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Wednesday, 22 August 1906

Mr KELLY (Wentworth) . - I am rather disappointed with the explanation of the Postmaster-General. It now appears that the Commonwealth is about to enter upon a career as a speculator in copper. Lastyear certain sums were voted to enable this work to be undertaken, but, because the officers of the Department deemed that the price of copper was too high, it was not proceeded with. What guarantee is there that this year the price of copper will not be higher still ? What qualifications does the Postal Department possess to justify it in speculating in copper?

Mr Austin Chapman - We did not have the money available.

Mr KELLY - The necessary amount could have been taken from the Treasurer's Advance Account. Sums amounting to as much as £40,000 have been taken from that account in connexion with a single item. Does my honorable friend recognise that probably the officers of his Department are not the proper judges of the copper market. I trust that reasons of this kind will not in future weigh with the Department.

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