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Wednesday, 23 July 1930

Senator Sir GEORGE :PEARCE (Western Australia) [3.1]. - by leave - Honorable senators will have noticed in the press a report of certain evidence given by Mr. Percy Deane in reference to free admission to theatres having been availed of by the late Prime Minister, Mr. Bruce, and Ministers of the late Government. That report was cabled to Mr. Bruce, and he has sent the following reply : -

Referring your cable 1 8th, on no occasion did I request or authorize any one on my behalf to request Tait or any other theatrical producer to provide me with free seats. On assumption of office Prime Minister, I understood that it had been the practice of all theatres, as an act courtesy, place boxes at the disposal of Prime Minister whenever he visited theatre. This practice I acquiesced (in) although I did. not like it as it appeared me that it would be churlish to decline what I imagined was designed as a compliment to the high office which for time I held. As a result the practice led to my visiting the theatre very limited number of times, many of them being gala performances national event when presence Prime Minister essential. On many occasions I refrained (from) attending the theatre owing to the embarrassment which arose if I met any of the management which might lead to necessity of refusing what we believed was a courtesy designed by the management to do honour to the Prime Minister by insisting 1 should occupy a box when desire was to spend quiet evening in an ordinary seat as an ordinary citizen. If you consider necessary or desirable you might give publicity to the above.


With other Ministers of the late Government I associate myself with that statement. It is many years since I have accepted a free invitation to any theatre in Australia, and the only occasions on which 1 have done so have been when invitations have been issued to Ministers to attend gala performances such as the one which was given on the occasion of the visit of Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of York. On that occasion members of the Commonwealth Government were invited to attend, and I did so in company with other Ministers. But I have made it a rule to pay for my tickets for other performances. On no occasion have I asked Mr. Deane to introduce me to Mr. Tait or provide me with free passes ; and I am sure that that is the case with all members of the late Government.

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