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Tuesday, 19 April 1966

Mr Malcolm Fraser (WANNON, VICTORIA) - It is a standing part of the policy of the United States of America to use national servicemen where it is believed that the general interest of the Western World - and of maintaining, if possible, an uneasy peace in the world - can be best advantaged by doing so. In Korea 1,800,000 of the 2,500,000 United States servicemen who served in that area were, in fact, United States draftees. In Vietnam at the present time more than 30 per cent, of all the United States forces are United States national servicemen. It is not possible to indicate to what extent the figure would exceed 30 per cent., for the simple reason that many United States national servicemen move over to a longer engagement after some period in the services and then the fact that they were originally drafted to the American services is lost in the records. But the figure would be substantially more than one third.

The honorable member for Bradfield referred to remarks by the Leader of the Opposition, in which he said that ail Australian national servicemen would be withdrawn from Vietnam immediately if a Labour government were returned to office. I think it only needs saying to show that this would involve a betrayal of the volunteers who are serving in the area for the defence of Australia and would leave them without the support that is required from Australia - from this Government and from this people, lt would also involve a complete repudiation of the joint planning with the United States of America and the United Kingdom in the South East' Asia and Malaysia region. This would gravely weaken whatever defensive arrangements we may have with them and would leave Australia without the forces necessary for our own security.

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