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Wednesday, 1 September 1920

Mr WEST (EAST SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - As the only representative in this Parliament of the Pacific Islands, I draw the attention of the Prime Minister to the following statement which appeared in the press a few clays ago: -

The Solomon Islands traders have therefore, it is pointed out, a right to have their interests consulted by the Federal Parliament; and the allegation is that Parliament has been either misled or misinformed by the Prime Minister as to the necessity of the 20 per cent, increase in freights and fares on top of the abolition of the rebates. The Prime Minister, it is pointed out, certainly led Parliament to understand that the Controller of Shipping would be consulted in the matter of any increases in freights and fares made in the Pacific Islands service. The fact is that the Controller of Shipping has not been consulted in any shape or form.

Several letters have reached me from the islands in regard to the Pacific mail contract, and I ask the Prime Minister to say whether or not the allegation is true that he misled Parliament when he said that the .Shipping Controller had been consulted in regard to the contract made with the favoured firm of Burns, Philp, and Co.?

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