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Wednesday, 20 May 1942

Mr CALWELL (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - Will the Prime Minister state whether the Government has .been asked to facilitate a lecture tour of the United States of America by Mr. Brian Penton, editor of the Sydney Daily Telegraph! Before any action is taken in the matter, will the right honorable gentleman ascertain whether Mr. Penton has ever had any lecturing experience, here or elsewhere; whether he was formerly in partnership with Mr. P. R. Stephensen, of the Australia First Movement, who has since been interned ; whether Mr. Penton's flat has been searched by the military intelligence police since Japan declared war; whether he sought to flee the country in 1934 to evade debts, "was arrested, and placed in Long Bay prison; whether, in 1936, on his return to Australia, he published an indecent libel against a distinguished Sydney author, who was awarded substantial damages; whether Mr. Penton published indecent pictures when he was living in England, and also, as a director of the Fanfrolico Press, published books which were regularly banned as indecent by the American customs authorities; and whether, as a working journalist in the Federal and State parliamentary galleries, he hasbeen denounced for malicious and lying reports and comment by members of both Parliaments?

Mr.CURTIN. - I have no biographical particulars with respect to Mr. Brian Penton. An intimation has been made to me that he intends to make a lecturing tour of the United States of America as the result of negotiations that have passed between himself and the promoters of the lecturing tour. I know that as a matter of general information. The Government has no official participation in the lecturing tour. It is not sponsoring the tour, and it is not prohibiting it.

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