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Wednesday, 27 August 1902

Mr CONROY (Werriwa) - Several honorable members oppose the motion owing to the financial conditions which prevail in their own States. I wish they would carry the principle a little further. While they do not propose to diminish taxation in their own States, they are willing to increase taxation in at least three of the States. All newspapers under the Bill have to pay postage, and that means increased taxation in New South Wales, Tasmania, and Western Australia. I am not arguing whether it is right or wrong to charge postage rates on newspapers ; but such a charge in New SouthWales means increasing taxation in one direction without giving corresponding advantages.

M r. Sawers. - Is it taxation?

Mr CONROY - Perhaps it ought to be called payment for services rendered, but the term " taxation" has been used throughout the discussion, and the Bill proposes to increase the demands made on the people.

Mr Fowler - The new postal rates will be an advantage in Western Australia.

Mr CONROY - Unless there is better administration than we have had under the present Postmaster-General it will not really matter whether the rates are high or low. If it be a sound argument that we ought not to reduce the postage, because it will diminish taxation, surely we ought not under the Bill to increase taxation in certain of the States. If penny postage were adopted, it would be possible to tell the people of New South Wales, on whom the heavier burden would fall, that they were left much in.the same position that they occupied before. Increased postal facilities are part of the educational advantages which ought to be given to the people, and the expense of these facilities ought not to be counted as a mere matter of loss, in view of the resultant gain to the community. Every argument used against the proposed new clause is an argument in favour of postponing the Bill until the expiration of the bookkeeping period. I support the new clause in order that some of the advantages which arise from federation may be given to States on which, under the Bill, we propose to impose disadvantages.

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