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Wednesday, 23 September 1936

Senator A J McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) (Postmaster-General) . - in reply - I give Senator J . V. MacDonald an assurance that his observations concerning the re-constitution of the Public Works and Public Accounts Committees will be brought under the notice of the Prime Minister, and I have no doubt that they will have the attention which they deserve. But I remind the honorable gentleman that discussion of his proposal is outside the scope of the bill, which appropriates loan moneys for certain specific purposes. However, not one item in this bill would have been referred to the Public Works Committee had that body been in existence. As honorable senators will remember, only works costing £25,000 or over were referred to that committee. In my second-reading speech I mentioned thatprovision for telephone exchange services for the current year would absorb £1,502,850, and that, of this amount, it was proposed to appropriate £600,000 from loan. The balance of the expenditure will be from revenue. The item, " telephone exchange services " covers all new works expenditure associated with telephone exchanges, exchange equipment, cables, conduits and aerial wires for local exchange services, subscribers' instruments, private branch exchanges and public telephones. Under this heading it is not competent for honorable senators to discuss either post offices, telephone exchanges or buildings; but I may say, for the information of Senator J. V. MacDonald, that plans are being drawn for the proposed building at Rockhampton. Provision for the post office at South Brisbane is not contained in this bill. It will be dealt with elsewhere. I remind Senator Allan MacDonald that this bill does not deal with trunk line services, broadcasting or buildings. Provision for such services will be contained in the works appropriation bill to come before the Senate shortly. It will interest Senator Leckie to know that the requirements of Melbourne have not been overlooked. I have before me, in broad outline, the expenditure proposals for that city.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

In committee :

Clause 1 agreed to.

Clause2 (lssue and application of £600,000).

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