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Thursday, 27 September 1973
Page: 1604

Mr FAIRBAIRN (FARRER, NEW SOUTH WALES) -I desire to ask the Minister for Defence a question. He will recall that some weeks ago I wrote to him asking whether, as rumoured, schools which ran compulsory cadet corps would have their Commonwealth per capita grants withdrawn. I recently received a reply from Senator Bishop, the Minister assisting the Minister for Defence, which said:

As you are no doubt aware, it is Government policy that military training in any form be voluntary. Accordingly, schools with cadet units have been advised that official recognition and support will be withdrawn if compulsion, or pressure, is exerted on pupils to participate in cadet activity.

I trust that this clarifies the matter.

As that reply has not clarified the matter, can the Minister s~ay now whether per capita grants will be withdrawn from schools with compulsory cadet corps? Is he opposed to military training? If so, how does he intend to fill the mythical battalions and phantom companies that the Chief of the General Staff spoke about?

Mr BARNARD (BASS, TASMANIA) (Minister for Defence) - The honourable member has raised a number of questions concerning the Australian school cadet corps. It is true that I did issue a directive on behalf of the Government to schools where school cadet corps are located. I pointed out that it was the policy of this Government that service should be on a voluntary basis. At the same time, in informing the headmasters of the schools where cadet corps were located of the Government's decision, I indicated that there would be a directive issued to them concerning the Government's policy in relation to school cadets. If the honourable member would like a copy of that directive he can have it. I come to the second part of his question, and that is whether financial assistance that is now being accorded to school cadets will be withdrawn. No decision has been made by the Government in relation to this matter at all. I have issued no directive that funds should be withdrawn except where there is a clear case that the Government's policy in relation to voluntary service in the cadet corps is not being adhered to. The honourable member will also be aware that currently a committee of inquiry is investigating the role of the Citizen Military Forces.

Mr Donald Cameron (GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND) - That is a question on notice asked by me.

Mr BARNARD - In that case, I think that to answer the honourable member I should merely say this: The inquiry has under consideration not only the future of the CMF in Australia but also the future role of the Australian cadet corps.

Mr Fairbairn - Per capita grants will not be withdrawn?

Mr BARNARD - Naturally I will await the report of the committee of inquiry. The Government will then consider the report which will be made available to me in relation to the CMF and the school cadet corps. When thathasbeenreceivedtheGovernment will make a decision about the future of the CMF and the school cadet corps.

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