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Thursday, 16 May 1968

Mr LYNCH (FLINDERS, VICTORIA) (Minister for the Army) - There have been some changes in the training periods operative within the Citizen Military Forces. Those changes are not new. They are effective as at July of last year, although their promulgation did not take place until February of this year. The changes do not constitute any major change of policy and certainly do not entail any downgrading of the CMF. The compulsory number of training days has not been altered, although the number of days which a member of the CMF can take at his own volition has been reduced from 53 to 33. Against this, the maximum number of days which a member of the CMF may take should he be interested, and should his training justify, has been increased from 78 to 100.I emphasise that overall there has not been, nor is it intended that there should be, a reduction in the total number of training days or in the financial appropriation available to the CMF. While on this subject might I reply to some Press comments about the role of the CMF. In the first place the CMF is designed to produce backup forces in the case of defence emergency. In the second place it is designed to produce a nucleus of trained nien to enable expansion of the Army to take place in case of general war. I believe that the CMF is playing an effective role in meeting these objectives. But 1 certainly would not want the House to take this answer as a manifestation of any disinclination to believe that there are challenges associated with the Citizen Military Forces. There are challenges, and they are receiving my close attention at the present time.

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