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Wednesday, 1 October 1941

Senator McLEAY (South Australia) (Minister for Supply and Development) . - by leave- I have to inform the Senate that, at the request of the Commonwealth Government, the Government of New South Wales has made available the services of Sir Percival Halse Rogers, a justice of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, to act as a royal commissioner to inquire into certain matters affecting public administration which were referred to in Parliament last week.

The Commissioner will inquire into and report upon -

1.   The circumstances under which public moneys were used for or in connexion with the activities of the Australian Democratic Front, and to whom and for what purpose such moneys were paid.

2.   By whom, to whom, for what purposes and under what circumstances payments totalling £300 were made in the month of March, 1941, to one J. Winkler; and what became of such moneys.

3.   The circumstances attendant upon the making of trunk line telephone calls from the rooms of the Minister for Defence Coordination at Canberra on Friday, the 12th September, 1941, and Saturday, the 13th September, 1941, and in particular whether in the course of such conversations or any of them there was any disclosure of the Government's budget or financial proposals to any and what per- son.

4.   What material the printers and/or publishers of the following newspapers, namely: - The Advertiser, Adelaide; the Herald, Melbourne; the Telegraph, Brisbane ; the Sun News-Pictorial, Melbourne; and the CourierWait, Brisbane; had before them when they published in their issues of the following dates respectively: - the 18th September, 1941; the 19th September, 1941; the 19th September, 1941; the 20th September, 1941; and the 20th September, 1941, paragraphs referring to such trunk line telephone calls, and from whom, by whom and under what circumstances such material was obtained.

A preliminary hearing of the royal commissionwill take place at the Supreme Court, Sydney, at 10.30 a.m. on Friday, the 3rd October, at which persons who desire to be represented before the commission should attend. As announced by the Attorney-General (Mr. Hughes) Mr. W. W. Monahan. K.C., and Mr.E. J. Hooke, of the Sydney Bar, have been briefed to assist the commission. It is anticipated that the taking of evidence by the commission will commence in Canberra on Wednesday, the8th October, at an hour to be fixed.

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