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Tuesday, 14 March 1961

Mr HASLUCK (CURTIN, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) (Minister for Territories) - There is no truth whatsoever in the implications contained in the honorable member's question. I think, Sir, that the source of error is a small fortnightly paper called " Nation ", which published a piece of fiction dealing with this matter. Because it involves another government, I should like to inform the House categorically, first, that no complaint has ever been made to me by any Netherlands official or any representative of the Netherlands Government about anything published in " South Pacific ". Secondly, I have never given any instruction or directive to any member of the staff of the Australian School of Pacific Administration regarding contributions to this magazine. The only fact that emerges from the question is that the publication of " South Pacific " ceased in October, 1959. In December, 1960, its successor, a magazine, which all members will have received, called " Australian Territories ", came into existence. The decision which led to this change of publications goes back to October, 1957, when I asked the Department of Territories to let me have some proposals about widening the usefulness of the publications of the department.

As a result of discussions which took place between the Department of Territories and the Australian School of Pacific Administration, a certain proposal was put to me for ending the publication of "South Pacific " and inaugurating the new magazine. In accepting the department's recommendation there was certainly nothing in my mind other than widening the usefulness of the publication. In case my memory might have been at fault, I went to the trouble of consulting the departmental files relating to this matter. Nowhere in any of those files is there any reference to any complaint by the Netherlands Government; there is no reference to any particular contributor to " South Pacific "; and there is no reference to any particular article published in " South Pacific ". So the honorable member's question is based on a piece of fiction which has come out of somebody's imagination, and which, I think, might have been checked before publication.

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