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Wednesday, 17 June 1914

Senator MAUGHAN (Queensland) . - I regret that owing to being a new member I am not altogether familiar with the history of this national movement to afford not only better means of communication between Tasmania and the mainland, but also greater and more reasonable inter-communication between the various States. We who come from Queensland know that this is not an unfamiliar cry up there. For years many of the industries of our State have been curtailed by the operations of the Shipping Combine. I should like Tasmanian senators to understand that theirs is not the only State affected by the great curse of shipping monopoly. It operates throughout the whole of Australia with very serious results. It was for this reason that the Labour party resolved in convention some years ago, after serious discussion, to attempt to put an end to this state of things by establishing a Commonwealth -owned line of steamers. That appears to be the only solution of the difficulty.

Senator Oakes - People who wish to travel in a State-owned concern between Sydney and Brisbane have to pay £6 each. They can travel for far less in a privately-owned concern.

Senator MAUGHAN - The honorable senator is referring to the State-owned railways, but two wrongs do not make a right. While, of course, Victoria and Tasmania are closely associated in trade and shipping matters, Queeusland also is very much interested in the question. Hundreds of tourists are only too delighted every year to take the opportunity to leave Queensland for Tasmania, and the great majority of them go there to spend money. At the same time they naturally object to paying extortionate fares for so short a journey. For many years the Tasmanian trip has been the subject of much discussion in Queensland. The class of steamers provided is entirely out of touch with modern requirements. In the year that the Government have been in office they might have given the people of Tasmania a good deal more consideration, both from a passenger traffic and freight traffic point of view, than they have done.

Senator O'Keefe - Our producers are crippled in regard to inter-State trade.

Senator MAUGHAN - In many parts of Queensland the same cry is raised, the producers having been crippled by the exactions of big shipping interests and combines. In the Age of May 30th, 1914, appeared the following tabular statement, affording a comparison between rates then existing and the new rates to operate from the following Monday : -


I venture to say that such passenger fares for so short a distance cannot be beaten in any part of the world.

Senator NEWLANDS (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - How long does it take from Melbourne to Cairns?

Senator MAUGHAN - I suppose about a week.


Nothing has been decided regarding an increase ineither fares or freights to Launceston or Hobart, but it is probable that the rates to these ports will bc also advanced in the near future.

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