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Tuesday, 19 April 1966

Mr HAROLD HOLT - What the honorable gentleman opposite consistently refuses to acknowledge is that the system of national service relates to Australia's Regular Army as a whole and, not to any particular theatre of operations or to any particular activities going on there. The national service scheme is designed to form part of the Regular Army establishment of this country, so that Australian troops can be made available where required, as determined by the Government upon 'he advice, primarily, of its Service advisers. As to the conscription of wealth and the regimentation of the community in a situation of total war, as we have known it in the past, that, of course, is not the situation today. We are in South Vietnam in a very limited capacity, for purposes which have been clearly staged. lt would be the height of absurdity to convert the whole of Australia - to which so many of these young men will return after a twelve months tour of duty in South Vietnam, expecting to resume their normal occupations or community life - into an armed camp in order, apparently, to satisfy some emotional hysteria on the part of honorable gentlemen opposite. This Government will deal with the problems of the country in a responsible and practical way. 7t will be guided by good sense, not by the hysterical emotion which seems to have taken control of honorable gentlemen opposite.

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