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Friday, 9 October 1931

Mr LATHAM (Kooyong) .- I rise, not for the purpose of adding anything to the discussion, which I hope is now concluded, but to call attention to a matter arising out of two questions which were asked during question time i.his afternoon. "With ali respect to the"5 members concerned, and to you, Mr. Speaker, I take exception to the practice of introducing propaganda into questions asked in the House. Every member of the House is a propagandist at some time . or other, but not, I hope, in an undesirable sense. Honorable members opposite" may disclaim that assertion if they think iii, but the propaganda indulged in on this side of the House is, I can assure honorable members, entirely desirable. 1 do not wish to embark upon a party discussion - all honorable members are interested in this - but merely to point out that this afternoon the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Curtin) read a statement, by a clergyman dealing with the subject of banking. He then asked whether the Government proposed to introduce legislation to amend our present banking system in a certain direction. He could have asked that question without quoting the clergyman's statement, which had nothing to do with the question. The honorable member simply seized an opportunity for propaganda, for which there is a proper place' and time, but it is not question time. If this practice grows, it will become very difficult to conduct the business of the House. The honorable member for Corangamite (Mr. Crouch) this afternoon asked about the possibility of re funding certain money paid in duties on petrol, and he indicated that, in regard to the duty on sheepskins, such a refund was made. He went on to inquire whether that procedure, or something approaching it, could not be followed in regard te> petrol. That was the substance of his question, but into it he introduced a statement that the duty on sheepskins was imposed at a time when the honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Lyons) was a member of the Government. We all know that that was so-

Mr Holloway - That was brought out by way of interjection.

Mr LATHAM - No, it was incorporated in the question. That sort of thing should be discouraged in the interests of all of us. Whether the honorable member for Wilmot was, or was not, in the Cabinet when the duty on sheepskins was introduced, is not relevant to the desirability or otherwise of refunding the duty paid on sheepskins or on petrol. The statement was introduced simply to score a point on a propagandist matter. I ask you, Mr. Speaker, to consider - I do not ask that you make a statement to-day - whether it is not possible, in the interests of all honorable members of this House, to exclude obvious propaganda from questions, and to require honorable members to address themselves to Ministers only for the purpose of obtaining bona fide information.

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