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Tuesday, 2 June 1942

The PRESIDENT - On the 17th May, 1042, an article appeared in the Sunday Telegraph newspaper, published in Sydney, entitled " Those Meddlesome Old Men of the Senate". The article contained a number of statements concerning the Senate and its members which could only be construed as a deliberate attempt by the newspaper in question to discredit the Senate in the opinion of the people, and to bring it into contempt. The article also contained offensive and scurrilous personal attacks on various members of the Senate, evidently written for the purpose of holding up honorable senators to ridicule and contempt. The Senate has ample power to defend itself against attack, and I am sure that I have the concurrence of honorable senators when I say that the Senate will not hesitate to use that power.

Honorable Senators. - Hear, hear !

The PRESIDENT - In the meantime, as custodian of the rights and privileges of the Senate, T called upon the editor in chief of the Daily Telegraph newspaper to publish in an issue of the Daily Telegraph and in the next issue of the Sunday Telegraph an apology in the following terms:- -

The proprietors and editors of the Daily Telegraph and the Sunday Telegraph hereby apologize for the publication of an article in the Sunday Telegraph of the 17th May, 1942, entitled "Those Meddlesome Old Men of the Senate". We express regret for the attacks made in the said article upon the standing and reputation of the Senate, and upon individual senators, as calculated to hold them up to contempt and ridicule, and we undertake to instruct our staff that such attacks must not bo repeated.

I informed the editor in chief that, until that apology was published, the representatives of the Daily Telegraph and the Sunday Telegraph would be refused certain privileges in Parliament House.

In reply to my communication, I received a telegram from the general manager of the Consolidated Press, requesting that, before action was taken by me, his organization should be given a hearing. I granted the desired interview to the general manager of the Consolidated Press, who made certain representations to me which were quite unacceptable, and he stated that the Daily Telegraph and the Sunday Telegraph would not publish an apology. I' have accordingly taken action to-day to carry out the alternative, and letters have been addressed to representatives of the newspapers in question, intimating that, until further notice, they will be excluded from the precincts of the Senate, including the press and public galleries, the lobbies, the Parliamentary Library, the King's Hall, and the refreshment-rooms. It is my intention that this exclusion shall remain until such time as the required apology is published. I lay upon the table of the Senate -

Correspondence between the President of the Senate and representatives of the Daily Telegraph and the Sunday Telegraph newspapers of Sydney; and also the Sunday Times newspaper of Perth.

Senator Ashley - You say, Mr. President, that you are sure that you have the concurrence of honorable senators. I want an explanation-

The PRESIDENT - Does the honorable senator wish to ask a question ?

Senator Ashley - I am asking for information. In your statement, you say that you believe that you have the concurrence of honorable senators.

Senator McLeay - Is the honorable senator in order in making a statement without the leave of the Senate?

The PRESIDENT - I understood that the Minister was about to ask a question regarding my statement.

Senator Ashley - I understood you to say that you believed that you had the concurrence of honorable senators, but I dissent from your decision.

The PRESIDENT - The honorable senator is out of order.

Senator Ashley - I do not concur in the decision that you have made. I consider the penalty too drastic.

The PRESIDENT - Order!

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