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Tuesday, 2 June 1942

Mr FORDE (Capricornia) (Minister for the Army) (12:32 PM) . - in reply - The honorable member for Forrest (Mr. Prowse) has referred to man-power in country districts, and has related how aliens are permitted to work in certain portions of Western Australia, whilst Australian farmers and their sons are called up for military service. I remind him that it was the present Government which took definite steps to compel friendly, refugee, and enemy aliens to play their part in some service, in order to terminate the favoured position that they occupied in comparison with Australian citizens. It was decided that a fortnight would be allowed to friendly and refugee aliens to enlist in one of the services. Those who did not enlist within that period were called up and were allotted to labour corps. Enemy aliens were drafted into labour units, and were used in non-combatant work. Of course, there are enemy aliens who are above the age at which they would be of service in such units. Similar age categories apply in respect of the call-ups of friendly, refugee, and enemy aliens, as apply in respect of Australians. In one district, 1,800 enemy aliens were drafted into labour units and were compelled to work on roads, approaches to aerodromes, and the like.

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