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Tuesday, 30 July 1946

Mr Chifley y. - On the 4th July, the honorable member for Wentworth, Mr. Harrison, asked the following questions, upon notice -

1.   Is it a fact that during the war certain shipments of machine tools from America were m:\de direct to the Commonwealth Government and that commission payable to agents in Australia was included in the purchase price?

2.   Is it a, fact that these commissions have been paid when claims have been lodged, and that, in many cases where agents have not been advised by the manufacturers, such commissions have Iain dormant in the hands of the Commonwealth Government?

3.   Will he make available to the House a list of individual unclaimed commissions to Australian agents in relation to machine tools supplied by American manufacturers to the Commonwealth Government?

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

1.   Yes.

2.   Except for a small number in dispute, claims lodged by agents have been paid. Responsibility for the lodgment of claims lies with the agents. Some claims have not yet been lodged.

3.   The claims which have not yet been lodged cover numerous items in addition to machine tools, and it is impracticable to compile the list requested.

Newspapers: American Comic Strips.

Mr Forde e. - On the 24th July, the honorable member for Parkes (Mr: Haylen) asked a question concerning Australian and American comic strips.

The Minister for Trade and Customs has now supplied the following answers : -

1.   The number of Australian comic strips which have been syndicated and are being published overseas, are two each in the United States of America and Canada, and one each in the United Kingdom, South Africa and South America. Others are under offer and the sales agencies in Australia report that many inquiries for Australian strips arc being received from America and England.

2.   Regarding the second part of the honorable member's question, the Minister for Trade and Customs would appreciate being furnished with samples of the American comic strips that are considered to lay undue emphasis on crime, to which the honorable member refers. At the present time the importation of American comic strips is controlled by the Customs (Import Licensing) Regulations and, apart from this, literature which, in the opinion of the Minister, and whether by words or by picture, or partly by words ' and partly by picture (a) unduly emphasizes matters of sex or of crime; or (6) is calculated to encourage depravity; is prohibited from importation under the Customs Act. Although from time to time statements have been made that some American comic strips unduly emphasize matters of crime, no specific cases have been brought to the notice of the Minister, either by his department, or by the appropriate authorities in the various States in which these strips are being published, or by interested individual citizens.

3.   As regards the third part, the Minister for Trade and Customs has confirmed, concerning the recent Tariff Board inquiry into the Australian publishing industry, that the board's report with transcript of evidence tendered at the inquiry has not yet been received by him. Concerning the f ourth part, the Minister understands that Australian newspaper publishers would welcome the opportunity to publish still more Australian comic strips as they become available, and, in this connexion, one metropolitan newspaper recently announced that' its children's magazine section now contains five Australian, three British and only three American comic strips.

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