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Wednesday, 14 October 1970

Mr SNEDDEN - I am afraid I do not command the influence which is necessary to give the publicity to the unions' attitudes to conscientious objectors that the public media give in the other area. I do not possess that influence. However, I think it is worth reiterating that the unions do not accept a person's claim to be a conscientious objector merely because he makes the claim. Secondly, the unions do not recognise selective conscientious objection. I think I should add that I have heard union spokesmen say that their attitude to conscientious objectors is that if they want to be conscientious objectors they should forgo the benefits which have been achieved by trade unionism. It occurs to me that the same sort of process applies to military service and that those persons who recognise that the future of Australia depends on the survival and the maintenance of a defence policy should acknowledge that national service is predicated on that basis so that we can enjoy the benefits of a future strong Australia.

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