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Thursday, 26 November 1936

Senator COLLINGS (Queensland) .- Under division 111 the amount of £25,000 is provided for " overseas trade publicity ". I desire to know what oversight is exercised in connexion with such publicity. I believe in publicity, but there should be some intelligent oversight of the published matter. Recently a friend of mine had a trip on that British wonder ship, the Queen Mary, on which is printed a newspaper called the Ocean Times. In the issue of that publication of the 15th August last this item of Australian news appeared under the heading "Bats" -

A Pied Piper is being sought by the Sydney municipal authorities to deal with the vast horde of rats which is menacing the city. According to Dr. Purdy, the City Health Officer, these rats equal in number Sydney's 1,300,000 human population. Each year the rats in the metropolitan area of Sydney destroy food and goods worth £1,335,000, he reported to the City Council Health Committee. It was impossible to destroy them, he said, because of their remarkable fecundity.

All methods of poisoning, trapping, and vat-proofing had been unsuccessful. The committee, however, decided to recommend the reintroduction of rat extermination, block by block, in the hope of minimizing the d:i mage. - Reuter.

Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE - We do not pay for that kind of publicity.

Senator COLLINGS - Some supervision should be exercised over overseas publicity. The crowded tourists from every country in the world on that wonder ship would gain, from that paragraph, a wonderful impression of the capital city of the great State of New South Wales.

Senator Sir GEORGEPEARCE (Westtern Australia - Minister for External Affairs) [11.9]. - I was rubbing my eyes when the honorable senator was speaking; I was inclined also to close my ears. The honorable gentleman is asking us to exercise a censorship of the press ! I can quite imagine the screams of rage that would follow any attempt to interfere with the freedom of the press. That paragraph is not Commonwealth publicity ; it was sent out by our friends of the press. That is their idea of what constitutes important news for the rest of the world to read.

Senator Arkins - Dr. Purdy was dead, before the Queen Mary was launched.

Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE - In 1926 the Commonwealth Government, in conjunction with the Statutory Boards controlling the exports of dried fruits, canned fruits, and dairy produce, established in London an organization for the purpose of advertising those products throughout the United Kingdom. Subsequently voluntary organizations, interested in the export of eggs and fresh fruits, identified themselves with the scheme. The control of the organization is vested in the publicity committee, of which Mr. A. F. Bell is chairman, and the publicity activities in the United Kingdom are carried out under the direction of Mr. A. E. Hyland, Director of Australian Trade Publicity.

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