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Wednesday, 30 June 1937

Senator A J McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) (Postmaster-General) . - I listened with interest to the observations of Senator Cooper on the first reading of this bill. He dealt with two matters, one of which I shall have to consider carefully. Tenders are called from time to time for the mail contracts to which he has referred to-day. It is true that a much, higher price is paid for the conveyance of mail matter now than some years ago, when this service was regarded merely as an adjunct to another business. The honorable senator has suggested that, because of the profits of the post office, extra money should be made available to provide services in the country, which would represent a loss to the department. The Post Office Act does not allow, and I am sure the Treasury would not permit, such an interesting method of bookkeeping to prevail in the department. It may sound harsh to those who know that money has been saved by the department, but we have to look at these matters hi the light of the law, the practice of the Treasury, and the opinions of the Auditor-General. I cannot hold out hope of the honorable senator's suggestion being complied with.

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