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Friday, 25 June 1915

Senator LYNCH (Western Australia) . - In connexion with the PostmasterGeneral's Department, an item of £270,900 is set down for telegraphs and telephones.- Although we have had the assurance of the Assistant Minister that the amount which we are called upon to vote only applies to works in course of construction, I would like to know whether that item indicates the attitude of the Government on the question of telephonic construction throughout the Commonwealth, because if it does, it is a very poor indication of what may be expected of them in that important regard.

We are not without rather unsatisfactory experience of the need of extending our telephones far and wide, particularly to those centres of population which, up to the present, have had no adequate means of communication. Of course, this schedule is a very bald production. An amount is set down for telephones and telegraphs, but no indication is given as to where the money is to be spent, and in what fashion. If the item indicates the policy of the Government in regard to telephonic and telegraphic extension, it is far from fitting in with, in my opinion, what they ought to do. In the press lately we had the cheering news conveyed to us that our credit in the Old Country, notwithstanding the terrible times that are now upon us, is very good. If, as has been stated in the press, our credit is unlimited, I think that the Government should take heed particularly of the need of having a very liberal provision made for extending its telephones to the back parts of Australia.

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