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Friday, 30 April 1915

Senator O'KEEFE (Tasmania) . - I do not think the Minister of Defence quite understood the purport of a question that I put to him this morning as to whether, in his opinion, it was not advisable to endeavour to impress upon the Imperial defence authorities the necessity of altering the method of censorship applied to war news sent to Australia. My reason for putting the question was that, in this morning's newspapers, there appeared an official report as to an engagement in the Dardanelles, but in that official report no mention was made of any casualties to Australian troops. There was, however, published an unofficial report stating that in a communique issued from Constantinople it was stated that the Allies had suffered a loss of 400 men, whilst some 200, including a number of Australians, had been captured. My contention is that such information should not be allowed to come out here unless side by side with it there can be published an official intimation from the authorities in Great Britain as to its correctness or otherwise. The suspense is worse than a knowledge of the actual facts. In Australia to-day there are no doubt thousands of relatives of Australian soldiers who, because of this unofficial report, are suffering great suspense. They do not know whether it is true or not. Such unofficial reports should not be allowed to leave Great Britain unless there can be published with them either an official confirmation or denial of the information they contain. "Will the Minister make representations to the Imperial defence authorities to that effect?

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