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Wednesday, 17 December 1941

Senator ASHLEY (New South Wales) (Minister for Information) . - With reference to the questions asked by Senator Darcey earlier to-day, I wish to state that I agree entirely with the answer given. I do not think it advisable that any more restrictions should be placed on the press than are necessary. The Department of Information is concerned only with the security of the nation. It is our task to prevent the dissemination of any information which may be of value to the enemy.

With regard to the matter raised by Senator Foll, I think that it would only lead to confusion if I were to instruct the press of this country how they could assist by giving advice in regard to air raids. However, I draw the honorable senator's attention to the fact that the Department of Information has inaugurated a radio session to give general information to the public at 12.30, 1.30 and 7.10p.m. daily. This session wall be continued after Parliament has adjourned. The object is to contradict the many rumours which are so damaging to public morale. At a later date, when Parliament is not in session, instructions may be given to supply information along the lines suggested by Senator Foll. It is not the intention of the department to issue any instructions to the press.

Senator Foll - I was not referring to editorials, but to the fact that people write to the newspapers giving advice as to what to do in air raids, much of which is of a contradictory nature.

Senator ASHLEY - I have no intention of giving instructions to the press as to what advice should be given to the people, but I shall give consideration to the question of having simple authoritative suggestions broadcast.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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