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Tuesday, 14 May 1957

Sir WILFRED KENT HUGHES (Chisholm) . -I thank the Minister for having given this matter consideration, and for having submitted an amendment repairing an omission in the original bill; butI cannot yet say that I feel very happy with the drafting of section 31 as a whole. The section deals with deferment of service for certain classes of persons determined by the Minister - whereas section 29 defines other classes by legislation, such as persons suffering from physical disability, theological students, insane persons and persons having a conscientious belief.I see that a consicentious belief is regarded as a conscientious belief whether the ground of the belief is or is not ground of a religious character, I do not know what that means, but persons in the classes in section 29 are exempt.

The section, as a whole, gives the Minister the right to determine what classes of people will be exempt. Here again we come up against the question of how the individuals in these classes are to be selected. I would like to have seen provision for the ballot made in the bill. These classes would, 1 presume, be regarded in war-time as reserved occupations. I do not know whether it is provided for in the Acts Interpretation Act, but I feel that if new classes are decided upon, the relevant regulations should be posted to every honorable member within fourteen days of gazettal. A very important principle is involved. Many regulations are not received by honorable members at all unless they are asked for. For that reason, I suggest that regulations setting up new classes should be circulated to honorable members within fourteen days. I have not had time to check on the Acts Interpretation Act, but I do not think that regulations are posted, necessarily, to every member of Parliament within fourteen days. Perhaps they should not be posted in minor cases, but in dealing with cases of this nature I think that the posting of regulations should be established as a principle.

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