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Tuesday, 9 April 1946

Dr GAHA (Denison) (12:25 PM) .I am glad that the Attorney-General (Dr. Evatt) is not upset about the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies), hut I cannot see that it will serve any useful purpose. In my opinion, it is merely a legal contribution to the measure which will serve no practical purpose. However, if it -will give any stability to the bill and remove from members of the medical and dental professions any fear that they will be conscripted, it can do no harm. There appears to be a good deal of fear as to the effect of this measure, but I cannot imagine any government telling members of the medical or dental professions that they must do this or that. If that were done, what kind of service could be expected from the men affected? .Should it be proposed to place those professions on a national basis, the people concerned will know that the time has arrived for something to be done. Every power proposed to be vested in the Commonwealth already resides in the States, and, therefore, whether or not those powers be transferred makes little difference. I should imagine that the professions would be safer under the wider powers of the Commonwealth than with those powers in the hands of the States, and, therefore, the transferring of powers is not likely to be inimical to members of the medical and dental professions. The present keen demand for the services of medical men and dentists may not always exist; the time may come when men in these professions will ask the Government to take action to assist them.

Mr Menzies - Does ' the honorable member intend to vote against the amendment ?

Dr GAHA - No; but I fail to see what contribution the verbiage of the amendment makes to the bill.

Mr Menzies - It is not my amendment; it is an amendment of the Attorney-General embodied in another bill.

Dr GAHA - Anyway I cannot imagine any government wanting to conscript a professional class. If any government did try to do that it would, he an approach entirely new to me. However, if both legal gentlemen are agreeable, I have no alternative but to accept the situation.

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