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Wednesday, 20 May 1942

Mr BEASLEY - The Minister for the Army has already answered several questions on this matter. When this matter was first raised some weeks ago, the Minister for the Army, quite right on the evidence in his possession, made a statement. Arising out of that evidence legal action has been taken against those to whom his remarks were directed. It cannot be inferred that he has general evidence involving people other than those who have already been brought before the court.

Mr SPENDER - The Prime Minister directed attention to the charges made and said that the law would be invoked and that the people referred to would be charged before the court.

Mr FORDE - But he did not say that all members of the Australia First Movement who had been interned would be charged.

Mr BEASLEY - Honorable members seem to be distorting the facts. I am surprised that the honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender) with his high legal training would expect the SolicitorGeneral to take action unless evidence justified it.

Mr Hughes - The requirement in the last war was that, if the Minister was satisfied as to a person's subversive activity, that person was interned.

Mr BEASLEY - Yes, and that is what is happening now. Some members of the Australia First Movement in Western Australia were prosecuted, because the Minister thought that he had evidence warranting more than internment. The House must appreciate that the action promised by the Minister has been taken.

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