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Thursday, 26 August 1920

Mr RYAN (West Sydney) .- I am not prepared to agree to the question as amended, and I now move -

That the following words be added : - " and is of opinion that no money should be expended from the Consolidated Revenue Fund under authority of statutory rule 119 of 1920 amending the War Precautions Shipping Regulations of 1918, which was laid upon the table of the House on the 5th August, 1920.

Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Treasurer) - On a point of order, I submit that the honorable member cannot intervene with a proposal of that kind. In the first place it has no relevancy to the question now before the House. In the second place the honorable member has a specific motion on the notice-paper relating to this very matter.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - The amendment is not in order.

Mr RYAN - I am very sorry, sir, that you should have ruled my amendment out of order, and I am surprised that the Treasurer (Sir Joseph Cook), should have endeavoured to get it ruled out of order.

Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Treasurer) - I remind the honorable member that it is half-past 11 o'clock.

Mr RYAN - I remind the honorable gentleman that he may move to "gag " me if he likes.

Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Treasurer) - I do not wish to do so.

Mr RYAN - It is quite within the honorable gentleman's right to move that I be no further heard. I am surprised that the honorable gentleman, who is in a position to give information on the question I have raised, has not taken advantage of the opportunity to do so. I understand from the ruling, which I do not wish to dissent from, that I am confined to dealing with postal matters.

Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Treasurer) - I hope the honorable member will believe that I am here to do just what he thinks I ought to do. I hope that will be clearly understood.

Mr RYAN - I clearly understand that, and I hope the right honorable gentleman will carry out any wishes I express. The motion now before honorable members deals with the granting of postal facilities in country districts. I think that telephone facilities in the cities have also been very much neglected, and there should be something in the motion which will convey to the Postmaster-General and the Government the desire of honorable members that telephonic communication in the cities should also be improved.

Mr Prowse - The honorable member thinks of that very late in the evening.

Mr RYAN - No, I have waited until the proper time.

Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Treasurer) - May I make an appeal to the honorable member?

Mr RYAN - The matter will not take very long to decide. I think that honorable members should take the opportunity to convey to the Treasurer, and also to the Postmaster-General, that we desire that telephone facilities in the cities should be improved.

Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Treasurer) - The honorable member is punishing the House at this time of the night.

Mr RYAN - I am not punishing the House. I tell the honorable gentleman that this matter will only take a few minutes.

Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Treasurer) - There are not a few minutes to spare. Honorable members cannot catch their trains now.

Mr RYAN - If the right honorable gentleman will give me an assurance that the matter I refer to will be attended to, and will accept an amendment, I have no wish to further delay the House.

Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Treasurer) - What matter?

Mr RYAN - The matter of the improvement of telephonic communication in the cities. We know that there are at least 10,000 telephones short in the cities. I know that there are firms in Sydney that have telephone instruments, but the Postmaster-General's Department is not taking advantage of the opportunity to purchase them.

Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Treasurer) - Now that the honorable member has played his little part he wants to get back to the city. He never said a word about the city all night.

Mr RYAN - No, because I wished the discussion to be confined to the one subject.

Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Treasurer) - Why? Because the honorable member wished to leave the birdlime alone.

Mr RYAN - The party on this side stands for the interests of the producers and the consumers. It stands not only for country but for city interests. The motion, as it now stands, approves of the

Postmaster-General further extending facilities in the country districts, and I move -

That the following words be added: - "and expresses the hope that he will take steps-

Motion (by Sir Joseph Cook) proposed -

That the question be now put.

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