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Wednesday, 6 December 1911

Senator PEARCE (Western Australia) (Minister of Defence) . - I understand that the reason why the year 1883 is mentioned is that since that time no telephones have been constructed under the system which we are trying to do away, with. It is quite true, as Senator W. Russell says, that under the Commonwealth Act private telephones are erected, particularly on sheep stations; but all of these are erected under licences. The telephone and telegraph systems of the Commonwealth are a monopoly, and no private person can erect a telephone to-day, even at his own expense, except under a licence given by the Department. Up to 1883, private telephones were erected by the Department at the expense of the owner, or by the owner at his own expense ; but since that year they have been erected by the Department at the expense of the owner.

Senator Millen - Or under a licence granted by the Department.

Senator PEARCE - Yes. There is no necessity to interfere with any of the private telephones erected since 1883.

Senator ALBERT GOULD (NEW SOUTH WALES) -Colonel Sir AlbertGould- - The Commonwealth has the power to take them over.

Senator PEARCE - We have the power to take them over, either under the State Acts or under the Commonwealth Act.

Senator CHATAWAY(Queensland) it is safeguarded in every way, it is not for me to complain. Probably the Government will have to come along with a Bill by-and-by to cover the case which I have mentioned, and which I believe the Minister will find has been overlooked.

Amendment (by Senator Pearce) agreed to -

That after the figures " 1883," line 7, the words " by the owner " be inserted.

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Title agreed to.

Bill reported with amendments, and passed through its remaining stages.

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