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Thursday, 23 April 1936

Senator HARDY (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Has the attention of the Leader of the Senate been drawn to the press statement that 59 Japanese pearling schooners are operating in the territorial waters of northern Australia, and are being guarded by a Japanese destroyer? If so, has the Government taken any steps to ascertain whether it is correct or not?

Senator Sir GEORGEPEARCE.My attention was drawn to this statement at the time of its publication. In answer to press representatives who then interviewed me, I said that the Government had sources of information at all points in the north, and that no such report had been sent to it. The press report was in the nature of reports that are sometimes designated " mulga wireless ". No one seems to have been responsible for it. The Government is confident that it is not accurate. Had it been based on fact, the Government feels sure that prompt advice would have been received from one of its many reporting points in the north.

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