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Wednesday, 20 September 1972
Page: 1622

Mr COPE (SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I ask the Minister for Defence whether he is aware that a very large proportion of applicants for service in the armed forces are rejected because of failure to meet the educational standard required. Will the Minister consider lowering the standard of the education test? I am informed of one case in which a chap volunteered, failed the education test, then joined the Country Party and later became a member of Parliament.

Mr FAIRBAIRN (FARRER, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Defence) - I think Parliament is the one institution for which one does not have to have any qualification except the qualification of getting SO per cent of the voters to vote for you. The Services do not desire to lower the educational standard for recruitment because they have found that when they have accepted people below a certain educational standard it has been much more difficult to train them. After all, the Services today are becoming more and more technical so they have to insist on a minimum standard. Once people get into the Services they are given a considerable amount of additional education and this helps to bring them up to the required standard. I am sure that the Services would be completely opposed to any further reduction in the standard of education.

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