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Friday, 25 November 1910

Senator FINDLEY (Honorary Minister) (Victoria) . - Earlier in the day Senators Story, Keating, and Givens asked me, without notice, certain questions on the subject of wireless telegraphy, the answers to which were not available at the time. I promised, if possible, to get the information desired before the close of the sitting, and it has now been supplied. Senator Story asked -

Has the Postmaster-General received from the Attorney-General, South Australia, a request for the erection of wireless telegraph stations at Port Darwin and Timor, and, if so, it is his intention to take any action in the matter?

I have been supplied with the following answer to the question : -

No; but the Deputy Postmaster-General, South Australia, has forwarded a communication sent to him by the Minister controlling the Northern Territory, covering a communication from the

Government Resident, Palmerston, in which attention is directed to the question of providing telegraphic communication with Timor Dilli. The matter is now under consideration.

Senator Keating asked -

Whether the reported intended request of the Government to Admiral Henderson to advise as to the creation of wireless sites applies only to such sites as have already been decided upon or also to prospective sites in Bass Strait and other parts of the coast of the Commonwealth?

The answer to that question is -

To the whole question of wireless telegraphy as it affects Australia.

Senator Givens asked the following series of questions -

1.   Has the contract for the wireless telegraph station at Sydney yet been signed, and what time is stipulated for the completion of the contract ?

2.   Has the question of site for the wireless telegraph station at Fremantle yet been settled, and is any increase in the contract price involved in such settlement ?

3.   Is the Minister satisfied that no infringement of patent rights in Australia is involved in the adoption of the Telefunken system at the Sydney and Fremantle stations, and, if there is any infringement is the Minister satisfied that the Commonwealth is fully protected?

4.   What is the amount of the guarantee given for the due performance of the contract and the protection of the Commonwealth against infringement of patent?

The answers to these questions are as follow - 1. (a) The contract has not yet been signed ; (4) the time named in the accepted tender for the completion of the contract was 52 weeks from the acceptance; the date of acceptance was 4th April, 1910.

2.   A site for the wireless telegraph station at Fremantle has been decided upon. The effect upon the contract is now being considered by the Crown Law officers. 3. (a) The Postmaster-General is not in a position to offer an opinion on a question of Patent Law; (i) Clause is of the specification requires the contractor to indemnify the PostmasterGeneral against any claims for infringement of Patent Rights which may be made against him by reason of the use of the apparatus or plant provided by the contractor.

4.   The conditions of contract provide that if the contractor fails to complete the work the Postmaster-General may terminate the contract, and all sums of money due under the contract, together with all plant, &c, belonging to the contractor on the ground, and all penalties named in the contract shall be forfeited to the Postmaster-General. A penalty of £10 for each week or part of a week by which the completion of the contract is delayed, is provided for, and also a penalty of £500 for failure to proceed with and complete the work.

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