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Thursday, 5 July 1906

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - May we take it that the usual course will be followed in regard to this contract, and that it will be concluded only tentatively pending the approval of Parliament?

Mr Deakin - That is one of the conditions.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - As the Postmaster-General seems strangely reluctant to name the amount of the deposit--

Mr Deakin - It is named in the tenders.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Then why is there this reluctance?

Mr Deakin - The public know it. Information of that kind is being published every day.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Then why does the Postmaster-General refuse to answer my question ? In doing so he is guilty of an act of discourtesy at least. The information for which I ask is not in my possession, but if it is in the possession of the public, why should the honorable gentleman refuse to give it to me? If he will not name the amount - though I cannot understand why he should not do so - will he say what percentage of the amount of the tender is required to be deposited, and whether the condition of the tender has in that respect been complied with by the tenderers ?

Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN - If the honorable member will look at the terms of the tenders, with a copy of which I shall be glad to furnish him, he will see that the deposit of . £2,500 is required under certain conditions, the deposit of £25.000 under other conditions, and the deposit of a second £25,000 under still further conditions.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Have any of the deposits been lodged, and, if so, which ?

Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN - The information will be given to the House in a general statement at the earliest possible moment.

Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Can the PostmasterGeneral say whether the Peninsular and Oriental and Orient Companies are parties to this " practically concluded " contract ?

Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN - I ask the honorable and learned member to possess his soulin patience a little longer. We shall be pleased to give the fullest information as soon as possible.

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