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Friday, 6 March 1942

Senator ASHLEY (New South Wales) (Postmaster-General and Minister for Information) . - Earlier to-day Senator Collett asked the Minister representing the Attorney-General, upon notice -

I.   Has the Minister any knowledge of an organization styling itself ""The Australia-First Movement and giving as its address " Room 45, Fourth Floor, 26 O'Connell-street, Sydney "T

2.   If so, who arc the principal persons iden-tilled with iti

3.   Has the Minister seen the manifestoes issued by this organization advocating - "Recall Australia's armed forces to Australia " and " The Australia-First Movement advocates Australian self-reliance in military, naval and air defence, and in particular the complete Australian control of all Australia's armed forces " ?

4.   Does not the Minister consider that, in view of Australia's alliances and obligations assumed thereunder, such advocacy is singularly inopportune and highly detrimental to her vital interests?

The Attorney-General has supplied the following answers : -

1.   It is reported that tlie Australia-First Movement made its public appearance on the 5th November, 1041, when a public meeting was held at 150a Elizabeth-street, Sydney, and its activities have been closely watched ever since and a shorthand note has been taken of all proceedings.

2.   It is understood that the executive of the movement consists of the following persons: - President - F. R. Stephenson; treasurer - W. F. Tinker; secretary - Mrs. C. S. Rice; committee - V. D. Parkinson, M. Corby, I. Mudie, and P. M. Walton.

3.   Yes, the manifestoes are being investigated.

4.   Appropriate action has been and will be taken to restrict or prohibit any of the activities of this organization or of any of its members which are deemed detrimental to national security.

This morning Senator Herbert Hays asked the Minister representing the Minister for Commerce -

In view of the fact that the Government has acquired the blue peas crop in Tasmania when will the first advance be made to growers;

On behalf of Senator Fraser I now supply the following information -

The question of payment of the first advance will be decided when the price of peas acquired has been decided by the Prices Commissioner.

The chairman of the Field Peas Board con suited with Professor Copland, in Canberra, on Wednesday, and when the price is fixed it will then be possible to arrive at the amount of compensation to be paid to growers and also the amount of the first advance.

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