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Friday, 23 March 1928

Senator THOMAS (NEW SOUTH WALES) asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -

1.   Is it a fact that tenders have been received in London for the purchase of the Commonwealth Line of Steamers?

2.   Is it a fact that the Prime Minister has stated that it would cost a small fortune to have the full details of the offers cabled to Australia, and that before taking action he is awaiting communication by mail?

3.   Is it a fact that for want of traffic the beam wireless is idle for many hours- daily ?

4.   Is it the opinion of the Prime Minister that it is- business to permit, for the use of the beam wireless, such charges as to make it prohibitory for even the Federal Government to use it in connexion . withbig business transactions ?

5.   Is it the opinion of the Prime Minister that it is business to carry on negotiations by the slow and out-of-date methods of mail communication when it could be done by wireless?

Senator Sir GEORGEPEARCE.The Prime Minister has furnished the following replies: -

1.   Yes.

2.   The receipt of the tenders by mail is being awaited. Apart from the question of cost involved, the information which has been received by cable indicates that it is not practicable to communicate full particulars of the tenders by this method.

3.   I am not aware that this is the case.

4.   The charges for messages sent by beam wireless have been fixed after full consideration of all the conditions and are aslow as the existing circumstances justify.

5.   The Government takes the . fullest advantage of the wireless service, but this method of communication cannot entirely take the place of communication by mail.

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