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Wednesday, 23 September 1936

Senator LECKIE (Victoria) .- I find it difficult to reconcile the explanation of the Postmaster-General (Senator A. J. McLachlan) with the single provision in the bill to appropriate £600,000 for telephone exchange services. Notwithstanding the Minister's observations I have not a clear understanding of the measure. I trust that, in his reply, he will give more precise information. I also suggest that some honorable senators who spoke this afternoon are somewhat behind in their advocacy of public works. I hoard Senator J. V. MacDonald complain about lack of telephone facilities at Rockhampton; other honorable senators spoke about the needs of comparatively small towns in their States. Their grievances may be well grounded; but I remind them that Melbourne, the capital of Victoria, with over 1,000,000 people, has not yet the advantage of an automatic telephone exchange for the centre of the city, where a great proportion of the business is done. I hope that the Minister will be able to assure me that some proportion of the £600,000 to be appropriated under this bill will be set aside for improving the telephone facilities in the city of Melbourne.

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