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Wednesday, 5 September 1906

Senator PEARCE (Western Australia) , - When Senator Millen first raised his objection to the item I thought that there were some good grounds for it. If it were intended that the vote should enable the Government to enter into contracts there would be a very strong objection to their being entered into in this form. I take it that we can rely on the assurance of the Minister that that is not intended, and that any contract entered into iri connexion with wireless telegraphy will be submitted to Parliament, and at a time when our hands are not tied. Senator Pulsford has said that we know all about wireless telegraphy, and there is therefore no need to spend money in experiments in connexion with it. I remind the honorable senator that there are several different systems of wireless telegraphy, and it is necessary that we should adopt the best. We have in Australia a monopoly of electric telegraphy. The business of the Post and Telegraph Department represents a sum of about ,£2,500,000 a year, and if Senator Pulsford were running a business with such a spending power, and he was informed that a new system had been introduced, which, if adopted, would considerably lessen his expenditure, he would not as a business man object to the expenditure of ,£10,000 to determine whether the new system should be adopted. We can deal with this vote on the same principle, and can very well permit the Government to spend this money in experiments designed to enable them to adopt the most perfect system of wireless telegraphy.

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