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Tuesday, 28 May 1968

Mr McIVOR (Gellibrand) - I too desire to register my opposition to the Government's intention to proceed with this cl'ause. I support the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam). Honourable members opposite will most probably deny - I do not blame them for attempting to deny it, but deny it they cannot - that there is a growing feeling amongst thousands of people in this country that the Government is turning Australia into a police state.

Mr Calwell - A Fascist state.

Mr McIVOR - This sort of legislation shows that that is true. People cannot help but think that this is so when the Government is prepared to throw overboard a system which, as the honourable member for Cunningham (Mr Connor) said, has been in operation for more than a thousand years. The Government is ignoring what the people are thinking and it stands to be condemned for its actions. It is flying in the face of the fact that young people are demonstrating right throughout the world. They are demonstrating in Paris, New York, Washington, London and West Berlin. They are protesting against war and against being used as armaments in the carnage of war. They say that no longer should their shoulders carry this burden.

Mr Curtin - Cannon fodder.

Mr McIVOR - Cannon fodder, as the honourable member for Kingsford-Smith says. They are protesting against these things, and this Government is flying in the face of those facts. Let me ask the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Bury): Are these boys more worthy citizens, nol only of Australia but indeed of the world, because they have the courage to say that they are conscientious objectors than those politicians and generals in South Vietnam who admit openly to graft, corruption and bribery? Are these boys any worse citizens than those people? I should say that the courage of these boys, if they are prepared to stress their objections to military service, is far in advance of that of Ky and the rest of them who ' have openly admitted that the South Vietnamese Government is absolutely riddled with corruption and bribery. What about the people who are taking the money that this country is sending into Vietnam for civil' aid? Workers coming back from there tell how that money is taken for corruption and bribery and not one-third of it is going into the projects for which it is sent there. Are we to say that these boys, in the face of that sort of patriotism by the Kys and the politicians and the generals in South Vietnam, are less worthy than they? Are we to throw over a system of trial by jury which eminent jurists in all parts of the world are acclaiming as a system that must not be abolished? They know that in the dictator countries this system is going out, and this Government is supporting its abolition. Why? Surely it is not too much to ask that a 20-year-old kid should be given a chance to say before his own countrymen whether he should be put into a uniform and sent overseas to fight in a war in which he does not believe. The proposal is immoral in every shape and form. It should not be persisted with, and if it is persisted with the Government will bring further condemnation on its shoulders. It should stir its conscience, because I know that throughout Australia a great feeling is growing up that this Government, by reason of its numbers, is ruthlessly turning Australia into a police State.

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