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Wednesday, 29 September 1971
Page: 1684

Mr STREET (Corangamite) (Assistant Minister assisting the Minister for Labour and National Service) - The effect of this amendment, which relates to the introduction of parole provisions into the

National Service Act, would be to put those who have refused to accept their obligations towards their country in a more advantageous position than the vast majority of young people who have accepted their obligations. I think this would be an intolerable situation. The Australian Labor Party is in effect saying that anybody who breaks the law should be better off than anybody who obeys it. I think it is more than coincidence that this line of reasoning has appeared more than once recently in remarks made by honourable members opposite. I can remember an occasion not so very long ago when a leading front bench member of the Opposition, the honourable member for Lalor (Dr J. F. Cairns), expressed the belief that authority has had its day. All I can say is that the reasoning behind this amendment is consistent with that view.

It may be the view of the Australian Labor Party that those people who denigrate the law and create a situation where they are disobeying the provisions of the National Service Act should have some advantage conferred on them over those young people liable to military service who accept their obligation. All I can say is that it is not the view of the Government.

There are other practical objections to the amendment. One is that the parole laws are not uniform in the States, Therefore there would inevitably be inequitable variations between the States in the period of imprisonment that had to be served. The very purpose of the parole provisions in the prison system is directed towards the rehabilitation of prisoners. The honourable member for the ACT (Mr Enderby) made the point - I do not know whether he meant to relate it in this sense but it is the sense that I read into it - that, in the context of this legislation and the particular people involved, the principle behind a parole system would seem to be quite irrelevant. For all those reasons, I oppose this amendment.

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