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Wednesday, 6 December 1905

Senator PLAYFORD (South Australia) (Minister of Defence) - When I submitted this motion this afternoon, I pointed out that so far from there being any necessity for making specific provision for the termination of the agreements that had been entered into between the States and the company, the Attorney-General had advised to the contrary. I read his opinion. But as the wish was expressed that there should be no doubt uponthe subject, we gave way, and accepted an amendment. Now, we are blamed for giving way. We were blamed in the first instance for holding our opinion, and, secondly, we are blamed for accepting an amendment to make the matter sure. As to the chance of the Eastern Extension Telegraph Company being able to get a special wire to Brisbane if this agreement is carried out, I mav say that the company has to secure three times as much business in Brisbane as it did in 1902, before it can secure that facility. In1903 the amount of business done by the company in Brisbane was 24,064 words. In 1904 the amount was 1,711 words. There has, therefore, been a great falling off. It is not likely, therefore, that the increased business will be done in Queensland to secure the special wire that has been mentioned. I trust that honorable senators having assented to an amendment to make the agreement quite ciear, will be satisfied to ratify the agreement.

Senator HENDERSON(Western Australia). I desire to move that the following words be added to the amendment now before the Senate: -

Provided further that the company shall within three months from the first day of January, nineteen hundred and six, execute the agreement as so amended.

The PRESIDENT - I do not think that that amendment can be added to the words of the present amendment, because the latter is to substitute a new clause in the agreement. I shall, therefore, put the present amendment first, and, if it be carried, the honorable senator may move to add the words he has just read.

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