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Wednesday, 13 September 1972
Page: 741

Senator McMANUS (VICTORIA) - I ask of the Minister representing the Minister for the Army a question which refers to the recent statement by Lieutenant-General Sir Thomas Daly, the former Chief of the General Staff, that abolition of national service, as proposed by the Australian Labor Party, would reduce the Army's strength from 40,000 to 20,000 and the number of infantry battalions from nine to live, and would cause 4,000 officers and non-commissioned officers to be redundant and therefore left without jobs. In the opinion of the Minister, what would be the effect of such drastic action to reduce the size of the Australian Army and to deprive 4,000 highly trained officers and non-commissioned officers of their jobs?

The PRESIDENT - Involved in that question was an invitation to the Minister who represents another Minister to give an opinion. I do not think a Minister representing a Minister in another place should be asked to give an opinion. He can only be asked to answer a question about facts or about matters within his judgment.

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN - Mr President,I agree with you in a certain respect. The honourable senator has asked me about something which I believe is a policy matter. I think that the Minister for the Army rather than his representative in this place should answer the question. I will contact the Minister immediately to get an answer for the honourable senator. My reaction would be that I believe it would be a drastic step if 4,000 men immediately lost their jobs, as the honourable senator said.

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