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Thursday, 26 June 1941


Senator FRASER (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - I agree with the honorable senator; but many of the present leaders of the German army also were very gallant soldiers in the last war. 1 believe in the old saying that a leopard cannot change its spots: Despite- the fact that- General Lloyd is a gallant' soldier, as' stated -.by. the Minister for Repatriation (Senator Collett), I am -of opinion that a more suitable officer can be found to direct recruiting activities.

I am pleased that Senator Brand raised the subject of soldiers' pay. He remarked that the soldiers had no union. I remind him' that but for the' action- taken by the Labour party in this Parliament the soldiers' rate of pay would not have been increased. Not-only in Victoria but also in the other States; public appeals are being- made on behalf of the destitute wivesand families of men who are fighting overseas. That state of affairs must be remedied immediately, if only to remove one of the greatest obstacles to the success ' of ' the present recruiting campa ign. _

I was very surprised to hear another honorable senator opposite criticize the poor response of Commonwealth public servants who are eligible to enlist in any of the services. This Government has given an undertaking that conscription will not be introduced ; and I hope that it will never apply conscription by backdoor methods. The Government must not. take action along the lines suggested by the honorable senator. I do not know whether the Minister for the Army (Mr. Spender) is aware of many of the practices being . indulged in in this respect. We Have not yet reached the stage when we must get recruits by fair means or by foul. Instances have occurred, however, in which youths, who are under compulsory military age, have been more or less coerced into enlisting into the Australian Imperial Forces. When such, instances were brought to the notice of the Minister for the Army, he gave an assurance thathe would investigate the position and take, steps to put a stop to such practices. On that point I am rather surprised -that action has not' been taken to curtail the activities of some recruiting officers who have become notorious for the tone of their public addresses from the recruiting platform. I take thefollowing extract from the report ofa speech of a recruiting officer publishedin the Adelaide News of the 23rd June, last : -







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