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Wednesday, 28 October 1964
Page: 1368

Senator O'BYRNE (TASMANIA) - I am referring to clothing and I intend to remain on that subject.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN - I do not think the honorable senator should discuss the pronunciation of words, and matters of that kind.

Senator O'BYRNE - I was speaking of the colour of the uniform that our troops wear.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN - The honorable senator is discussing the item dealing with clothing, medical and general stores, for which the proposed appropriation is £4,500,000. He should relate his remarks much more closely to that item.

Senator O'BYRNE - I do not know how I could relate the subject of khaki clothing more closely to the item I am discussing. I am suggesting to the Committee that we must adopt a more realistic approach to the type of clothing we provide for the Army if we wish to attract recruits. One has only to look around to see that everybody else in the community is being attracted to fashion. In the shops one sees well cut clothing made of finely woven fabrics in attractive soft colours. The last man in the book to get a change is the old digger.

Senator Paltridge - What are we to put him in?

Senator O'BYRNE - I want to see him as smartly dressed as the American, Indone sian, Malayan, German, French, Dutch, Norwegian and Scandinavian servicemen.

Senator Paltridge - Are we to put him in a frock?

Senator O'BYRNE - The honorable senator is talking about the wrong army. He can put the other armies in floral frocks if he wants to. I am talking about our Army, of which we are proud. We had a discussion recently about warmth in Army quarters. We have had presented to us the old-fashioned idea that a soldier can be put in a little block measuring 6ft. by 8ft. and be allowed to do his study there. Little quarters were all right in the old days, because a soldier did not bother about study then. But today we have a technical Army; we have an Army of men who have been educated compulsorily. In some enlightened States such as Tasmania young people go to school until they are 16 years of age. In less enlightened States the authorities get rid of their responsibility by farming youths out at 14 years of age. Let us deal with the average Australian who leaves school at 15 years of age. He does not want this " old hat ".

Senator Morris - Old hat?

Senator O'BYRNE - Yes, it is "old hat ". I am talking about the old sugee bags and the Prince Edwards. Up in Queensland in the honorable Senator's day they did not wear socks; they wore Prince Edwards.


Order! The honorable senator is getting well away from the proposed expenditure of £4i million which the Committee is considering.

Senator O'BYRNE - I will sum up my remarks by saying that the, attitude of the recruit who finds himself dressed in the oldfashioned khaki sugee bag type of uniform can be expressed as follows -

How can I stand and fight the foe

And take the final leap

When its creepin' up me flamin' back?

Me shirt's made on the cheap.

How can I as a digger fall

With me face towards the " Gook "

When Fairhall's covered up me rear

With trousers off the hook?

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