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Friday, 25 November 1910

Senator GIVENS (Queensland) . - If we wished to take extreme measures, we might discuss these Estimates until the information is forthcoming. I handed written questions to the Minister immediately the Senate met this morning.

Senator Findley - And I put the matter in hand immediately I received the questions.

Senator GIVENS - I am not blaming the Minister, but when it was known that this Department would come under review to-day, the departmental officials should have been prepared to have gone out of their way to supply the information asked for. It appears to me that, on the contrary, they have decided that we are not to have the information. I am in possession of certain private information which I should like to have been able to use in conjunction with that for which I have asked. It occurs to me that it is possible that the departmental authorities thought that by withholding the information a discussion of the subject might be avoided altogether. I feel very much tempted to discuss the question at much greater length because of their failure to supply the information than I should otherwise have done, but I recognise that in the position in which the Government find themselves it would scarcely be fair to push matters to extremes. I should like to make a reference to the Vancouver mail service. When the proposed new contract was first mooted, I wrote a letter to the Postmaster-General pointing out that any proposal to cut out Brisbane as a port of call, as was originally suggested, would be manifestly unfair. The Vancouver mail service was called into existence by the States of Queensland and New South Wales.

Senator Guthrie - Mostly New South Wales.

Senator GIVENS - It was not mostly by New South Wales. Queensland paid her full share of the subsidy given. An invitation was extended to the Governments of the other States to join , in the service, and they absolutely refused to do so. Now, after the service has been established, and has been running for a considerable time, they want to cut out one of the original States responsible for its establishment in the first instance.

Senator McGregor - What does the honorable senator want?

Senator GIVENS - The subject is one which should be ventilated, and, as a representative of Queensland, I owe no apology to any one for referring to it. I have said that the other States desire to cut out one of the States responsible for establishing this sendee.

Senator McGregor - Who told the honorable senator that?

Senator GIVENS - It is a matter of common knowledge. I wish to protest against anything of the kind being done. Queensland and New South Wales established this service, and at considerable pecuniary sacrifice going for a number of years, and they should not now be cut out of the benefits of the service to satisfy States that refused to assist in initiating it.

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