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Wednesday, 1 November 1905

Senator O'KEEFE (TASMANIA) - Becau - Because the representatives of that other State appear to be always ready to punish them. It is all very well for Senator Millen to put it in that way, which looks very well for him, but very bad for me, but the honorable senator is well aware that what I propose to vote for is uniformity. Until we have uniformity I think I cannot be charged with desiring to do any injustice to another State, by voting as I propose to do on this occasion, because of the way in which my own State has been treated. Senator Dobson has always been an advocate of economy, and has been watchful of the finances of his own State, but I must confess that I am unable to understand his attitude on this question. It seems to me that, until we have a Government willing to place all the States on an equal footing in these matters, we must continue the present haphazard system under which senators representing each State try to secure the best terms they can get for their State.

Senator Dobson - The Government have promised to consider our ease.

Senator O'KEEFE - I - I want something more than promises. I remind Senator Dobson that we have been here for five years, during which time we have been living on promises. I now want something more. Senator Gould has reminded .me that honorable senators cannot give us any more. The honorable senator and Senator Givens have said that their sympathy is with, the State of Tasmania. I. feel that the best way in which to keep their sympathy alive is to show that we are prepared to do what we think is fair when they show themselves prepared to do what is fair. In this way, I am in hope that we may induce them to urge their views upon the Government.

Senator Dobson - And the honorable senator proposes to vote in the contrary way to that in which he desires them to vote.

Senator O'KEEFE - No; No; I desire uniformity, and until we have it, I think I am right in casting my vote as I propose to do, for the amendment. It has been stated by the .Minister that this cannot be regarded as a mail contract, if we consider its cost; and it must be patent to us all that there are only two States - New South Wales and Queensland - that will derive any practical benefit from it as a trading contract. As under the system adopted up to the present, Tasmania has been made to pay more than she ought to pay for mail communication, I shall vote for Senator Matheson' s amendment, as a protest against the treatment which the State I have the honour to represent, has received in this respect at the hands of .successive Federal Governments.

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