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Tuesday, 14 May 1957

Mr BRYANT (Wills) .- This clause lays down the penalty which may be imposed on persons who fail to render service. The penalty is that such a person may be taken into the custody of a prescribed authority specified by the court and in addition be liable to a fine of £50. Once the principle of universality is abandoned the right to take people into custody or to fine them or to force them into national service training or any other service, is abandoned also. I believe that this clause is indefensible and ought to be thrown out. Under its provisions, it will be possible for some people to take trainees into custody and deliver them into the custody of a prescribed authority. They can be then taken into what is now called a corrective training establishment. They will be made to hate the Army and so will their families, and that attitude will spread to the whole of the training scheme.

I repeat that once the principle of universality is abandoned, the right to impose penalties of this nature is abandoned also. The only hope of building up the defence service is to adopt a voluntary basis. If it is necessary to provide punitive clauses in order to build up an army to strength, that fact alone demonstrates the complete failure of this system. This clause should be rejected root and branch. It should be thrown out, lock, stock and barrel.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 24 (Persons to furnish information).

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