the men who enlist remain in the service for little more than six months. I asked the senior officer how this came about, in view of the fact that the men were supposed to enlist for a number of years. He informed me that the men alter enlisting might give some reason or another in support of an application for a discharge. For example, a man might want to take a job out in the west, or because of family or other reasons, be unable to carry on. Little or no obstacle is placed in his way, and, consequently, out of every two men who enlist, one of them has gone off the strength within six months. It is' no good patting ourselves on the back regarding the total enlistments. The question is how many of the volunteers serve their time, and become efficient soldiers?

Senator Duncan-Hughes - Surely, we are not patting ourselves?

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