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Thursday, 28 August 1902


Mr SKENE (Grampians) - I have given notice of an amendment to omit all the words after " telegrams " in the heading of this schedule down to the word " shilling," with a view to insert in lieu, thereof, the words, " per word, exclusive of eight words for address and signature, one penny ; minimum charge for message, 9d." It has, however, been suggested to me that the moving of that amendment would prevent other honorable members from moving amendments which they wish to bring forward, and, therefore, I move now -

Thatthe words "town and suburban, within prescribed limits " be omitted.

That amendment will raise the question whether a special rate should be given to the town and suburban areas, and later on if it is carried, I shall move the omission of the word " other " upon which the question of the general rate to be charged can be discussed. I do not wish to resurrect all the arguments which have been used on thissubject in second reading speeches. I think it has been conclusively shown that there are no strong reasons why a distinction should be made between the town and suburban areas and the country, in the matter of telegraph rates. Those who reside in town and suburban areas have many advantages which country residents do not possess. They have a delivery of letters two or three times daily, a telephone service, and many other means of communication arising out of their closeness to each other.

That being so, I do not see why they should bespecially favoured in thematter of telegraph rates. If the town and suburban telegraph rate is lowered, a larger staff of operators and messengers will be needed for the transmission of the messages, and not only will the revenue from telegrams suffer, but the receipts from the postal and telephone services are also likely to diminish. I shall altogether oppose the adoption of a sixpenny rate for telegrams, and I think there are strong reasons why whateverrate is given to the town and suburban areas should be extended at least some distance into the country.







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