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Wednesday, 16 March 1966

Mr HAROLD HOLT - The legislation passed by the Parliament gave the Government the right to induct aliens into military service. In the case of British migrants no problem arises and they become liable for national service registration, but with alien migrants the problem is complicated by existing international arrangements or understandings between Australia and other countries.

Mr Calwell - What is that about " understandings "? What legal effect have they?

Mr HAROLD HOLT - I think the honorable gentleman is experienced enough to know that where a protocol arrangement or an understanding in the international sense exists, there are advantages which run both ways. For example, Australians who are in residence in other parts of the world are not, as a result of these arrangements, liable to call up in the armed services of the country in which they are residing.

Mr Calwell - Naturalised Australians are.

Mr HAROLD HOLT - Abroad?

Mr Calwell - Yes; for example, in Italy and Greece.

Mr HAROLD HOLT - Does the honorable gentleman mean when they were originally citizens of one of those countries?

Mr Calwell - If they were born there and have been naturalised here.

Mr HAROLD HOLT - All that the honorable gentleman is proving is that this is a matter of some complexity. I have stated some of the difficulties, not to declare the problem insuperable but to indicate that it is a matter which has required the careful study of our own Department of External Affairs and the Department of Labour and National Service which administers the national service scheme. This consideration is proceeding and, following that, there will be Government consideration from which a decision can be reported.

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