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Thursday, 21 May 1942

Mr SPEAKER - Then we agree on that point. There is a practical side to it. Let us suppose that in to-day's proceedings somethingwas disclosed which would appear to convey information of value to the enemy and, therefore, should be eliminated, and I could not obtain the consent of the honorable member concerned to its deletion. Does this House expect that I must remain inactive and allow the statement to appear in Hansard? I think not. The publication of Hansard must go on. If the honorable member for Batman were right, any matter, however offensive it might be, must appear in Hansard. The supervision of Hansard in this respect must be done by Mr. Speaker, who is in charge of the House. He is responsible to the House, and in the first instance must decide whether certain matter should or should not appear in Hansard.Mr. Speaker is, for the time being, in the position of a referee and must give his decision. That decision, like every other decision by Mr. Speaker, is subject to confirmation or otherwise by the House. Therefore, if I should eliminate something, to the deletion of which an honorable member could not agree, I should still delete it, because I would consider it my duty to do so. My action would be open to challenge and to correction if I should be wrong. I believe that that is the correct attitude to adopt, and I shall continue to adopt it, subject to direction by the House.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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