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Thursday, 3 March 1904

JOSEPH COOK (Parramatta). - I wish to ask the Prime Minister whether he will be good enough to lay upon the table of the House the papers connected with the recent negotiations for tenders for the mail service? To my mind, the Government are acting over this matter with a secrecy which is ill-omened. In connexion with a matter of so much importance, the Government should have taken the public into their confidence. We ought to know from the Postmaster-General exactly what has taken place. We understand' that he has received a tender from the Orient Company, and that he has rejected it. Why cannot he tell the. House, for instance, what is the nature of that tender, and 'on what grounds he refused to accept it? That is a matter of importance, and I should imagine that it ought to receive publicity. The public, as well as the Government, are concerned in these mail tenders. There ought not to be the slightest objection to making public the terms which have been submitted, and which have been rejected by the Government. I should .have thought that the Postmaster-General would 'have been ready to-day to lay the papers upon the table of the House. I do not know what all the secrecy is about, and I, for one, enter a strong protest against the policy which has been pursued by the Government.

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