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Friday, 6 March 1942
Page: 245

Mr SPEAKER - So far the observations of the honorable member for Wentworth have a bearing on the motion before the Chair.

Mr HARRISON - I do not intend to delay honorable members much longer on this subject. It is obvious that directions have been given to the Australian Broadcasting Commission to delete references to Mr. Churchill and the British Government.

Mr Curtin - How can the honorable member deduce anything of that kind from the letter that he has read?

Mr HARRISON - I read the letter in conjunction with remarks by the Prime Minister with regard to our association with the British Empire, and I say that this House has a right to debate these subjects, especially in the light of certain other suspicious happenings.

Mr Curtin - What does the honorable gentleman mean when he speaks of what I said about the British Government?

Mr HARRISON - I have in mind remarks made by the Prime Minister and other responsible Ministers some little time ago, and also the action of a responsible Minister in dismissing the Deputy Chief Censor in New South Wales.

Mr Curtin - The Minister did not dismiss the Censor.

Mr HARRISON - At any rate, he placed him in such a position that he had no alternative but to resign.

Mr Curtin - That is not the case.

Mr SPEAKER - It is not desirable that that subject should be further discussed on this motion. It was fully discussed last night.

Mr Curtin - Will the honorable gentleman clear up one point for me? I am sure that he will be kind enough to elucidate an observation he made to the effect that I had said something in the nature of a reflection upon the British Empire.

Mr HARRISON - I was referring to the statement made by the Prime Minister that in looking to the United States of America for help he would have no inhibitions with regard to the traditions of Australia and the British Empire.

Mr CURTIN (FREMANTLE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - What has that got to do with this discussion?

Mr HARRISON - I associate it with the alleged instructions given to the Australian Broadcasting Commission to curtail mention of Mr. Churchill, and also with the agreement that there would be a restriction of the broadcast of overseas news.

Mr SPEAKER - The debate is now very wide of the motion.

Mr HARRISON - I have nothing further to say on that aspect of the subject except to emphasize that it reveals the necessity for frequent meetings of the Parliament and the necessity for doing everything possible to preserve the rights of members of the Parliament, who surely are entitled to be heard on these issues.

I wish to refer to one other matter. We have had only a limited opportunity during this sessional period to speak on the motion for the adjournment of the House. I therefore wish to refer at this stage to a matter mentioned by the honorable member for Bourke (Mr. Blackburn). I have had brought to my notice the circumstances of a woman who, as the result of thrift during many years of toil by her husband who earned only the basic wage, acquired an equity in a small property at Villawood. The property was subsequently acquired by the Government for munitions purposes. The woman offered no objection, but naturally expected that her equity, £156, would be honoured. All she asked was that the Government should procure another block of land for her in close proximity to the one that was being taken from her. The Government not only refused to do this, but it also took over her equity of £156 for a miserable £25. Repeated representations have been made to the Government on the subject, but without result. It is necessary that Parliament should meet frequently in order that matters of this description may be ventilated and that honorable members may be kept informed of the manner in which the affairs of the country are being conducted. There are still many matters of deep concern to the people at large that should be discussed in the House, and the Government should make an opportunity available for their discussion. I am' glad that the Prime Minister has agreed to call the House together earlier than was at first intended, for it will enable us to keep in closer touch with matters: affecting the rights and privileges of Unpeople.

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