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Thursday, 26 March 1942

Senator AYLETT (Tasmania) . - I bring to the notice of the Minister representing the Minister for the Army the necessity for an extension of the seven days'notice now given to persons who are called up for military service. Very few of those who are working in essential war industries in Tasmania are aware of the exact nature of the regulations on this matter, despite the notices that have been issued through the daily press. Persons called up. in the State never receive more than seven days' notice. Some of them live in remote parts of the State and even those residing in country towns are not familiar with the procedure that has to bo adopted in order to obtain exemption from military training on the ground that they are engaged in essential industries. By the time they make application to the Deputy Director of Man-power in Tasmania, or to me, who happen to be the representative in that State of the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. Ward), and necessary inquiries are made to ascertain whether their statements are correct, it is often too late for them to obtain exemption. They are called into camp and the matter is then out of the hands of the Deputy Director of Man-power.

I ask that the period of notice be slightly increased to enable those who are engaged in industries essential to the successful prosecution of the war to have sufficient time to make their applications and to enable them to be cheeked. This request is made, particularly, in the interests of farmers. I have known cases in which the only man on the farm hasbeen called up in the middle of harvesting operations. Australia will be short of its requirements of potatoes this year by many thousands of acres, yet one farmer who had planted 15 or 20 acres of potatoes andturnips has been called into camp because the notice given to him was insufficient. It is necessary practically to go on one's knees to the commanding officers to get such men out of camp to enable them to attend to the production of essential commodities. I ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Army to reconsider the reply given to me to-day regarding this matter. I suggest that, except in very urgent circumstances, the seven days' notice should be somewhat increased.

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