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Wednesday, 20 May 1942

Mr CURTIN (Fremantle) (Prime Minister) . - in reply - With regard to the views which have been expressed by the honorable member for Watson (Mr. Falstein), I can only say that I shall take up with the Minister for War Organization of Industry (Mr. Dedman) the matter that he has mentioned. That is also my answer to the honorable member for Deakin (Mr. Hutchinson). The problem as to what use shall be made of the gold-mines at Wood's Point and Gaffney's Creek is related to the treatment of the goldmining industry as a whole. It is true that a small town such as Gaffney's Creek would be dependent upon the local gold-mine; but that is also true of a number of small gold-mining towns in Australia.

I shall look at the matter raised by the honorable member for Barker (Mr. Archie Cameron) in the light in which he has put it to me. I do not know very much about the circumstances of the case; but I know that the gentleman referred to has been publishing a number of articles in American newspapers and magazines. I am told that they have had an excellent reception in the United States of America, and, as a consequence, some persons in that country expressed their willingness to finance a lecture tour by the author of the articles. I understand that the proprietors of the newspaper of which he is editor, agreed to release him for the purpose of making the tour. I am not in a position to say whether the lecturer would be supporting all the views that would be held by the Commonwealth Government. The newspaper of which he is editor does not support all the views held by this Government. Indeed, it has singled out certain of my colleagues for very severe criticism, and a great deal of unfair treatment. That has to be considered. But the Government has never expected that newspaper editors in Australia should support it willy-nilly, before it would extend to them the ordinary rights of an Australian citizen. Some time ago Sir Keith Murdoch paid a visit to the United States of America and the United Kingdom. He is the editor of an evening newspaper in Melbourne. This gentleman is the editor of a morning newspaper in Sydney. It is not for me to judge whether the proprietors of those newspapers have made the best appointments. That is for them to say. I shall not identify the Commonwealth Government in any way with a political decision which would take away from any Australian his rights as a citizen. I understand that this gentleman would not be called up in the Army even if he ceased r,o be the editor of the paper on which he is now employed, and thereby lost the protection which he now enjoys because of the importance of his position.

Mr Calwell - Why?

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