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Thursday, 27 May 1915

Senator PEARCE - We only know of one case in which it is correct. When the Australian troops were being removed from Egypt to the Dardanelles the Government received a message from the Secretary of State for the Colonies which was marked "Secret - For Ministers only." On receipt of that message we naturally thought it was necessary to take precautions to prevent that news being published in Australia from any other source. It was possible, for instance, that our officers or soldiers abroad might be able to get a telegram despatched in code to their friends at home, and that these friends might make the news known. Accordingly we issued an instruction that a strict censorship of news relating to the transfer of the troops from Egypt to the Dardanelles was to be observed. Some time elapsed, and the press then received through their agencies a cable that the news had been published in England that our troops had been moved from Egypt to the Dardanelles. Until then we had received no communication 'from the British Government releasing that news which they had made secret, and had communicated to Ministers only. Accordingly we cabled to the Imperial authorities with a view to ascertaining whether we might release the news in Australia. To that cable we received no reply. We again cabled, and again we received no reply, until a congratulatory message reached us upon the landing of our troops at the Dardanelles. We immediately took French leave by releasing the news, and by making an announcement 1.0 Parliament. But until then we had received no permission from the Imperial authorities to release the information which had been communicated to us. That is the only case in which news has been published in England, and in which its publication has been delayed in Australia.

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