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Wednesday, 13 December 1911

Senator MILLEN (New South Wales) . - The Minister representing thePostmasterGeneral was good enough toreply to some observations which I made inregard to the curtailment of postal f acilities in the Northern Territory. Whilst I agree generally with what he said, and was therefore pleased to hear his pronouncement onthe subject, it seems to me that he hasmissed the real object which I had in view in bringing forward the cases \vhich I cited. My object was to obtain from him a declaration that, until the Government submit a policy for the development of the Northern Territory, they will give an assurance to its people there that there will be no further curtailment of these facilities..

Senator Pearce - They have an assurance for twelve months, and also for six. months.

Senator MILLEN - My correspondent,, whose word I can accept, points out to methat he is now ordering supplies which will carry him on to the end of next year.

Senator McGregor - He need not be frightened.

Senator MILLEN - It is all very wellfor the Vice-President of the ExecutiveCouncil to say that he need not be frightened, but what will be his position, if, after shipping those goods to Port Darwin, he finds there is no means of forwarding them to his place at Borroloola, on theMcArthur River? These people require to look months ahead. Is my correspondent to send goods to Port Darwin only to find that the mail subsidy has been withdrawn, and that he cannot get them forwarded from there to Borroloola? Let the Minister say definitely that the Government will not disturb existing arrangements until the whole matter has been fully considered, and. Ministers have evolved a policy in respect, of the Northern Territory.

Senator McGregor - The matter will bebrought before the Postmaster-General.

Senator MILLEN - We ought to have an assurance' that none of the present facili ties will be withdrawn until after next year. Then persons resident in remote portions of the Territory will be afforded an opportunity of making their arrangements in regard to next year's supplies.

Senator ALBERT GOULD (NEW SOUTH WALES) -Colonel Sir ALBERTGOULD (New South Wales) [6.26].- I wish to ask the Minister whether he is taking steps to let it be clearly understood that cadets whose duty it is to attend drills will be compelled to do so, now that he is in a position to deal with them. Some persons entertain the idea that the system of compulsory military training will be a failure owing to the neglect of the Department to take proper measures in this connexion. I should like an assurance from the Minister that it is intended to insist upon a full observance of the law as laid down in our Defence Act, so that the public may realize that we have not embarked upon a scheme which is likely to be rendered ineffective.

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