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Wednesday, 12 April 1972
Page: 994


The PRESIDENT - 1 call Senator O'Byrne, the Opposition Whip.

Senator O'BYRNE (TASMANIA) - I thank you Mr worthy President. My question is directed to the Minister for Air. He will remember that I raised a matter relating to the practices at the Royal Australian Air Force Radio Apprentices School at Laverton. He advised the Senate that there had been a court martial which imposed penalties on several second-year apprentices. To clear up the matter I ask the Minister: What measures have been taken to prevent a repetition of such practices? Did the RAAF Command promulgate instructions to all training and other establishments re-stating that severe disciplinary action would be taken in respect of any such conduct in the RAAF? What other measures have been taken to improve the standard of living-in apprentices at the Laverton school? Will the Minister agree that Aircraftsman Apprentice Jacob was justified in objecting to the conduct of the secondyear apprentices at the Laverton school and bringing about this obviously necessary shake-up in supervision of standards of conduct?

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN - When the honourable senator asked me in my office one day what action I had taken I gave him a full list of the action the Royal Australian Air Force had taken, including the repromulgating of these orders throughout all appropriate RAAF units, taking action as suggested by the court of inquiry to ensure tighter discipline during the leisure hours of the apprentices by seeing that more non-commissioned officers and officers are on duty during these hours. I can obtain further information and give it to the honourable senator if he so wishes. As to whether Jacob was right in doing what he did, I believe that every airman should have the opportunity of bringing an injustice before the notice of the authorities. But there are certain procedures for doing this and one of them is not running to the Press.

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