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Wednesday, 3 June 1942

Senator BRAND (Victoria) .- During the last war, many officers, warrant-officers and non-commissioned officers of the permanent forces were retained in Australia as instructors at training schools. A period of active service enhances the prestige of every permanent professional soldier. If he does not possess a service ribbon, the value of his services as an instructor is nullified to a great degree. Although this war has now been in progress for nearly three years, over 700 officers, warrant-officers and non-commissioned officers of the regular forces are engaged in instructional duties at schools and military centres. These men have been denied the opportunity to gain experience in actual warfare, which every professional soldier desires in order to top off his own training. The men now engaged on instructional duties include permanent and temporary officers. The former number over 600, but I do not know the total of the latter. At the end of the war, the permanent men will be retained as instructors for the building up of our post-war army. However, if they have not had a period of active service, or cannot show a service ribbon, they will fail to impress the younger generation, whose training is entrusted to them. It may be said that under existing conditions it is impossible to release the majority of these instructors for active service. I suggest that they could be released in batches of, say, 10 per cent, or 20 per cent, of the total number of instructors. I urge the Minister for the Army (Mr. Forde) to give consideration to my suggestion.

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