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Wednesday, 19 April 1972
Page: 1215

Senator McMANUS - 1 direct a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service. When a young man who has been called up for national service rejects his obligation, is it the position that a vacancy is merely left unfilled so that another young man who would otherwise not have been called up is called up to take the place of the person who rejects his obligation? If the latter is the case, should not a little of the sympathy be diverted to the man who is called up because another person rejects his call-up?

Senator WRIGHT - As my colleague the Attorney-General has so often pointed out, if one man who is required to do duty for national service evades that duty somebody else has to stand in for him. An equitable enforcement of the law without discrimination to anyone upon whom an obligation falls is carried out for the purpose of fairness in regard to the discharge of that duty. The actual position is that out of a number varying from, I think, 90,000 to 110,000 of those who register, the numbers are winnowed down because of medical and other grounds to about 8,000. Then, allowance has been made for those who do not answer a call-up notice, so that the ultimate number or objective of the call-up comes into the draft. But the undoubted fact is, as the honourable senator implies, that somebody else has to stand in in the defaulter's place. That is the basis upon which the obligation of the law is imposed upon the defaulter.

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