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Tuesday, 29 July 1930

Senator PAYNE (Tasmania) . - With the right honorable the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Pearce) I appreciate the urgent need for additional revenue, and I anticipated the introduction of measures such as that now before this chamber. The right honorable gentleman stated that there seems to have been no effort to reduce expenditure in the Postal Department. This view has also been expressed locally in correspondence in the press. It is worth noting that within a few days an advertisement has been published in the Commonwealth Gazette inviting applications from lads between the ages of 14 years and 16 years to act as telegraph messengers, with a commencing salary of £90 per annum. A starting wage of 35s. for a boy of 14 years of age is too high. No department can conduct its business on such lines without imposing heavy burdens on the taxpayers. If a lad of only 14 years is paid 35s. a week at the outset of his career, what wage will he expect later in life? I mention this matter in passing, as evidence of the need for a careful examination of the expenditure of this department.With regard to the proposed increases in postal charges as outlined in this bill, I ask the Assistant Minister to give careful consideration to the fact that increased rates for the transmission of postal matter have a boomerang effect on the revenue of the department. The Leader of the Opposition has just read a circular letter from the New South "Wales Master Printers Association, pointing out that the proposed increased charges for the transmission of second-class postal matter will mean, in the case of David Jones Ltd., the payment to the department of £3,500 a year, instead of £1,750. for the distribution of its illustrated catalogue, and also that if the charge is insisted upon, the firm will discontinue altogether that publication. W e may assume that dozens of other firms will take similar action. The distribution of these catalogues plays an important part in the commercial life of Australia, and incidentally it means a considerable addition to the revenue of the department from the carriage of packages and parcels ordered by country residents as the result of the circulation of these productions. That trade will be lost to the department if the publication of these trade catalogues is discontinued. I hope that the Assistant Minister will give an undertaking that the increased rate on this class of postal matter will not be insisted on, because I believe this will be in the interests of not only thecommerical firms and people living in the back country, but also the department itself.

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