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Wednesday, 29 June 1938

Mr HARRISON (WENTWORTH, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The department very frequently opens letters. A fine of 4d. is imposed on thousands of unstamped letters that pass through the post every year, and although the receivers are not the guilty parties they have to pay. That is inequitable.

The feeling with which I am in accord is growing in the community that the Postal Department should be taken completely out of its present control and placed under a commission. A commission would see that the funds were collected and that the extraordinary pro fits were used to give additional services tothe people. The profits would no doubt be absorbed in capital investments and would not be paid into Consolidated Revenue and then lent back at a rate of interest as happens at present. Public opinion will demand at a very near date that some action be taken to give to subscribers additional facilities or a reduction of the charges, or to place the whole enterprise under a commission. The Postal Department at present levies what amounts to an over-charge for every service that it renders in comparison with the charges levied in the sister dominions. It is high time that the Government paid heed to the demands of the subscribers for a better return for their money than is at present given to them. Some honorable members feel that the control of the essential services of the Postal Department in which the public's money is invested should be retained by the Government, but we are unanimous that the Government should not exploit the people through this department.

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