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Wednesday, 30 June 1937

Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE (Western Australia) (Minister for External Affairs) [11.14]. - I move -

That the hill be now read a third time

I called " not formal " to this Order of theDay so that I might be enabled to draw attention. to still further misrepresentation in the Canberra Times this morning in regard to Senator Johnston's proposed amendment. When I first raised this question of misrepresentation, by leave, I mentioned that, in the Canberra Times of that morning, I had been reported as follows: -

Senator Sir GeorgePearce, leader of the Government, in reply to Senator Johnston, explained that if the Commonwealth railway was brought under the same provisions as providedfor interstate railways, and the commission found that the Commonwealth railway was giving unfair preference or discrimination, they would have the anomaly, if Senator Johnston's amendment was carried, of the Attorney-General having to prosecute himself before the High Court to carry out the board's finding. For that reason, the Commonwealth railway had been excluded from the provisions.

I went on to say -

That is entirely contrary to what I did say, although the preliminary part of the report is correct. According to an uncorrected Hansard proof of my speech, I said -

For that reason, Part IV. of this measure cannot be applied to the CommomveaJth Railways. I assured Senator Johnston, however, when he was speaking, that the Commonwealth Railways do come within the province of this bill, andI now give Senator Allan MacDonald and Senator Marwick the sameassurance..

I pointed out that they came under clause 18, from which I then quoted.

The newspaper in question did not publish that correction, and I again raised the matter yesterday and called attention to the fact that when its first misrepresentation was corrected in the Senate, it took no notice of the correction. What makes this matter all the more strange is this : Yesterday evening a young gentleman called on me and said that he represented the Canberra Times, and, producducing a Hansard proof, asked me if that was the matter which, I complained, had been omitted from the Canberra Times report. I told him that it was. He then said that he had been instructed to express regret that the newspaper had not published the correction, and explained that its representative had been out of the press gallery when the matter was raised, but had arranged with another gentleman - a Mr. Lennard - to advise him if anything occurred that he. should know, Unfortunately, that gentleman had not brought the matter to his notice. He said, " We propose to put this correction in to-morrow's issue ". Judge of my astonishment when I read in to-day's issue the following alleged report of my correction : -

During the debate in the Senate on the Interstate Commission Bill, the Leader of the Senate (Senator Pearce) was reported to have said that if the Commonwealth railways were brought under the provisions of the bill- not under the provisions of Part IV. at all- and the commission found that the Commonwealth Railways were giving unfair preference, they would have the anomaly, if an amendment by Senator Johnston was carried, of the Attorney-General having to prosecute himself before the High Court to carry out the board's finding.

This is how they put the error right -

Sir GeorgePearce actually said that Part14. of the measure could not be applied to the Commonwealth Railways, and he assured Senator Johnston that the Commonwealth Railways did not come under the province of the bill.

Senator E B Johnston - Neither they do.

Senator Sir GEORGEPEARCE The correction is exactly opposite to what I said. What I actually did was to assure Senators Johnston, Allan MacDonald and Marwick that the Commonwealth railways did come within the province of the bill and to draw their attention to clause 18. This latest occurrence almost makes one despair of getting a correct report.

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