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Thursday, 28 August 1902

Mr GLYNN (South Australia) - I am very glad that the Ministry have made an amended proposal, because I am always anxious, especially in regard to postal matters, to follow the recommendations of the department, seeing that private members necessarily suffer from a want of accurate information upon the question. I was in somewhat of a difficulty in regard to the proposals in the Bill, because they do not appear to be in accordance with the recommendations of the experts. They are certainly not in accordance with the two recommendations contained in the report whichI obtained from the Minister, and therefore I should have had considerable difficulty in accepting them. The proposition now made comes very near to an alternative proposal made by the experts. It is more protective for the revenue, and therefore I approve of it, although it is not quite so liberal. The alternative suggestion now made is that a charge of 6d. shall be made for a telegram containing sixteen words in cities and suburbs ; 9d. for other telegrams transmitted to any address within a State, and 1s. for Inter-State telegrams, with a charge of1d. per word for every word in excess of sixteen. That proposal allows six words for the name and address as against the estimate of five given by the experts. The recommendation of the experts was that Inter-State telegrams should be transmitted for 6d. each. Their alternate suggestion was that a charge of 6d. should be made for city and suburban telegrams, and 9d. for any other telegram sent to any address within a State, with a charge of1d. for every additional word over fif teen. They also proposed a 6d. rate for Inter-State telegrams up to fifteen words, with a further charge of1d. for every additional word.

Mr L E GROOM (DARLING DOWNS, QUEENSLAND) - Did they actually propose a lower rate for Inter-State messages than that for State messages ?

Mr GLYNN - I think the honorable and learned member will find the statement to which I have referred in the second alternative suggestion made by the experts. The Ministerial proposal that a charge of1s. shall be made for Inter-State telegrams is certainly far more protective to the revenue. I contend it should be so for the reason that the loss will be far greater to South Australia than to any other State. In South Australia we obtain a far greater proportion of our postal and telegraphic revenue from the transmission of telegrams than from other branches of the service.When we were consideringthematter at theConvention in 1897, figures were produced showing that in 1896 South Australia obtained £89,000 from the telegraph service, as against £91,000 obtained by Victoria from the same source. Having regard to the smaller population in South Australia, the returns for that State are much larger.

Mr L E GROOM (DARLING DOWNS, QUEENSLAND) - I find that the experts recommended that a charge should be made for names and addresses in Inter-State messages. That would have made the InterState rate higher than that proposed for messages within a State.

Mr GLYNN - A charge was to be made for names and addresses in all cases.

Sir MALCOLM McEACHARN (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - Not in the case of city and suburban messages.

Mr GLYNN - I did not notice that. The Government propose1s. telegrams, allowing six words for the name and address, to that it really amounts to a proposition so transmit a ten-words message for1s. That is half the rate at present charged on telegrams between South Australia and Victoria, andI believe it to be a fair concession. We cannot expect to keep up the rate of 2s., nor can messages be sent for as low a sum as has been suggested, seeing that that course would mean a loss of some £20,000 in South Australia. The estimated loss for the whole Commonwealth will be £90,000, and, considering that the telegraph service produces more in proportion in South Australia than in any other State, the South Australian share of the loss would not be a tenth ; but, if addresses were free, to probably £20,000. I am glad, therefore, that an alternative suggestion has been made which very nearly represents what is a fair charge for all the States.

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