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Thursday, 6 September 1906

Senator CLEMONS (Tasmania) . - I do not rise to argue the question any more, but merely to state the case so that every honorable senator mav know exactly under what circumstances he is asked to vote. I am going to assume, unless Senator Playford contradicts me or rises to correct me, first of all, that he gave the Committee no information as to where the money would be spent.

Senator O'Keefe - Because he does not know.

Senator CLEMONS - I say, further, that the Minister gives us no indication as to where and how the money is to be spent. Is the Minister content to acquiesce in the position that he will give us no information as to how the money is to be spent ? I understand that Senator Playford absolutely declines to tell us whether the money is to be spent entirely for experimental purposes, or partly for those purposes and partly for something in the nature of a permanent installation. If the Minister desires to correct me, it will not take him two minutes to do so.

Senator Turley - The PostmasterGeneral says in his memo, that he will be able to use this money to call for fenders.

Senator CLEMONS - I am glad to be reminded of that fact. I shall assume that tenders may be called for the expenditure of part of the £10,000 without Parliament having any voice whatever in the framing of, or the acceptance of, the tenders. Unless Senator Playford chooses to throw some further light on the subject, Ishall assume that that is the position, namely, that we do not know where or how the money is to be spent, and that we shall net have an opportunity to discuss any tenders. Under the circumstances, honorable senators may vote for the item if they like, but they ought to clearly and unmistakeably know the circumstances.

Senator Playford - I have told the honorable senator the facts, and he can draw his own conclusions.

Senator CLEMONS - And the Minister will tell us no more?

Senator Playford - I have read the Postmaster-General's minute four or five times.

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