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Wednesday, 23 March 1966

Mr BURY (WENTWORTH, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Labour and National Service) - Following registration, and usually about a month afterwards, a ballot is held which is designed to produce the number of persons required for call-up purposes. The first step is to work out the number of birth dates that need to be drawn in order to produce finally the required number of men, after allowing for the number of those exempt, deferred, medically unfit and so on. This can now be determined with reasonable accuracy. A marble is provided for each day in the six months period that is covered by the ballot. The marbles are withdrawn at random until the required number has been reached. Then the persons whose birthdays coincide with the dates of the marbles drawn are notified that they remain liable for consideration for national service, while the others are notified that their call up has been indefinitely deferred. There are a number of exempt categories, such as those with physical and mental troubles and disturbances, ministers of religion, theological students and full time members of certain holy orders. The cards of those balloted in are examined and some are granted deferment. Apprentices and students, for instance, are allowed deferment until their courses have been completed or while they continue to make satisfactory progress. Some are granted deferment on grounds of exceptional hardship if they can substantiate such claims before a court of summary jurisdiction. Then there are one or two other very minor categories of exemptions and deferments.

Mr Beaton - Why not make a statement on it later?

Mr BURY - Subsequently those who are still left in, or those whose deferments following previous ballots have come to an end, are called up for medical examination. If they are found to be fit they are notified accordingly and in due course they are told to report to the Army. But in order that the matter may be stated exactly I think it would be preferable if I issued a written statement.

Mr Beaton - Why did the Minister not say so in the first place?

Mr BURY - If the honorable member is interested I will supply him or any other interested member with a detailed statement so that it can be made clear, as it should be made to the whole of the Australian people, that this is an entirely fair process designed to meet Australia's international obligations.

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