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Thursday, 22 November 1973
Page: 2037

Senator DAVIDSON (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for Defence. I refer to an announcement of the withdrawal of assistance to community organisations such as the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides. Is it not a fact that in February this year it was announced in the Governor-General's Speech that the Government proposed to give effect to what it called the clear 'desire of the youthful majority for a more tolerant, more open and more humane society'? Is it also a fact that last week the Minister for Tourism and Recreation allocated an amount of $3m for recreational purposes? What are the reasons for this withdrawal of considerable assistance to youth groups and community organisations which are contributing so much to Australia's quality of life?

Senator BISHOP -The position of the defence vote was such that it entailed some rethinking and some savings. On the advice of the defence advisers, the Government decided that certain savings could be made in the allocations of services and equipment for the organisations to which the honourable senator refers. It has been decided that in future some economies will have to be made in that regard for the main purpose of making sure that the support side of the Services is reduced in order to achieve more effective tactical Services. That is consistent with the general planning of the defence vote. As against that, the honourable senator will know that to some extent the Services, in the months since the Labor Government took office, have become more involved in community affairs and probably have incurred expenditure amounting to more than the savings on the other side. There is an intention by the Government that this participation of the Services be extended as far as possible; but on the other hand, for the reasons which have been explained in this place and by the Minister for Defence, some savings have had to be made in respect of the huge amounts which have been spent on the Services generally. As a result, the economies that have taken place will affect the Girl Guides and the Boy Scouts; but it is hoped to review the matter next year.

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