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Wednesday, 14 October 1970

Mr PEACOCK (KOOYONG, VICTORIA) (Minister Assisting the Prime Minister) - I have seen articles of the nature referred to by the honourable member. The current basic roles of the Army in Papua and New Guinea are broadly twofold. Firstly there is the need to build an efficient army capable of playing a vital role in the defence of the Territory and secondly we have to provide for the future a well disciplined, stable and reliable indigenous force completely loyal to the Administration or government of Papua and New Guinea. The Army is well aware of the experience of other newly emergent countries which has shown that concentration on purely military training is not sufficient to ensure that the Army's potential for power is not used for undesirable ends. As a consequence, extensive training and education programmes are required. In other words, the Pacific Islands Regiment is not trained in isolation. There is close contact and cooperation with villages, civic aid programmes, the constabulary, the Administration and, more importantly, with members of the House of Assembly who regularly visit units and discuss matters of mutual interest. In short, the Army is cognisant of its duty to ensure as far as possible the potential neutralism referred to by the honourable member.

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