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Thursday, 27 June 1946

Mr White e asked the Minister for the Navy, upon notice -

1.   Is it a fact that time-expired permanent chief pettyofficersandpetty officers are still not discharged from, the Navy, while junior ratings with more than 100 points lower are discharged ?

2.   Is it a fact that the points system, as used in the Navy, differs from that used by the other services and is not laid down by the Government?

3.   How many commissions were granted in the Australian naval forces during the war?

4.   How many of the commissions referred to in paragraph 3 were given to chief petty officers and petty officers of the Permanent Royal Australian Navy?

5.   Why are ratings of the Royal Australian Navy not given the same privilege as those of the Royal Australian Naval Reserve, as regards the counting of war service as double time, for the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal ?

Mr Makin - -The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : -

1.   All time-expired permanent chief and petty officers who have not volunteered to defer demobilization have been appropriated for demobilization. In some cases final discharge has not yet been effected and in a few instances these undischarged chief and petty officers have over 100 points more than some of the junior ratings who have already been discharged.

2.   The points system as used in the Navy is as laid down by the Government. Naval procedure in regard to the retention of key personnel has in the past been different from Army procedure in that Naval ratings have been retained in " groups " with similar qualifications and not as individuals. This has enabled the discharge of ratings with similar qualifications to be effected in order of their points irrespective of the area in which they wereserving. It has now been found necessary in the final months of the second stage of demobilization to adopt the system of retaining key individuals in order to save time and avoid excessive movements of personnel.

3.   Permanent forces, 166 (excluding officers ex -Royal Australian Naval College); Reserve Forces, 2,913; total, 3,079.

4.   Three, plus one promotedfrom the rating of ordinary seaman . In addition 114 warrant officers were granted commissions, and a total of 181 ratings were promoted to warrant rank.

5.   The Naval Board follows the practice of the Admiralty in regard to Long Service and Good Conduct Medal. It should be noted that double time is counted only by those Reserve ratings who had joined the Reserve before the war - those who joined during the war count single time only. This reflects a policy of encouragement to join the Reserve in peace-time in order to build up its strength and of reward for such peacetime service in the Reserve Forces. This policy was also adopted in respect of Reservists during the 1914-18 war. It should also be noted that a gratuity of £20 is payable to members- of the Permanent Naval Forces when awarded the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal, whereas no gratuity is payable in respect of the Medal awarded to the Reserves.

Rationing : Tea and Sugar.

Mr Forde e. - On the 21st June, the honorable member for Deakin (Mr. Hutchinson) asked whether it was a fact that members of the Rationing Commission had made suggestions, if not recommendations, that tea and sugar be lifted from the list of goods rationed.

The following reply has now been furnished by the Minister for Trade and Customs : -

Tea - The Rationing Commission early in April last discussed with Mr. Dedman, then Minister for Trade and Customs, the question of continuance of tea rationing. The world supply of tea is much below pre-war level and available supplies are allocated to various tea-importing countries by the Combined Food Board. On the basis of its proportionate quota of reduced supplies Australia would be entitled to approximately 34,000,000 lb. of tea per annum as compared with its present allocation of approximately 46,000,000 lb.

The Combined Food Board had made available to Australia a further 12,000,000 lb. of tea in order to maintain the existing ration of 2 oz. per week, but it was probable that' if tea rationing were withdrawn this 12,000,000 1b. would not be available. In these circumstances the Commission and myself are in agreement that tea rationing should be continued.

Sugar - Members of the. Rationing Commission also recently discussed sugar rationing with Mr. Dedman, then Minister for' Trade and Customs, but no decision was reached. 1 have asked the Rationing Commission to keep the position under constant survey and to report to me periodically what prospects there are of removing sugar fromrationing provisions, having regard to the needs of the United Kingdom and other overseas countries.

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