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Tuesday, 26 September 1972
Page: 1139

Senator CAVANAGH (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Army a question. In view of the many reports indicating that a number of attempted suicides are occurring among ne*' national servicemen and the fears held that lads may be driven to such attempts by harsh camp and training routine, will the Minister make an immediate and thorough independent investigation into the many allegations of bad camp treatment and take remedial action where required? To prevent further attempted suicides, will the Minister defer any further intake of national servicemen until an inquiry has been held and remedial action, if it is necessary, has been taken?

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN - This is an extraordinary question, particularly as it comes from the honourable senator. He took the opportunity on Thursday night of speaking in the adjournment debate to make certain allegations about attempted suicides by some national servicemen.

Senator Jessop - They were refuted.

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN - Hisallegations were refuted. At that time I told the honourable senator that my view was different from the one he had expressed but that I would take the matter up with the Minister for the Army and obtain further information. 1 understand that because of what Senator Cavanagh said on Thursday night the Minister is making further investigations and hopes to have information in his hands, possibly this afternoon. I should have thought that having made his remarks on Thursday night the honourable senator would have waited until the Minister had made some investigations. As to the general tenor of the honourable senator's question, I should think that if he had visited Puckapunyal or Kapooka and had seen the way that the boys are treated he would not have made these allegations.

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