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Thursday, 9 December 1971
Page: 4592

Mr Uren asked the Minister for Labour and National Service, upon notice:

(1)   Are Charles Martin and Geoff Mullens at present in gaol for refusing to comply wilh the National Service Act.

(2)   Have summonses been served on conscription resisters Paul Fox, Ian Turner, Tony Dalton, Michael Hamel Green, Karl Armstrong and Laurie Carmichael from Victoria, Peter Hornby, Jerrimy Gilling and Mike Matteson from New South Wales, Robert Hall from South Australia, Gary Cook from Western Australia and Steve Padghan from the Australian Capital Territory for refusing to obey call-up notices.

(3)   If so, is it possible that within a few months there could be 14 young men held as political prisoners in Australian prisons because of their moral stand against conscription.

Mr Lynch - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   Charles Martin, who was convicted of failing to report for service with the Military Forces and sentenced to imprisonment, was released on 8th October, the day that the National Service Act, 1971 received the Royal assent.

Geoffrey Mullen, convicted and sentenced foi the same offence, is serving out his period of sentence.

(2)   The cases of the men named are at various stages. Gary Cook, convicted and sentenced on 27lh August, 1971 for failure to report for national service, is in gaol.

Laurence Carmichael and Jeremy Gilling applied for and were granted, by a court, total exemption from the liability to render service as conscientious objectors to any form of military service.

Action is proceeding in the other cases. Five of the mcn having failed to answer summonses to appear in court in respect of their failure to report for service are now the subjects of warrants of apprehension issued by the courts. One is awaiting determination by a court of his conscientious objector status.

(3)   The 14 men mentioned by the honourable member breached the law of the land. However, as evident from (2) above, some men of their own accord end their non-compliance and no question of their imprisonment then arises.

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