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Tuesday, 2 June 1970

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:

How many young men have (a) failed to register under the National Service Act, (b) been prosecuted for failing to register, (c) been (i) fined and (ii) gaoled for refusing to register and (d) refused to pay a fine imposed.

Mr Snedden - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: (a), (b) and' (c) Section 48(1) of thc National Service Act provides that 'A person who, being required to register under this Act -

(a)   fails to register; or

(b)   while the liability continues, remains unregistered under this Act, is guilty of an offence punishable, upon conviction by a fine of not less than Forty dollars or more than Two hundred dollars'. The great majority of persons who fail to register at the required time subsequently register either voluntarily or when requested to do so by the Department. Persons who are liable to register and fail 16 do so al the required time render themselves liable to prosecution and to bc called tip for service regardless of the result of the ballot conducted for their age-group.

All cases of apparent default are investigated lo determine the person's liability to register and whether a prima facie case which warrants prosecution exists: if so, proceedings ure initiated.

At the 31st March 1970, 929 persons hail been prosecuted for failure lo register. 916 were convicted', 13 cases were dismissed and fines were imposed in 842 cases. As indicated above, under the National Service Aci imprisonment is not a penally for failure to register.

(d)   Collection of fines imposed is dependent on the order of the court in each case and the normal recovery process. I am advised that some persons have refused to pay the fines imposed. In some cases the fines have been paid subsequently by them or on their behalf. There have also been some instances where persons have been imprisoned for failure to pay fines.

Australian Capital Territory By-election (Question No. 911)

Mr Hughes (BEROWRA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Attorney-General) - 1 refer to the answer given to this question and printed in Hansard for 5th May 1970 at page 1646. The inquiries that I caused to be made in this matter have elicited the following information: la) Mr Hermes was appointed a Stipendiary Magistrate for the Australian Capital Territory on 6th December 1963.

(n)   Such examination of the records of the Court of Petty Sessions and in the Deputy Crown Solicitor's Office. Canberra as it has been practicable lo make discloses only seven National Service Act cases in the Court of Petty Sessions between 1964 and .1968. None was dealt wilh by Hermes. S.M. During 1969 and 1970 the records show 16 cases under the National Service Act in the Court of Petty Sessions. Only one was a prosecution and that was not dealt with by Mr Hermes. The other cases were either hardship applications or conscientious objection applications. Three hardship applications were listed before Hermes, S.M. One was struck out and the other two were allowed. One conscientious objection application was heard by Mr Hermes who refused the application; the application was allowed on appeal to the Supreme Court.

(c)   The Clerk of Petty Sessions, Canberra, confirms that it would not be practicable to identify cases heard by Mr Hermes involving Vietnam protests.

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