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Tuesday, 14 May 1957

Mr J R FRASER . - I should like to say that if the Government feels that compulsory training is necessary, then compulsory training should be universal. I remind the House that the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Holt) has indicated that the Government does consider a compulsory form of military training necessary. I support the arguments advanced on this side of the House in relation to the deferment or exemption of men registered for training. I say " exemption ", because it does amount to exemption of some country youths from this form of training. Naturally, I oppose the whole scheme of training as it stands. I am opposed to compulsory training as such, and I oppose the proposed scheme because it falls to the ground as it does not apply evenly to all people in the community.

I think that members of the Australian Country party who have spoken in this debate have shown how far they have left farming behind them when they come into this chamber and try to sell us the old, old picture of the farmer following the plough, or following the cow, or working among the sheep from daylight to dark seven days a week. It is utter rot for any honorable member to talk that way. Australian Country party members know full well that that is not the true picture of activities on farms and stations in this country; because one can go to any country town, at any hour of the day, walk down the main street, and see the farmers there, with the landrovers parked against the kerb and their Jaguars parked outside the hotel or the club.

Mr Turnbull - Why do you hate them?

Mr J R FRASER - I do not hate them, I love them. They do have periods of intense activity whether they are growing a root crop, a fodder crop, or raising cattle or sheep; but they are not working seven days a week, every hour of the day from sun-up to sun-down. That stale picture should not be put before this Parliament. I believe that the men of the country areas are just as eager to serve as anybody else in this nation, and that if the Government believes in a compulsory form of military training it is falling down in not providing, or seeking to provide, training centres to which the country youth can come forward and give the service that is required of them under this scheme. I object to the provision in the clause. I object, of course, to the system of compulsory training. As I have said before, I believe that if the Government were to go to the people and give them its confidence, tell them honestly what the threat against this country is, and tell the youth of the country what dangers this nation may face in the event of atomic warfare, there would be no lack of recruits coming forward in a voluntary scheme, because the youth of this country has always come forward in our hour of need. I suggest again that you cannot build a volunteer expeditionary force on a compulsory training scheme.

Mr Turnbull - I wish to make a personal explanation. As I was the only member who referred to the subject of the work of the man on the land as mentioned by the honorable member for the Australian Capital Territory, I wish to say-

Mr Ward - How has the honorable member been misrepresented?

The CHAIRMAN - Order! Does the honorable member claim to have been misrepresented?

Mr Turnbull - Yes; I did not say that the man on the land worked seven days a week every hour of the day. I said that he did not have the advantage of a 40-hour week, as the metropolitan worker does; I said that he works much longer hours.

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