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Wednesday, 5 December 1973
Page: 2446

Senator WHEELDON (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) -I direct a question to the Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence. It refers to regulation 29 of the Australian Military (Places of Detention) Regulations which provides for a No. 2 scale punishment diet. By way of explanation, I point out that a No. 2 scale punishment diet, which is provided for prisoners who are being held for various disciplinary offences, consists of the following daily meals: For breakfast, 170 grams of bread, 0.6 litres of porridge, and 15 grams of margarine or butter, with water; for supper in the evening, the same diet is provided; and for the main repast of the day, dinner, 170 grams of bread, 110 grams of meat, 225 grams of potatoes, and 55 grams of rice, and water. Does not the Minister regard this as cruel and inhuman treatment of Australian soldiers, and should the Government not do something to correct this most odious relic of barbaric times in the treatment of members of the military forces?

Senator BISHOP - Although this regulation has not been brought to my notice, I should be glad to refer Senator Wheeldon 's comments to the Minister for Defence. I have had occasion previously to question similar regulations. Some regulations relating to detention and punishment are not applied by local commands, in their strictest sense due to their age. I concede that that is not a good excuse for keeping the regulations. A re-organisation of the Services is presently taking place. It is proposed to bring in a new uniform disciplinary code. So these matters are under review. But I will certainly bring the particular matter raised by Senator Wheeldon before the Minister and ask that, in regard to this regulation and perhaps one other of which I am aware that deals with detention, legislation should be introduced more speedily in a piecemeal manner than will be the case when other regulations are overhauled.

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