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Tuesday, 18 October 1949

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN - The Chair does not think so.

Mr HOLT - If the Minister for Information is permitted to interject, I am surely permitted to reply, and that is all that I have attempted to do. "What is the purpose of this bill? Is it to protect the public from unsightly hoardings on the countryside, as one or two honorable members opposite have naively suggested? The honorable member for Hindmarsh said that a man who was forced to listen to incessant radio propaganda did not want to see unsightly hoardings when driving around the countryside. Is any one in this chamber so ingenuous as to imagine that that is the Government's motive? Obviously it is not. The reason for this legislation is that the Government is prepared to use whatever power it possesses in whatever way it can conceive to defeat its political opponents and to retain its occupancy of the treasury bench, against the will of the people or otherwise. It has no other purpose than to frustrate the efforts of those who, deprived of the facilities of ministerial office, and of the opportunity that has been so readily availed of by honorable members opposite to use public funds for propaganda purposes, must employ any other means they can to make their message known to the country and to bring to the notice of the public the names and attributes of their candidates. It is only a short step from the repressive, unwarranted provisions of this legislation to the stage that was reached in Europe some years ago where people had only one party to vote for. If we, as a Parliament, accept this proposal we shall find that it is only the thin end of the wedge. It will not be very long before the people of Australia will not only be confined to posters of 60 square inches in area, but also will be confined to a choice of only one party - the social fascists who to-day occupy the Government benches in this Parliament.

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