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Tuesday, 30 March 1965

Senator PALTRIDGE - The honorable senator asks a long and involved question as to what Mr. Fairhall said and, in effect, what he meant. Probably the best way I could deal with the question would be to ask the honorable senator to put it on the notice paper so that Mr. Fairhall could answer it. However, I will endeavour to answer the question because I believe that the honorable senator is seeking information. Let me say at once that the meeting called by Mr. Fairhall has no specific significance to any particular situation in South East Asia or elsewhere. It is part of the Government's programme of seeing that, in the event of any hostilities or emergency, those concerned should be aware of what is to be done.

This particular meeting takes its place in a long and -continuing line of meetings. For example, the Department of Defence, with the Department of Supply, has over a number of years carried out in the various States each year, and probably two or three times each year in the more industrialised States, industrial mobilisation courses. This has now become a part of the normal pattern of Department of Defence and Department of Supply activities.

The Department of Supply has felt that some of the top level committees representing certain categories of industry might be modernised or better organised to meet today's conditions, and in recent months that Department has undertaken a reorganisation of the industry group committees. The recent meeting was the first meeting of the re-organised industry group committees. I repeat that this is a part of the Government's, indeed of the nation's action to inform people who should be informed of what might be required of them in the event of an emergency. I hope that this kind of activity will attract the approbation of most members of the Australian public.

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