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Wednesday, 29 November 1944

Mr Archie Cameron n asked the Minister representing the Acting Minister for the Army, upon notice -

1.   How many personnel does the Army History Section employ?

2.   What profits have been made on the sale of publications by that section?

3.   To what authority is the profit paid?

Mr Forde - The Acting Minister for the Army has supplied the following answers : -

1.   One hundred and twenty-eight including 54 who are employed with Field Formations and twenty whose pay and allowances are reimbursed by the Board of Management of the Australian War Memorial which functions under the Department of the Interior. 2 and 3. The services Christmas books, which are prepared and distributed by War Memorial personnel attached to the section for this purpose, are the responsibility of the Board of Management of the Australian War Memorial. The whole of the expenses of preparation, production, and distribution are met from the Australian War Memorial fund created under the Australian War Memorial Act 1925 to which the proceeds from sales are paid. The amount of the profit is not known to the Department of the Army.

Mr Forde e. - On Wednesday, the15th November, the honorable member for Went worth (Mr. Harrison) asked the Acting Prime Minister, without notice, to obtain information as to the number of members of Australian Imperial Force and Australian Military Forces who are serving terms of imprisonment in civil gaols for purely military offences.

The Acting Minister for the Army has informed me that the answer to the honorable member's question is 51.

Mr Francis asked the Minister representing the Acting Minister for the Army, upon notice -

1.   Upon whose instructions did members of the Provost Corps raid the Dee Why home of Hector C. Oliver, a discharged serviceman serving with the United States small ships?

2.   In view of the Minister's admission that members of the Provost Corps made a mistake in raiding Oliver's home, has any action been taken to discipline the officer responsible and/or members of the Provost Corps?

3.   What action, if any, has been taken by the department to ensure that adequate investigation and check will in future be made to prevent a recurrence ofsuch a serious mistake ?

Mr Forde e. - The Acting Minister for the Army has supplied the following answers : -

1.   The home was not raided, but the wife of the soldier was interrogated us already explained in this House on the 29th September.

2.   It is considered that the mistake was excusable since two privates of the same name were living at Dee Why. In these circumstances, disciplinary action is not warranted.

3.   Appropriate action has been taken to avoid future mistakes as far as is reasonably possible.

Australia First Movement : Inquiry by Mr. Justice Clyne.

Mr Archie Cameron asked the Acting Prime Minister, upon notice -

1.   Are the following extracts from evidence given by Captain Blood on the 9th November, in the Australia First Inquiry before Mr. Justice Clyne, correct: -

Evidence of Captain Mood, 9th November,1944. (Captain Francis Bindon Blood.]

Mr.Maund (Solicitor). Did you know at this period that the Communists were a banned organization?

Captain Blood.- Yes.

Mr.Maund. And did you take any action to have the men who created this disturbance (i.e., at a meeting of the Australia First Movement at the Adyar Hall, 19th February, 1942, when the Chairman was knocked down and trampled and kicked by several men) interned ?

Answer.- No.

Who were they!

Answer.- I do not remember their names.

When you received the report of the disturbance at the meeting you then knew that the Communists had created the disturbance?

Answer.- From the report, yes.

Did you lake any action at that time to try and intern any Communists to prevent disturbances of this kind in future?

Answer.- No: Do you want to know why?

The Commissioner - Why, I ask you?

Blood's Answer. - Because there was a Ministerial Direction that no more Communists were to be submitted for internment.

Mr.Maund. What would you say about this? "At our previous council in 1941, we criticized the war which was being fought as an Imperialistic Warand we then declared in favour of a democratic peace. Our delegation at the 1941 Congress supported a resolution demanding negotiations for a democratic peace ''?

Answer by Blood. - That is obviously an extract from something Communist.

Do you regard itas loyalor completely disloyal?

Answer. -A completely disloyal.

That was a statement made by the secretary of the Federal Ironworkers Association, W. Thornton, in 1941. Did you take any action against him for this:

Answer.- No.

Can you imagine anything more likely to cause dissension in the community?

Answer. - I agree with you.

Why did you not take action against Mr. Thornton?

Answer- Because you would have to get Ministerial approval for action being taken.

Not to arresting him. Did you arrest him ad hold him?

Answer.- No.

That was in 1941 ?

Answer.- Yes.

Is that before or after you had instructions to do nothing against Communists?

Answer. - I do not know.

The Commissioner (Justice Clyne). - Was that instruction given after the High Court declared they were not an illegal Association.

Answer.- No before. It was on the release of the Communists who were interned.

Did you have a dossier relating to him (Thornton)?

Mr. Dover(Assisting the Commissioner). I object to that.

The Commissioner. - Have you a dossier relating to Thornton?

Answer.- I believe there would be one, I do not know definitely.

2.   If not, what corrections are necessary?

3.   Who issued the Ministerial instruction referred to by Captain Blood?

Mr Forde e. - The transcript of the evidence is beingasked for and I hope to be in a position to furnish a reply to the honorable member before the House rises.

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