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Tuesday, 14 May 1957

Mr MAKIN (Bonython) . - The Minister for the Army (Mr. Cramer) has set up an aunt sally for the purpose of knocking it down again. He has not properly answered the case that has been presented by my colleagues to-night. I rise to voice the strongest possible protest against the proposed ballot system, which 1 believe to be both inequitable and ineffective for the defence of this country. The Minister's accusation that my colleagues do not wish to see a system of military training in operation in Australia is totally false, as the Minister well knows. We merely object to the selection of men by a form of lottery. As I have already said, I do not consider this to be a scientific method of selection. Many young men who would be willing to serve may not have been born on the dates that are drawn in the ballot.

Mr Cramer - They can still serve.

Mr MAKIN - I realize that, but they may not be able to undertake service at the time when the ballot is taken. A young man may represent a substantial part of the breadwinning capacity in his family, and it may be hard for lads from working-class areas to give up their employment immediately in return for the inadequate recompense that the Army provides. The lottery system is quite new to our traditional conception of universal service, and is out of keeping with the general spirit of the Australian community. The people feel that in peace-time voluntary service should meet the needs of our defence system, and that the form of compulsion envisaged in the bill will not provide a satisfactory basis for training. The system contains inequities, and I strongly object to Australia's manhood being subjected to national service by lottery.

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