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Wednesday, 21 September 1949

Mr BARNARD - How many convictions have been recorded against Dobson?

Mr BEALE - He is under committal for having committed a public mischief. On his own confession he is a liar in connexion with the alleged happening near Neilson Park. In spite of that, he was able without difficulty to get the Minister to say to the Postmaster-General that there were special circumstances - mysterious circumstances - relating to his application for a telephone.

Mr Calwell - Not mysterious circumstances.

Mr BEALE - The only special circumstance appears to be that he wanted a telephone installed in his hotel bedroom to enable him to carry on his work as a member of the industrial group of the Clerks Union. Dobson was able to get from a Minister of the Crown very privileged treatment apparently merely because he is a Labour man. This matter was brought to my attention by a constituent of mine, not a Communist, who wrote to me in the following terms: -

As a business man in a small way, and as one who believes in the freedom of individual enterprise, I am amazed when evidence as plain and seemingly indisputable as the enclosed is presented to me.

I applied for a telephone service approximately five years ago and have since pursued my application on three or four occasions without success. Although reasons were given for the inability to supply this service, in view of the subject article, it would seem that obstacles can be swiftly and smoothly overcome if one is highly favoured.

That is the view taken by an ordinary citizen. The letter continues -

The nature of my work makes a telephone necessary. Due to the lack of this essential convenience, I have lost money and business, and through extra work caused as a consequence of having no 'phone, I have suffered ill health and am now having medical treat ment. T consider this matter relating t<> Messrs. Calwell and Cameron to be of great public importance. If they cannot carry out their duties impartially it is better that they retire from public life.

He made a number of other assertions which the Minister may read if he so desires, but with which I do not want to burden the House. This incident reveals two things. The first is that a man like

Dobson can get privileged treatment over thousands of ordinary citizens and that he was able to get a telephone in seven days while others have waited five years for a telephone service. Obviously, this is a case of gross favoritism at the expense of the ordinary citizens of the community. Is it any wonder that people like my constituents and the thousands of others who are waiting for telephones feel sore about it? The second comment I have to make is that when a Minister was asked a simple question on this matter - a factual question, as he himself has admitted - he did not answer it fairly, but resorted to abuse of a person outside this House who was not in a position to defend himself. This incident is extremely discreditable to the Minister.

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