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Wednesday, 12 October 1927

Senator THOMPSON (Queensland) . - The Minister representing the Postmaster-General claims with a good deal of justification that it is the policy of the department to extend mail and other services. I admit that it is doing good work, but something has just come under my notice which seems to indicate that a retrograde step is being taken. I quote the following from the WesternChampion of 1st October, 1927: -

We are advised that a trial is to be given from to-day (Saturday) in terminating the travelling post office van on the mail train at Jericho. Of course this will not interfere with the delivery of western mails.

The last sentence may be regarded as sarcasm, because if the T.P.O. or travelling post office does not go beyond Jericho very serious inconvenience will be caused, particularly in the direction of Longreach.

The CHAIRMAN (Senator Plain).I direct the honorable senator's attention to the fact that the proposed vote is for new works, not services.

Senator THOMPSON - With due deference to you, sir, I may say that honorable senators have been given some latitude, and as the subject of services has been introduced I thought that I might take this opportunity of asking the Minister to enquire into the matter which I have just brought under his notice.

Senator Sir WILLIAM GLASGOW - (Queensland - Minister for Defence) [9.17]. - I shall bring the point raised by Senator Thompson concerning the travelling post office van on the mail train to Jericho under the notice of the PostmasterGeneral. For the information of Senator Chapman I may say that it is the policy of the department to extend telephonic services throughout country districts. The number of country telephone services established during the last two or three years is exceptionally large. An officer of the department is now in America studying the latest automatic telephone appliances, and it is hoped within a few years to provide a continuous service in country centres by means of automatic equipment. The trouble of which Senator Andrew speaks is probably due to the fact that the telegraph wire as being used. Wherever the traffic justifies it the department is installing copper wire to improve the service.

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