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Wednesday, 6 December 1911

Senator CHATAWAY (Queensland) . - I wish to ask the Minister of Defence why the words " prior to the year 1883" are used in this clause? Their use will mean that telephones erected since 1883 cannot be acquired by the Government.

Senator Pearce - None have been erected.

Senator CHATAWAY - I know of one telephone line about 3 miles in length which was erected by private persons after 1883. I think it was erected about the year 1891, under an arrangement with the Department, by private owners at their own expense, and they control the line at the present time. It connects two residences with the general , telephone exchange of a certain town. So far as 'I know that line belongs to the people who erected it, and they can prevent any one else from using it. Why should we not say in this clause "prior to the year 1911"? That would make it quite clear that all privatelyerected lines under the old purchase telephone system in whatever part of Australia they may be, may be acquired by the Government. I think that if the Minister will look into the matter he will see that it would be better to leave out all mention of the year 1883.

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