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Wednesday, 11 May 1960


Mr McMAHON (Lowe) (Minister for Labour and National Service) . - by leave - I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

This bill provides for the discharge at 30th June, 1960, of national service trainees held on strength in the citizen forces and for the discharge at an earlier date than 30th June, 1960, of those who volunteer and are accepted for service in the Citizen Military Forces.


Mr Calwell - Does this mean the end of national service training in Australia?


Mr McMAHON - It has ended. This is to permit the discharge of national service trainees and to allow those who are to be discharged to volunteer, prior to discharge, for service in the C.M.F. It is purely consequential on the abolition of national service training.

The National Service Act 1951-1957 requires a person who is called up to remain a member of the citizen forces, after he has completed his national service training, for five years from the date of his initial call-up. In the case of the Army, a national serviceman, after completing his training, and within the five-year period, may be dis charged in order to enlist in the Citizen Naval Forces or the Citizen Air Force, but he cannot voluntarily enlist in the Citizen Military Forces as he is already a member of those forces by virtue of the National Service Act. The proposed legislation will enable a national serviceman to enlist as a volunteer in the Citizen Military Forces by freeing him from his residual obligations under the National Service Act at 30th June, 1960, or earlier if he volunteers and is accepted before that date. There are at present some 4,000 national servicemen in the Army who have volunteered for further service and it is desired to recruit them into the C.M.F. as well as to encourage others to volunteer for the C.M.F. The legislation will similarly enable Navy and Air Force national servicemen to be relieved of their residual obligations to enable them to volunteer for service in any part of the citizen forces.

Another consideration is the administrative work required of the services for the discharge of national servicemen with residual obligations. The number who have not yet completed the period of five years from the date of initial call-up and held on strength is: Navy 2.500, Army 72,000 and Air Force 7,300; a total of 81,800 for the three services. Discharge action for these personnel would in the normal course be required at intervals up to August, 1964. The administrative burden is felt particularly in the case of the Army, which has the largest numbers and whose man-power resources will be fully taxed in giving effect to the current Army re-organization. To avoid the uneconomical use of service manpower, it is desired to complete administrative action for the discharge of all national servicemen by 30th June, 1960, while present staffs are still available rather than use man-power for discharge action lasting for a period of more than four years.

The bill will thus serve the dual purpose of facilitating the recruitment of national servicemen into the volunteer citizen forces and at the same time it will avoid utilizing staffs for national service discharge action over a long period. I commend the bill for the favorable consideration of honorable members.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Calwell) adjourned.







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