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Thursday, 28 August 1902


Mr SKENE (Grampians) - The reply of the Attorney-General to the honorable and learned member for Bendigo has emphasized the wisdom contained in my proposal to omit the words " town and suburban." Had that proposal been adopted, no difficulty could have arisen. The Attorney, General spoke of " townships and their suburbs," but I do not know of any suburbs in Victoria outside of Melbourne, Ballarat, Bendigo, and Geelong. I am sorry that the honorable member for Parramatta has left the Chamber. He has argued that the adoption of a lower rate will produce a larger revenue in the towns than will a higher rate. Yet, in an amendment of which he has given notice, he proposes that a sixpenny rate shall apply within a radius of 600 miles. Does he say that the revenue within that radius is likely to be increased by theadoption of a sixpenny telegraph rate? Six hundred miles represents double the distance between Melbourne and the boundary of New South Wales. Ifwe are to accept his authority that the lower rate will produce a larger revenue in the towns, it is fair toassume that it will also produce similar results in the more thickly populated districts. I feel so much the injustice which it is proposed to inflict upon the country districts in connexion with this matter, that, if a proposal were made for the adoption of a sixpenny State rate, I should support it. There is not the shadow of an argument in favour of considerations of distance. The Minister representing the Postmaster-General has declared that town messages return a greater profit than do country messages. He admitted that he had no official authority for his statement, the accuracy of which I very much doubt. Under the circumstances, I fail to see how the honorable member for Parramatta . can consistently argue against the extension of a sixpenny rate to the whole of a State.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I never have argued against it.


Mr SKENE - Then I hope that when a proposal is submitted in favour of a sixpenny State rate, the honorable member will support it.







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