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Thursday, 7 December 1905

Senator KEATING (Tasmania) (Honorary Minister) . - Notwithstanding any views which Senator Higgs may entertain, I can assure him that there is no desire on the part of the Government to do anything that will militate against the success of the Pacific Cable. Personally, I have, from the beginning, favoured preference for the Pacific Cable on the part of the people and Governments of Australia, and I understand that previous Governments of the Commonwealth have offered to confer on those who control that .cable the same rights and privileges, in regard to the opening of offices and the construction of. land lines, as are enjoyed by the Eastern Extension Telegraph ' Company. The Pacific Cable Board, as honorable senators are aware, is located in London, and is charged with all matters, pertaining to administration. The facilities in connexion with the opening of offices, and the construction of land lines, have been referred to in the course of the debates on the relative merits of the two cables, and, therefore, I do not propose to now deal with these matters in detail. As honorable senators know, all cables lodged with the Post and Telegraph Department for transmission beyond the Commonwealth are invariably sent by the Pacific Cable, unless the sender gives an express direction to the contrary. Senator Higgs, and honorable senators generally, may rest assured that the Government, so far from endeavouring to do anything to prevent the success of the Pacific Cable, will direct their efforts in a contrary direction. I hope that with this intimation Senator Higgs will rest satisfied that the course of action taken by the Government will be such as will meet with his approval.

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