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Wednesday, 26 March 1941

The PRESIDENT - The honorable senator is not entitled to say that. I call on him to withdraw that remark.

Senator AMOUR - I withdraw it. Up till a little more than a year ago, Mr. Lewis was editor of the London financial publication known as The Statist, but he obtained permission, on the ground of ill health, to leave England for a year. He has not gone back. He came to Australia some time last year, and was immediately employed bySir Bertram Stevens, for whom he wrote financial articles. When Sir Bertram became a director of Jobson's Digest, he immediately appointed Mr. Lewis to a position on the staff of that publication, but Mr. Lewis wrote such defeatist articles that the other directors determined that he should not carry on. However, Mr. Lewis continued in Sir Bertram's private employ. About last July, a German national named Singer, who had been employed for some time by the Japanese Government in Japan, came to Australia under mysterious circumstances, and, by processes not disclosed, struck up an intimate friendship with Mr. Lewis. But the Commonwealth authorities very rapidly descended upon Mr. Singer, and he was interned. Mr. Lewis thereupon shifted heaven and earth to have Singer released, and succeeded only in interesting the Commonwealth authorities in himself. Now this is where I consider that the Minister has evaded my question. Mr. Lewis's affairs and associations with Singer were investigated, not by the Investigation Department, but by the military police, and, when they raided Lewis's flat, they found documents and property that Singer had apparently left there in anticipation of his arrest. In view of these disclosures, Mr. Lewis's appointment deserves some explanation in the public interest. It is all very well for the Government or the Minister to say that this cannotbe done "in accordance with established practice ". Established practice and the old school tie methods once brought Britain into grave straits, and this must not be allowed to happen here. With the increasing importance of Australia in international affairs, our representatives abroad mustbe above suspicion.

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