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Wednesday, 30 June 1915

Dr MALONEY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) asked the Assistant Minister, representing the Minister of Defence, upon notice -

Whether the Minister will request the Cabinet to give consideration to the formation of a regiment or legion of "the unredeemed," consisting of young men who have served, or are serving, sentences for offences other than serious crimes, so that they can be given a chance to " make good," and thus earn the respect of their fellow citizens?

Mr JENSEN - The answer to the honorable member's question is -

It is not considered desirable that a regiment of "the unredeemed" should be formed. No obstacle is placed in the way of a man enlisting as a member of the Australian Imperial Forces who has been convicted by the civil power, except for the most serious offences, who has expiated his offence and has since been of good character. On enlistment such men take their places as ordinary members of the Australian Imperial Forces, and the fact of their having been convicted would not be generally known. It is considered preferable to give such men the chance of retrieving their character in this way rather than by the formation of a corps of " the unredeemed." It is considered probable that few men would wish to join such a corps if they could give their services in an ordinary unit, as a corps bearing the name of " the unredeemed " would, no doubt, be an object of probably unwarranted suspicion, and the members thereof would, perhaps, be subject to undeserved indignities which would not attach to them as ordinary members of the Australian Imperial Forces.

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