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Thursday, 13 May 1965


Senator WRIGHT (Tasmania) .- One matter that I would like to refer to concerns the administration of the National Service Act. Now that the Minister for Defence (Senator Paltridge) has put real life into the defence mechanism, which includes the compulsory recruitment of men, it does not seem to me that to commit the administration of that recruitment to a department which essentially deals with civilians, conflicts with the purpose for which those men are committed.I would like some information from the Minister as to whether consideration has been given or is being given to the advantages - it may be that the disadvantages are quite apparent and overwhelming - of having the administration of these provisions placed directly under the control of the Department of Defence. It seems to me that all the activities in relation to recruitment would be more fully understood by the officers of that Department than by the officers of the Department of Labour and National Service.

If there is no substance in that suggestion, it may be appropriate to consider staffing the branch of the Department of Labour and National Service which will deal with these defence activities with servicemen and ex-servicemen. I raise this matter because it is necessary when government servants come into contact with the people that those concerned should have a proper outlook with regard to the nature of their service. To my way of thinking, the administration of these matters by the Department of Labour and National Service gives a quite different perspective to the idea of military service than would be the case if recruitemnt were under the direct supervision of the Department of Defence or a Service department. If the relevant branch of the Department of Labour and National Service were to be staffed exclusively by exservicemen it would engender a greater spirit of understanding and respect between the recruits and the Department.







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