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Wednesday, 31 October 1956

Mr WHEELER (MITCHELL, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I seek the advice of the Prime Minister by way of a question relating to the anouncement made by the Postmaster-General at the beginning of this month that the proposed introduction ot shared telephones in the cities and suburbs of Australia would be placed before the Cabinet for decision. As this may be the final week of the present sessional period. I ask the right honorable gentleman whether Cabinet has considered this matter If so, may the House be informed whether any decision has been reached? If the subject has not been considered, is it likely to come up for consideration while the Parliament is in recess? If it does, and if the Government considers that it should accept the recommendations of the PostmasterGeneral's Department, will the Prime Minister supply interested private members with details of the economics of the scheme before it is put into effect? Finally, will the right honorable gentleman give some thought to the proposition that the Public Accounts Committee should be asked to investigate, under the terms of paragraph (d) of section 8 of the Public Account;. Committee Act, the advantages likely to result from separating the telephone branch from the other services of the department and giving it financial autonomy?

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