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Wednesday, 7 December 1960

Mr Bryant t asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -

1.   What restrictions are placed upon members of the Defence Forces in regard to participation in political activities?

2.   Is it permissible for a member of the Forces to join a political party, and is he permitted to work for the party or an associate provided he is not in uniform?

3.   Is it permissible for a member of the Forces to approach a member of Parliament directly?

4.   What facilities are afforded personnel in defence establishments to hear candidates for elections?

5.   What acts, regulations or service orders define the position in each case?

Mr Townley - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - 1 and 2. Under the provisions of the Services' regulations and orders no member of the Permanent Forces is permitted to take any active part in the affairs of any political organization or party by speaking in public, publishing or distributing literature in furtherance of the political party or in any other manner. The political activities of members of the Citizen Forces are not restricted except to the extent that a member may not use his military rank in the course of his participation in such activities unless he is a member of any Parliament or municipal or local government council or is a candidate for such membership.

3.   There is nothing to prevent any member of the services from approaching a member of Parliament directly on non-service matters. In the case of service matters the regulations and orders applicable to them provide for the use of service channels.

4.   Under the services' regulations political meetings are not permitted in service establishments. However, service personnel who are not on duty are not precluded from attending any public meeting and the normal press, television and radio facilities which are available to the public are also available to service personnel.

5.   The following service regulations and orders define the position: -

Navy. - Regulations and Instructions of the R.A.N.- Article 2501, and Naval Forces Regulation 123.

Army. - Australian Military Regulations 210 and 210a and paragraph 293 (1) of Australian Military Regulations and Orders -

Air Force. - Air Force Orders 12/ A/' 16 and 12/ A/26.

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