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Wednesday, 29 November 1905

Senator MULCAHY (Tasmania) - I express the hope that my colleague will be satisfied with the assurance of the Minister. " Fair play is bonnie play." We have been told that the case which Senator Clemons has been advocating, with all other similar cases, will be dealt with on one basis by the Ministry. We cannot ask for anything more than that. I have always thought that Tasmania had a claim, but not in respect of the full amount of £11,000.. I have argued with Senator Clemons himself upon the very lines that Senator Keating has argued. Tasmania stipulated that she should get a better service, with more passenger accommodation and greater speed. We have obtained those benefits. True, Tasmania is not the only State that benefits from the improved service, but we have gained to a considerable extent. A point that stands out prominently in this debate is the need for putting the whole of the mail services upon a per capita basis, whether thev are Inter- State services or services within a State. It is just as important to a man in a remote corner of the Commonwealth that his letters should be carried swiftly and safely to another part of the same State as it is to a man in Tasmania that his letters should be carried safely to the mainland ot Australia. I think, moreover, that Tasmania will come out of the bargain worse off if we insist upon the whole £11,000 being debited per capita, because in that case other mail services must be debited in the same manner.

Senator Clemons - I do not care whether Tasmania comes best or worst out of the bargain. What I want' is justice.

Senator MULCAHY - The honorable senator wants to get some immediate benefit for Tasmania. But if we secure this object we must be prepared to concede to others what we are asking for ourselves. It seems to me that it is very likely that if the concession is granted, when we pay our share towards the services of the other States, also, it is likely that we shall not benefit in any material degree at all. T express the hope that the assurance of the Government will be accepted.

Senator CLEMONS(Tasmania).- We have been told that it is the object of the Government to secure uniformity. I agree with that. But we have not secured uniformity under this Appropriation Bill. The schedule bristles with instances where uniformity has not been observed. If ray request is carried we shall not be departing farther from uniformity., but shall be getting nearer to it. If we intend to make a start in the direction of uniformity, now is the time to do it. I go much further than Senator Mulcahy does. I admit that there is a desire for uniformity. I propose this request with the object of having effect given to it. Senator Pearce has made some remarks about the new contract benefiting Tasmania. The contract was not made by. the Tasmanian Government. It was made absolutely by the Federal Government.

Senator Keating - Tasmania could not have made a mail contract, and the previous contract fell in.

Senator CLEMONS - Senator Keating emphasizes my point. It has been urged that Tasmania has succeeded in making this contract for the benefit of her passenger traffic. Tasmania had nothing whatever to do with it. As to the time we have to wait, I may remark that what I complain of has been going on for many years. When is it to be discontinued? For- over three years, -certainly, Tasmania has been paying considerably more than the £6,000 which she formerly paid. I absolutely refuse to wait any longer. I am surprised at what Senator Mulcahy has said. I am surprised that he should urge another representative of Tasmania to hesitate to press this motion and do his best to secure its object, on the absolutely ignoble, descreditable, dishonorable grounds--

Senator Mulcahy - Is the honorable senator in order in talking in this extraordinary fashion?

Senator CLEMONS - I am perfectly in order if the honorable senator will sit down.

Senator Mulcahy - I am asking the Chairman whether Senator Clemons is in order in using the expression " dishonorable, ignoble, and discreditable."

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