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Friday, 6 March 1942
Page: 247

Sir CHARLES MARR (Parkes) . - I congratulate the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) upon his proposal to have the House re-assemble at an earlier date than was originally proposed. I believe that at this particular time we should meet even more frequently than one week in every four weeks. The war has brought Australia, and the world in general, to a dangerous condition, and we shall be very seriously affected unless those of us who hold certain responsibilities keep more closely in contact with the activities of the war departments and truly represent the people by whom we are sent to this Parliament.

Certain of the matters that have been raised this morning are not relevant to the motion that we arc discussing. The Chair has been over-generous in having permitted some of the statements that have been made. I regret that the report of the Joint Committee on Broadcasting could not be produced before the adjournment.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honorable member for Parkes is now 'being guilty of the irrelevancy he has already condemned.

Sir CHARLES MARR - If the House were to meet earlier, the report of the Joint Committee on Broadcasting could be submitted earlier. It may astound honorable members in many ..respects - for instance, in respect of interference by Ministers of not only the present Government, but also of preceding governments. The practice is becoming much more dangerous than it was formerly, and I suggest to the Parliament, but particularly to the Prime Minister, that the name? of Ministers be kept off the air entirely. Information given by Ministers in charge of departments has been used by our enemy overseas. There have been glaring instances of propaganda from other countries. 1 hope that when the House re-assembles on the 25th March these matters will be discussed immediately. The experts in our war departments should be given a freer hand in the promulgation of tactical undertakings. That would do more to assist the winning of the war than is done by speeches made in Parliament by amateur tacticians. The claim is made that members of Parliament know very little about the tactics of war, in the air. on the land, or on the sea. Therefore, the matter should be left to experts appointed to do this job. In regard to future sittings of the Parliament, I hope that matters of a highly technical and intricate nature will be discussed behind closed doors. I should choose to make my criticism in such circumstances, because I do not believe in helping the enemy by informing him of the ideas I hold on the war situation. I should prefer the Parliament to meet once a fortnight, were it not for the inconvenience that would he caused to members from distant States. We should then be kept closely in touch with all that is happening.

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