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Wednesday, 6 May 1942

Senator McLEAY (South AustraliaLeader of the Opposition) . - 1 take this opportunity to refer to a matter which I mentioned earlier to-day.. I have received a copy of a letter which has been sent to the Leader of the Senate (Senator Collings) from The Bulletin office, 252 George-street, Sydney. The letter, which was signed by representatives of all the departments of The Bulletin, reads as follows : -

We desire to bring the following facts to your notice and to request that you will read this letter to the Senate on a suitable early occasion in order that it may be incorporated in the public records of Parliament and in Hansard.

The signatories represent all departments of the staff of the Bulletin Newspaper Company Limited, 252 George-street, Sydney.

Our attention has been directed to the following question asked in the Senate on 29th and 30th April by Senator Lamp: - " Will the Minister issue instructions for all the Fascist houses in Australia to be searched for a secret Japanese wireless transmitting set? If so, will he commence with the premises at 44 Bradley's Headroad, Mosman, and The Bulletin office at 252 George-street, Sydney? "

We further have seen the report of an alleged interview with Senator Lamp which appeared in the Sydney Daily Telegraph of 2nd May, 1942, in the course of which the senator is alleged to have said - " Senator Ashley has promised me that he will send my question and facts I disclosed to him to the Acting AttorneyGeneral (Mr. Beasley) immediately. " As this indicates to me that the facts I possess will be investigated by the Attorney-General's Department I have decided not to carry the matter further in the Senate for the present."

If we felt that Senator Lamp's question was based on a sincere belief that he had facts that justified it, there would be no cause for complaint. But it is obvious that if the senator had any evidence that secret wireless stations were operating at either of the addresses which he mentioned, he would not have discussed the matter publicly in Parliament, but would have informed either the Military Intelligence Department or the Attorney-General's Department. Either of those agencies would assuredly have hastened to investigate so serious an allegation. To mention the matter in Parliament obviously would have been to warn the culprits and enable them to remove evidences of their guilt. Senator Lamp must have sufficient intelligence to appreciate this. We can, therefore, regard his question and subsequent statement only as spiteful slander, uttered under the protection of parliamentary privilege, from motives of malice and in the full knowledge that no evidence whatever existed of his untruthful accusations.

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