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Thursday, 22 October 1931

Mr JAMES (Hunter) .- Judging by the Minister's reply to the honorable member for Martin (Mr. Eldridge), one would imagine that the Director of Posts and Telegraphs had accomplished much; but the postal services have never been in a more deplorable condition than at the present time. Throughout Australia, post offices have been closed. In my electorate, at one time, they were being shut up at the rate of about four a week. When applications are made for telephone facilities for a town, the residents are required to guarantee a certain revenue, and if it is not forthcoming, they are obliged to make up the shortage. I. have repeatedly referred to the need for better facilities in Cardiff in my electorate, which has a population of over 4,000, and still has only an allowance post office. The 48 telephone subscribers are attached to three different exchanges. It seems to me that the Government is willing to grant postal facilities to members who hold doubtful seats, such as Calare. Apparently the electors of Hume must be given a sop for fear of Hardy, who threatens to lead the honorable member for Hume (Mr. Parker Moloney) to his political doom. I can foreshadow a scene in his electorate which will be a reproduction of the happening on board the Victory, at Trafalgar, when we shall again hear repeated, as the Minister expires politically, the historical words, " Kiss me Hardy, I am done." Better facilities could have been made available than have been provided by the administration since the present Government has been in power. It does not appear as though the department is desirous of catering for the needs of the people or of encouraging the flow of revenue to the Treasury. Although all postal matter is stamped with the injunction, "Do it by 'phone ", in numerous cases persons who have made application for telephonic installations have been advised that this facility cannot be made available to them, unless they defray a certain portion of the cost. I have urged the extension of many postal facilities, but have never been able to obtain satisfaction. I hope that before the Postmaster-General (Mr. A. Green) again boasts of what the department has done he will be in a position to produce proofs of the provision of additional facilities instead of the curtailment of those that are already provided.

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