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Tuesday, 14 May 1957

Mr BRYANT (Wills) .- I take it that under this clause country deferments will be effected.


Mr BRYANT - I want to raise an objection to the general principle of the deferment of people from national service because of the distance that they live from a training camp. The fact that one lives more than 5 miles or 50 miles from a training centre, in this day and age, should be irrelevant to the question of whether one goes into a training camp for a period of 14, or 40 or 96 days. The bill provides that deferments may be made where the Minister considers it desirable or necessary to do so in the public interest. I suggest that it is in the public interest to include all eligible people in the ballot. I consider that people should not be exempted from service because they live in the country. To do so would be grossly unfair to people who live in the cities. The following statement has been made by the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Harold Holt) concerning the number of deferments from training that were granted last year: -

However, it can be said that at the end of the period referred to 26,053 deferments were current. Of these, 1,054 were in respect of rural workers engaged full time in the production of food or raw materials, 22,194 were registrants residing too far from training centres to be trained.

That is nonsense. Nobody is too far from a training centre to be trained. No place in Australia is too far from Puckapunyal or wherever the people concerned would be trained. This proposal is grossly unfair, and I believe that the provision should not be allowed to remain in the bill.

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