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Thursday, 22 October 1964


Senator O'BYRNE (Tasmania) .- I agree with Senator Cormack that while we are reviewing and amending some of. the sections of the Naval Defence Act, wc should maintain some of the old traditions in our own regulations, subject to modifications and adaptations. I believe, however, that we in this country might reasonably apply ourselves to having our own separate set of regulations and ordinances relating to all services. I have always felt that the older traditions of England were such that, having been handed down through the years, in the end result they imposed a discipline that was very severe. I refer in particular to the term " L.M.F. " Which occurs in the various Queen's Rules and Regulations and other ordinances. In these days of modern warfare, the psychological strain and other factors can bring about a state of mind in an officer or other ranks which might attract a charge of lack of moral fibre. I think these provisions should be brought into line wilh the Australian approach to this matter.


Senator Cormack - In the Naval Discipline Act there is no reference to lack of moral fibre.


Senator O'BYRNE - But there is in tha Air Force Act and these provisions should be reviewed. A complete set of our own rules and regulations pertaining to our own Services should be drafted incorporating all the best of the old traditions but suitable to our own Australian forces. Over a number of years I have thought of men who were stationed in some of the service areas in England during the Second World War. These men had been in battle and had been decorated but they had been stripped of their rank. All they had were their wings which could not be taken from them. They had gone through a severe nervous breakdown which had been classified as lack of moral fibre. When rules can be as severe as those in the United Kingdom, they need close consideration. Perhaps they were found to be necessary in the days of the old press gang to keep the boys in line. The lash and fear of death were the punishments that kept them in order. But we should treat our men on higher levels than that and while basing our rules and regulations on those of the United Kingdom, we should review them before incorporating them in our own rules.







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