Vietnam War and Conscription Australia

Intro Conscription also known as Australia’s National Service ‘Scheme’ was introduced to Australia by the Menzies Government in 1964. The selection of conscripts was determined by a televised ballot system based on date of birth, 20 year olds were obligated to register for conscription which required them to give two years of national service. Australia’s National Service –Many people thought that this process was a scheme to enable Australia’s Participation in the Vietnam War, But that was not the.

Under the National Service Scheme, twenty-year-old men were required to register with the Department of Labour and National Service (DLNS), they were then subject to a ballot which, if their birth date was drawn, meant the possibility of two years of continuous full-time service in the regular army, followed by three years part-time service in the Army Reserve. As part of their duty, national servicemen on full-time duty were liable for overseas service including combat duties in Vietnam.

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Birthday Ballot – A ballot determined who would be considered for national service. The ballot resembled a lottery draw, even to the extent, in the case of the final five ballots, of being fully televised. Numbered marbles representing birthdates were chosen randomly from a barrel and within a month men whose numbers had been drawn were advised by the DLNS (Department of Labour and National Service) of whether they were required for participation in the scheme or not.

Those failing to register without an acceptable explanation were automatically considered for call-up as well as being liable to a fine. Reasons why people resisted – The reasons why people refused and didn’t want to go to war was they believed that war was wrong and a lot of people believed that conscription was an unfair method to get people to fight in the war. Which people could avoid conscription through deferment or exemption – There are two types of deferment, indefinite and limited.

People who had limited deferment were able to prove to a court that conscription would cause exceptional hardship to themselves, this means that if you were to prove to a court of law, that your family would not suffer exceptional hardship if you were to do 2 years national service because you are the soul income earner or carer for family members. Indefinite deferment would apply to people that got married before their birth date was drawn from the ballot.

Indefinite deferment also applied to men who had volunteered to serve for six years in the past – time Civilian Military Force. Exemption happened to those men who failed medical and security checks and the men that were not as fit as regular army personnel. People were also exempted from conscription if they had a physical or a mental disability and also people with certain political and religious beliefs, eg ministers of religion. What happened to those people who resisted –

People who resisted conscription and made false statements were facing the consequences of prosecution and if convicted they were sentenced to jail for similar periods that they would of served in national service. Number of people who were conscripted – The number of people who were conscripted was huge it was over 804 286. 63 735 were twenty year old and 15 381 were national service men who served in Vietnam. About 200 of those men lost their lives in Vietnam.



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