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Friday, 15 May 1942

Mr RANKIN (Bendigo) . - I rise merely to bring to the notice of the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) and the Minister for the Army (Mr. Forde) information that I have received to the effect that the Commonwealth Government has under consideration the holding of some form of inquiry into what happened to the Australian Imperial Force, the Militia, and Australian nurses, after the invasion of Rabaul by the Japanese in January last. Since the Australian press on the 6th April published the story of the struggle in which the garrison had been engaged, and the privations they had suffered, the parents of many of those concerned have had no intimation as to their whereabouts or their fate, other than could be gained from rumours. I can vouch for this, because I have a nephew who is an officer in the battalion, and no word has .been received in respect of him. I, therefore, ask the Prime Minister if he has any information that may, consistently with the requirements of national security, be given to the House, and whether some form, of inquiry is to be set up? I trust that the right honorable gentleman will be able to relieve the anxiety of those who have no information whatsoever.

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