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Thursday, 6 September 1906

Senator STANIFORTH SMITH (Western Australia) . - I do not wish to take up time for more than a minute, and I rise with considerable diffidence even to do that. There is one aspect of this question which I think has not received much attention, and that is the necessarily recurring cost of keeping up the instal lation when it was once effected.

Senator McGregor - How can that be found out until an experiment has been made ?

Senator STANIFORTH SMITH - I have not risen to find out what itis going to cost, but simply to point out that the voting of this item would involve a considerable annual expenditure for keeping up the instal lation. Honorable senators may not be aware of what the cost would be.

Senator McGregor - We want to find that out, and that is what this money is wanted for.

Senator STANIFORTH SMITH - I think that the information could be obtained and laid before Parliament.

Senator McGregor - Could it be obtained without money ?

Senator STANIFORTH SMITH - Inquiries could be made without money. The up-keep of an installation to New Guinea would be at least £1,000 a year. An engineer, an operator, and an attendant would be required at each station, and when honorable senators are prepared lightlv to vote £10,000 for the purpose of making certain installations, they ought to remember that it will involve a continual recurring cost to the people.

Senator McGregor - Is it going to be worth it?

Senator STANIFORTHSMITH.The honorable senator might well ask that question, because he made the ridiculous proposal that we should connect King Island with, Queenscliff, and the New Hebrides and the Solomon Islands.

Senator McGregor - I did not make any suggestion of the kind.

Senator Playford -Let us divide, and either strike out the item or let it stand.

Senator STANIFORTH SMITH - It ought to be remembered that an installation, wherever it might be made, would involve an annual cost of between £500 and £1,000 for its up-keep. Therefore we ought to know if the Government intend to connect some outlandish place like King Island, which would not pay.

Senator Mulcahy - There are more white people in King Island than in New Guinea, and better people, too.

Senator STANIFORTH SMITH - It is a barren island in Bass Strait. If an installation were made there, it would mean a heavy expenditure for a very small result. The question of the up-keep of a wireless telegraphy station requires to receive more consideration than does the mere question of an installation.

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