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Wednesday, 1 November 1967

Mr Crean asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice:

1.   What specific medical conditions have to be satisfied for induction into the Army?

2.   What other conditions have to be satisfied for induction into the Army?

3.   Does the Government meet the full funeral expense of troops killed overseas?

4.   Is a national serviceman permitted to retain any contact with political parties or peace movements?

5.   What contact is a national serviceman permitted to have with Members of Parliament?

6.   To what extent can a national serviceman comment on political matters in public?

Mr Malcolm Fraser (WANNON, VICTORIA) - The answers to the honourable member's questions are as follows:

1.   Every man must be medically fit for all service duties in any geographical location. Determination of fitness involves consideration of medical history. X-ray examination of chest and a comprehensive medical examination for which detailed procedures are prescribed.

2.   Other necessary requirements concern age (which must be within prescribed minimum and maximum limits), psychological and educational standards and satisfactory character. In the case of minors who volunteer for service, the consent of a parent or guardian is required. Ordinarily, applicants must be resident in Australia.

3.   Yes. However, where the next of kin decides to make private arrangements they may be reimbursed up to $120.00. 4 and 6. The position is governed by Australian Military Regulation 210a which prescribes that:

An officer or soldier of the Permanent Forces, other than the Regular Army Reserve, shall not take any active part in the affairs of any political or municipal organisation or party, either by speaking in public or publishing or distributing literature in furtherance of the purposes of any such organisation or party or in any other manner.'

A person called up for national service, upon presenting himself for service is deemed to be enlisted in the Regular Army Supplement and to be engaged to serve in that force for 2 years. The Regular Army Supplement is part of the Permanent Military Forces. During his period of service in the Regular Army Supplement a national serviceman is subject to Australian Military Regulation 210a.

The extent to which a national serviceman, who is a member of the Regular Army Supplement, may legally participate in the activities of a peace movement depends on the exact nature and objects of the movement. If the particular peace movement is a political organisation within the meaning of Australian Military Regulation 210a, then the provisions of this regulation apply to him. This does not debar him, however, from membership of the organisation, but merely restricts him from taking a prominent and active part in its affairs. This rule is common to all those involved in the service of the Commonwealth, including members of the Commonwealth Public Service and the Armed Services.

5.   In the normal course of events, a national serviceman who considers himself wronged may appeal in succession (where applicable) to his company commander; his commanding officer; his brigade commander; his formation commander, if out of the Commonwealth or on war service in die Commonwealth; the officer in chief of command of the force to which he belongs; and finally to the Military Board, to obtain satisfaction. This should meet most of the requests arising. However, a national serviceman, as with any other member of the community, is entitled to approach Members of Parliament, if he so desires, and no obstacle is placed in his way in this respect.

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