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Wednesday, 29 April 1942

Mr ANTHONY (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Will the Prime Minister inform honorable members whether there has been appointed a " government spokesman " who is frequently quoted in the newspapers and on the radio as an officer possessing intimate knowledge of the Government's plans? If so, will the right honorable gentleman give the name of the individual, or, if no person has authority to assume the title of "government spokesman", will the Prime Minister take steps to apprehend as a fifth columnist any person claiming to act in that capacity? If no such individual exists, will the Government take action against newspapers and 'broadcasting stations which quote such a fictitious person, in that way misleading the public?

Mr CURTIN -I am astounded that an honorable member, especially one who has been a Minister of the Crown, should ask such a question. Almost daily, for many years, reports have appeared in the Australian newspapers to the effect that it was understood that the Government, intended to take certain action.

Mr Holt - Yes, but the "government spokesman" has only been born within the last five or six months.

Mr CURTIN - My only comment is that the birth has not been registered!

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