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Wednesday, 23 May 1973
Page: 2567

Mr Garland asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice:

(1)   Of the national servicemen in service on 4 December 1972, how many had (a) been discharged and (b) opted to remain in the Army and serve out their term by 31 January 1973.

(2)   Does he expect all existing national servicemen to serve their full remaining time.

(3)   When will the last national serviceman's time expire.

(4)   Were national servicemen at any base actively encouraged to leave on the grounds that there was no work for them to do.

Mr Barnard - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   As at 31 January 1973, of the 11,809 national servicemen who were serving on 4 December 1972:

(a)   5,377 had been discharged.

(b)   3,125 had either made an election to continue their service until the expiry of 18 months or had elected to continue their service as Australian Regular Army soldiers.

Note- The balance are accounted for as follows: 2,135 had not made an election. 1,172 had elected to be discharged but had not, at that time, been processed.

(2)   It is expected that most of the national servicemen who have elected continued service will complete their initial engagement. In addition it is assumed that the majority of those who have not made a formal election and who are still serving will also complete their initial engagement.

(3)   The last national service intake group is scheduled for discharge on 28 March 1974. However, a few personnel who have had non-effective service might elect to complete their 18 months in order to become eligible for War Service Homes and Repatriation benefits.

(4)   National servicemen were given the facts regarding additional benefits which would be available to those who elected to complete their service. They were completely free to make their own choice and there are no known instances of national servicemen having been actively encouraged to leave the service.

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