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Thursday, 3 July 1941


Senator AMOUR (New South Wales) . - I draw attention to the fact that this is the second occasion on which the action of Tasmanian newspapers has been questioned in this Parliament during the last year or so, and that those are the only newspapers whose conduct has warranted the special attention of the Parliament. On a previous occasion the Hobart Mercury published a faked photograph of the chamber of the House of Representatives in an endeavour to discredit this democratic institution. Having failed to do so, and having caused the Menzies Government to threaten to impose a censorship on the press, it now tries to damage the Labour movement. Actions of this kind bring about dictatorships. I can understand the newspapers in Tasmania, and all vested interests throughout Australia, which are represented by the Menzies Government and the political parties which support it, desiring to discredit the Labour movement, but the action to which exception has been taken to-day goes further than that. In my opinion, certain newspapers desire to destroy democracy, and set up in Australia a fascist dictatorship. That is what I fear, and I make the statement in all sincerity. Senator Sampson said that he could not treat this matter seriously, but so serious was the recent action of one of the capitalist newspapers that the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies) drew attention to a faked photograph taken in this building. That was more than a party political manoeuvre; it was designed to induce the people to lose interest inthe National Parliament. Now Tasmanian newspapers have made a further attempt to belittle the Senate. Is it desired by the Government that those newspapers should be protected? Their owners should he made to realize that the Senate is the upper branch of this legislature. If the Leader of the Senate (Senator McLeay) considers that the Government is bound to support those newspapers, I again remind him that when, a short time ago, because of the action of one of those newspapers, the freedom of the press throughout Australia was threatened, every newspaper which had tried to act decently asked members of the Australian Labour party to do something to prevent press censorship regulations from being implemented. Now the Leader of the Senate asks us to reject this motion because he thinks that it would interfere with cheapjack capitalist newspapers published in Tasmania, which first wanted to damage ordestroy our democratic system and now desire to besmirch the good name of the Australian Labour party.







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