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Friday, 31 August 1906

Senator KEATING (Tasmania) (Honorary Minister) . - In reply to the question asked by Senator Millen, I . may say that the formal answer supplied to his question as appearing on the notice-paper is -

The Postmaster-General has no information bearing upon the subject referred to.

I might say in addition to that that Senator Millen has possibly noticed, in a subsequent issue of the newspaper to which he has referred, the report of an interview with the Postmaster-General on the subject. The Minister is there reported to have stated that he had received no official communication of the kind, . and that the information came to him for the first time in the announcement appearing in the newspaper, as it did to every other reader of the newspaper. The honorable gentleman is also reported to have expressed a doubt as to whether any such arrangement was being made, and gave some reasons for that doubt, amongst others, that the contractors have given an undertaking to call at Sydney and Melbourne, and further, that it is impossible under the terms of the contract for them to enter into any arrangement to carry mail matter for any other oountry than the Commonwealth, whilst the poundages received in connexion with such mail matter would belong, not to the company, but to the Commonwealth. I have not had an opportunity to interview the Postmaster-General to ask him whether the statements attributed to him in this connexion are correct, but I have every reason to believe that his views have been correctly reported.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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