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Thursday, 20 June 1946

Mr FORDE (CAPRICORNIA, QUEENSLAND) (Minister for the Army) - I said yesterday that the Adjutant-General had issued instructions that those members of the forces who had been declared absentees before the 1st day of January, 1946, were to be discharged under the conditions stated;' namely, that they would lose all their rights as returned soldiers. Furthermore, their discharge, certificates would be endorsed to the effect that they had been discharged in absentia because of illegal absence. Shortly after the cessation' of hesti lities it was announced that deserters al ready undergoing detention would receive certain remissions of sentence. Later, it was decided that their sentences would be reduced by one-third, subject to good behaviour. The Government is at present considering the number of those detained in camps and the number of those engaged in looking after them - which, some time ago, was about 600.

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