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Tuesday, 15 March 1966

Mr HAROLD HOLT - This matter has been receiving the Government's consideration. It would not be free from complications, even if there were a general disposition to provide a voting entitlement, because it would involve the question of extending the right to vote also to other categories of servicemen under the age of 21. There are in the Services volunteers who are considerably under that age. There were precedents, to one of which the honorable gentleman has referred, in the action taken in 1918, I think, in the First World War and in 1943 in the Second World War. Those were wars in which expeditionary forces which were away from this country for several years at a time were involved. Our national servicemen are called up in their 20th year and by the time those of them who are sent overseas are so despatched they are very close to the normal voting age. However, the matter is being studied thoroughly at present and I shall have in mind in that consideration the facts the honorable member has put.

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