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Thursday, 26 July 1906

Mr GLYNN (Angas) .- I regret to say that I cannot support the amendment. I think that the fact that this is a purely postal contract to a great extent meets the arguments that have been advanced in favour of extending the service to Brisbane. It would not be fair to debit the Postal Department with any excess charged 'in respect of the extended service, and. so far as I know, there is no other Department in the Commonwealth which could be expected to provide the money The Question as to whether the proposed new steamers will proceed to -Queensland' should depend entirely upon the trading inducements offered to them. To the extent to which that element ceased to operate* we should be subsidizing the trade of that State. If we were once to affirm the principle of subsidizing trade it would be very- hard to fix a limit to its application. We might be called upon to insist upon the mail steamers making a circuit of Australia. We should have to push the principle to its logical conclusion. It would be very dangerous for us to establish a principle, the application of which we cannot definitely limit. It would be perfectly open to Queensland to offer the contractors an inducement, such as was held out to the Orient Steam Navigation Company, in the form of an additional subsidy. If that course were adopted, and anything went wrong with the postal contract, no moral responsibility - I do not say anything as to the legal aspect of the matter - would rest upon the Commonwealth. If we were to include in the contract provisions dealing with something entirely foreign to the carriage of mails, the contractors might ask us to overlook any shortcomings on their part in connexion with . delayed delivery. We should not place ourselves in that position by imposing conditions somewhat incongruous in a mail contract. I am not quite sure whether any estimate' has been made as to the additional expense that would be involved under the proposal contained in the amendment.

Mr Austin Chapman - It was estimated that if the mail steamers were not to go beyond Adelaide we should require to add another £100,000 or £1.20,000 to the subsidy. The extension of the service from Sydney to Brisbane would cost an additional £26,000.

Mr GLYNN - Then the amendment would involve a considerable addition to the cost of the service, which, although incurred in order to meet the requirements nf one State, would have to be borne by the whole of the Commonwealth. The State itself should determine whether it is desirable that the mail steamers should go beyond the terminal port at which the mails are to be delivered. If it decides that question in the affirmative it should alone pav the piper.

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