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Wednesday, 29 September 1971
Page: 1686

Mr BARNARD (Bass) - I support the amendment moved by the honourable member for the Australian Capital Territory (Mr Enderby). I would not have risen to speak in this debate if it had not been for what I regard as a fatuous speech made by the honourable member for Corangamite (Mr Street). Undoubtedly he has given little thought or consideration to what, after all, is a humane amendment which was explained very carefully to the Committee by the honourable member for the Australian Capital Territory. Surely noone could be convinced by the argument advanced by the honourable member for Corangamite. He merely said that he did not believe in parole provisions. Surely he subscribes to the parole provisions which apply in his own State. He would not oppose the parole provisions which apply in bis own State or in Tasmania or in South Australia. It is merely a question of justice. We are asking that the parole provisions which apply to those who are serving sentences for any one of a number of indiscretions for which a person can be sentenced in a criminal court in a State should apply to those who have committed an offence under the Commonwealth law. There is no justice in a provision in an Act which prevents the normal parole provisions which apply to any other citizen from being applied to people convicted under the National Service Act.

I do not want to deal at any great length with the 3 persons who are concerned in this matter. A great deal has already been said about those persons who are serving gaol sentences, and I will have something more to say about them when we are discussing the last amendment. All we are asking the Government to do, in the ordinary course of justice, is to amend the National Service Act to allow not only remissions for good behaviour but also the normal parole provisions to be extended to these people. Having listened to the honourable member for Corangamite one wonders whether the Government is prepared to allow the remission provision to remain in the Act

Surely if the provisions which refer to remissions for good behaviour can be applied it ought to be left to the good judgment of those in the States who have the responsibility to see that a person serves the sentence which has been imposed for an offence - in this case it would be an offence relating to the National Service Act - to decide whether the parole provisions also should be applied. Then any young man who refused to obey the law of the land in this respect - whether it was for conscientious reasons or for some other reason - could expect to have applied to him the parole provisions which operate in the State in which he is convicted. Under normal circumstances, if he were convicted of some other offence - no matter whether it was under Federal law or not - he would be entitled to receive the benefits of the parole provisions.

This Government has refused consistently to apply the parole provisions to those who are convicted under the national service legislation. Where is the justice or logic in this kind of attitude? It indicates quite clearly that the Government is consistently opposed to those who it says have the temerity to stand up and oppose its national service legislation. Apparently the honourable member for Corangamite has not been very well advised on this issue. I do not know whether this is an indication of what we can expect from him. I understand that he is an Assistant Minister. On the first occasion on which he has assisted the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Lynch) he has put forward a proposition opposing an amendment moved in this House merely for the sake of opposing it. There was no logic or reasoning in his argument. I hope that the Minister for Labour and National Service, who is responsible for this Bill, will reconsider the proposition put by the honourable member for Corangamite and accept an amendment which ought to be accepted on the basis of common humanity and justice.

Motion (by Mr Giles) agreed to:

That the question be now put

Question put:

That the new clause proposed to be inserted (Mr Enderby's amendment) be inserted.

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