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Thursday, 1 July 1920

Mr TUDOR (YARRA, VICTORIA) - Will the Prime Minister make available to every honorable member, by laying them on the table of the House, tha. cablegrams which have passed between him or any other Minister and the ex-Treasurer, and between any mem ber of the Ministry and the British Government ?

Mr Fenton - And letters, if any. '

Mr HUGHES - The course suggested is, so far as i know, without precedent; but my late colleague has expressed the desire that these communications shall be laid on the table, and i shall be glad to make them public, subject, however, to a reservation which will, i think, commend itself to every honorable member. No cables have passed between this Government and the British Government which have gone through any other Minister than myself. But the file is a somewhat bulky one. It contains much matter that is unconnected with the resignation, such as items of news, which were of interest to the honorable member for Balaclava while he waa on his voyage, and it contains also matters of a nature which it would not be in the public interest to disclose. I propose to lay on the table only such communications as may be relevant to the resignation, and the disclosure of which will not prejudice the Commonwealth in its relations with Great Britain or with foreign countries. In order that the people may know that nothing has been suppressed that is material and relevant, except such communications as could not be laid on the table without prejudice to the public interest, I suggest that the file be edited by the Leader of the Labour party (Mr. Tudor), the Leader of tha Country party (Mr. Mowilliams), and me, and that, when it has been so edited, it be laid om the table, and the papers printed. The correspondence will than be available to the people of Australia, and i shall make a statement in regard to it.

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