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Wednesday, 5 October 1910
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The CHAIRMAN - I remind the honorable senator that the railway services have nothing to do with the question before the Committee.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - I am perfectly well aware of that, sir, but I submit that I have a perfect right, so long as I do not go into details, to draw a parallel between the railway and telephone services. The complaint has sometimes been made that our railway services are conducted in order to make a profit, and not, as was intended, to open up the country. I say that the telephone service should not be conducted in order to make a profit, but to afford the public the greatest possible facilities for the transaction of business. The railway and telephone services, as institutions conducted by Government, should be managed on similar principles. We are told that if the telephone service was handed over to private people, they would expect to make a profit out of it, whereas the Government do not need to look for a profit from the conduct of the service. Senator Chataway alluded to the rent that is being charged in certain cases. I must admit that I was surprised to hear that any regulation of the kind referred to was in force. From information I have since obtained, I understand the explanation is a very simple one, as it applies only where people require a special line that would cost the Department £40 or £50. It is only reasonable that in such cases the subscriber should be asked to indemnify the Department for the expense involved.

Senator Needham - It is now half-past jo o'clock, and the honorable senator may sit down.

Senator McGregor - Time.

The CHAIRMAN - Order. I ask honorable senators not to interject.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - lt is a deliberate insult to an honorable senator speaking in this chamber that honorable senators should interject in such a way as to suggest that he is not speaking with an honest intention and purpose.

Senator Needham - Who insulted the honorable senator?

Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - The interjection of an honorable senator was an insult.

Senator Needham - I rise to a point of order. I desire to know if Senator Gould is in order in saying that I deliberately insulted him?

The CHAIRMAN - I did not hear the honorable senator say that.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - I said that it was insulting for an honorable senator to suggest, by interjection, that I was not speaking with an honest intention.

Senator Needham - The honorable senator said that I had deliberately insulted him.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD .- I did not. There are other honorable senators in the chamber. I understand that if a man desires a telephone line to be erected to his residence, which may be 3 or 4 miles distant from an exchange, he is compelled to pay the cost of that line. I recognise the reasonableness of such a provision.

Senator Needham - It is two minutes after half-past 10 o'clock.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - Will that noisy little man hold his tongue. The Government have no right to complain of attention having been called to this matter. It is only, natural that honorable senators who have some knowledge of the working of the telephone should feel themselves justified in saying a few words upon this subject, even though by so doing they risk incurring the displeasure of the Government. I hope that in future the Ministry will not exhibit quite so much touchiness upon matters as they have this evening.

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