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Thursday, 29 November 1973
Page: 4073

Mr JARMAN (DEAKIN, VICTORIA) - My question is addressed to the Minister for Defence. Is it a fact that 25 cadets and midshipmen in the Royal Australian Navy had their appointments terminated on 28 September this year? Is it true that in 10 years time, when, as the Minister has stated, a threat to Australia's security could well be imminent, these cadets would have been executive officers in the naval forces but for the termination of their appointments? Is it also correct that the Navy has been instructer.1 that its establishment is to be reduced this year by 80 officers and 1,180 men? Where and when is this dismantling of Australia's defences going to end? Is the Minister aware of the low morale that the actions of this Government have created in the defence forces in general and the Navy in particular?

Mr BARNARD (BASS, TASMANIA) (Minister for Defence) - Replying first to the last part of the question, let me once again assure the honourable member, who has suggested that there has been a lowering of morale as a result of the actions of the present Government, that more has been don? by the present Government in terms of defence and improving the conditions of serving members of the forces in the last .1 1 months than was done in the 23 years of office of the previous Government. (Honourable members interjecting) -

Mr SPEAKER -Order! I have issued my last warning. I will name anyone who persistently interjects.

Mr BARNARD - Having answered that part of the question, let me come to the first part of it. The honourable member referred to a number of cadets apparently, according to his information, being discharged from the Services. I have no information on this; I have no information on the numbers. Therefore, in relation to this matter and the total figure that the honourable member has suggested will be discharged from the Services this year, I suggest that he put this question on the notice paper.

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