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Wednesday, 22 August 1906

Mr CAMERON (Wilmot) .- Honorable members appear to have overlooked one fact, which has rather an important bearing upon this vote. Tasmania at the present time is connected with the mainland by cable, but we all know that cables, owing to the action of the waves, and the presence of rocks, are liable to chafe and part. Some years ago the cable between Low Head and Tasmania was cut by rocks, and some months elapsed before communication could be restored. The Marconi system at the present moment is installed between Queenscliff and Devonport. The expenditure in connexion with it is not considerable. It seems to me that it is better that it should remain as it is, even if it is not used, because no man can tell at what moment the cable may be cut. Even supposing the installation' of the Marconi system between Tasmania and the mainland cost £1,000 or £1,500, the interest on that expenditure is comparatively small ; and I am quite sure that even the cable company would be pleased to have a system in operation which would enable communication with Tasmania to be restored immediately, in the event of the cable communication being temporarily impaired. The proposal of the Postmaster-General is, under the circumstances, extremely reasonable. Had it been to erect an expensive system at once, I do not know that, with my views on economy, I should have supported it; but, seeing that the system has been erected, it would be suicidal, for the sake of £1,000 or £' >500j to block the policy of the PostmasterGeneral.

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