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Wednesday, 12 May 1915

Mr WEBSTER (Gwydir) .- I should not have risen but for the eulogistic way in which the honorable member for Parramatta referred to Mr. Deakin as a public man, a public servant, and all the rest of it. It is peculiar that, in life, retribution at times comes to men. I have a clear recollection of the time when Mr. Deakin authorized the appointment of a Commission which he never intended should conduct a sincere inquiry.

Mr Joseph Cook - What Commission was that?

Mr WEBSTER - I am speaking of the Postal Commission; and it is not a laughing matter. Here we have a man belauded as beyond reproach; but such an act as that to which I refer was never perpetrated by any man holding a position in a Federal Government. It was never intended that that Commission should work, or should come to any conclusion, and the then Government attempted to annihilate it.

Sir Robert Best - That is all pure assumption. Mr. Deakin did not limit the powers of the Commission.

Mr WEBSTER - It is not assumption at all; I know the facts. I only mention these things because I do not like to hear a man lauded up for services which are not altogether of the kind we are asked to believe. I have nothing to do with the question of the Panama Exposition, because I know nothing about it; and the Minister may be right, or he may be wrong. However, before honorable members get up to present a case, they ought to be quite sure they are in possession of all the facts.

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