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Wednesday, 3 June 1970

Mr CHARLES JONES (NEWCASTLE, VICTORIA) - I ask the Prime Minister: Did the Leader of the Opposition and the Minister for External Affairs have the use of a Royal Australian Air Force VIP aircraft on their recent visits to New Guinea and Indonesia respectively? Did these men extend open invitations to Press organisations to send their representatives with them? Can he say why he changed this procedure on his recent visit to Japan, when he issued non-transferable invitations to certain selected journalists? Can he say why journalists on these flights were carried free of charge and not, as in the past charged the equivalent of commercial first class rates for a flight, which is also the practice when journalists accompany the President of the United States of America on VIP aircraft provided by him for journalists to accompany him? Is he aware that responsible members of the Press gallery are genuinely concerned with this change in policy and in particular with his action in extending nontransferable invitations to selected journalists as they believe it may compromise some members into believing that if they write the truth they will not be invited to accompany him again on trips?

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