Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Thursday, 28 August 1902

Mr A McLEAN (GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA) - I regret that I cannot follow the proposal of the Government to make distinctions between certain favoured localities and the rest of the States. It appears to me that that proposal is in. keeping with almost every other move we have made in the direction of discouraging people from becoming producers, and of driving them as far as possible into the favoured centres of population. Why should we make this distinction ? So far as the working of the lines is concerned, it is just as cheap to send a message from Melbourne to Ballarat as it is to transmit one from Parliament House to the General Post-office. Of course, there is a difference in the first cost of the construction of the lines, but are we to levy blackmail for all time upon country residents, simply because they have had sufficient enterprise to settle there ? It is exceedingly unwise for us to endeavour by every means in our power to put burdens upon the country people. No doubt, before long the telegraph wires in the city will have to be placed underground, and that work will cost just as much as would the construction of a long line in the country. Yet it is proposed that city residents should be able to transmit messages over short lines for 6d., whilst the producer in the country is to be charged 9d. for a similar privilege. I would further point out that in connexion with railways country residents are more heavily taxed than are the inhabitants of the city. If a man in the country sends a truck of stock or produce to the city, he has to pay freight ; and similarly if he obtains a truck of goods in return, he has again to pay the cost of carriage. The city resident does not contribute anything in that respect. He does not pay for the transit of produce from the country.

Sir Malcolm McEacharn - He has to pay it indirectly when he purchases his meat.

Mr A McLEAN (GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA) - The honorable member is wrong. Cattle from the furthest end of the States are sold in competition with stock which have never been trucked at all. The man who sells his produce does not get a farthing more for it, because of the amount of carriage which he has had to pay upon it. I see no justification whatever for the proposal, and I hope that the Government will not persist in it. If a sixpenny rate all round will not pay, I trust that some intermediate charge will be adopted which will enable the same principle to be applied alike to town and country.

Suggest corrections