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Tuesday, 2 April 1968

Mr BURY (WENTWORTH, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Labour and National Service) - My general understanding is that all employees of the New South Wales Government, whether teachers or otherwise, have their pay made up during national service, just as they did when serving during the last war, assuming, of course, that their Public Service pay is higher than their Army pay. As regards employers generally, this matter was considered by my predecessor when the legislation was being drafted. However, it was not considered practical to do anything in the matter having regard to the variety of employers from whom national service trainees are drawn. In many cases these are small employers, probably with very limited means or capacity to make up pay. Also, many young men ballotted for national service have their training deferred for several years, enabling them to earn much more than they would if they were called up immediately. I should point out that it has come to my knowledge that many national servicemen have saved considerable sums of money during their Army careers. I understand that our Army - I have not checked this claim in detail - is the highest paid in the world. We certainly could not place on a multitude of employers the obligation to make up the pay of their employees called up for national service. All national service trainees are doing the same job and to have them receiving different rates of pay while doing the same job might be considered inequitable. National service training is universal. It is an obligation which rests on every individual wherever he comes from.

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