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Thursday, 25 July 1946

Mr Rankin n asked the Prime Minister, upon notice-

1.   Has he seen the statement in a Canberra newspaper of the 17th July that "in Canberra, Communists have boasted they are working under cover in public departments to serve the ends of the party"?

2.   Wore any investigations made by Commonwealth authorities during the war years as towhether Communists were employed in the Commonwealth Public Service?

3.   If so, (a) were any Communists discovered, and (b) what action was taken?

4.   Will he direct the appropriate Commonwealth authorities to ascertain if Communists are employed in the Public Service in Canberra ?

5.   Will he take steps to have any Communists removed?

Mr Chifley - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : -

1.   No. I have not previously read the press statement quoted.

2.   No investigations of such a nature have been made.

3.   See answer to No. 2.

4.   Commonwealth public servants, in common with all citizens, are entitled to hold political views and the Government does not propose to initiate an inquiry on the lines suggested by the honorable member. The Public Service Board has full power under the act. to deal with employees who violate the oath taken before entrance to the Service whereby they swear allegiance to the King and to uphold the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia.

5.   See answer to No. 4.

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