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Tuesday, 2 June 1942

Mr ROSEVEAR - The Minister for the Army has made various statements concerning the sending of lads under twenty years of age to forward operational stations. On the 6th March last, the honorable gentleman said that he had issued the definite order that no young man under twenty years of age and without adequate training was to be sent to a tropical station. Later, the honorable gentleman stated that any youths who had been sent to such stations would be kept in reserved occupations; and still later he stated that they would be kept in reserved positions where possible. How much farther does he propose to retreat from his original order to the "brass hats" of the Army?

Mr FORDE - I stated in this House last week that the Government had decided that youths between eighteen and nineteen years of age who had not had the requisite training would not, in future, be sent to any forward operational stations.

Mr Mulcahy - Some were sent last Saturday.

Mr FORDE - If honorable members have evidence that this instruction has not been observed, I ask them to let me have it. I do not desire to make a lengthy statement at this stage, but I shall be pleased to discuss the matter with the honorable member for Dalley.

Mr MULCAHY -Within the last quarter of an hour, I have received from Mr. Hedges, of 26 Violet-street, Punchbowl, a telephone message informing me that this morning the military authorities had pulled down fences on his property, adjacent to his home, without giving any notice or warning of their intention so to do. Will the Minister for the Army take steps to ensure that such high-handed methods shall be discontinued, and that owners of property shall receive from the Army authorities the courtesy of a notification of their intention to interfere with private property?

Mr FORDE - Property-owners should receive a courteous notification of any such intention. I am not acquainted with the facts of this case, but I shall call for an immediate report and shall furnish a reply to the honorable member within the next 24 hours.

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