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Wednesday, 22 August 1906

Mr HENRY WILLIS (Robertson) . - It is only fair to the PostmasterGeneral that I should cite an instance in which the condenser system has failed. In the town of Wellington, in New South Wales, I may inform him it is a complete failure. I may also add that in country towns, situated a great distance from Sydney, where the condenser system is in operation, the Morse system of telegraphy has been injuriously affected. In view of my statement, I think that the PostmasterGeneral should call for a report from the officers of the Department upon this matter.

Mr Austin Chapman - I will.

Mr HENRY WILLIS - The honorable member for North Sydney has referred to the question of the proposed introduction of the toll system. Personally, I am of opinion that the large merchants who use the telephone should pay more for the ser vice which they receive, and1 that small users should pay less.

Mr Lonsdale - Is the honorable member a small user?

Mr HENRY WILLIS - Yes. I pay £9 a vear for my service. What I complain of is that, whilst many private individuals pay as much as I do, numerous business establishments do not pay any more, although they use the telephone all day long. If the Postmaster-General can make out a strong case in favour of the toll system I think that he should be supported. At any rate, the existing telephonic system is not satisfactory. There is a good deal of force in the statement of the honorable member for Parramatta that the proposed vote could be better spent in making our telephone system more effective. If that were done, a large sum might be saved in the expense of working it. I can only speak of my own personal experience in connexion with this matter. I may tell honorable members that I frequently waste an hour at the telephone, and go away unsatisfied. If I lived closer to the General Post Office I would not be bothered with the instrument at all. For years I endeavoured to do without it, because I knew what a nuisance it was. I hold that it is the duty of the PostmasterGeneral to endeavour to provide us with a more satisfactory system.

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