By Graham Hampton.
The Regiment was a buzz, Sergeants, Bombardiers
and Lance Bombardiers were running around
everywhere within the confines of 8th/12th
Medium Regiment at Holsworthy yelling MUSTA
PARADE Immediately! MUSTA PARADE Immediately!
It was about 10:30
am on one morning in November 1975 these words
were being yelled by anyone with rank to report
to your respective Battery parade grounds for a
Musta Parade. Having only been in
the Army for just over a year now I hurried
along with everyone else and lined up in 3 ranks
for what was thought to be a usual
Administration Parade at which we would be
informed of something important from the
Commanding Officer or Regimental Sergeant Major.
We all steadied
ourselves, "Battery Right Dress" yelled
Bombardier Josh McCabe and we all performed the
drill to perfection. The Parade was
then handed over to the Battery Sergeant Major
who called the roll to ensure 100% attendance.
Following this the Battery Sergeant Major handed
the Parade over to the Battery Captain who (for
the purposes of giving him something to do
within the chain of command) called "Attention -
Stand at Ease" then turned and handed the Parade
over to the Battery Commander.
everything was normal a whole lot of formalities
for what was thought to be an announcement of
some type, obviously with some importance given
the hurry up and wait routine.
Battery Commander said, I am here to inform you
that the Liberal Opposition Party has denied the
ruling Labour Government passage of the Finance
Bill for the final time and therefore the
Government of the day is without funding (or
words carefully scripted from Army Office to
this effect). My immediate thoughts
were God Almighty the country is broke!
Commander then went on to advise everyone that
in the most dire of circumstances the Defence
Force (including me Gunner Hampton) would not be
paid for a period of 3 months until such time as
there was a General Election and the new
Government passed the Finance Bill.
In addition to this you are informed that the
Department of Defence will continue to provide
food, bedding, electricity and water for all
living personnel. In addition to
this we were informed that all married personnel
would be attending the various messes with their
families to be fed for the duration (well there
goes a good mess atmosphere I thought).
All living out personnel be they married or
single will not have their electricity cut off
nor will they have their cars, boats, furniture,
My along with many
other living in personnel, first thought was how
on earth am I going to get my remaining $23.70
to last me in cigarettes, alcohol and taxis for
the next 3 months. Our second
thought was how are we going to cope with the
wives and children of those married soldiers
invading our mess and rationing our food to
cover their consumption as well.
Many of us had the final thought of going home
and quitting, after all no pay no work or so we
thought until we were advised with crystal clear
clarity that this was not grounds for discharge
and any such thoughts should be removed from our
Anyway to cut a
long story short as you are aware we all seen
the news clips of Gough Whitlam standing on the
steps of Parliament House - "Long may we say God
Save the Queen for Nothing Will Save the
Governor General". The Labour
Government became our first ever government to
be removed by a Governor General and the
caretaker government the Liberal Party under
Malcolm Fraser were overwhelmingly elected to
replace the Labour Government. Well
anyway that is where I was and how I remembered
it. That one day, that one parade
and one moment in history has remained in my
mind as an anchor point in time.