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Tuesday, 14 May 1957

Mr ANDERSON (Hume) .- I shall not delay the committee, but I should like to raise one or two points. I honestly think that the Labour party does not understand what goes on in the country areas or has any knowledge of conditions in the country. The honorable member for Grayndler (Mr. Daly) said that in this atomic and jet age there is no problem of getting a young man who lives 25 miles out in the country to attend a drill hall. Obviously, he does not understand the real position.

I wish to deal with one point in the speech of the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward). He said that this scheme was unnecessary because the next war would not be fought by troops, but would be an atomic war or a nuclear war in which hydrogen bombs would be used. If that is so, the Labour party should explain why it is moving heaven and earth to prevent us from learning as much as we can about the hydrogen bomb. If our defence is to be based on nuclear weapons, why is the Labour party trying to prevent us from having tests of such weapons?

Most members of the Australian Country party, so far as I know, believe that it is the duty of every young man of the country to undergo basic military training. His life will depend upon it at some time. The only reason why members of the Government parties do not like the bill is that it does not go far enough. We should like to see all young men of eligible age trained, but we have not the necessary man-power. We support this clause, and the bill, because it will enable 12,000 men to be trained, and that will be a very valuable start towards a defence force.

I should like to know how the members of the Labour party explain their opposition to the atomic tests, in the light of the speech of the honorable member for East Sydney, if he is their spokesman.

The CHAIRMAN - Order! That is not relevant to this clause.

Mr ANDERSON - I only wish to add a piece of advice to the Minister - that is. that he should approach the speech of the honorable member for East Sydney from the rear end. That is the only possible way to approach any of his speeches.

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