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Tuesday, 27 October 1964

Senator ORMONDE (New South Wales) . - I think my remarks may best be related to Division No. 740 - Aircraft and Other Equipment - Repair and Overhaul. I am a layman speaking on a matter that has been raised with me by two experienced airmen who are now about 40 years of age. They are anxious to lend their services to the Government in its defence activities, if they are allowed. They are commercial pilots of long experience and they cannot understand why, although the Army is supported by the Citizen Military Forces and the Navy has a citizen force in its support, the Air

Force does not have a citizen force to support it. They argue, for example, that when the Sabre aircraft become obsolete, instead of being sold, destroyed or stored, when a replacement aircraft becomes available, they should be used to train pilots for a citizen air force. Many people engaged in the aircraft industry would be prepared to join such a force.

Another person with whom I have an association served as an Air Vice-Marshal during the 1939-45 war. He is now retired. He is firmly of the opinion that aircraft which allegedly are obsolete and eventually will come into the hands of the Department of Air, should be kept in reserve for use by a citizen air force. He expresses the same view as the two air pilots to whom 1 have referred. He has reminded me that if it had not been for the second class aircraft available when the last war broke out in 1939, the Japanese might not have been defeated at the Coral Sea Battle. In those days he was one of the top men in the Air Force and he was very glad to have second class aircraft available to be used from the Australian coast to fight the Japanese in the Coral Sea. He supports the case made out by my two pilot associates. I ask the Minister: Why does not the Department agree that there should be established a civil air force, if you could give it such a title, to support the Royal Australian Air Force? I have quoted the points of view expressed to me and I seek information on them.

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