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Thursday, 31 October 1974
Page: 2186

Senator EVERETT (TASMANIA) -My question which is directed to the Postmaster-General results from statements made by Mr Phillip Lynch, the Opposition spokesman on Treasury matters, on the Australian Broadcasting Commission program Monday Conference' last Monday. Mr Lynch said that Government expenditure should be cut by 8 per cent. I ask the Minister: What effects would such a reduction have on the Australian Post Office in regard to employment, capital works and the provision of services to the public?

Senator BISHOP - It has already been pointed out that the Opposition often argues that we should spend more and cut back. I have seen the report of the statement which Mr Lynch made the other night suggesting that there should be a general Government cutback of 8 per cent. Of course already other Ministers have pointed out what might happen in relation to social services and defence, for example. As for the Post Office, I think that such a cutback would mean not only a reduction of about $30m in capital works expenditure but also obviously the sacking of hundreds of workers from the Australian Post Office. Perhaps, more seriously, a cutback would affect the employment of many people in industries such as the electronics and telecommunication industries which supply requirements to the Post Office. Perhaps even more seriously- this is the thing with which we are trying to contend in the Post Office in having to raise tariffs- it would increase the delays in telephone connections in every area, including that of the honourable senator and of honourable senators from Queensland. We are having enough trouble now trying to meet such programs. It is ridiculous, if we look at the general economic situation, to make such a suggestion because it would simply mean that no government could carry out its programs or meet its promises on social services.

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