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Wednesday, 18 February 1959

Mr MENZIES - I am delighted to know that the honorable member, who has not had the opportunity to read " Borstal Boy ", should be so well acquainted with the book. I have had an opportunity of looking at this book, but I am not the censor, nor am I in charge of censorship. I must say, with regard to this book in particular, that it seemed to me to be almost a collection of what the Italians call " graffiti " - that is to say, things written on walls in certain places by adolescents. I hope that the honorable member understands me: I am sure that he does.

Mr Haylen - Is the right honorable gentleman referring to " Lolita "?

Mr MENZIES - No, I have not heard of the lady.

Mr Haylen - The right honorable gentleman will.

Mr MENZIES - I have not heard of the lady, but I have seen the other book, and I would think that the author was probably justifiably incarcerated in Borstal. A matter of this kind is dealt with by a board selected for its literary judgment and capacity, and I understand - I will check up on it - that the board has recommended that this book be not admitted to Australia. I understand also that it has not been admitted into Ireland which, no doubt, is one of the countries that the honorable member had in mind when he referred to backward republics.

As for the other book, I know nothing about it. I sympathize with the honorable member's desire to study banned books, and I will put in a word for him with the Minister. I think I might be able to arrange for him to see it.

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