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Wednesday, 29 November 1905


Senator TRENWITH (Victoria) - I trust that the honorable senator will not proceed with this extreme economic course. We shall be saving too much by reducing the item' by ?1. It cannot possibly do any good.

Senator STEWART(Queensland).- Perhaps the Minister of Defence will tell us how many men there are in the rifle clubs.

Senator DELARGIE (Western Australia). - I can furnish an answer to that question. In New South Wales there are 4,491 riflemen, and the amount voted is ?2,000. In Victoria there are 16,632 riflemen, and the amount on the Estimates is ?r>375- Queensland has only 2,918 riflemen, and she has ?1,500 on the Estimates. In South Australia the number of riflemen is 2,803, for whom grants amount: ing to ?200 are provided on the Estimates. In Tasmania the number of riflemen is 250, and in Western Australia 208.

Senator STEWART(Queensland).- All the evening I have been advocating an increase of the subsidy for rifle clubs and volunteer corps, but have been unable to get any support from honorable senators. I have no intention to support any reduction in this vote, which I regard as money well spent. I am sorry that the other States have not been as generous to their riflemen as has Queensland.


Senator Trenwith - -In the other States assistance is not required to the same extent as in Queensland, where travelling is more expensive and difficult.

Request negatived.

Post and Telegraphs : Revenue and Expenditure : Non-Contract Mail Vessels : Telephones at Hotels : Classification and Salaries : Case of Mr. Butler : Case of Mr. A. Hart : Tasmania and Victoria Mail Service.

Divisions 176 to 182 (The PostmasterGeneral's Department), ?2,578,838.

Senator STEWART(Queensland). - I should like to draw attention to a few figures, which may cause honorable senators to consider whether the Post and Telegraph Department is managed as it ought to be. In the New South Wales Post Office the receipts for the year 1904-5 were ?980,009, and the expenditure ?923,651. The increase in the receipts since 1901-2 was ?106,000, and the increase in the expenditure ?122,000. It will be seen that, in order to collect ?106,000 additional revenue, there had to be an additional expenditure of ?122,000, New South Wales thus being ?16,000 to the bad.


Senator Keating - All the salaries have been increased, and the 'minimum wage adopted.


Senator STEWART - That would account for only a very small proportion of the increased expenditure. In the Victorian Post Office the receipts last year were ?682,000, and the expenditure ?634,972. The increase in the receipts since 1901-2 was ?91,000, and the increase in the expenditure ?75,000, showing Victoria to be ?16,000 to the good. In Queensland the receipts last year were ?331,000, and the expenditure ?419,775. The increase in the receipts since 1901-21 was ?18,000, and the increase in the expenditure ?25,000, showing Queensland to be ?7,600 to the bad. In the South Australian Post Office the receipts last year were ?266,000, and the expenditure ?269,541. The increase in the receipts since 1901-2 was ?9,000, and the increase in the expenditure ?38,000, so that South Australia is ?29,000 to the bad. In Western Australia the receipts last year were ?257,000, and the expenditure ?290,422. The increase in the receipts since 1901-2 was ?31,000, and the increase in the expenditure ?30,^00 - the two just about balancing. In Tasmania the receipts last year were ?112,000, and the expenditure ?118,353. The increase in the receipts since 1901-2 was ?21,000, and the increase in the expenditure £17,000, showing Tasmania to be £4,000 to the good. The total increase in the receipts throughout the Commonwealth since 190 1-2 was £258,000, and the increase in the expenditure £307,000.


Senator Pearce - Works are not now constructed out of loan moneys.


Senator STEWART - The cost of works is. not included in these figures.


Senator Trenwith - We might expect the comparison to be unfavorable in the case of large and sparsely populated Stales, and favorable in the case of the smaller and more densely populated States.


Senator STEWART - I cannot see why the expenditure should continually increase at a greater rate than the income. One would expect exactly the opposite to be the case, as I believe it would be, with good and economical management. I shall have occasion this evening to lay one or two cases before honorable senators, which, I believe, are only symptomatic of a veryserious state of affairs in the administration of the Department. The figures I have quoted ought to be taken into serious consideration by the Government. I do not wish any cheese-paring to take place in connexion with our Public Service, or that any one should be underpaid, but I certainly object to extravagant management. The figures denote carelessness - to use no strong term - in the outgoings,. The increased expenditure caused by the minimum wage does not account for the difference which the figures disclose.







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