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Wednesday, 30 March 1966

Mr HAROLD HOLT - The only part of the honorable gentleman's question that I feel capable of commenting on with any authority at the moment is that aspect of it in which he talked about the Government forcing young men at a certain age to serve in the military forces of this country. I point out that the action that the Government is taking is taken under legislation which has been passed by this National Parliament.

Mr Calwell - But should not have been passed.

Mr HAROLD HOLT - The honorable gentleman who leads the Opposition has made widely known his own opposition to this measure and to this action. His attitude has been consistent with the line that he has taken from about the First World War onwards. It is certainly consistent with the attitude that he took in relation to his own leader in the course of the last war. But this Parliament - the Government's action follows the decision of the Parliament, which represents the democratic will of the Australian democracy - has given the necessary powers under legislation for the Government to act to provide an adequate military support for the defence and security policies of this country. We, in an earnest exercise of that responsibility, are pursuing in relation to national servicemen the policy which has been previously announced and discussed in this House in considerable detail. I shall study the question and. if there is any matter raised in it which calls for a specific answer, I shall see whether the answer can be supplied.

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