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Tuesday, 29 June 1937

Senator ABBOTT (New South Wales) - by leave- In my remarks last week with reference to the press I endeavoured to point out that freedom of the press was a privilege which had been won only after great struggles on the part of our ancestors in connexion with the British parliamentary system. It is one of the underlying principles of democracy, the foundations of which were laid by those who preceded us in the Mother of Parliaments. I endeavoured to show that these privileges are among the most valuable things connected with our British political system. Part and parcel of our parliamentary system is the right to publish fair reports of the proceedings of Parliament. That right was not gained without sacrifice and struggle. I wanted to impress on the Senate and on the press and the people of this country that that right is identical with the right of members to free speech, and that it was something which in these days of dictatorships we should cherish and preserve at all costs. Parliament has a right to expect the fullest co-operation of the press in asserting its right of free speech. The principle is far too valuable to be cast aside lightly.

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