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Wednesday, 27 May 1942

Mr BECK (DENISON, TASMANIA) - Can the Minister for the Army say whether it is a fact that second-hand uniforms are being issued to Militia troops in Tasmania? If this is not the usual practice throughout Australia, why is it being done in Tasmania, and where are the uniforms coming from?

Mr FORDE - I was not aware that second-hand uniforms were being issued to Militia troops in Tasmania, but I shall call for a report on the matter, and give the honorable member a reply as soon as possible. I assure him that Tasmania is not being singled out for Cinderella treatment in the matter of uniforms.

Mr MORGAN - The Minister for the Army recently announced that members of the Militia would have the right of transfer to the Australian Imperial Force. Have the Army authorities taken steps to implement that decision? No instruction appears to have been received in that regard by those concerned. This is causing considerable confusion amongst troops and officers. Some ambitious officers are parading the men and asking them to declare themselves on this issue. In view of the fact that this is causing resentment and is defeating the Government's declared policy, will the Minister lay down a definite basis upon which the men can be transferred ?

Mr FORDE - Immediately the decision was reached, instructions were issued to Army head-quarters to send out instructions to all commanding officers in Australia to provide the necessary facilities for men to indicate their desire to transfer to the Australian Imperial Force. I have had reports that in places difficulty is being experienced, but I am taking suitable action which will have the desired results.

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