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Wednesday, 20 December 1905

Senator HIGGS asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -

1.   Is it the intention of the Government to call for joint and separate tenders for the following mail services ; steamers to run -

(a)   Twelve times a year from Sydney to Vila, in the New Hebrides, touching at Lord Howe Island and Norfolk Island.

(b)   Six times from Sydney to Solomon Islands, and thence to Samarai, in British New Guinea and German New Guinea.

(c)   Eight times from Sydney to Vila and the Gilbert Islands; and

(d)   Twelve times from Cairns, via Port Moresby (Papua) to Woodlark Island?

2.   Will the Government, in calling for tenders, also ask for quotations for services from the nearest ports in the Commonwealth to the New Hebrides and other places mentioned in the foregoing?

3.   Will the Government obtain legal opinion as to whether it is not a breach of the Constitution to pay Messrs. Burns, Philp, and Company £12,000 per annum for such mail services socalled?

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