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Wednesday, 22 August 1906

Mr HENRY WILLIS (Robertson) . - I agree with the honorable member for Parramatta that the telephone service requires improvement in the "direction indicated. At present it is not even private. The other day, when waiting for a call, I heard a subscriber say, " Will you speak to So-and-So, Member of the House of Representatives," and if I had taken the trouble I could have heard the whole message. Therefore, I hope that, if it can be done, the Minister will divert some of the votes to extending the metallic circuit. At the present- time our telephone system is- most unsatisfactory, and is certainly not cheap. Some time ago I drew attention to the unsatisfactory service given by the bureaux telephones. Since then the bureaux system has been almost perfect. If one wishes to be connected with expedition during a busy time like Saturday morning, for example, one can always get communication through a bureau, and if a mistake is made, the Department will refund three penny stamps. I should like to know, however, why the charge for a conversation has not been reduced from 3d. to id.

Mr Austin Chapman - It will shortly be reduced.

Mr HENRY WILLIS - I shall be glad to learn of the reduction. I draw the honorable gentleman's attention to the fact that the condenser system is a failure, and ask him what he intends to do in regard to it. My own experience in two or three instances shows it to be wholly unsatisfactory, and the officers of the Department have confirmed my opinion. That being so, the Postmaster-General should inquire into the matter, and, if the system cannot be im proved, see that no more money is wasted on it.

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