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Thursday, 22 November 1973
Page: 3679

Mr MacKELLAR (WARRINGAH, NEW SOUTH WALES) - My question is directed to the Minister for Defence. Is it a fact that the statement as originally prepared for the Minister and presented to this House on 20 November 1973 contained 16 pages? Is it also a fact that the report as presented to the Parliament contained only 15 pages and the information on the deleted page was not included in the report to the Parliament? Did this information list the large number of resignations of military personnel of senior commissioned rank? Will he now make this information available?

Mr BARNARD (BASS, TASMANIA) (Minister for Defence) - The answer to the honourable member's question is no. The statement that was prepared and delivered by me in the House of Representatives on 22 October was the complete statement. No alteration was made to that statement.

Mr MacKELLAR - 20 November.

Mr Whittorn - This week.

Mr BARNARD - This week, I am sorry. No alterations were made to that statement. It arose out of an assurance I gave to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition and one other honourable member who had asked for information concerning the decisions that were initially made in relation to some changes in the defence program. I indicated at the time that I would be happy to make available this information to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition at the first opportunity. Naturally, some decisions have still to be made, but they are not new decisions in the terms of the decision that was taken at the time of the Budget by the Government to effect some alterations in defence expenditure. As soon as the statement was available it was tabled in this House. The honourable member referred also to the question of resignations. Information on resignations was not deleted from that statement. As I said initially, the statement was presented to the House in its entirety. It did not deal with resignations. I give an assurance to the honourable member that a full statement on resignations will be compiled, as I think I indicated on a previous occasion to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. But honourable members will appreciate that it is not an easy matter to compile figures on this matter immediately. As soon as they are compiled I shall make them available to the honourable member.

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