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Wednesday, 25 March 1942

Mr FADDEN (Darling DownsLeader of the Opposition) - by leave - The Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) having tabled a white paper detailing the cables that have been exchanged in relation to the resignation of the Australian Minister atWashington, and his subsequent appointment as British Minister of State in the Middle East, it is to be hoped that the incident is closed. Already the people of Australia, our Allies, and the enemy have witnessed a public controversy in relation to this matter which cannot be regarded as other than unfortunate. No useful purpose could possibly be served at this juncture by the (reiteration of matters to which sufficient, if unfortunate, publicity has already been given; consequently, I do not intend to refer to the merits or demerits of what is covered by the white paper. Both the Prime Minister of Australia and the Prime Minister of Great Britain are fully occupied in the prosecution of the war, the gravity of which must be recognized by every honorable member. Their principal task is to wage war relentlessly and vigorously against the Axis. It is our duty to help them and our Allies to get on with the job ; therefore, we should not waste valuable time on a controversy concerning Mr. Casey's appointment.

I take this opportunity, however, on behalf of the Opposition, to pay tribute to the consistent, conscientious and invaluable services rendered to Australia, to the British Empire, and to our cause, by Mr. R. G. Casey. If evidence were needed as to the value of his services, it is to be found in the attitude of the Government with respect to his resignation, and his transfer to another sphere of activity. I know that he will execute his new, onerous, and responsible task with entire credit to himself and with satisfaction to all concerned.

Mr.CALWELL (Melbourne) [3.56]. - I move -

That the paper be printed.

In view of the remarks of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Fadden), and the press controversy that has taken place, honorable members may desire to voice their views at some later stage.

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