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Tuesday, 2 June 1942

Mr GEORGE LAWSON (BrisbaneMinister for Transport) (Minister Assisting the Postmaster-General) - by leave - On Friday, the honorable member for Wakefield (Mr. Duncan-Hughes) brought to my notice, as the representative in this chamber of the Minister for Information, a statement by an unnamed newspaper purporting to quote from a brochure issued by the Department of Information to visiting American troops. The quotation referred to a certain criticism of Australian alcoholic liquors, particularly Australian wines, and the honorable member took advantage of the occasion to criticize severely the Department of Information. The honorable member for Barker (Mr. Archie Cameron), later in the debate, referred briefly to the point raised by the honorable member for Wakefield, and made it a basis for an intemperate and extravagant attack upon the Department of Information generally. For the benefit of both honorable members, and the information of the House generally, I point, out that the publication in question was issued by the Australian-American Cooperation Movement, T. & G. Building. Melbourne, and was never submitted to. approved by, or associated with the Department of Information in any way. In fact, the first that the officers of the Department of Information knew of the publication was a reference to it in the press. It is unfortunate that honorable members seem to be disposed to decry at every opportunity the work of this department, and that, when preparing to launch an attack upon it, they do not take sufficient trouble to ascertain whether their facts are even remotely correct. The Department of Information,in association with the Public Relations Department of the American forces now in Australia, did issue a goodwill booklet to American troops. This publication struck a particularly high note of blood brotherhood between the Australian and American people. It is unfortunate that whatever goodwill it has been able to establish should he prejudiced by such an ill-timed and unfounded attack as was made in this chamber last week by those honorable members.

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