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Thursday, 1 July 1920

Mr HUGHES - I gave what I thought was a considered reply to the question referred to at the time it was made. I have not the answer I then gave before me now, but I think I said there were six of our line of shipping on coastal work, and that I had given instructions that one of the Austral liners was to pick up coastal cargo as soon as she touched Australia. I also said that I would cable, with a view to obtaining information as to the price of tonnage which could be made available for coastal work, and submit it to the House. I have received a reply to the effect that the tonnage offered is not suitable, and it is, in my opinion, very dear. 'But I will submit the matter to the House, and honorable members can express their own opinions about it. I have been reminded by my staff that since I made this promise on the 15th May, 78,000 tons of coastal cargo has been carried by the Commonwealth line. I will supply the House with the other information as soon as I can get it from the official papers.

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