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Wednesday, 16 August 1972
Page: 50

Senator HANNAN (VICTORIA) - Has the attention of the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service been drawn to this morning's Press statement from Lieutenant-General Sir Thomas Daly, former Chief of the Australian General Staff, on the abolition of national service? If so, does the Minister concur with Sir Thomas' statement that such abolition would cause the disbandment of five of our 9 battalions, involving 4,000 officers and non-commissioned officers, and reduce the strength of the Citizen Military Forces by 10,000 men? Is the Minister aware that Sir Thomas also said that without national service the kind of Army Australia needs is not a possibility? As the Australian Labor Party is pledged to abolish national service, is this policy tantamount to destroying the Australian Army?

Senator WRIGHT - Time has not permitted me to refresh my memory from the newspaper report of the General's statement, but I did have the advantage of seeing the television presentation, including that part of his statement referred to by the honourable senator. The statement was to the effect attributed to him by Senator Hannan. It is clearly a statement of a responsible person and it shows that there would be substantial damage to the defence effort if national service were abolished. I think that the extent of damage which Opposition policy would do to the defence of the country is a matter which should be taken into consideration.

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