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Thursday, 5 October 1911

Senator McCOLL (Victoria) .- I had no idea that the consideration of this motion would have taken so long. It has opened up a very interesting discussion. I do not propose to notice the splenetic and somewhat venomous remarks of the Minister of Defence in regard to myself, except to say that I think that they degraded himself and the Government. I had no idea of attacking the PostmasterGeneral or the Government, and I think that I shall prove that before I resume my seat to the satisfaction of any fair-minded man. It has been said that I have been silent for years under this system, but as a matter of fact I was not aware that it was carried on until a few weeks ago.

The PRESIDENT - Order! I would point out to the honorable senator that he must now speak to the amendment, and that after it has been disposed of he will have the right to reply to anything which the Minister of Defence may have said on the motion itself.

Senator McCOLL - I cannot accept the amendment, because it not- only departs altogether from the spirit of the motion, but also passes a reflection on previous Governments which they do not deserve. I am quite prepared, in deference to the general wish, to modify the motion so as to make it read -

That, in the opinion of the Senate, the policy of the Postal Department in compelling country residents to give a financial contribution for carrying the mails should be reconsidered, with a view to its discontinuance.

I am quite prepared to make that alteration if permitted, in order that the motion may not appear to be so drastic, as some honorable senators suggest it is. I may say that I carefully framed the motion with a view that it should not be offensive. I did not intend it to be offensive in any way. The amendment is not only a reversal of the motion, but it requires the Department to continue an objectionable system.

Amendment agreed to.

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