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Wednesday, 24 June 1914

Senator O'KEEFE - At the time the contract preventing an increase in freights and fares in the lines covered by the mail contract was signed, was it not in the Honorary Minister's mind that the prevention of any increase also applied to all lines of communication between Tasmania and the mainland owned by the specific combine with which the contract was entered into?

Senator CLEMONS - It was not. At the time the contract for the carriage of mails between the mainland and Launceston and Burnie was entered into, I made inquiries and endeavoured to ascertain if, in order to prevent any increase in fares and freights, it would he worth while, for that purpose only, to obtain other contracts, say, between Hobart and Sydney, my one idea being then that, if we had a mail contract, we could stop any increase of fares and freights between any port in Tasmania and the mainland.

Senator Long - That is what you ought to have done.

Senator CLEMONS - I endeavoured to do it, but I learned that under the existing conditions of mail delivery between Sydney and Hobart it was impossible to arrange a contract for that purpose.

Senator Ready - If the Cabinet sanctions the increase in fares and freights under the contract, will the Honorary Minister resign from the Government?

Senator CLEMONS - I do not think that is a question that I ought to answer, but I am prepared to leave it. to the Sena te as to whether, if that thing happens, I take the right course or not.

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