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Wednesday, 27 August 1902

Mr E SOLOMON (FREMANTLE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - The honorable and learned member for Corinella Stated that he had not heard of any agitation in Victoria in favour of the establishment of penny postage, but that is hardly to be wondered at, seeing that the people of that State already have the advantage of the system. It is in other parts of the Commonwealth where the people do not enjoy this privilege, that the agitation for Mie extension of the penny postage system has occurred. When federation was being advocated, the people of the Commonwealth as a whole were led to believe that the establishment of uniform penny postage throughout the States was one of the benefits which would probably follow the union, and/many candidates pledged themselves to support the system. In New Zealand where the penny postage system has been successfully introduced, the population is something under 800,000, and as the total number of persons in the Commonwealth is something like 4,000,000, we surely should be able to adopt penny postage without incurring any serious loss. I cannot understand the statement of the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, that only £21,000 would be lost if the postage upon letters for parts beyond the Commonwealth were reduced to Id. The present rate of foreign postage is 2½d. per \ oz., and the reduction to Id. would involve a loss of 3-5ths of the present revenue in respect to letters for parts abroad. In view of the facts that we have to pay no subsidy for the conveyance of inland letters and that the relative reduction would not be so great as in the case of oversea letters, I cannot understand why there should be such an enormous difference in the estimated losses.

Sir Philip Fysh - It must be recollected that we at present lose very largely upon the carriage of sea-borne letters.

Mr E SOLOMON (FREMANTLE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - Even allowing for that, I cannot help thinking, that some mistake has been made by the postal authorities. In Western Australia we have enjoyed the privilege of the penny post within municipal bounds, but in cases where letters are sent from one municipality to another, the full rate of 2d. per £oz. has to be paid. Honorable members will at once see the anomaly of charging 2d. for a letter carried a few hundred yards, and only 2£d. for despatching a letter to the furthest corner of the earth. The introduction of the penny postage system would confer a benefit upon a very large number of people in all the States. So far as Western Australia is concerned, the boon has long been asked for. It was understood that under federation the conditions in regard to postal and other matters would be made as uniform as possible in the various States, and we should remove all distinctions as soon as possible. I pledged myself to support the penny postage system, and I intend to do all in my power to carry out my promise.

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