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Wednesday, 22 August 1906

Mr JOHNSON (Lang) .- Now that the Treasurer is present, I desire to refer to a statement which was made by the Postmaster-General a few minutes ago. I understood him to say that he was anxious to give effect to some of the improvements which have been suggested by honorable members, but that the Treasurer was the "lion in the path." We all know that the right honorable member for Swan has very large ideas regarding expenditure when it affects Western Australia, but when it becomes a question of incurring expenditure in New South Wales there is a sudden tightening of the Commonwealth purse strings.

Sir John Forrest - No.

Mr JOHNSON - That is the case if we are to accept the statement of the PostmasterGeneral.

Sir John Forrest - What did he say ?

Mr JOHNSON - He said that he would be very happy to carry out some of the improvements suggested if he could only induce the Treasurer to loosen the purse strings. I wish the right honorable gentleman would display tq New South Wales a little of the liberality which characterizes his actions in regard to expenditure in Western Australia.

Sir John Forrest - Does Western Australia enjoy any advantage in connexion with these Estimates ?

Mr JOHNSON - In proportion to her population she has a very decided advantage. So far, we have not dealt with the proposed items of expenditure in Western Australia, and it is questionable whether we ought not to oppose some of those items unless the Treasurer consents to treat the other States a little more liberally.

Sir John Forrest - I shall be delighted.

Mr JOHNSON - The Treasurer assures us that he will be delighted, so now, apparently, there is no difficulty with him. The Postmaster-General and the Treasurer should confer and decide whether a little more liberality cannot be displayed by them in making provision for these necessary conveniences for the people residing in the outlying parts of New South Wales. I also hope that the Postmaster-General will be prepared to so extend the metropolitan radius as to include within it populous districts which are at present a short distance beyond it.

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