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Thursday, 31 March 1966

Mr BURY (WENTWORTH, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Labour and National Service) - There is no doubt from the evidence which we already have that this is part of a concerted campaign. It is run on somewhat parallel lines to a similar campaign in the United States and there is very little doubt that there is an intimate and close hookup between those organising it there and those doing so here. First, I should like to say that one should treat this matter in perspective. The numbers who have been involved so far in card burning have been extremely small. Perhaps a d i Te r.ent impression is given because one of the essential features of these demonstrations has been that Press and television representatives, photographers and others, are lined up to come along to take pictures and report the demonstrations. This is, of course, a tactic of the campaign being waged, and it is being carried out very skilfully.

We have found that some of those participating are medically unfit. They include one gentleman who is, I think, the person who the honorable member has in mind. A number of others who have been involved in alleged card burning have burnt other bits of paper. The offence lies in not being able to produce a registration certificate. As far as call-up notices are concerned, the offence lies in not appearing at the time and place designated. What the person does with a bit of paper is his business. However, we have a number of cases of card burning under investigation and a number of prosecutions are in train. This matter, of course, raises a number of issues apart from the non-production of cards, including, for example, the inciting of others to break the law of the land and whether those who fail to produce their registration certificates when required to do so should continue to enjoy deferment.

Mr Aston - They are working at this full time.

Mr BURY - There are undoubtedly people employing their full time in organising these particular activities. One should take seriously the remark made recently by the Minister for Defence in this connection. Wc are engaged in serious political warfare of a very complicated character and have the enemy conducting it in our midst.

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