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Wednesday, 26 November 1941

Mr SHEEHAN (Cook) .- I notice in the schedule that an extra' -Jd. postage will in future be payable on each copy of Ilansard, -both Commonwealth and State, forwarded through the post. I cannot understand why the Government should impose this extra charge on the reports of Parliamentary proceedings. What advantage will the Commonwealth receive from charging itself more for the postage of Hansard, and what will it gain by collecting additional revenue from the States and returning it to them later as grants? I regard :this increase as a mistake. It will rob honorable members of the opportunity to distribute additional complimentary copies of Hansard, and it will act as a check on the desire of the Government to supply to various organizations reports of the proceedings of Parliament. Hansard has proved to 'be a most reliable source of information, as was proved recently in connexion with the Smith-Falstein case. I consider that Hansard is a bulwark of our democratic system, and a most important part of the machinery of this Parliament. The Government will not gain anything by imposing higher postal charges on this publication, and I consider that the "Minister will be well advised . to delete the extra charge from the schedule.

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