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Thursday, 27 May 1915

Senator MILLEN (New South Wales) . - I have only a word or two to say, in view of the very frank admission by the Minister that, in his judgment, an error was made in censoring the statement which I have read to this Chamber. In the light of that admission, I feel that the purpose of my action to-day has been achieved.

Senator ALBERT GOULD (NEW SOUTH WALES) -Colonel O'loghlin.- Does not the honorable senator think that he owes the Minister an apology for having insinuated that it was owing to his influence that the statement was censored 1

Senator MILLEN - I owe no apology to anybody. I have a very clear recollection of the words which I used this afternoon. I did not say that my statement had been censored by the direction of the Government. I said that the action taken by the censor was in consequence of their interposition. I repeat that statement now. The Minister has affirmed that I was mistaken in saying that my first statement passed the censor. I accept his correction. My allegation was based on our knowledge that a censorship exists. The appearance of that statement in the newspapers was my justification for assuming that the censor had approved of it. It was published in both the Sydney and Melbourne journals, and it was consequently fair for me to assume that it had been submitted to the censor. It was after its publication that the Minister took action, and that the censor interpreted his action in the way that I have indicated. It was certainly because of his action that my second statement was censored.

Senator Lt Colonel O'LOGHLIN N- Is the honorable senator still of that opinion ?

Senator MILLEN - Undoubtedly. The censors may have misinterpreted the Minister's action. When he rebuked them because of ,the publication of my first statement, they immediately tightened up the regulations and blocked my second statement. The Minister is not responsible for that. Nevertheless, it was the result of his action. I think that the Minister has hammered home the fact that the censorship is necessary. I have already admitted that. But it is one thing to have a censorship -to prevent the publication of news which may be detrimental to the public interest, and another to have a censorship which is exercised in the way that I have outlined. However, I am more than satisfied with the Minister's statement. A suggestion was made by way of interjection that the officers responsible for the censoring of my - statement should be punished by being removed from their office. I do not wish that. I merely desire an intimation to be conveyed to these gentlemen that they have misinterpreted their instructions, in order that there may be no further action of the character of which I complain. I ask leave to withdraw the motion.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

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