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Thursday, 11 July 1946

Mr CONELAN (Griffith) .- The statement just made by the Leader of the Australian Country party (Mr. Fadden) is not correct. He said that the Government was subsidizing Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Limited, whereas in fact the payment of £37,950 which he mentioned was made in respect of services rendered by the company to the Commonwealth. Those services have proved so valuable that for the information of the people of Australia I shall detail them. The company provided a coastal radio watching service which spent more than 1,000,000 manhours listening, during which 500 distress calls from ships were dealt with. Special services provided were for the exchange of naval messages to ships at sea, and the transmission of free weather messages and time signals to ship-wrecked personnel in life boats and the Australian army in forward areas. A special coast watching service for observing enemy movements enabled vital information to be supplied regarding Japanese warships prior to the Coral Sea battle, and also the approach of enemy aircraft in New Guinea and at Darwin.

Mr Archie Cameron - I rise to order. The honorable member for Griffith is reading from documents. I ask that those documents be tabled.

The CHAIRMAN - So far as the Chair is aware, the honorable member for Griffith is reading from notes.

Mr CONELAN - Every Australian realizes that the Coral Sea battle was the turning point of the Pacific war. But for the enterprise of Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Limited in rendering those services to the Government probably we would not be here to-day, and honorable members opposite would not have the opportunity to take advantage of the broadcasting of this debate in order to make party political capital. Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Limited ako. provided at Port Moresby a service for the outposts of the Army and for the Royal Australian Navy to Canberra. A station was established at general headquarters at Port Moresby. Later, this station was removed to Hollandia and, subsequently, to Leyte and was used for transmission to Australia of press messages which totalled 7,050,000 words. The service was provided for the people" of Australia at a cost of £38,000. The Commonwealth Government has not paid any subsidies to the company.

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