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Wednesday, 10 May 1972
Page: 1512

Senator DEVITT (TASMANIA) - I direct my question to the Attorney-General. Was he recently at a gathering at which a number of persons representing themselves to be draft dodgers or defaulters under the National Service Act offered their names and addresses to him to enable him to ensure enforcement of the law? Did the Minister accept the offer of those persons and take down some details in writing and then decline to proceed? Does he propose to take any further action arising out of this incident? If so, what? Finally, what is his explanation of this quite extraordinary situation?

Senator GREENWOOD - I presume that the meeting to which the honourable senator refers was a meeting I addressed at the Australian National University last Wednesday night. In the course of that meeting a number of persons stood up and challenged me to arrest them. Of course, that was a fantastic proposition because they were not guilty of any offence; nor was there in existence any warrant which would have entitled anybody to arrest them. I was given a list of the names of 13 people, with no addresses. This was made known to the Press. I have checked out the position with regard to these persons. Far from all of them being persons in respect of whom no action has been or is being taken, the contrary is the case. Apparently, the names of 2 persons were added to the 13 names the following day by the newspaper. Of those 15 persons named, 5 apparently have not registered but are in the course of prosecution or investigation for failure to register; one had registered, had received deferments on his own application and has since failed to attend for medical examination; one was due to attend court last Friday, but he failed to attend court and a warrant has been issued for his arrest; 4 have in fact been prosecuted and fined for failure to register and are in various stages of either complying or not complying with notices to attend for medical examination; 2 are not known to have committed an offence because there is no record of their names or of any birth registration in their names; and 2 are not yet under any liability to register because they are not yet aged 19 years. I do not know what offence it is alleged they have committed.

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