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Beam Wireless Messages - Charges, Australia to England - Report of Senate Select Committee

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Brought u,p by Senator Herbert Hays; ordered to be printed, 14th August, 1929.

[Cost of paper.-Preparation not given; 800 copies; approximate cost of printing and publishing, £92.]

Printed and Pnbliehed for the GovERN)iENT of the CmnIONWEALTH of AUSTRALIA by H. J. GREEN, Gonrnment Printer, Canberra.

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13. WIRELESS MESSAGES FROM: AUSTRALIA TO ENGLAND-SELECT CoMMITTEE.-Senator Thomas, pursuant to notice, moved-That a Select Committee be appointed-with power to send for persons, papers, and records and to move from place to place-to inquire into and report upon the desirability and commercial possibility of sending messages from Australia to England over the beam wireless at a penny a word, such Committee to consist of Senators Carroll, Findley, Graham: H. Hays, Reid, Guthrie, and the Mover. Debate ensued. The Honorary Minister (Senator McLachlan) moved- That the debate be now adjourned. Question-put. The Senate divided-

Ayes, 14.

Senator­ Chapman. Cooper. Cox. Crawford. Elliott. Glasgow, Sir William.

Senator­ McLachlan. Ogden. Payne. Pearce, Sir George. Thompson.

Hayes, J.B. Teller:

Kingsmill. Senator Foll.

And so it was resolved in the affirmative.

Sena tor___: Carroll. Dooley. Duncan. Hoare. Lynch. Needham. O'Halloran.

Noes, 11. Senator­ Reid. Samp~on.


Teller: Senator Graham.

Ordered-That the resumption of the debate be an Order of the Day for Thursday next.


11. BEAM WIRELESS MESSAGES: CHARGES AUSTRALIA TO ENGLAND-SELECT CoMMITTEE.-Order of the Day read for the adjourned debate on the motion (by Senator Thomas), viz.-That a Select Commit.tee be appointed­ with power to send for persons, papers, and records, and to move from place to place--to inquire into and report upon the desirability and commercial possibility of sending messages from Australia to England over the beam wireless at a penny a word, such Committee to consist of Senators Carroll, Findley, Graham, H. Hays, Reid, Guthrie, and the Mover. \

Debate resumed. Question-put and passed. Ordered-That the Committee report to the Senate on 27th .Tune next.


3. SELECT COMMITTEE-BEAM WIRELESS MESSAGES: CHARGES, AUSTRALIA TO ENGLAND.-Senator Thomas, by leave, moved-That the Select Committee on "Beam Wireless Messages: Charges, Australia to England" have leave to report its Minutes of Evidence from time to time. Question___:put and passed.


3. SELECT CoMMI'fTEE-BEAl\i WIRELESS MESSAGES : CnARcms, A FSTRALIA TO ENGLAND.-Senator Thomas, by leave, moved--That the Select Committee appointed to inquire into and report upon the desirability an

Senator Carroll. Senator Findley. Senator Graham.





Senator Reid. Senator Thomas.

The entry in the Journals of the Senate of Thursday, 21st February, 1929, recording proceedings with t.he appointment of the Committee, was read by the Clerk. On the motion of Senator Graham, Senator Thomas wa;;, elected Chairman. Committee deliberated.

in connexion

Resolved-on the motion of Senator Reid-That a motion be submitted to the Senate by t.he Chairman1 that the Committee have leave to report its minutes of proceedings from time to time. Committee deliberated. Ordered-That the Committee meet in Melbourne on Monday, 11th March, at 10.30 a.m.

Hours of Meeting-Ordered-That the Committee meet during the following hours on

Committee adjourned till 10.30 a.m. on Monday, 11th March, at Melbourne.


Senator Carroll. Senator Findley. Senator Graham.

MONDAY, 11th MARCH, 1929.


Renator rrhomas, in the Chair.


Senator Guthrie. Senator H . Hays.


The Minutes of the previous meeting were read and confirmed. Harry Percy Brown, Director-General of Posts and Telegraphs, was called, sworn, and examined . Witnes~ withdrew. Gilbert Grange Haldane, Chief I nspPctor of Finance, Postmaster-General's Department, was called, sworn,· and eJCamined.

Witness withdrew. Committee deliberated. CommittP,e adjourned till 10.30 a.m. to-morrow.

Senator Carroll. Senator Graham.



Benator Thomas, in the Chair. I Senator Guthrie.

I Senator H. Hays.

The Minutes of the previous meeting were read and confirmed. Rea1' Admiral William Rawdon Napier, C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O., First Member of the Naval Boarcl, was called sworn, and examined. ·Witness withdrew.

Committee deliberated. Ordered-That the Committee meet in Sydney on We

Witness withdrew. Committee adjourned till a date to be fixed.

Senator Carroll. Senator Graham. Senator Guthrie.





Senator Thomas, in the Chair.


Senator H. Hays. Senator Reid.


The Minutes of the previous meeting were read and confirmed. Committee deliberated. ·

Tho~as_ Mitchell Shakespeare, Member of the Legislative Council of New South Wales, President of the Country Press Association of New South Wales, and Secretary of the Australasian Provincial Press Association was cal1ed. sworn and examined. ' '

Witness withdrew. Committee adjourned till Wednesday, 3rd April, at 2.30 p.m. at Sydney.

Sena tor Carroll. Senator Findley.




Senator Thomas, in the Chair.


Senator H. Hays. Senator Reid.

The Minutes of the previous meeting were read and confirmed. The entry in the Journals of the Senate of Tuesday, 19th March, 1929, recording the leave of the Senate for the Committee to sit with a quorum of three, was read by the Clerk. Correspondence.-The Clerk read a letter from the Prime Minister to the Chairman, and a copy of a letter from Mr. E. T. Fisk, Managing Director, Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Limited, suggesting that the taking of evidence fro m the representatives of the Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Company be not proceeded with at present.

A copy of a telegram to the Prime Minister from the Chairman stating that Mr. Fisk would make a statement in camera, and will then urge that no further evidence be taken from him until after negotiations on the question of wireless communication close, and pointing out objections of the Committee to deferring inquiry, and in conclusion asking, if evidence be deferred till 30th June, that Government would agree to appointment of Royal Commission to act for stated time.

Committee deliberated. Edward Thomas Fisk, Managing Director, Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Limited, was called, and made a state~ent, in camera, to the Committee, and having replied to certain questions put to him in connexion therewith, withdrew.

Committee deliberated. Committee adjourned.



Senator Thomas, in the Chair.

Senator Carroll. I Senator H. Hays.

Senator Findley. I Senat.or Reid.

The Minutes of the previous meeting were read and confirmed. Thomas Mitchell Shakespeare, M.L.C., was recalled and further examined. Witnec;s withdrew. Frederick John Gilday Fleming, Secretary, New Settlers' League, New South Wales, wa.s called, sworn, and examined.

Witness withdrew. Correspondence.-The Clerk read a telegram from the Prime Minister stating that negotiations are proceeding with Communications Company, and· he hoped position will be sufficiently cleared up to enable any necessary evidence to be taken prior to 30th June.

Committee deliberated. Albert Howard, Secretary for Migration, Salvation Army, New South Wales, was called, sworn, and examined. Witness withdrew. The Rev. William Henry Jones, General Secretary of the Methodist Home Mission Society, Sydney, was caHed, sworn, and examined.

Witness withdrew. Committee deliberated. Resolved-That the Chairman write a letter to the Prime Minister in reply to his co:rnmunications on the subject of evidence to be given by Mr. E. T. Fi$k, suggesting that rep~esentations l}y him sh,oulq have been ~ddr~ssed direct to the Committee. ·

Committee deliberated. ommitt.e adjourned,

Senator Carroll. Senator Findley.




Senator Thomas, in the Chair. I Senator H. Hays.

The Minutes of the previous meeting were re~d and confirm~d. .

William Brookes, M.L.O., Manufacturing Prmter and Publisher, was called, sworn! and exammed. Witness withdrew. Sir Benjamin John Fuller, Theatre Proprietor, was called, sworn, and examined. Witness withdrew.

Committee deliberated. The Right Hon. Sir Joseph Cook, P.O., G.C.M.G., was called, sworn, and examined. Witness withdrew. Emil Robert Voigt, Social Secretary of the A.L.P., and Manager of 2KY Broadcasting Station, was called, sworn, and examined.

Witness withdrew. Committee adjourned.

Senator Carroll. Senator Findley.



Senator Thomas, in the Ohair. I Senator H. Hays.


The Minutes of the previous meeting were read and confirmed. Herbert Campbell-Jones, Managing Editor of Sun Newspapers and the Daily Telegraph, Sydney, was called, sworn, and examined. Witness withdrew.

John David Corbett, Foreign Editor of the Daily Guardian, Sydney, was called, sworn, and examined. Witness withdrew. Ernest Gordon Beard, Chief Engineer, United Distributors' Company, Sydney, was called, sworn, and examined. Witness withdrew. James Walters Kitto, Deputy Director of Posts and Telegraphs, New South Wales, was called, sworn, and examined.

Witness withdrew. Commhtee adjourned.

Senator Carroll. Sena tor Findley.



Senator Thomas, in the Chair. I Senator H. Hays.

The Minutes of the previous meeting were read and confirmed. Ernest Thomas Fisk, Managing Director, Amalgamated ·wireless (Austra1asiai Limited, was called, sworn, and examined. Witness withdrew.

Committee deliberated. Committee adjourned till a date to be fixed by the Chairman.


Senator Carroll. Senator Findley.



Senator Thomas, in the Chair. I Senator Graham.

The Minutes of the previous meet~ng were read and confirmed. At the instance of Senator Findley, the Members of the Committee placed on record an expression of sympathy with the Chairman on account of the death of his daughter. The Clerk read a letter from the Prime Minister to the Chairman, stating that no discourtesy was desired or intended by him in regard to repre~entations made by him in connexion with the taking of evidence froIU Mr.~' 'f, Fisk.

The Chairman submitted his draft Report, which was read by the Clerk. Committee deliberated. Committee adjourned till 10.30 a.m. on 10th May.



Senator Carroll. Senator Findley.

FRIDAY, 10TH MAY, 1929.

Present :

Senator Thomas, in the Chair. I Renator H. HayR.

The Minutes of the previous meeting were read and confirmed. The Committee proceeded to the consideration of the Draft Report. Paragraphs 1 and 2 read and agreed to. Paragraphs 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 read, amended, and agreed to. Paragraph 9 read, amended, and postponed. Paragraphs 10 and 11 read, amended, and agreed to . Paragraphs 12 and 13 read and negatived. Paragraph 14 read and postponed. Paragraphs 15 and 16 read, amended, and agreed to. Paragraph 17 read and negatived. Postponed paragraph 9 again considered, further amended, and agreed to. Postponed paragraph 14 again considered and negatived. Committee deliberated. Committee adjourned.


Senator Carroll. Senator Findley.

MONDAY, 13TH MAY, 1929.


Senator Thomas, in the Chair.


Senator Graham. Senator H. Hays.

The Minutes of the previous meeting were read and confirmed. Consideration of Draft Report resumed. Recommendations read and considered. Senator Findley moved-That Recommendation No. 1. read-That Wireless Stations should be owned by the Government, and that all oversea telegraphic communication should be under Government control.

Question-put and passed. Senator Findley moved-That Recommendation No. 2. read-That Wireless should be developed to the fullest extent ; that its development should not be hampered by cable considerations, and that plants with a carrying capacity to enable ordinary messages to be despatched at the rate of one penny per word should be provided as soon as possible.

Question-put and passed. Senator H. Hays moved-That Recommendation No. 3. read-That the Government should immediately proceed to inaugurate a system of Oversea Post Letter Telegrams similar to that now in force across the Atlantic, the charges to be one penny halfpenny per word wjth a minjmum of sixteen words per message.

Question-put and passed. Senator Carroll moved-That Recommendation No. 4. read-That as the Committee was limited in the scope of its inquiry with respect to the proposed merger of the wireless and cable companies, Parliament should have an opportunity of discussing the whole question of overseas telegraphic communication before the Government becomes a party to any such merger.

Question-put and passed. New paragraph No. 14 agreed to. Senator Findley moved-That the Draft Report, as amended, be the Report of the Committee. And the motion, having been seconded by Senator H. Hays, was agreed to.

On the motion of Senator Findley, a vote of thanks to the Chairman and the Clerk was agreed to. Committee adjourned.

REPORT. THE SELECT COMMITTEE of the Senate appointed to inquire into and report upon the desirability and commercial possibility of sending messages from Australia to England over the Beam Wireless at one penny a word, has the honour to

report to the Senate as follows :-1. Your Committee conducted its inquiries in Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney, and, in order to make itself familiar with the various aspects of the subject remitted to jt by the Senate, examined witnesses representing the Postmaster-General's Department, Department of Defence, the Press, Migration Activities, Business Interests, Private Wireless Concerns, and Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Limited. The Right Honorable Sir Joseph Cook, P.O., G.C.M.G., an ex-Prime Minister of the Commonwealth and late High Commissioner for Australia in London, also gave evidence. ·

2. At the present tjme there are two effective modes of telegraphic communication between Australia and England, viz., the Cable systems, operated by the Eastern Extension Cable Company and the Pacific Cable Company, and secondly, Beam Wireless Telegraphy, which, in Australia, is under the control of Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Limited.

3. The tariff for messages by the cables is as follows:-1. Ordinary messages 2s. a word.

2. Deferred messages ls. per word.

3. Daily letter messages With a minimum of twenty words-15s., and 9d. for each additional word. 4. Week-end messages 12s. 6d. for a minimum of twenty words, and 7}d. for each additional word. 5. Press messages . . 6d. a word.

The tariff for messages by the Beam Wireless is as follows :--1. Ordinary messages ls. 8d. per word.

2. Deferred messages 1 Od. per word.

3. Daily letter messages With a minimum of twenty words-6d. per word. 4. Week-end messages With a minimum of twenty words-5d. a word. 5. Press messages . . 4d. a word.

The tariff for messages by cable from Australia to New Zealand is 4}d. a word for ordinary messages, and for night letter telegrams, twenty words for 3s. .

4. Neither of the cable systems carries messages all the way under the sea from Australia to England. The Eastern Extension Cable touches several land points, and a portion of its transmission is overland. The Pacific Cable Company has a land line right across Canada. Beam Wireless is independent of land lines.

5. The working capacity of an ordinary cable is about twenty words a minute, or about 10,500,000 words per annum, _provided that the cables are working on a full load for 24 hours on every day in the year. According to Mr. H. P. Brown, Director of Posts and Telegraphs, the old type of submarine cable was slow because of certain retarding characteristics. It is possible, today, by means of the improved or "loaded" cable to attain an effective speed of about 200 words a minute, or, 105,000,000 words per annum. The Pacific Cable Company has acquired two land lines across Canada, each of which has a capacity of about 80 words a minute. A radio wave, by the Beam system, is sent to England in one-twentieth of a second, or at the rate of approximately 1,000,000 miles a minute. In 1922, Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Limited, guaranteed a minimum capacity of 17,000,000 words per annum. In 1924, when the agreement was modified, the Company guaranteed a minimum capacity of 26,000,000 words per annum. The installation of the Beam has cost Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Limited about £300,000. The value of the cables operating to Australia is, according to the present Postmaster-General, £12,000,000. The difierence in the relative costs of upkeep i considerably less in respect to the Beam as compar d w'th the Cable system ..


6. Mr. G. G. Haldane, Chief Inspector of Finance, Postmaster-General's Department, informed the Committee that the capital value of the telegraph assets on the 30th June, 1928, inclusive of trunk lines used dually for telegraph and telephone purposes, was £ll,047,258, and that the cost of repairs and renewals on lines and plant charged to the Telegraph Branch during

the last financial year was £223,268. This amount is exclusive of the charge of £10,548 for depreciation. The total loss on the operations of this Department last year amounted in all to £312,075. The rates charged for sending telegrams are as follows:-Interstate . . For sixteen words-ls. 4d. = ld. a word.

Within the State (for sixteen Beyond fifteen miles radius-ls. = £d. a word. words) Within the State (for sixteen Fifteen miles radius-9d. = fd. a word. words) The charge for Press messages not exceeding 25 words is 8d. within the State, and ls. 4d. Interstate; from 26 to 50 words lld. within the State, and ls. 10d. Interstate; from 51 to 100 words ls. 9d. within the State, and 3s. 6d. Interstate. For each additional 50 words, the charge is 8d. within the State, and ls. 4d. Interstate. For Press Telegrams relating to Commonwealth proceedings, the charge for messages not exceeding 25 words is ls. 4d., from 26 to 50 words ls. 8d., from 51 to 100 words 2s., and each additional 50 words 8d. Leaving out Press messages, 15,966,000 words are sent for fd. a word, and 135,922,000 at £d. a word, all of which have to be delivered by telegraph messengers. If all messages, ordinary, press and lettergrams, despatched by the

Telegraph Department were charged at ld. a word, and, provided that the present volume of trade were maintained, the Department would, according to Mr. Haldane, pay well. The loss • on Press messages is between £200,000 and £300,000 per annum. These messages involve the Departmentin a tremendous amount of work-about 141,000,000 words being transmitted per

annum. Press rates, as well as the ordinary rates for despatching telegram.Q, have been fixed by Parliament.

7. That wireless should not be permitted unrestrictedly to compete with the cables was advanced by several witnesses, who expressed the opinion that cables were a necessity in time of war. This contention seems to the Committee to be unduly stressed. Cables can be cut in time of war, and only a Nation that has full control of the seas can maintain them. The opinion

was expressed before the Committee that it would be possible to render the Beam system useless by "jamming,'' and one witness interested in wireless went so far as to say that it would take a month or more to change the wave length of a Beam station if found necessary owing to the operations of enemy stations. Mr. Fisk, of Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Limited, however, stated that under the Beam system the wave length could be changed as quickly as under any

other system, providing the apparatus to do it is available, and that his Company could chan~e their wave length in three seconds with the necessary equipment. He further stated that 1f wireless activities were permitted to develop, we could defy any enemy power to interfere with wireless communications~ although it might at times make oommunications difficult. We had that experience during the Great War. Germany, he said, had no cable communications because

her cables were cut, but the Allies were unable to permanently interfere with her wireless communications. The Germans, he added, endeavoured to interrupt the wireless communicatio~s of the Allies, and although at times they made communication difficult they never stopped 1t. Wireless communication was,in his opinion, far more efficient to-day than it was then, and he thought if we erected wireless stations in Australia, at only a proportion of the cost of the cable, we could

guarantee to provide communication in any circumstances. Various witnesses stated that the Beam could not give a 24-hour service owing to" fading" during certain hours of the day. The Committee was informed that this weakness has now been overcome and messages can be sent by the Beam during any hour of the night or day. Mr. H. P. Brown, Director of Posts a?d

Telegraphs, held that it is almost impossible to ensure absolute secrecy by wireless, but Mr. Fisk stated that for commercial purposes we could guarantee as much secrecy as any other telegraph service. The Committee is of opinion that, in view of the evidence, the cable and the Bea~ systems are equally reliable and neither has any advantage so far as secrecy. is concerned, but it

would appear that owing to 'the very great difference in the cost of installation and upkeep the future of telegraphic communication, both in peace and in war, belongs to the Beam syste~. To retard its progress and its fullest development is, in the opinion of the Committee, wrong m principle.

8. The evidence of business men showed that for commercial purposes the Beam is pr?~g more satisfactory than the cable system, as well as providing a cheaper service. Sir BenJamm Fuller stated that, in connexion with the transmission of Beam messages for his firm, there had been no mistakes, difficulties or delays, and that they had found the Beam system more satisfactory and th~ rates cheaper than those charged by the Cable Companies. Representatives of newspapers


informed the Committee that half of their messages are now received through the Beam system and that the Beam has been responsible for reducing the cost and facilitating the receipt of overseas messages. Other witnesses generally held a similar opinion. In this connexion, the following evidence was given by Mr. J. D. Corbett, Foreign Editor of the Daily Guardian.:-

820. Can you explain why there is such a tremendous volume of press business transmitted by cable when the rates via the Beam system are lower ? All our Eastern news from ~okio and Shanghai comes by cable as there is no Beam system operating between those places and Australia. All our press information from South Africa also comes by cable. The messages from the East come via Eastern Extension Company Service.

It would appear that the Beam is at present carrying almost half of the telegraphic traffic from Australia to England, and there is no doubt that it will, if its operations are not hampered, eventually carry practically all the traffic between the countries which are connected by the Beam. The Beam has already been the means of saving the community, in the matter of overseas communicatjon, some hundreds of thousands of pounds. Mr. Fisk estimates that there has been a saving of well over £100,000 a year. In addition to this, the Beam system has stimulated a reduction in the cable rates. Years ago competition between cable companies led to a reduction in rates. Before the Pacific Cable came into operation, according to the evidence of Sir Joseph Cook, the Eastern Extension Company charged 5s. 9d. a word for messages transmitted over its cables and below that rate they would not budge, but when the Pacific cable was established the rates were reduced to 3s. 6d. a word and later to 3s. The following evidence given by Mr. H. Campbell-Jones, Managing Editor of the Sun Newspapers, Sydney, shows the advantages that have already been derived by the public through the competition of the Beam with the Cable system:-

736. Since the wireless system has been in operation have you found that the service rendered by the cable companies is more efficient? Yes, immeasurably. Before the war we considered that we were fortunate if we received messages from London within. three and a half hours on an average. After the war the period increased, and it was sometimes ten hours, but to-day we are receiving our cable messages on an average in from 50 to 70 to 80 minutes from the time of despatch, which is practically the same time as is occupied when transmitted by Beam. Taking an average over a period, I should say that an advantage of about five minutes could be shown in favour of the Beam system.

737. Is the reduction in time occupied in receiving messages over the cable due to the competition of the Beam system? Unquestionably. There is no doubt, in the opinion of the Committee, that if the Beam wireless rates were reduced, a reduction in the cable rates would inevitably follow.

9. In England a merger has been formed between the various companies interested in telegraphic communication. It would appear that through the formation of this merger the interests of the cable companies are safeguarded, and that the Beam is unable to reduce its rates to an extent that will enable the public to reap the full benefit of the inventions of science. It is understood that negotiations are in progress for the application of the operations of this merger to Australia. The Committee considers that the result of the merger will have the effect of retarding cheap communication for the mass of the people.

10. Evidence before the Committee generally expressed the opinion that cheaper communication between Australia and Great Britain is essential to a closer relationship between the dominions of the Empire, a freer intercourse between its peoples, and to the strengthening of Imperial ties. In the course of his evidence, Mr. J. D.'Corbett, Foreign Editor of the Daily Guardian, said-" . . . I maintain that if it is possible to transmit cable messages from England to India or South Africa at 2!d. a word, it is a practical proposition to make the same charge between Great Britain and Australia." Mr. F. J. G. Fleming, Secretary of the New Settlers' League of New South Wales, considered that the present rates are somewhat excessive, and hamper our negotiations with Great Britain. Moreover, he thought that migrants would feel more contented if they could communicate with their relatives in the Old Land more expeditiously, and at considerably cheaper rates than is possible under the present system. At the last Annual Conference of the New Settlers' League the question of cheaper communication was discussed and a motion was carried to the effect that if the rate could be reduced to Id. a word, it would materially assist migrants. With improved facilities in this respect, he thought a larger number of migrants would be attracted to Australia. Other witnesses interested in migration expressed similar views. It was generally admitted that the present rates for telegraphic communication between Australia and England are too high to permit of any extensive use of such communications by the ordinary citizen. Business concerns, newspapers, and various public and private institutions make constant use of the cable and the Beam, but the number of social messages sent by 80 per cent. of the people is practically nil. The Honorable William Brooks, M.L.C., stated in the course of his evidence-" Under the present conditions, wireless and cable

communications are confined almost solely to business, but if the rates were reduced to Id. a word one can hardly imagine the extraordinary extent to which the service would develop. The growth of domestic and social communication w uld be tremendous".


11. Having shown the relative positions of the cable companies and the Beam wireless system, and their respec~ive effic~ency, and ~hat th~ desire fo~ cheaper com~unicatio~ between Australia and England 1s practically .unammous m Austral~a, the Com.rmttee .considers that such communication should be cheapened. In paragraph 6 it was shown that 1f all messages

despatched by the teleg~aph branch of the Postmaster-Gener~l's Department were charged at a Id. per word, the serVIce would pay well, although the capital value of the telegraph assets amounted to £11,047,258 and the cost of upkeep during last financial year was £223,268. Considering the huge outlay on the telegraph service of the Commonwealth, and the high cost

of upkeep, the Committee considers that it should be practicable for similar charges to be made for communications by the Beam wireless system. Mr. Fisk, on being quest ioned on this point, stated that to--day Id. a word messages are impracticable, but he also said that he would be sorry to think that it would never be practicable to despatch and receive messages at that rate. The

history of wireless development suggested that this ideal will ultimately be reached, and he hoped in the near future. 12. Mr. Fisk points out that a class of traffic has been introduced across the Atlantic which is based on l ,!d. a word for post letter telegrams. Under this system, which has recently been adopted and extended by the cable companies, messages are sent first by post and then either by ordinary Beam service or by cable, ~nd on arrival are again handled as ordinary mail matter. A message may be posted in the ordinary way to the despatching centre and then transmitted by wireless or by cable, and a message so received is despatched to the addressee by pos t. The

Committee considers that this system should be adopted in Australia without loss of time, the minimum number of words to be not less than sixteen per message.

13. Most of the witnesses were strongly in favour of Empire communications being in the hands of the Government. With this view the Committee agrees. Mr. H. P. Brown, Director of Posts and Telegraphs, claims that the cables must be maintained and t hat the tariff must be adjusted to keep both services in operation. The Committee considers that such a policy is a matter of great regret and is of the opinion that Beam Wireless

communication should be developed to its u~most extent, irrespective of other considerations.

14. Your Committee desires to place on record its appreciation of the services rendered to it by Mr. R. A. Broinowski, in his capacity as Clerk of Committees.


1. That Wireless Stations should be owned by the Government, and that all oversea telegraphic communication should be under Government control.

2. That Wireless should be developed to the fullest extent; that its· development should not be hampered by cable considerations; and that plants with a carrying capacity to enable ordinary messages to be despatched at the rate of one penny per word should be provided as soon as possible.

3. That the Government should immediately proceed to inaugurate a system of Oversea Post Letter Telegrams similar to that now in force across the Atlantic, the charges to be I,!d. per word, with a minimum of sixteen words per message.

4. That, as the Committee· was limited in the scope of its inquiry with respect to the proposed merger of the wireless and cable companies, Parliament should have an opportunity of discussing the whole question of overseas telegraphic communication before the Government becomes a party to any such merger.

Senate Committee Room, 17th June, 1929.




Beard, Ernest Gordon Brooks, The Honorable William, M.L.C . .. Brown, Harry Percy, M.B.E., M.I.E.E. . . Campbell-Jones, Herbert Cook, The Right Honorable Sir Joseph, P.O., G.C.M.G. Corbett, John David .. Cunningham, Edward Sheldon .. Fisk, Ernest Thomas .. Fleming, Frederick John Gidley Fuller, Sir Benjamin John, K.B. Haldane, Gilbert Grange Howard, Albert Jones, Rev. William Henry Kitto, James Walters .. Napier, Rear-Admiral William Rawdon, C.M.G., D.S.0. Rhakespeare, The Honorable Thomas Mitchell, M.L.C. Voigt, Emil Robert


44 29 1

39 34



49 28

33 16 28 29 47 20

23, 25 37


(Taken at Melbourne.) MONDAY, 11TH MARCH, 1929.


Senator THOMAS, Chairman; · Senator Carroll Senator Guthrie

Senator Findley Senator H. Hays.

Senator Graham

Harry Percy Brown, Secretary and Directo~·-General of Posts and Telegraphs, sworn and exammed.

1. By the Ohairman.-What experience have you had in telegraphy, telephony and wireless ?-It has been my life's work. I have spent the whole of my life in the study of electrical communications.

2. Until the last few years, all swift communication between distant countries separated by the sea, was done by cable ?-Yes. 3. Have you any idea of the cost per mile of laying

a cable ?-The present-day cost would work out roughly at about £400 a mile. 4. Is there any cable system which carries messages all the way under the sea from Australia to England, or does every cable system, like the Pacific cable, .send portion of its messages via land ?-Each of the sub­ marine cables touches land at intermediate points, but in certain cases the extent of transmission over land

lines is small. The Eastern route touches several land points, but only a little of the transmission is overland. One section at the Suez Canal, from Suez to Alex­ andria, has recently been converted from overhead ~ine to cable, but it is a subterranean, and not a submarme, cable.

5. The Eastern extension cable is practically sub­ marine all the way ?-Yes. 6. Whereas the Pacific fable is not ?-That is so. The Ea.stern cable via South Africa has a land line · section from Durban to Capetown, but the Pacific

cable has a land line right across Canada. 7. Have you any idea of the working capacity of a cable? By that I mean, how many words would it be possible to handle in twelve months ?-That depends very much on the type and design of cable used and

the distance. I can give the Committee some figures in that connexion that may be interesting. The sec­ tion of cable from Fanning Island to Bamfield, which is the longest section of the Pacific route, is 3,458 nautical miles. It has roughly a speed of 135 letters a minute or, say, 27 words. Of course one has to bear in mind that although that may be the actual speed of the table,

it does not mean that that many effective ·words could be despatched every minute of the day. The effective speed of operation would be about 20 words a minute, or about 10,500,000 words per annum, provided that

the cables were ·working on a full load for 24 hours on every day of the year, which, of course, is not

feasible. The loaded cable which has recently been laid across the Pacific has a speed of 1,200 letters a minute equivalent to 240 words a minute. The effec­ tive speed would, therefore, be about 200 words a

minute, or 105,000,000 words per annum, assuming that the cable were kept constantly in operation for every minute of the year.

8. What do you mean by loaded cable ?-The old type of submarine cable consisted of a copper conductor insulated by gutta percha, and the speed at which mes­ sages could be transmitted was slow because of certain retarding electrical characteristics of the cable. It is possible to-day, and ha.s been so for some years, to provide a winding of magnetic alloy over_ the conduc­ tor which minimises these retarding influences. The

effect of that has been to increase greatly the rate of propagation of the signal along the line and enor­ mously increase the speed of transmission. 9. By Senator Guthrie.-Are all the cables across the Pacific loaded cables ?-No. The old cables that were laid years ago and are not loaded, but those

laid in recent years loaded. The recently laid

Pacific cable . is loaded, as is also that .section of the Eastern cable from Fremantle to Cocos Island. 10. You said that the transmission over the ordinary cable was twenty words a minute. To what extent does the loaded cable increase the transmission ?-The effective speed would be about 200 words a minute, or even more than that.

11. By the Ohairmen.-Messages by the Pacific cable are sent across Canada ?-Yes. 12. What is the capacity of that land line ?-Two land lines have been acquired by the Pacific Cable Board from the Canadian Pacific Railway, and each of those lines has a capacity of about eighty words a minute.

13. Could those two land lines carry all the traffic on the Pacific cable ?-Yes, more than carry it. 14. That is 160 words a minute?-Yes. An effec­ tive capacity of 200 words a minute on the loaded cable

and twenty words a minute on the old cable has been suggested, but the cables are never fully loaded. It would be an easy matter to increase the speed and the carrying capacity across Canada.

15. To-day, messages can be sent by wireless as well as by cable ?-Yes. 16. Have you any idea of the cost of a plant that

could send wireless !messages · from here to England ?­ I should imagine that it would cost from £80,000 to £100,000 for the plant7 for one terminal only. That would exclude the site, buildings, lines, offices and things

of that sort. Probably that information could best be obtained from the Amalgamated Wireless Limited. 17. What number of words could such a plant send yearly to England ?-Various estimates have been given. For instance, two directors of the company have given

estimates of 100,000,000 and 86,000,000 words. My own view is that if the plant carried 30,000,000 per annum, it would be doing very well indeed. That would be good loading for such a plant. One has

to recollect that wireless services are subject to in­ terruptions and fading, and when those occur, the speed of signalling is seriously reduced, if transmis­ sion is not made quite impossible. There are periods of the day when no messages can be signalled at all.

18. Have you read the following statement made by Mr. Gibson, M.P., in the ·Federal Parliament on the 8th December, 1927 :-"We have a cable system which operates between different places, and if we take the

value only of those Mbles operating to Australia, we find that it amounts to £12,000,000. Who is going to operate a £12,000,000 machine when a £120,000 machine will give the same service." ?-Yes.

19. Do you agree with that estimate of cost?­ Approximately, excepting that Mr. Gibson has, pe~·haps, included in his estimate the cost of only one wireless terminal instead of two. I think that Mr. Gibson was giving some rough :figures just to show the enormous

disparity between the cost of a cable service and that of a wireless service. 20. A company would not operate a £12,000,000 plant when it could supply a required service at

£120,000 ?-Not if it were making a fresh start and there were no services at all. No company would lay a network of cables costing £12,000,000 when the same service could be given by a different plant at a much less cost.

21. Do you know the number of words sent from Australia to England via the cables ?-During the year ended 31st June, 1928, 3,100,000 words were sent by cable.

22. What number of words were sent by Beam wire­ less ?-4,589,000, or a total by both services of 7,689,000 words. 23. What is the tariff of the cable companies and the wireless company?-The ordinary tariff by cable is 2s., and by wireless ls. 8d.

24. The wireless is cheaper by about 10 per cent.? -By about 16 per cent. ·

25. Then wireless is cheaper than cable ?-Very much so. 26. Do you think that the difference in tariff has taken away some of the traffic of the cable companies, or has the lowering of rates created a new traffic, or, in other words, do you think the combined traffic i,a any more than it would have been if the charges had been the same ?-There is not a great deal of

evidence to indicate that there has been an appreciable increase in business due to the operation of the lower tariff. For instance, the total number of words between Australia and the United Kingdom for the twelve months ending March, 1927, was 13,048,000, and for the twelve months ending March, 1928, 14,101,000.

The percentage increase was therefore only 8.07 per cent. Cqmparing the :figures for 1924-25 with those for 1925-26, we find that the percentage increase was

7.92. That was prior to the inauguration of the wire­ les.s service, so it will, therefore, be seen that wireless has made little difference to the normal percentage increase.

27. Do you think that the wireless has created new traffic ?-It was bound to give rise to some additional traffic, but so far that has not been very much. 28. Supposing the charges were ld. a word, would that create new traffic ?-Yes.

29. Do you know Sir Geoffrey Clarke, late Director of Posts and Telegraphs, India ?-Only by repute. 30. Have you read an article of his published in the Times and reprinted in the Sun of 3rd January,

1927 ?-Yes. I managed to get hold of a copy this

morning. 31. He states in that article: "The telegraph

authorities must create the telegram habit. They must make it a necessity by bringing it within the reach of all classes." Do you agree with that ?-Yes, as far

as it is economically practicable. 32. This statement appeared in the Financwl News, London, of 17th January, 1928: "There exists an immense potentiality of traffic only waiting to be nursed into actuality by facilities and rates. Even in a cautious estimate the traffic will be enough to employ fully both means of transmission. Do you agree with

that ?-Generally that may be taken as correct, but I do not know what the writer means by fully employing both means of transmission. If he means the cable and wireless services that are in existence to-day, that is probably correct. Of course,. we can establish additional services at a comparatively 1ow cost, but


the existing facilities are enormously in excess of the demands of to-day so far as Australia-United King­ do1n are concerned. 33. Ordinary messages are sent by cable at 2s. a word, and by Beam at ls. 8d. a word. A large number

of messages would be sent in code ?-Yes. 34. Those sent in code would average from four to five words ?-The average would probably be about four words.

35. The charge of 2s. for a code word would mean practically 6d. a word ?-The charge to the sender would work out roughly at that figure. 36. If the sender were charged 6d. a word and he sent four words, he would not be any worse off than

if he paid 2s. for a code word ?-No, excepting

that he would lose the benefit of secrecy, which is a very important factor to many commercial people. 37. If the rate were ld. a word, would the traffic be increased by six times ?-I do not think so.

38. Do you not think that the existing system of code words, which cannot be successful in ordinary messages, makes the present system of sending messages to England most inequitable ?-I do not see that it does. It is a business facility. Of course, the cost

to the business man does not start and :finish with the payment of his rates. He has to keep a staff for coding and decoding. I do not think that there is anything inequitable in the system. The operating company is

really charging for work that it does. 39. The person sending a message in code has an advantage over the sender of an ordinary message?­ That is true.

40. Did you attend a conference in England, held between the wireless and cable companies ?-No. I attended the Imperial Cable and Wireless Conference, which had nothing at all to do with the companies.

41. The cable companies were represented ?-No. At times we discussed matters with their representatives. 42. They were present at the conference ?-We invited representatives of certain cable companies to attend to enable us to discuss matters with them.

43. Those discussions had a great deal to do the " Merger " ?-Yes. 44. At that conference it was decided that it was necessary for the safety of the Empire in times of war to keep the cable service in operation ?-That is a very

important aspect. 45. Was that aspect puJ; before the conference?­ Yes. The Australian Government was responsible to a great extent for raising the question of the value of the cables. The Imperial Defence Conference, which preceded the conference on cable and wireless, gave special consideration to the cable situation.

46. The conference laid it down that it was necessary for the safety of the Empire to continue the cable system ?-That was essential. 47. That was the opinion of the conference ?-Yes.

48. While at that conference you met the directors of the cable companies ?-Yes, on many occasions. 49. Did they give you the idea that they were in­ ter~sted in the safety of the Empire, or were they

concerned only with their dividends ?-That would. be a hard thing to say. They are men of high standmg and they have the interests of the Empire at hear~, as have most of us. On the other hand they certamly

did not go into the business from philanthropic motives. 50. Do you remember the agitation for the Pacific cable ?-Yes. 51. Were you in the British Postal Department at that time ?-Yes.

52. Do you know the reasons for that agit~tion i­ I think that it arose through the efforts of Sir Sa~d­ ford Fleming, the chief engineer for the Canadian Pacific Railway. When that railway had reached the


Pacific coast, and was nearrng completion, it neces- labour with the load to be disposed of, and if there were 6,000,000 additional messages to deliver, it could be taken generally that it would cost more. The time

arily had a telegr aph line along its route, and that gentleman visualized the extension of the system by ~ubmarine cable across the P acific linking up the dominions and the Mother Country. There were many conferences and discussions by Imperial committees on the subject.

comes when the absolute load of a postman is reached, nnd we have to employ another. 72. Do you know that this Committee is inquiring i11to the possibility of sending messages from here to England at 1d. a word ?-Yes. 53. As an offici al of t he British Post Office at that time, did you hear complaints of excessive charges by cable and the lack of E mpire sentiment on the part of the cable companies ?-It always has been urged that the rates are too high. It is only human nature that we should continue to strive for a reduction in rates. I do not think that t he circumstances of those times, when the r ates· wer e double what they are now, are different from those of to-day.

54. Have you heard any criticisms of State control of activities ?- Many. 55. In Australia the telegraphs ar e Government­ owned ?-Yes.

56. In America they ar e privately owned ?-Yes. 57. In Canada some ar e controlled by the Govern­ ment and some by private enterprise ?-Yes. 58. Y 011 have been to America and Canada ?-Yes.

59. Do you think the telegraph systems of America and Canada superior to ours ?-I do not. 60. How do the charges compare ?-There is a big difference. The American telegraph charges are fixed upon a zoning basis. In this country we send sixteen words for any distance for 1s. 4d. In America, the

charge for sending ten words for any distance over 1,800 mile$, is 5s. For every word over si-xteen we charge 1d. fo r any distance. In America .the charge for every word ove r ten is 4d. for any distance over 1,800 miles .

, 61. The despatch of wireless messages from here to England is in the hands of a company which is semi­ governmental in character ?-Yes, at this end. At the ether end t;h e control is in the hands of the British

Post Office. 62. Do you think that that se rvice could be main­ tained by the Postal Department here as efficiently as it is to-d ay by private en terprise ?-Quite as well.

63. The T elegraph Depar tment is lo sing revenue on account of broadcasting and telephones ?-The influence of broadcasting is not very marked. Undoubtedly the broadcasting of spor ting r esults has eliminated some of the · telegr aph traffic, but th e telephone traffic does not re-act upon it to any se rious extent, excepting over short distances.

64. The department to -day is not employing so many telegraphists as it did previ ously ?-That may be due to a number of reasons. ·

65. One reason is the more effi cient telegraph ser­ Yice ?--I think so . It may be t aken that in the past

few years the telegraph load has been more or less st ationary. 66. Supposing 60,000,000, instead of 10,000,000 words were sent by ·wireless from E ngland to Australia,

would that add anything to the cost of working the department here ?-Yes, very much. 67. Would it mean more telegraphists ?-Un­ doubtedly, and more plant.

68. If the r adiograms from England were delivered by postmen instead of by telegraph messengers, would it mean the employment . of more postmen ·?-Un­ doubtedly.

69. Supposi1J g ·we received 60,000,000 words and the average was ten words per message, that ·would mea11 6,000,000 messages ?-Yes. 70. The depar tment at present delivers 800,000,000 letters ?-Yes.

71. Would the delivery of radiograms, if undertaken by postmen, add much to t heir load ?-We are making constant efforts in the depar~ment to try to balance F.736 .-2

73. I asked this question in the House last Friday­ "Is it a fact, as announced in the London· Times of 22nd October, 1D26, page 18, column C, that post-1ettef! telegrams at the rate of 1 id. per word, subject to a minimum of 2s. 6d. per telegram of twenty words or kss, can be sent by wireless from Canada to England,

the post-letter telegrams being handed in as telegrams between London and Montreal, but collected and delivered as letters"? The Minister answered "Yes." l take it that you agree with that?-Yes.

74. If that can b0 done from Canada to London, ehould there be any difficulty in instituting a similar system between here and London ?-I do not know that th~re would be any difficulty in doing that. Of

course it would be striking right at the basis of our tariffs. We cannot expect to do from here to London what is done between London and Canada, a much less distance.

75. I take it that that rate pays or else the charge

would be greater ?-Not necessarily. Charges imposed for telegrams are not always fixed because they are profitable. 76. If messages can be sent from Canada to England at a minimum of twenty words at the rate of 1-!d. a word, there is no reason why that should not be done

from here to London ?-If it is profitable in Canada, it should also be profitable in Australia so far as wire­ less transmission is ·concerned. 77. This Committee is making inquiries to ascertain whether it would be commercially possible to send messages from here to England at 1d. a word. What is your idea of that proposal ?-It is absolutely im­ possible.

78. Why ?-I take it that the Committee has in mind the possibility of any person entering a post office, handing in a message and paying 1d. a word for that message to be despatched to England. The charges for

dealing with the message in Australia alone would pra-c­ t.ieally absorb the full amount. There would still have I r1 be added the charge for wireless transmission and also the amouut for dealing with the message when it

arrived in England. ·

79. The following statement appeared in the Times of November 13th, 1926.-"Messages at Rockbank and Ballan. From these stations messages will pass auto­ matically into the air, thus being untouched by hand from Queen-street to London."

79A. Is that your statement ?-I do not remember it, but I may have been guilty of making it. Still, it is

quite true. 80. It would not cost ld. a word to despatch to Lon­ don in that way a message delivered to the Queen-street office ?-I do not see how it could be done for 1d. For instance, there is the charge for the distribution of

the traffic at the other end. 81. Still, messages are being sent from Canada to London for 1}d. a word ?-It does not always follow that because a certain charge is made, a profit will ensue. In Australia we are carrying out an enormous amount of business that does not pay. The lettergram

traffic i.s a serious loss, but we carry j t for various

reasons. Sometimes it happens that by carrying traffic at a certain price, which is unprofitable in itself, we can spread out and even the load on the system and so tend towards the more economical handling of the traffic as a whole. It does not at all follow that

an individual tariff is profitable. The same thing'


may happen in wireless. If the rate of Hd. a word in Canada were analyzed, and the precise costs ob­ tained, I should not be surprised if there were a loss on that particular traffic. Although unprofitable, it

may be considered wise to charge such a rate. 82. By Senator Findley.-You are Director-General of Posts and Telegraphs in Australia ?-Yes. 3. How long have you filled that position ?-About

ix years. 84. Dm:ing that ti:me, I take it that you have had an opportunity of forming opinions in regard to the ser-:v.ices controlled by your department ?-Yes.

85. What is your opinion of those services as com­ pared with services in other parts of the world that are privately owned and controlled ?-Our services are every bit as good as private services. There are cer­

tain additional facilities provided in other countries where the people are prepared to pay two, three or four times more than is paid here. For instance, the charge for the telephone service is much higher else­ where than it is in Australia. Generally speaking, tha American will not wait for telephone connexion. He wants it on demand, and, therefore, he is provided with an expensive plant capable of carrying a big peak load of traffic. For that he has to pay more. Other­

wise, our services are quite equal to those in other parts of the world. Our telephone and telegraph ser­ vices have incorporated in them the latest devices that add to the efficient treatment of traffic, and I should say that Australia has, from a technical standpoint, one

of the best organizations in the world. 86. You say that our community-owned services are equal to similar privately-.owned services in other countries ?-Yes.

87. In addition, the charges for our services, mainly because they are community owned, are much lower than those in other countries whose services are pri­ vately owned and controlled ?-Our charges are much lower.

88. You are avvare that at one time the telephone service of Victoria was privately owned ?-Yes. 89. And that the Government took it over as au

essential service in the interests of the people ?-Yes. 90. As our services are, according to your .statement, as · good as any other similar services in the world that are pri:ately owned, is there any reason why

another service, such as the Beam wireless between Australia and England, should not be controlled ab­ solutely by the Government ?-None, that I know of. 91. Do you consider that Beam wireless is an

essential service ?-It is a necessary service. . 92. As that service is not government owned we

can take it that the charges are higher than ,;ould

be the case if the service were government owned?­ I do not think so.

93. Why not ?-There are two terminals to inter­ national communications. Moreover to-day the ideal of authorities who have studied this subject in all its

aspects, is to get a real co-ordination of wireless and cable services. It must be taken for granted that the cable service cannot be allowed to go out of use. If we are ·going to · allow unfettered competition with

the cheapest services that can be given to-day, we s~all probably send the cable companies into liquida­ t10n. If the Governments of the Empire hold the view

~s I kn~w ~hey do1 that the submarine cable syste~ 1s essential m the mter~sts ~f the Empire, they must be a yarty to nreventrng 1t from being destroyed

:financially. That was really the whole basis of the formation of the Empire Communications Company in London. ~4: I gath~r fro.m your reply that you are of the

opm10n that 1f there were free, unfettered competition so fal' as a wireless system owned and controlled by the Government is concerned, it would ruin :financially the privately-owned cable companies ?-There are t~o

aspects of the question. There might, in consequence, be a great rate-cutting war, because the cable com­ panies have enormous financial reserves, and, in addi­ tion, the means at their disposal for dealing with a huge volume of traffic. On the other hand, the largest cable company in the Empire has sufficient reserves to

enable it to pay the whole of its shareholders at par, even without the realization of its assets. It would be for the directors of that company to decide whether they would immediately safeguard their shareholders'

interest by selling out and realizing on their reserves as well, or by carrying on a rate-cutting war try

to eliminate or to bring to terims the wireless authori­ ties. This has already taken place in certain cases. The cable companies have so arranged matters

with the wireless-operating authorities that there is now no unrestricted competition. The Cana­

dian service to England is operating on the same

tariff as the cable service. Certain South American wireless companies are also operating on the same charges as the cable companies. 95. Your reply amounts to this, that there would

probably be a rate-cutting war with the privately­ owned cable companies if the Government ·took over the wireless and entered into the business of communica­ tion between here and the Old Country?-I do not

think so for a moment. It would be roost foolish

for a government to do that. 96. We do not hesitate to lower our charges, postal, telegraphic and telephonic, in the interests of the com­ munity, and if we owned and controlled the wirele& service, tlie community's interest should be paramount

to ~ny other interest ?-Undoubtedly. {17. Therefore, the Government, if it owned and con­ trolled the wireless service, would probably lower the charges fixed by the semi-governmental and privately­ owned companies ?-The important point is whether the

tariff is of para:mount interest to the community. I do not think it is. I think that the r etention of the

cable system in the interests of the Empire is of

paramount importance to the community. If t.he Go .. vernment, operating a wireless service, strove to charge the lowest possible rate, it would destroy the very thing that it now feels is essential to retain in the interestb

of the Empire, and that is the cable service. 98. If that is the opinion of the Dominion Govern­ ments, why do they encourage private enterprise to establish institutions such as wireless services, that

are seriously competing with the cable business ~-I think that the Empire has gained enormously by the pioneer work of private enterprise. Without private' enterprise the Empire would not have been served as it is to-day by a huge network of submarine cables. The Empire Governments would never have provided that.

99. That is admitted, but the volume of business by cable is less than the volume of business by wireless? -A rather important point is that the revenue is not less. The cheaper class of traffic is being sent in larger volumes by the -w:irele~s services, and the more important

class of traffic 1s bemg reserved for transmission by cable. Although the number of words sent by the two systems differs appreciably, the revenue from each ie about the same.

100. What is the nature of the better class of bm!i­ ness ?-Many commercial people think, perhaps with some justification, that there is greater reliability in the transmission of business by cable. During certain hours of the day there must be greater promptitude, because there are no fading periods, such as with wire­ less.

101. You say that there is greater reliability and promptitude by cable as compared with wireless-I do. 102. Why ?-In the first place, it is not impossible for any one to intercept wireless messages. That is

quite an easy thing to do. In the second place, the

wireless service is subject to interruption of such a

character that during certain hours of the day there may be no service at all. Those are adequate reasons for reaching the conclusion that the cable system during a period of 24 hours, gives greater security and prompti­

tude than the wireless . I do not want any member of the committee to gather from my remarks that I am speaking disparagingly of the wireless, because that is far from my intention. I think that it is one

of the greatest bo ons and assets that we could possibly have. 103. In view of your statement that there is greater reliability and promptit ude in sending messages by cable

as against by wireless, is it not a fact that the volume of business by the wireless is e--r ery day increasing?­ Y es. 104. Is that incr ease d. volume of business the result of business activities?-Yes, but it includes a large proportion of press, week-end and daily lettergram traffic.

105. Can you tell the committee whether the results of the test cricket matches wer e sent by cable or by wireless ?-I think the r esults were sent by both ser­ vices. I know definitely that they wer e sent by cable.

106. The newspaper proprietors want the best service. Do you think that the proprietors in England would receive messages by wireless if the service were not reliable and prompt ?-I do not think so. Perhaps the wireless messages wer e sent at times of the day when they knew reliance could be placed on the ser­ vice, and when, normally, a ser vice is practicable. When I say that the cable se rvice is more reliable, I do not mean that ther e is a greater chance of mutila­ tion of messages if sent by wireless.

107. The wireless messages of the test results would be sent both to morning and evening papers, so certain periods of the day could not be picked out for trans­ mission ?- I think that, to a ce r tain extent, the hours for transmission would be picked. We have a similar position here. We do not get our press traffic coming through at every hour of the day. It is probably

saved up until a certain period and transmitted some few hours before the newspaper goes to press. · 108. I have some li ttle k;nov.rledg ei of 11e wspaper work and I know how important it is to have messages­ telephone, telegraph, wireless or cable-handed in as quickly as possible. Time is the essence of the con­

tract. Evening papers could not afford to have delays in getting test cricket match results. The JI erald is the only evening newspaper in ::Melbourne, and that news­ paper gets i ts messages as quickly as possible. What the JI erald is doing in ::Melboume, the newspaper pro­ prietors el sewhere are also doing. They want to know

the fall of every wicket and the increase in scores, consequently, if it be t rue that the cable is more

reliable and prompt than the wireless, it seems strange to me that the newspaper proprietors should use the wireless ?-The wireless is able to render a service that is fairly satisfactory, but we cannot possibly guarantee, by ·wireless during ce rtain hours of the day,

the promptitude and r eliability that are possible by cable. I know definitely that there are periods of the day when the wireless se rvice cannot be used. When a message is handed in, it may be sent by 1,vireless,

because that ser vice is at the time r eliable. But

it may so happen that the wireless is fading and in that case the message would be sent by cable. 109. Is not the cable service subject to interruption? -Not to the same extent . There is a rather inter esting

point that has some bearing on this subject. One

might say that t he newspapers do not throw money away. If they can transact their business at a low

cost, they do it. The press rate between Australia and the United Kingdom is 6d. by cable and 4d. by wire­ less. If there is the same r eliability and promptitude with both services, it is difficult to think that the


uewspaper proprietors would pay 6d. a word when they can get a service at 4d. a word. The figures for the six months ended 30th November, 1928, show that 335,000 words were sent by cable, wher eas 490,000 vi· ords were sent by beam at 2d. a word less.

110. Was the beam service working satisfactorily? -It was working normally. That was over a period of six months. I hope that it will be understood

that I am not trying to damn the beam wireless.

Nobody appreciates its value more than I do, but I am trying to weigh the respective merits of each, and to judge their value from the standpoint of the

C'.omm unity.

111. You consider that in view of the development of wireless, it would be very difficult and probably im­ possible to form any company to establish another cable service to-day ?-Yes.

112. If there were no cable services, we should h ave to rely on wirel ess ?-In that case, probably cables would be provided. 113. You said, previously, that you thought that it ·would be impossible to form another company in view of the development of wireless ?-I am speaking not only of a private company, but also of the Govern­ ment. Ther e is this point to consider. Some of the

biggest private companies in the world a~e to-day spending huge sums of money on cables. Cables have not gone for good. There is also a great probability that the submarine cable will be developed and be found suitable for long-distance telephone transmission. I think that it will not be long before it will be

announced that long-distance submarine telephone ser­ vices are available. .

114. The cable companies have probably been· moved to activity in that direction by the development of wireless ?-I do not think so. Scientific development has made it possible to do that, and that development has no distinct bearing on wireless. I ts development dates back to 1900, when we first utilized the loading of subterranean cables. Some time later, we were able to load the submarine cable across the channel from England to France; but it is only within the last

year or two that an alloy of very high permeability has been developed. That characteristic makes it pos­ sible to manufacture a cab]e highly effici ent. This has brought about the probability that long-distance su1?-. marine telephone cables will be used. It 1s

easy to see why it. should be done, even though

the cost is high. Regularity and se crecy of se rvice are vital. Wealthy people who have money to invest in communication services are apparently prepared to invest it in submarine cables, although the cost will be eno1:mously greater than that of installing a wireless service.

115. If the Government took over the wireless ser­ vice, and fixed the charge at ld. a word, would that be unprofitable, and not in the interests of the com­ munity ?-It would be unprofitable, and very dangerous

to the community. 116. It would seriously affect the cable companies ? -Yes. 117. Does. the department make any profit on the mail service between Australia and the Old Country, whereby letters are dispatched at ld., the shipping companies being subsidized by the general community through the agency of the post offic e ?- I could not say whether we are making a profit on that portion of our overseas business. We make a small profit of about £400,000 per annum on the post offic e as a whole; that is, on the postal side. I have not analysed the figures to ascertain the exact r evenue obtained from the mail service between her e and the United Kingdom.

118. In view of the ld. postage and the subsidy t o the shipping companies, it is not likely that we are making a profit on that portion of our business ?-I t is hard to say. The postage rate is 1 f d. not l d.

119. If we are losing money in that direction, there is no reason why we should n?t take over the wireless ervice even at a loss, provided that an up-to-date means 'of communication is afforded between here and the United Kingdom ?-We could make the tariff . as low as we liked and the governments of the Empire could provide a subsidy, so as to keep ~live the cable system, which they regard as an essential asset. We must bear in mind that the Commonwealth Govern­ ment, in subsidizing the shipping service fo~· the ?ar­

riage of mails, may have many other considerations in view. 120. By Senator H. H~ys,--:-You said that the. exist­ ing facilities for commumc3:t10n between Aust.raha and

the outside world are far m excess of reqmrements? -Yes. 121. What would prompt the companies to provide facilities far in excess of requirements? Would it be their anticipation of a development in business?­ During the war the Pacific cable system between the United Kingdom and Australia was taxed to its utmost to dispose of traffic during certain hours of the day, and it was felt that some additional accommodation was necessary. The Pacific Cable Board then gave con­ sideration to the wisdom of using a wireless service. It carried out experiments and employed men_ of high standing in the communication world. It finally decided not to supplement the cable service across the Pacific by wireless, but rather to lay a new high-speed cable. The other cable company, feeling that if the Pacific Cable Company were increasing its cable capa­ city, decided not to be left in the background, and thereupon laid an additional cable over a section of its route. The effect of those two schemes was to give a capacity greatly in excess of the needs of the com­ munity, and no sooner had they been established than the short-wave wireless service became an established fact, and was used between Australia and the United Kingdom with considerable success. When we take these things into consideration, we understand why the capacity has become enormously in excess of present­ day needs.

122. What is the basis on which international tele­ graph rates are fixed ?-The fixing of rates for handling the service at the terminal stations is a matter for

the Governments concerned. Then there is this aspect to be considered: lf the system goes through a number of countries it is the usual practice for each of the

countries concerned to take its proportion for the cost of the service. That is all done by negotiation. 123. If the Postal Department decided to reduce the cable rates to Great Britain, would it do that on its

own initiative, or by consultation and agreement with the British Post Office ?-That could be done only by consultation with the authority controlling the other terminal. ·

124. Supposing that the Postal Department here were prepared to lose money on cable messages to Great Britain, the loss at this end of the transmission would be the responsibility of this Government. In that case, why should it confer with the British Post Office?­ That is governed by an international regulation. If the Commonwealth Government wishes to send mes­ sages at a low rate from this end, they can do it by

subsidy, or by paying the difference between the charge made in Australia and that agreed upon by inter­ national regulations. There is an important article in the Telegraph Convention, which says that the rates applicable to all messages exchanged by the same route between the offices of any two of the contracting States shall be uniform. It is obvious that Australia could not arrange to send messages to Great Britain at ld. a word, when Great Britain was charging ls. a word for messages from there to Australia.


125. The rates from Great Britain to Australia ar the same as from Australia to Great Britain?-Yes. 126. And the rates are fixed in consultation with the Old Country ?-Yes.

~27. You said that the cable companies have enor­ mous reserves. Those accumulated reserves would be the result of profitable business ?-Yes. 128. You said that by substantially reducing the charges for wireless, the cable companies may be forced to go out of business ?-The aable companies could not

operate on the wireless tariff, because the wireless service would necessarily be established on the great highways of communication which carry a huge volume of business and upon which the cable companies depend for their existenee. The wireless service would so cut into the cuh]e service, that the cable companies would

have two alternatives open to them, one being liquida­ tion, and the other a rate-cutting war. 129. Have you gone into the question of the profits of the cable companies ?-Yes.

130. Are the profits more than are required for the capital invested ?-I mentioned earlier that there ,vas practically no solution to this problem, and that if we 1vish to retain the cables we must co-ordinate

the services. That is why the merger was formed, really at the instance of the Imperial Cable and Wire­ less Conference. It simply means that we have to adjust the tariff to keep both services alive and do

the best thing possible for the community. The Com­ munications Company was formed with an approved capital of £30,000,000, and the Imperial Wireless and Cable Conference, after a careful investigation-we had the assistance of some of the most eminent authori­ ties in England, if not in the world-decided to allow on the £30,000,000 a net profit of £1,865,000, which is, roughly, 6 per cent., and that after that net revenue

had been earned any additional profit would be divided on a fifty-fifty basis, one portion being used for a defi­ nite reduction in tariffs, to be determined by an

Imperial advisory committee, and the other portion to be used by the Communications Company in such manner as it thought fit. 131. You think it is desirable in the interests of

Australia that the charge for communications should be as low as possible ?-Yes. 132. That is impossible, because we have to take into consideration the effect of a low tariff on the

cable companies ?-The interests of' the Australian community do not start and finish on the question of how much the people are to pay for oversea messages. They have much wider interests than that. It would be suicidal not to provide for the safety of the next generation and it would also be very unfair. To give

an indication of what my own feelings are on this subject, let me read extracts from an article which I wrote for one of the London papers last May. It is as follo,vs :- ·

Association with the work of the Imperial Cable and Wire­ less Conference has contributed still further to my earlier convictions that our Commonwealth of Nations must seek to strengthen its commercial and economic structure by pursuing a Yigorous policy in the improvement and extension of its communication and transportation systems. It must be

realized that these matters are vital. They affect eYery

one of us. It is our duty to take an interest in the subject

and see that public opinion is adequately informed so that it may exercise its wholesome influence. We must strive to bring about a greater intimacy between the units of the

Empire by taking advantage of every opportunity which w~ll enable us to annihilate space and time by bringing witl!m the reach of all the facilities to be derived from great scientI!ic discoveries in their practical application. In present cir­ cumstances, only the comparatively wealthy can afford to send messages of a social character for overseas transmission.

Those who have been eparatcd from their friends and

relatives by great distances will realize most the drawba~ks and anxieties inseparable from an absence of informat10n concerning current events. The post is a great boon, and one would not minimize its blessing, but when weeks must elapse before a reply can be received to some inquiry of a personal


and intimate nature, it has to be admitted that that mode of communication falls short of what we are entitled to

expect in these progressive days. Even in business transac­ tion there are seYere restrictions, imposed by cost, on the free use of expeditious means of communication, which, if they could be made available, would be of inestimable benefit. \\hatenr may be accomplished in the direction of accelerating actual transportation, there will still remain the necessity to deYelop telegraphic communication. It may be taken as a corollary that as the time of transportation is reduced, there must be an increasing need to improve the telegraph services. It will be an urgent problem for those responsible for over­ seas telegraphic communications to develop new classes of traffic and procure for the peoples of the Empire the great

benefits which can be afforded by a comprehensive exploita­ tion of the means now aYailable for the rapid transmission of intelligence. An enormous traffic capacity is available by the exist ing cable and wireless services. and when this i~ absorbed, further rlmnnels can be provided at compara­ ti:7ely small cost. Use must be made of every device which will reduce the expense of long-distance communication. We cannot countenance an artificial restriction because of

adherence to old ideas and of beinO' wedded to old methods of commercial enterprize. The a~hievements of scientific workers must be applied to the utmost by enlightened admini­ strators who will liaYe the vision to make themselves worthy of_ th~ unstinted and Yery frequently unselfish work of our scientists.

133. Would · you say that for the purpose of

t~ansmi~ting wireless mes~ages from Australia for the time bemg, the charge has now been reduced to a minimum consistent with paying due regard to the charge of the cable companies ?-No, I should not say

that. I think that there is room for a reduction of

rates. 134. Even without seriously affecting the revenue and dividends of the cable companies ?-Undoubtedly. I think that new channels will be developed and these will all add to the revenue. When increasing th@ speed

and capacity of a system, one need not increase

appreciably the annual expenditure on the plant and :J~ministration. We need only increase the operating and delivery charges and things such as that. 13 5. In fixing the rates for wireless mes·sages, was

any regard paid to the cable charges ?-They were based e;ntirely on the current cable charges. It was definitely Jeterminecl in 1922, under the agreement between the Commonwealth Government and Amalgamated Wire­ less Ltd., that the charge by wireless should be reduced from 2s. to ls. Sd., &c., for the different classes of traffic.

That was at a time when it was thought that the

wireless service would be rendered by a high-powered station. Those rates are still current between Australia and the United Kingdom. 136. You said that lettergram messages were

tarried at a loss, but that other considerations had to be taken into account. What other considerations would there be?-We feel that there are many persons who are restricted in telegraph communication, because of its cost, and we saw the possibility of utilizing the

plant during slack periods of the day by introducing during those periods a rate which would enable persons to send social messages ·which would not otherwise be sent. But we find that what we do in the direction of Jsiving general benefits to the community from the

social standpoint, is taken advantage of by the com­ mercial community, and so there has been an enorm1:>us jncrease in commercial traffic by the lettergram service. !ha~ is influenced to a great extent by the difference

m time between east and west. The same thing hap­ pened with respect to the trunk line service. We

reduced the rate during certain hours in the hope that the community would make more use of the service, but we find that a certain amount of commercial business is held back so that advantage may be

taken of the reduced rate. Thus we get a heavy load on the plant at the time of the change in the tariff.

137. Could not that principle be given effect in re­ spect of cable and wireless messages overseas at periods of the day when the services are not working at the

peak?-Ye. That has already been done by the intro­ duction of the daily letter and week-end telegram. The rates in those instances are respectively, 6d. and 5d. a word, compared with the ordinary rate of ls. Sd. by "' ireles~. I still think that there is scope for further concess1011s.

138. Is it the intention of the Government to erect a wireless station for telephonic communication between Tasmania and the Mainland ?-Yes. 139. Will that be restricted to telephonic communica­ tion, or used for telegraphic work in the place of the cable ?-The .cable capacity is adequate for the normal telegraph load, but at times there is a load of traffic ,Y hich is difficult to cope with, and slight delays are cccasioned. The wireless service that we are proposing

to establish will provide a broadcasting channel, and superimposed on that will be a supplementary telegraph sprvice . The cable will be supplemented by wireless. 140. Has any tariff been agreed upon for telephonic . communication ?-We have not fixed any tariff. We have not studied that question very closely yet, but I think it may be taken that whatever happens the service will be operated at a big loss.

141. With regard to wireless telegraphic messages, would you say that the charge would not exceed ld. a word? I suppose that it would be left to the Post

Office to decide whether a message should be sent by wireless or cable, and therefore there would be no in­ creased rate by wireless ?-That is so. If there were any loss the Post Office would carry it.

142. \iVould it cost more to transmit a message to England from here than to Victoria from Tasmania?­ N ot very much more. 143. In what way would the increased cost be in­ curred. Would a more powerful plant be required?­ y es. The bigger the plant, the greater the consumption of power~

144. There would not be any appreciable difference? -There might be 50 per cent. difference. 145. As far as actually sending a message-whether from Tasmania to Victoria or from Tasmania to

Great Britain-is concerned, the difference in cost would be trifling ?-The difference in the cost of send­ ing a wireless message would be trifling. 146. The greatest difficulty in instituting a charge

of ld. a· word for wireless messages between Australia and Great Britain is its effect on the revenue of the cable companies ?-In the first place I do not think that any charge could be fixed without due regard to the cable companies. We have the use of the whole net- · work of communications available between Australia and the 1 nited Kingdom and the rest of the world. In addition, we have the wireless link across the ocean. With the present means of communication at our dis­ posal, I cannot see that it would be possible to operate a service at ld. a word.

147. If no cable companies were in existence, and the only rrieans of transmission were by wireless, it is quite reasonable to suppose that the rates would be much less than they are to-day?-Undoubtedly.

148. By Senator Garroll.-You said just now that at the conference to which you referred, you put down £30,000,000 as the capital of the cable companies, and allowed for 6 per cent. on that amount ?-We did n?t

capitalize the cable assets. It has to be borne . m

mind that the Communications Company has "':1de interests in all sorts of communications. It has wire­ le s ass ets in addition to cable assets, and interests in other cable companic. throughout the ·world. We .:;imply stated that we would permit of shares being

is. ued to the extent of £30,000,000. 149. The effect of the wireless service upon the cable service has had a material bearing in fix:in the rat~~ for xuess~ges ~-Yes.


150. I want to know how you arrived at the

£30,000,000. We have been told that the cost of the cable between Australia and England was about £12,000,000 ?-The £30,000,000 is a much less sum than the actual capitalization of the assets held by the

company. Its assets could not possibly be replaced at that :figure. For instance, it has 160,000 nautical miles of cable besides buildings and ships. The £30,000,000 works ~ut at only £188 per nautical mile of cable

throughout the system. .

151. It is fairly established from your evidence that the necessity for keeping the cables in active commis­ sion in the interests of the Empire has prevented a reduction in wireless rates ?-Yes.

152. Would it not be possible for the Government to take over the cables, seeing that they are absolutely essential for the safety of the Empire. Do you not think that that is essential?-It would be useless for the Government to attempt to do that. It is difficult for one Government to seek concessions from another for the maintenance of a cable system serving their respective territories. A cable system in which the Empire is interested may serve not only Great Britain and the Dominions, but also other places. ,

153. I have in mind the Pacific cable, which is con­ fined entirely to Empire territory?-You mean really that we should segregate and retain those portions of the system that happen to be vital to our interests.

154. Yes. What is your opinion ?-The whole of the system is believed to be essential from the same stand­ point, and although the Pacific cable belongs to cer­ tain governments within the Empire, after considerable thought and study we believe that the best results would accrue if the cables were handed over to the one big undertaking. Actually, the Pacific cable is losing money to-day, and the question is whether the Govern­ ments of the Empire are prepared to come together

and agree to take over the cable system; in other words, to pay into a pool in order to keep the cables alive. That would be a difficult thing to accomplish. 155. In Australia the rate for telegrams is ld. a

wordl-Yes. 156. Is that a paying proposition ?-Generally speaking, it pays the department. Of course, there are some messages that require a number of transmissions

or are sent long distances, and they could not possibly pay. But, taken in the bulk, the traffic at ld. a word between two points at which there is a large volume of business, does pay.

157. Does the whole of the telegraphic business throughout Australia pay?-No. We are losing about £320,000 per annum on that traffic. 158. By Senator Guthrie.-There is an enormous difference between the (t()St of laying and maintaining cables, and the installation of wireless. The capital cost is enormously in favour of wireless. Why are private cable companies still laying cables ?-They are laying cables because, with a single cable, they can get a much greater carrying capacity than . is possible with a single channel in the ether. Another reason is

that the cable is more reliable than wireless. 159. Is wireless effective at all times in all weather? -No. 160. Does the weather affect wireless ?-Hardly the weather. It is affected by certain atmospheric and sun in:flu enees.

161. We can reasonably suppose that science will eventually overcome those difficulties, or do they appear to be insurmountable ?-Expedients can be in­ troduced to minimize trouble, but there are certain limitations. For instance, we may be able to work between here and England at one period by a certain wave length and at other periods by other wave lengths. We cannot 'have unrestricted scope in the choice of wave lengths, because there are not very many avail­

able for use throughout the world.

162. Does wireless communication break down be­ tween Great Britain and Australia ?-It regularly ceases at certain hours of the day. 163. Is that due to the temperature ?-It is due to the effect of the sunlight on the upper layers of the atmosphere at certain times of the day.

164. Apparently you, and the Empire Governments believe that in the interests of defence and secrecy th; cables are essential?-Yes. '·

. 165. Cannot cables be tapped ?-It is exceedingly d1fficul t to tap them. Do you mean in times of peace or war? 166. In war time ?-In times of war the nation that has command of the sea may probably locate the cables and cut them.

167. Take a place like Fanning I sland. Could not an enemy vessel cut the cable communications there?­ Yes. That was actually done. The enemy would have more chance of tapping the wireless . In fact, it may stop it altogether.

168. Wireless can be definitely stopped by an enemy nation ?-Yes, it can be jammed. 169. There is little secrecy by wireless ?-It is almost impossible to ensure absolute secrecy by wireless.

170. Can you ensure secrecy by cable ?-Yes, apart from the case of an enemy landing on our territory and cutting the cable. 171. Coded messages can be sent by wireless?­ Y es.

172. Would there not be secrecy by using code?­ I do not think so. It has been demonstrated over and over again that experts can decipher any code. That was the experience of the British Intelligence Branch during. the war.

173. You said that 6 per cent. was a reasonable rate of interest on the capital invested by the share­ holders of the cable company?-That was the basis upon which the net revenue from the company's capital­ ization was :fixed.

17 4. You mentioned the enormous speeding up of transmission by loaded cable ?-Yes. 175. Would it be practicable for the Pacific Cable Company, assisted by the governments concerned, to load up the submarine cable of that company?-An

old cable cannot be altered, but the new cable that was laid two years ago is loaded and is capable of high speed transmission. 176. In what direction ?-Right across the pacific.

177. Then we have a fast cable system from Aus­ tralia across the P aci:fic ?-Yes. 178. Is the old cable still in existence ?-Yes. It

carries a volume of traffic. One cable or the other may be used. It is often nece.ssary to use both systems. 179. The present rate for wireless messages over­ seas is ls. 8d. a word. Could that be considerably

reduced ?-I anticipate that it will be reduced. We must, of course, take into consideration the question of maintaining the cable system as well. 180. You say that the cable system is essential in the interests of the Empire's communications and defence. Even allowing that that is so, could the cost of sending beam wireless messages be considerably reduced ?-There is scope for a reduction, and a reduc­ tion will take place.

181. What is the delay ?-We have been passing through an important transition stage. We have been trying to safeguard the communications of the Empire, and the bill authorizing the formation of the Communi­ cations Company has only recently been passed by the British Parliament. A lot still remains to be done in Australia, and until this question is properly settled,

and the whole of the machinery is in operation, I do not imagine that there will be any change in the tariff. 182. Will you give the Committee again, the cost of telegraphic communication in_ America as against the cost in Australia ?-In Australia we have the city

and suburban tariff of sixteen words for 9d., the intra-tate tariff of sixteen words for ls., and interstate

tariff of sixteen words for ls. 4d. In America a

message of ten words sent any distance up to 125 miles, is ls. 3d., and for every additional word, lid.; from 125 to 115 miles, ls. 6d., and lid. for every additional word; from 115 to 300 miles, 2s. and ljd. for every additional

word; from 300 miles to 600 miles, 2s. 6d., and l!d. for every additional word; from 600 to 1,000 miles, 3s., and 2id. for every additional word, from 1,000 to 1,800 miles, 3s. 9d., and 3d. for every additional word, and over 1,800 miles, 5s . for a message of ten words and 4d. for every additional word.

183. In that case, the cost of sending telegrams in Australia is less than half of what it is in America?­ It is much less than a half. It is more like one-third. 184. Is the same ratio borne out in the cost of send­ ing telephone messages ?-Practically.

185. Then the public of Australia, through the

agency of the Postmaster-General's Department, are supplied with means of communication, within the Com­ monwealth, at one-third of the rate charged the people of America ?-As far as I can ascertain that is true. '

186. By the Cha·irman.-Even if the rate for wire­ less messages to Great Britain were 1d. a word, you do not think that the traffic would increase by six timAs?-No.

181. In the article that you read just now, you

spoke of social telegrams. There are few social tele­ grams sent from Australia ?-There is a large number. 188. Only a few social telegrams would be sent by 75 per cent. of the population of Australia ?-That is quite true.

189. Do you not think that that 15 per cent. who seldom use the wireless or the cable, would make more use of those means of communication if the rate were ld. a word ?-Yes. Perhaps I was a little hasty in

saying that I did not think it possible to get six times the traffic that we have now. It is quite possible that that traffic might be obtained. It has to be borne in mind that there would be a greatly increased cost of handling. We must look at the other side of the

balance-sheet. 190. You say that the cables must be kept alive?­ Absolutely. I do not think that we could replace our huge network of cables by a wireless service. To start with, there are not sufficient wave-lengths. Wireless stations would have to be erected at innumerable points,

and there are many places at which the volume of business is comparatively small. It would take years to replace the cable network by wireless. I doubt

whether it could be done at all. 191. You say that in some parts of the world the wireless charges are the same as the cable charges?­ Yes.

192. As far as Australia is concerned, the wireless charges are from 10 per cent. to 15 per cent. less than the cable charges ?-Yes.

193. If a person can get the same reliability from both systems he will use the less costly ?-One would expect so. 194. As the reliability of the wireless increases, the · use of the cable will diminish ?-Yes.

195. At the present rate of progress the wireless will soon bleed the cable to death ?-Probably. 196. Years and years ago, before the war, the

Eastern Extension Company owned the cable service from England to India. That cable was 6,000 miles long. It also controlled the land line across Europe to India ?-I do not think so. That land line belonged

to a different company altogether. 197. The Eastern Extension Company had a con~ trolling interest ?-No. 198. The charge for mes.sages by that land liue of 3,000 miles, w~s the same as for the cable, 2ti, a



199. The charge wa the same, although the cable cost a great deal more than did the land line. That was done so that the land line should not compete unfairly with the cable. A person in England can send a

message from England to Vladivostock across that land. line, which is twice the length of India, for 6id. · a

word ?-I really know nothing about that. 200. If the people get equal service by wireless an

reduction is continued, the cables will go out of exis­ tence ?-That is so. 202. Sir Geoffrey Clarke pointed out that the cables and the wireless should work together, and he does not see why, if the cables are made to give an efficient service, messages of 100 words should not be delivered for 10s. ?-It depends on the distance.

203. He said that cable and wireless, working to­ gether, should not entail a charge of more than 10s. for 100 words. You said just now that the press·

would necessarily use the best and cheapest service?­ Yes. 204. With reference to the press traffic at 6d. a

word, is it not a fact that in Australia there is a big

combination of the various newspapers, such as the Argus, Age, Herald, Register, Advertise1· and the Western Australian newspapers, and they pool the cost of certain messages ?-Yes.

205. Therefore, the cost to each newspaper is not 6cl. a word ?-That is so. 206. Consequently, it would not matter to the press whether they paid 4d. or 6d. a word ?-It would make

a big difference in their annual bill. The representa­ tions of the press for reductions in tariff would cer­ tainly lead one to believe that it Jlllakes a great deal of difference to them.

207. I understand that a plant is being erected to send telegrams to Tasmania. If necessary, could the same plant be used for sending mes.sages to London?-Probably. ·

208. You said just now; that 1d. a word for wireless messages was quite impossible. Apart from the ter­ minal charges, do you think it would be possible to send wireless messages at a profit between here and England at ld. a word, provided, of course, that no other service was available ?-I do not know. I have not investigated the position sufficiently to justify an expression of opinion.

209. By Senator Findley.-Do you know Sir Geoffrey Clarke, late Director of Posts and Telegraphs in India ?-I know him by repute. ·

210. He has a good reputation so far as his work in the service is concerned ?-Yes. 211. In an article which appeared in the Sydney Sun on 3rd January, 1927, he said:-" Possibly, the pro­ gress of wireless has been the salvation of the cables.,

The latter, with their long monopoly, were not always directed with sufficient incentive to the creation of fresh facilities." Do you share that view?-That is

inevitable, so soon as we bring a competitive influence to bear. 212. Sir Geoffrey Clarke said that the rates were, and are still too high. Do you share that view ?-Up to the present, they have not been too high to ensure more than a reasonable return on investment, but I think the time has arrived when there should be a progres ive decrease in all rates.

213, When I asked you whether the el:ltablishment of wireless had caused improvements to be m3:de ip, the ble servi e, you replied that that improvement was

due not to the establishment or installation of wire­ less; but to scientific investigations and research?­ Largely. 214. Sir Geoffrey Clarke also ~aid . that since ~he

foundation of wireless on commercial lmes, a vast im­ provement had been mad~ in cable communication b~ the discovery of the contmuously loaded cable ?-Tha·c is quite true.

215. Before the foundation of wireless, that dis­ covery had. not been made ?-It was made before 1900, but its application to submarine cables had not been found possible until the last three or four years.

216. You say that wireless is not always reliable?­ It is not always possible. 217. And, therefore, it is not always reliable?-That 18 so.

218. Would you say that cable communication is ab­ solutely reliable ?-It may not be absolutely reliable, but for all practical purposes it is reliable. Of course, if a cable were broken it would not be reliable.

219. Is it not a fact that time and time again cable messages have been delayed because of some interrup­ tion ?-Yes. • 220. The·re is no absolute reliability of transmission

of messages by either wireless or cable ?-Not ab­ solutely but the difference is this : One system is

regularly and almst systematically interrupted, while the other is interrupted only by accident or on very infrequent occasions. This is a rather interesting point. I have always been particularly keen on the publication of Dominion news in the English news­ papers. Any Australian who has spent some time in London, knows that there is little news of his country in the .London newspapers. When the Oommunica­ tions Company was established, I was particularly

anxious that we should try to develop a Dominion news. paper in London, believing that that company would be able to s_ end news from all parts of the Empire at a comparatively low rate, and that the Empire Go­

vernments would use that publication as an advertising medium particularly in regard to immigration schemes, &c. I believe that this can be done only through

tlie Merger. If the people of Great Britain knew what was happening in the Dominions, it would be a great help to the Empire as a whole. The witness withdrew.

Gilbert Grange Haldane, Chief Inspector of Finance, Postal Department, sworn and examined. 221. By the Chairman.-Y ou are an official of the post office ?-Yes.

222. What is your present position ?-Chief In­ spector of Finance. 223. The Postal Department has full control of the telegraph systems of Australia and Tasmania ?-Yes.

224. What is the cost of telegraph messages?­ Within the State messages are divided into two sec­ tions. The first is town and suburbs, or within 15 miles of sending station. The charge is 9d. per mes­ sage of sixteen words, and ld. for each additional word.

The charge to other places in the State is ls. for

sixteen words, and ld. for each additional word. The charge to any other State is ls. 4d. for sixteen words, and ld. for each additional word. The charge for press messages not · exceeding 25 words is 8d. within the State, and ls. 4d. interstate. For messages of from 26 to 50 words, the charge within the State is lld., and interstate ls. 10d. For messages of from 51 to 100 words, the charge within the State is ls. 9d., and inter­ state 3s. 6d. For each additional 50 words, the charge is 8d. within the State, and ls. 4d. interstate. Then, there are press telegrams relating to Commonwealth proceedings. , The rate is ls. 4d. for messages not

exceeding 25 words; ls. 8d. for messages of from 26 to 50 words; 2s. for messages of from 51 to 100 words; the charge for each additional 50 words is 8d. The charge for lettergrams not exceeding 30 words is ls. 3d. within the Commonwealth, and for each additional word, id.

225. That approximately amounts to ld. a word for interstate messages., !d. a word for ·state messages, and just a fraction over fd. a word for city messages? -That is so, a~suming that they are full messages.

226. The Postmaster-General issues an annual re­ port ?--:-Yes. 227. In that report is shown the total number of telegrams received and delivered ?-Yes.

228. Do you think that it would be fair to assume about sixteen words to a message ?-It is more than that. One or two years ago we had to make an investi­ gation as to the actual number of words per message, and they vary according to destination and class. For instance, urgent messages within the State average sixteen words, and interstate nineteen words. Ordi­ nary messages within the State average sixteen words, and interstate nineteen words. Press messages within the State average 281 words, and interstate 226. Lettergrams within the State average 32 words, and interstate 32 words. · 229. What was, roughly, the number of words sent

respectively at ld., !d., and id. ?-I have some figures with me, and they show that, based on the averages that I have just given, the number of words handled under each class for 1927-28, would be, approximately -Town. and suburban, or within 15 miles of sending station, urgent 1,433,000, ordinary 15,966,000; to other

places within the State, urgent 14,043,000, ordinary 135,922,000; press, within the State, 134,257,000; lettergrams, within the State, 1,477,000. The inter­ state figures are-Urgent 6,684,000, ordinary

67,799,000, press 44,254,000, and lettergrams 10,491,000. That excludes traffic transmitted over cir­ cuits leased to the newspaper companies. Various offices in Melbourne and Sydney rent telegraph lines, for which annual rentals are paid.

230. By Senator Guthrie.-Are the lines direct or through the department ?-We control them. In no case are the lines rented for the full 24 hours a day. 231. For how long are they rented ?-They are rented

at different hours. 232. By the Chairman.-You send lettergrams all over the State ?-Yes; but not from an official office that is closed after 7 p.m. A minimum of 30 words is prescribed, for which ls. 3d. must be paid.

233. The lettergrams are delivered by letter carriers? -That is so. 234. How many lettergrams of 30 words per message are delivered ?-The average is 32 words per message.

About 374,000 lettergrams are delivered. 235. What would they represent in words-about 12,000,000 ?-At an average of 32 words, 374,000 letter­ grams would be equivalent to 11,968,000 words.

236. What does it cost the department to deliver tele­ grams ?-The average estimated cost of delivering tele­ grams in the metropolitan area is 2.15d. per message. The average cost of delivery in country areas is not

available, but it would be somewhat higher than the cost of delivery in the metropolitan areas. 237. Does not the total sum paid for telegraph mes­ sengers amount to £365,000 a year ?-I do not think it would be as much as that. I should like to have an op­ portunity of looking up the figures. The total operation

expenses of traffic management and all the work inci­ dental to telegraph operations was £1,235,985. We employ telegraph messengers, and they are utilized not only by the telegraph branch, but by the mail, finance, and various other branches. They are em ..

ployed for all messenger duties.

238. There is an added cost in delivering telegrams, but there is no particular added cost in delivering lettergrams, because they are delivered by letter­ carrier ?-An increase in the volume of traffic must affect the expenditure.

239. How many lettergrams were delivered last ;year? -About 374,000. 240. There are 800, 000,000 letters delivered an­ nually ?-Approximately.

241. Lettergrams would not make much difference? -No. An additional 374,000 deliveries would not appreciably increase the load. It may not affect the expenditure to any great extent.

242. What is the value of the :fixed assets and plant of the telegraph department ?-You must bear in mind that some of the plant is common to two services, tele­ phone and telegram, because over the same physical wires we send messages of both classes. The capital value of the telegraph assests at the 30th June, 1928, inclusive of trunk lines, used dually for telegraph and telephone purposes, was £11,047,258, made up as follows:-


Telegraph equipment (instruments, batteries, and pneumatic tubes) . . . . . . ~61,676

Telegraph cable (underground, aerial and submarine) . . . . . . . . 108,485

Telegraph lines, also trunk lines used for dual purposes ( telegraph and telephone) . . 9.177 ,811

Telegraph proportion of buildings, sites, furni-ture and office equipment . . 1.399,286

Total .. 11,047,258

243. What ,vas the cost last year of keeping tele­ graph poles in repair?-That would involve classifying the expenditure between telephones and telegraphs. 244. What did you allow for telegraphs last year?­

The proportion of the cost of repairs and renewals of lines and plant charged to the telegraph branch was £223,268. That is exclusive of a charge of £10,548 for depreciation.

245. The telegraph department does not pay ?-No. 246. What was the loss last year ?-£312,075, allow­ ing for interest on £11~'000,000, and also flor our liability on superannuation. 247. Provided that all messages, ordinary, press, and lettergrams, were charged at 1d. a word, and provided that the present volume of trade was maintained, would the department pay ?-Yes. It ,rnuld pay well. 248. I think that if the cost of the telegraph depart­ ment were put down at £8,000,000, that :figure would not be far wrong ?-We cannot separate telegraphs from telephones, because they are used generally, but we do classify them on a more or less arbitrary basis. 248A. The post office has practically no control of the cable and wireless services ?-It has some control. As a signatory to the International Telegraph Conven­ tion, the Commonwealth is responsible for ensuring the observance of the regulations issued under that convention. For this purpose the cable companies and the Amalgamated Wireless Limited are amenable to the Commonwealth in respect of the conduct of cable and wireless communications with countries overseas. In the :fixation of tariffs also, the Commonwealth, as a terminal adminjstration, must necessarily be con­ sulted as to its proportion, the rates being arrived at after mutual agreement between the Commonwealth, the cable companies or the Amalgamated Wireless Limited, as the case may be, and the terminal adminis­ tration overseas.

249. The post office has no control in re pect of the method of running those services ?-No. 250. That department could not eyen appoi111.t a messenger boy to be employed on those services ?-No. We endeavour to keep within the bounds of the con­

vention, and as far as lies within our power, we see that the companies observe the regulations.


251. You receiYe terminal charge for the wireless and cable services ?-That is so. 252. With reference to the traffic with the United Kingdom, both by wireless and cable, what are the number of words on which you receive terminal charges ?-For 1927-28 it worked out at 14,322,965

words in both directions. The number via Beam was ,122,361, and via cable, 6,100,604. 253 . What reYenue do you get from these charges? -In 1927-28 ·we received £73,791. The revenue from

the Beam wireless was £39,370, and from the cable, £34,421. 254. The terminal charges vary according to the class of message received ?-Yes .

255. What are the various rates ?-The various classes of business consist of urgent, ordinary, deferred ordinary, government, press, deferred press, week-end, and daily letter. The total rate per word is-urgent, 6s. via cable, and 5s. via Beam; ordinary, 2s. via

cable, and ls, 8d. via Beam; def erred ordinary, ls. via cable, and 10d. via Beam; government, ls. fd. via cable, and 10d. via Beam; press, 6d. via cable, and 4d. via Beam; deferred press, 4}d. via cable, and 3d. via Beam; week-end, 7 !d. via cable, and 5d. via Beam; daily letter, 9d. via cable, and 6d. via Beam. There is a

minimum of twenty words for week-end and daily letter business. The Commonwealth terminal charge per word involved, is urgent, 6d.; ordinary, 2d.; de­ ferred ordinary, 1d.; government, lid.; press id.; de­ f erred press, M.; week-end, ld.; and daily letter, 1fd.

256. On ordinary messages the department would receive 2d. a word as the terminal charge ?-Yes. 257. In ordinary messages there is no Emit to the number of words sent ?-As few as possible may be sent.

258, So six words only may be sent?-That is so. 259. In that case the Government would receive a terminal charge of ls. ?-That is so. 260. A large majority of the messages would be sent ill code ?-We estimate about 90 per cent.

261 . Are they sent in code for the sake of secrecy, or to save money ?-It is difficult to say, but both wo"uld be considerations. 262. Would it be half and half ?-I could not ven ­

ture an opinion on that, because there is no method by which we can gauge it. 263. Do you think that one code word would average six words ?-It depends upon the code used, but :five words to one code word would approximately be the a,;erage.

264. In that case the Government would get 2d. for the code word although the receiver of the message would really be getting :five words ?-That is so. 265. You said that, in round figur~s, about 14,000,000 words are despatched per annum ?-Yes, between Australia and the United Kingdom.

266. Take the number as 15,000,000 words. That, at l{d. a word, would bring in a revenue of £93,000 ?­ That is so. 267 . Do you think that if the charge were ld. a

word, a traffic of 75,000,000 words would be too much to expect ?-It jg difficult to ,enture an opinion on that. It would mean a vast increase in the traffic. Even

though the charge were ld. a word, people would not sernl messages for fun. No one sends telegrams for fun. 2G . Would 75,000,000 words be a terrific estimate? - 1 could uot ay. It might be more than that.

269. That \voulcl mean a revenue of £312,000 to the department, provided that it received the whole of the 1d. charge. In that case the department would be much better off than it is un~er the present arrange­ ment ?-We would still have to pay terminal charges

t O th administration at the other end.


270. Supposiug the administration at the other end harged ld. a word and you charged ld. a word at

this end ~-Assuming that the traffic was 37,000,000 words out and 37,000,000 words in, the administration at each end would receive ld. on 37,000,000 words. 271. You are now paid only l}d. a word on

15,000,000 words?-We get less than l}d. 272. What is the cost of operating 10,000,000 words at the Post Office ?-The cost of operating and traffic management, including all charges incidental to the

collection, transmission and delivery of paid and free traffic, is approximately £26,800 per annum per 10 000 000 words handled by the department. The pr~po;tion of this cost, representing purely manipla­

tiYe or telegraphic labour, is approximately £15,700 per nrinum. The :figure of £26,800 excludes consideration of charges for the maintenance of lines and plant,

administration, depreciation, interest, pensions and superannuation liability. The cost pe~ 10,000,000 words, inclusive of all charges, is approximately £40,400 per annum.

273. The actual cost of operating and traffic manage­ ment is £26,800 per 10,000,000 words ?-Yes. 274. By Senator Findley.-You said that the news­ papers pay a rental for the right to use certain

telegraph lines.-That is so. 275. What lines do they rend-Mostly lines between Sydney and Melbourne. I think one or two news -· papers rent lines between Adelaide and Melbourne. l forget whether there is a line rented between Sydney and Brisbane. I fancy there is, but only for part of the day.

276. Have those newspapers entered into a contract wit4 the departmerh ?-They have entered into an agreement. 277. For what period ?-I could not say, but I think

the agreement is terminable upon giving a year's notice. 278. Have the newspapers the exclusive use of those lines at certain periods of the day or night ?-Yes. A clause in the agreement provides that if the n'ecessity ::irises the department may refrain from handing over · the lines.

279. How long has this agreement been rn

operation ?-About two years. 280. Has the department been in any way incon­ venienced by the renting of lines by newspapers ?-No. Before renting the lines we ascertain whether they can be spared. We can spare line anywhere at certain hours

of. the day. Most of them are practically idle between midnight and 8 a.m., and we can rent them to anyone who wants them. 281. An agreement has been entered into between

the newspaper proprietors and the Postal Department for the use of certain telegraph lines to different parts of the Commonwealth. Under the agreement, news­ papers have the right to use those lines at any time

during the 24 hours ?-No, only between specific hours. 282. The hours are specified in the agreement ?-Yes. 283. You said just now that if telegraph messages were sent at ld. a word it would be a payable proposi­ tion ?-Yes.

284. The Telegraph Department is not now a pay­ able proposition ?-No. 285. You also said that people would not send messages for fun. I take it that that remark has

application to wireless and not to telegraphy ?-It had application to the estimate of 75,000,000 words. The potentialities of the business are limited. Even j f the price were ld. per word for wireless messages, it would not encourage business that is not necessary.

286. Does that apply to wireless or telegraphy?­ Both. The estimate of 75,000,000 words applied to overseas telegrams. 287. I agree that people would not send messages for fun. We all know· that when wireless was first instituteq it was a sort of novelty and many messages

conveying love and kisse~ were sent. We are not likely to have many of those m the future ?-With a lower charg~ many. persons would send birthday greetings to their relatives overseas.

288. The novelty of sending wireless messages has passed ?-Yes. 289. What are the charges for press messages?­ The charge for press messages not exceeding 25 words is 8d. within the State, and ls. 4d. interstate; from

26 to 50 words lld. within the State and ls. 10d. inter­ state; from 51 to 100 words ls. 9d. within the State and 3s. 6d. interstate. For each additional 50 words the charge is 8d. within the State and ls. 4d. inter­

state. Then there is a charge for press telegrams

relating to Commonwealth proceedings. The charge for messages not exceeding 25 words is ls. 4d., from 26 to 50 words ls. 8d.; from 51 to 100 words, 2s.; and each additional 50 words, 8d.

290. How do those charges compare with the press rates before the war ?-I could not say. 291. Has there been any variation in press rates during the last few years ?-I fancy that while I was a·way from the department for some years, there was

an increase in the rates, but it was not very material. 292. Has there been a material increase in the rate for public messages ?-No. 293. Was not the rate within the city and suburban

area at one time 6d. ?-Perhaps so, but I should like to confirm that. 294. Do press messages pay the department ?-No. 295. What is the loss on the press messages ?-It is between £200,000 and £300,000 a year. The presa gives us a tremendous amount of work, about

141,000,000 words. The loss to the department is certainly over £200,000. 296. And the taxpayers of Australia are called upon to make good that loss ?-Presumably so.

297. The press is a business institution ?-Yes. 298. Yet the department differentiates between the newspaper business and other business so far as messages are concerned ?-It must not be forgotten that Parlinment :fixes the telegraph rates. They are not fixed by departmental regulation. 299. By Senator Giithrie.-Then Parliament has been responsible for the loss to the taxpayers of

C'ver £200,000 on press telegrams ?-Presumably so. 300. By Senator Findley.-The present rate has been :fixed for some years ?-Yes. We also carry news­ papers at far below cost. Again in that case we do not fix the rate.

301. Newspapers are run on commercial lines and looked upon as business propositions ?-Presumably they allow their customers the benefit of the conces­ sions that we make to them.

302. Do you see any specin1 reason why there should be preferential treatment given to newspapers ?-That would be setting my opinion against that of Parlia­ ment.

303. Have you given thought to the proposal out­ lined by the chairman that it would be in the interests of Australia to have ld. a word communication

between Australia and the Old Country ?-That would mean balancing the loss against the indirect benefits. We could not run that service at a ld. a word. There would be a huge loss; but whether the indirect benefits would justify that loss is a matter upon which I should not care to express an opinion.

304. Would the loss to the department be £200,000 a year ?-Yes. 304.a. How would the charge of ld. be divided?­ There are three concerns involved-the administration

at this end and at the other end, and the cable people. The charge would have to be divided into three. On an ordinary message we get 1-12th of the revenue. We could not ask the other parties to the· ~rran~ement _to


take less than the proportion on which they are now working. Therefore our proportion would presumably be 1-12th of a ld.

321. Would it be practicable to carry out the busi­ ness of the country by wireless instead of by telegraph, which necessitates the maintenance of lines and poles? -It must be rememberd that telegraph lines follow the

routes that tap various intermediate sources. Without the telegraph lines we should need wireless installations all over the country. We already have telegraph

stations throughout the Commonwealth.

305. Would the actual loss be £200,000 ?-It would be more than that, because we should have to handle 75,000,000 words. We would presumably get 1-12th of a ld. a word if a :flat rate of a 1d. a word were :fixed. We now get £73,000 in terminal charges.

306. That estimate is based on the present volume of business ?-Yes. The revenue on a ld. a word basil3 would be less than that, even with a traffic of 75,000,000 words.

307. Would the loss be more than the loss of

£200,000 on present telegrams ?-I should not care to express opinion on that. The amount of £200,000 is a conservative estimate. 308. By Senator Guthrie.-Could you say what is the total loss to the department because of the facilities which Parliament has given to the press in respect of telegrams and carriage of newspapers ?-No. We estimated the loss on telegrams at from £200,000 to £300,000.

309. You do not know the loss on the carriage of newspapers-No. That has not been worked out. It would be a difficult calculation. ~10. By S enator Findley.-Assuming that it were seriously proposed that the Government should own and control wireless communications between Australia ·and England, what would be your objection to that?­

The Government could not assume the whole control. The administration at the other end would have to be considered. Overseas communication can never be wholly controlled by one administration.

311. Assuming that we administered our portion of the business ?-I see no reason why we should not. I think that the department is fully competent to control the wireless service.

312. Would it necessitate much additional expen­ diture ?-It all depends upon what you have in mind. I am sure that our officials are capable of doing the work.

313. By Senator Oarroll.-The code messages average about :five words ?-Yes. 314. Is there any limit to the number of letters

in a code word ?-The limit is ten. A little while ago some countries wanted to reduce code words to five letters, and at a recent conference held in Belgium a compromise was effected.

315. You were asked what would be the increase in messages if the rate were 1d. a word ?-I did not

commit myself to any expression of opinion. 316. Can you give the committee any idea of what was the increase in postal matter when the postage was reduced to ld ?-;-It was not very material. We esti­ mated at the start that we would lose about £450,000

a year. Penny postage was instituted in 1911, but was altered during the war. The calculation that I made at the time that we increased the postage was that we were then losing at the rate of about £800,000

a year. 317. Are press messages sent in code ?-No. 318. You said just now that if the wireless rate

were ld. per word the direct loss would have to be balanced by the indirect benefits '?-I think that that has influenced Parliament in coming to a decision on various questions, including the question of whether we should carry newspapers at a ld. for 20 ounces. I

have no doubt that in coming to that decision Parlia­ ment had in mind the indirect benefits to the public. 319. Do you know of any means wheTeby an indirect benefit can be shown in the balance-sheet of your department ?-No.

320, By Senator Guthrie.-Can wireless be used between one city and another ?- Yes.

322. There is a direct line between Melbourne and Sydney ?-Yes. 323. Could that business be done by wireless ?-As a matter of fact a lot of the channels that we use are

w~reless, such as the carrier channel superimposed upon wires. 3 24. That is not wireless ?-It is wired wireless. We get a number of channels of communication by super­ imposing upon one physical channel.

325. That is a recent invention ?-Yes, and it is sav­ ing us a lot of money. We are trying to link Western Australia with the eastern States by telephone. I think that a physical channel will be used, and carrier

apparatus installed to provide channels for telegraph. 326. The telephone line will be used for that purpose? -Yes. That is made possible by the carrier invention, without providing additional physical wires. That system has been in operation for three years between

Sydney and Melbourne and Sydney and Brisbane. 327. It is a wonder that the department has not

equipped other lines with the carrier invention ?-We have. We have a carrier channel to Hamilton,

Mildura and Adelaide. A large number of carrier channels will be installed this cunent year and next year. 328. It is an expensive installation ?-It is not

exactly cheap, but it is much less expensive than the provision of physical lines. During the last year or two, we have been getting competitors into the field. At the start, the carrier invention was in the hands of one firm.

329. Is it a patent ?-I dare say it is. It is hard to

express an opinion on patents, particularly in regard to wireless. He is a bold man who talks about patent rights. 330. There must be some equipment at either end to enable the wire to carry the extra load ~-We have

a staff of engineers engaged -practically the whole of their time on carrier construction. The system was recently installed between Hamilton and Adelaide. There are a laTge nll!mber of other installations con­ templated, and in the course of erection.

331. That will be of great assistance to the depart­ ment ?-Yes. 332. And probably result in a profit instead of a loss on the telegraph system ?-It will help greatly. The telegraph is not a progressive business, because the volume of business is not now increasing.

333. Is it because the telephone is being used more? -Apparently on account of that and other influences. Broadcasting affects us detrimentally. A man in the country does not now get a telegram at the end of a

race meeting. The results of the races and other

sporting events are broadcasted. 334. What is the position in regard to the control of broadcasting in Australia ?-I thought that you gentlemen would know more about that than I do. As far as I know broadcasting is now in the melting pot.

335. The Government has more or less control, by having a majority of one share in the company ?-You have the Amalgamated Wireless Limited in mind. 336. By Senator H ays.-Is not Amalgamated Wire­ less Limited interested in broadcasting ?-Not neces-

arily. It is to this extent. It receives 3s. for every

licence issued because of patents it holds or is reputed to hold. Beyond that,, Amalgamated Wireless Limited i not intere ted in broadcasting, except that its men


may be employed at various stations to supply ap­ paratus and to keep it in order. In :Melbourne, we have have 3LO and 3AR broadcasting companies. They are practically one company, but they have nothing to do with Amalgamated Wireless Limited. They are working under licences which expire in due course.

337. In what way does the post office control broad­ ca ting?-It issues licences. All the co.mpanies are working under licences. The Postmaster-General is the judge of whether the quality of the programme justi­

fies the broadcasting company receiving all the revenue available from licences. If he decides that the pro­ gramme does not justify full payment, he may with-hold portion of it. ·

338. What is the licence fee for a receiving set?­ Twenty-four shillings a year. Of that, 3s. is paid to Amalgamated Wireless Li!mited. We collect the money and patrol the country to ascertain whether persons possessing_receiving sets have licences. For .our work, we charge ls. a year. The Performing Rights Associa­

tion gets so much and the balance is paid to the broad­ casting company. 339. By Senato1· Guthrie.-The department gets only ls. out of 24s. ?-Yes. It is a losing game for us.

340. By the Ohairman.-With reference to ld. post­ age, in the first place you estimated that the loss would be £450,000 a year in 1911, and then you said that jt was £800,000 a year in 1918 ?-Yes.

341. Did that loss include telegraphs and tele­ phones ?-That was the estimated loss on the change from 1 fd. to 1d. postage. 342. The loss was on the postal side ?-Yes.

343. And the loss gradually increased ?-Yes. As a matter of fact, the loss became greater as the volume of business increased. 344. You stated that the cost of operating and the tr'lffic manag~m~mt of 10,000,000 words handied by the. department is approximately £26,800, inclusive of the dP.livery of telegrams. What portion of that is paid to telegraph messengers ?-Our accounts show that the cost for delivering telegrams from the chief office­ General Pnst Office-in each State, works out at 1.915d. per message, exclusive of administration, interest on buildings, &c., and superannuation liability. The cost

of delivery at country and suburban offices is not kept, owing to the fact that at most of the offices the sta:ff utilized for this work is also used for various other duties. However, on the assumption that the cost at the country and suburban offices is the same per mes­ sage as at the General Post Offices, the total cost of delivering telegrams, cables, &c., is estimated to be £134,186 per annum.

The witness withdrew.

(Taken at Melbourne.)

TffESDAY, 12TH MARCH, 1929.


Senator THOMAS, Chairman; Senator Carroll Senator Guthrie

Senator Graham Senator ;a:. Hays.

William Rawdon Na pier, Rear-Admiral, Royal Navy, sworn and examined. 345. By the Ohairman.-This Committee is inquir­ ing into the commercial possibility and the desirability of having a ld.-a-word ,vireless service between here and England. I shall question you, not on the commercial possibilities, but rather on the desirability of such a service. I take it that it would be a good thing for

the Empire to have a cheap means of communication? -Certainly!

346. Do you agree with the view of Lord Curzou, who said that cheap telegrams will be found to be the most economic and most enduring bond of Empire?­ I should say that there is a great deal in that senti­ ment.

347. Lord Tennyson says that universal ld.-a-word telegrams between parts of the Empire would be an unspeakable boon. Do you agree with that ?-Yes. 348. Are you a member of the Colonial Institute? -No.

349. In the jubilee issue of the Colonial Institute's journal, there is a very fine article, in which the writer points out that, in his opinion, the Empire has been brought together and consolidated to a very great extent by people leaving the Old Land and going to various parts of the Empire, at the same time retaining

their feelings for the Old Land. Do you agree with that sentiment ?-Certainly. 350. Do you think that the present rates for oversea telegrams are beyond the compass of the ordinary work­ ing man ?-Yes.

351. The Navy can, and does, protect the Empire? -Yes. 352. But unless a large percentage of the people of the Empire think imperially, it will be difficult to keep

the Empire together ?-That is so. 353. The Navy would protect us against our

enemies ?-It does its best to do that. 354. It could do nothing against an enemy within our gates ?-No. 355. We have cable and wireless services. Do you think it essential in the interests of the Empire to keep the cable service in use regardless of cost ?-U nques­ tionably.

356. In the maintenance of the Empire, which would be of more value; the fostering of Empire senti­ ment or the continuation of the cables ?-I think the two go together. We must have Empire sentiment in this country, and also the cables to keep it alive.

357. If the cable service is beyond the means of the ordinary man, that would not help his sentiment? -No. 358. Why do you say it is necessary to have the

cable service ?-There are a variety of reasons. The most important reason is that the cable is a secret means of communication, whereas wireless is not. Nowadays any code or cipher, given an adequate cryptography sta:ff, can be broken down provided that the cryptographer gets enough material upon which to work. That information can be obtained only by tapping the cable or by suborning information from certain of the cable staff. Messages sent by wireless are broadcasted, and the enemy is thereby provided with :first-hand material by which he can set to work to break down the code.

359. The important thing is secrecy?-Yes. 360. Supposing that difficulty can be overcome in respect of wireless messages, would there then be any necessity ·to keep the cable service ?-I do. not think that difficulty could be overcome. The message is in the air, and, provided the enemy can tune-in, he can collect his material and then set to work to break the code down. 361. But if secrecy in wireless were obtained, the cable would not be necessary ?-I understand from figures that I have seen that in wartime, or when

strained relations exist between countries, the com­ munications between Australia and the Old Country would involve more words per day than the Beam system could carry, so we must have services other than the wireless at our disposal. According to con­ fidential documents that I have seen, the Beam system

will not be able to cope with the enormous traffic in war time.

362. Your objections to wireless as the sole means of communications are, firstly, lack of secrecy, and, secondly, lack of capacity?-Yes. 363. Granting those two things, what would be your opinion ?-Wireless would then meet all requirements.

364. To ensure the continuation of the cable system, the charge for both wireless and cable messages should be the same ?-Presumably. 365. If the charge for wireless were from 10 per cent. to 15 per cent. lower than that for cable mes­ sages, ap_art altogether from reliability, the public would use the cheaper service ?-Naturally.

366. Consequently the cables would go out of exist­ ence ?-Yes. 367. Therefore the charge for both cable and wire­ less messages should be the same ?-Yes. There is a thir~ reason for t he continuation of the cable system. It gives a 24-hour service. The Beam service works only for 17 hours out of 24. I understand that experi­ ments have lately been made by sending some of the traffic through Canada, and by other routes. I believe by that means the Beam service is available for the whole of the 24 hours of the day.

~68. Wireless, of course, is a more up-to-date system. ~t ~s cheaper, to begin with ?-Undoubtedly. Of course, it IS a later invention. But I understand that the

latest laid cable is as up-to-date as a cable can be.

Each in its own way is up to date. 36~. The Navy does not hesitate to scrap anything that 1s obsolete ·?-Provided that we have something to replace it.

370. The H ouse of Commons recently appointed a committee on jmperial wireless and telegraphy, and that body in its r eport said that wireless is now an

indispensable service in Empire defence. It that your opinion ?-Yes. 371. The Admiralty has wireless stations in many parts of the Empire ?-Yes.

372. The Navy carries out practically all its work by wireless ?-Yes, when once a vessel is on the seas. 373. You sei1d your orders by wireless ?-Yes. 37 4. Those messages would not be .secret ?-Not if other vessels are listening-in on the same wave length. If they were listening-in on another wave length, the message would probably through unintercepted.

375. Another vessel could tune in on the same wave­ length if it wished ?-Yes. 376. You cannot guarantee secrecy?-No. except by using code.

377. And codes can be easily deciphered ?-Yes. 378. In view of t he fact that the Admiralty is mak­ ing such great use of wireless., should not the land wireless stations be in the hands of the Govern!ment ?­ I should say .s o. 379. Quite irrespective of the naval wireless stations? -We have our own organizations, but under certain conditions we would have to use the commercial chan­ nels as well. 380. Has the Admiralty a sending station in

England ?-Yes. 381. And it has a sending station in Australia?­ Yes, but it has nothing like the power of the station in England. I think that there should be a measure of government control of wireless, on much the .same lines as the post office control of ordinary communica­

tion. 382. Countries that have no need for cable systems \.vould utilize the wireless service to the fullest extent? -Probably. They might use land lines.

383. They would use the cheapest means of com­ munication ?-Yes. . 384. If that were done generally in some countries, 1t would be to our disadvantage ?-Certainly.

385. Do you consider that the cables should be 1:1-aintained, if only for purposes of defence during war­ tlime ?-We must have the cable system.


386. Do you think that the Navy could guarantee to keep the cable in service during wartime ?-A country that has the command of the sea can guarantee its cables.

387. During the war it was touch and go with the cable at Cocos Island ?-Yes, but we did not have command of the sea until the raiding vessels were dis­ posed of. That was an isolated case.

388. If the Sydney had been a day later on the

scene, the raider would have cut the cable ?-Yes. That would have been a temporary loss, because the raider could not have kept the cable cut. The repairs could probably have been effected locally. As a matter of fact, the raider did cut a cable, but it was a dummy put there with that purpose in view.

389. It was providential that the Sydney happened to be in the vicinity at the time ?-Yes. 390. Will the next war be fought on the land or sea or in the air?-The whole lot. It will start in the air and :finish in the mud, the .same as the last one did.

391. Is there anything that you would like to add to your evidence ?-Yes. In comparing the cable ser­ vice with the wireless service, I should like to point out that the ~able cannot be jammed except by cutting or interrupting it. Short-wave wireless can be easily · jammed, but long-wave wireless, being high powered,

is more· difficult to jam because it can only be done by another high-powered plant. Therefore, long-wave wireless would not be jammed very much unless there were an enemy in the vicinity. Short-wave broad­ casting can be interrupted by jamming to a grea.ter extent than long-wave broadcasting. The Beam, which ~s a short-wave wireless, can be jammed easily. For mstance, last October, the Beam was put out of action here for six hours by an expel'imental station working from Bankok. That can be con:firmed by a report in the Postmaster-General's Department. We were asked if we knew what itation was responsible for the inter­

ruption. V.,T e did not know, so we aske

off the an so that the Southern Cross signals might come through. The ordinary experimental sta tion.s were jamming the signals. 382. By Senator Guthrie.-You consider that the

cable system is absolutely essential in the interests of the Empire ?-Yes. 393. For commercial purposes, so as to ensure con tinuity of communication and for defence purposes in time of war ?-Yes. I do not say that all cables would necessarily be required for war purposes. Some of them might be found to be quite adequate.

The witness withdrew.

Edward. Sheldon Cunningham, representing the pro­ prietors of the Argus, sworn and examined. 394. By the Ohairman.-This Committee is inquir­ ing int? the commercial po~sibility and the desirability of havmg a ld. a word wueless service between here and England. I take it that you are of the opinion

that cheap communication between here and England \Yould tend to consolidate the Empire ?-There is no que tion about that. 395. You know that we have both wireless and cable services ?-Yes.

396. The press rates by wireless are lower than those by cable ?-Yes. 397. To what extent ?-I am rather at a disadvan­ t~ge, be~ause the general manager, who should have grrnn evidence .here, went to Canberra yesterday, and

I have been pressed into service on his behalf. I under­ stand that the press rate by Beam is 4d. and by cable 6d. 398. We have been told that the volume of traffic on both services is about the same. Can you give any reason for that ?-I am little informed on this subject.

My experience is that the cable is used because it is more reliable and has fewer interruptions. Our in­ terest lies in using the Beam as much as possible, obviously because it is 2d. a word cheaper. Given the

same reliability on both services, we should use the Beam. It is only because the Beam service in its present state is less reliable that we are using the cable to

the extent that we do. Policy does not enter into our calculations, although if we were to enter into the question of policy, we should have to consider the necessity for maintaining the cable service as a safe­ guard.

399. You think that the cable service must be main­ tained ?-Yes. We could not dispense with the cables. 400. If the cable system is essential do you not think that the charges for both services should be the same?-­ Yes, if that is a financial possibility, and can be

accomplished u_nder an arrangement such as that made in England. 401. The Beam service is cheaper than the cable service ?-Yes.

402. And therefore wireless messages can be sent at a lower rate?-Yes, largely on account of the low capital cost of the wireless plant. 403. If it is absolutely necessary to have the cable, it is obvious that the charges must be the same for both services ?-Yes.

404. If wireless messages continue to be sent at a lower rate, the cable ser':ice must go out of existence?­ y es. There should be some arrangement made between the Australian wireless and cable services, such as was made in England. The Communications Company has been formed to take over the Marconi system and the

cable system. We must keep the cables for defence purposes and for other considerations. 405. The Beam wireless is a new invention and can supply a cheap service, yet because of the necessity to keep the cable service alive, the wireless cannot be used to its full extent ?- I do not quite gather .the

purport of that question. 406. In time, because of the difference in rates, the more expensive system will go out of existence?­ Exactly. The cable service under such conditions will probably be bled to death.

407. On the other hand, it is somewhat unfair that a new invention cannot be used to its full extent ?-That is unavoidable. The whole question has been discussed in England, and the various authorities have come to the conclusion that both services are essential.

408. The cable rate for press messages is 6d. a word. Are not the leading newspapers of Australia working under an agreement ?-There are two associations. The Australian Press Association is comprised of the lead­ ing morning papers, such as the Age, Argus, Sydney

Morning Herald, South Australian Advertiser, Sydney Evening News and some others. The other organiza­ tion consists of the Melbourne Herald and the Sydney Sun. Our association is called the A.P.A. Those two

associations use the cable service. 409. The charge of 6d. a word is pooled among the various newspapers ?-The messag~ is distributed to all the members of our association and subscribers.

410. Individually, the rate is nothing like 6d. a word ?-Not to any one newspaper for beam or cable transmission only. 411. If messages could be sent at ld. a word, would more news be sent ?- I am inclined to think that there would no t be much mor e news. The volume of news which comes from the outside world to Australia is

governed more by the demand here rather than by the faciliti es of communication. ·


. 412 .. The .present rate to the i n~ividual newspaper 1s nothmg hke ld. a word ?-That 1s so jf transit cost only be considered. 413. What is the telegraph r ate fo r local news?­ I think it is about ls. 6d. for 100 words.

414. Do you know what the terminal charges are?­ The terminal charge for press messages from London is }d. a word, and from other places ld. a word. 415. What do you think of the proposal for a ld. a word telegraph service from here t o England?­ It would be of great advantage. I do not think that we

can reasonably expect a greater volume of news from Australia to England, because, after all, news has a relative value. All the news that can be sent from Australia to England may not be accept able to the

conductors of the newspapers in England. They will not publish news from Australia unless it is of some interest to their readers. Any proposal based on the idea of getting a greater volume of news published in England, will require careful consideration and in­ vestigation before being given eff ect. I am not at

all sanguine that the inauguration of a ld. a word service would lead to a greater volume of press traffic. 416. Nevertheless, it would· be a great boon to the people generally ?-It would be a tremendous boon.

417. It would mean a tremendously increased traffic? -"-Yes. If it is to be a boon it must i ncrease the

traffic. 418. There are not many sqcial messages from ,say, 80 per cent. of the people sent from here to England either by wireless or cable ?-I could not say what would be the. percentage, but I do not think that the sending of soe1al messages is largely indulged in.

419. They are sent only by a few people in the c0.m­ munity?-That is so. 420. Would that be on account of the cost ?-Yes. . 421. If the charge were less what would be the posi­ tion ?-It would give a great stimulation to social com­ munication.

422. Would you advocate increasing the volume of traffic by wireless, with the prospect of eliminating the cable system ?-Certainly not. 423. Yo.u think that the dis!3,dv antage of losing the cable serv1c~ would not balance the benefit gained by the commumty because of the cheaper wireless service?

-No. We must keep in mind the strategic value of cables in time of war. It would be fatal t o allow the cable system to go out of existence. 424. By Senator Hays.- You say that the cable is used fo! P!'ess messages more frequently than the wire­

less prmmpally on account of reliability ?-I should say that that was so. ·

425. Are ,most of your communications received by wireless or by cable ?- I could not say. 426. And yet the charge is less by wireless ?-Yes. . 427. By the Chairman:--:-ls the Rugby wireless sta­ tion controlled by the British Government ?-It is con­ trolled by the British Post Office.

428. That station is sending out messages all over the world for 24 hours of the day ?-Yes. 429. Are you allowed to pick up that information?­ Ye~. It is supplied to us, and we publish a great deal

of 1t. . 430. There is nothing to prevent you from publishing 1t?-No. 431. Can you pick up that information in your own

o~ce ?-N ~· .It is supplied to us by the Amalgamated Wireless Limited, and is called British Wireless. 432. I. understand that in America the newspapers have their own plant for picking up information ?-I have no doubt that, if it were worth our while we would do the same thing, unless, of course, we ~ere prevented by law. ·

The witness withdrew.

The committee adjourned.

(Taken at Canberra.)

THURSDAY, 14th MA.ROH, 1929.


Senator THOMAS, Chairman; Senator Carroll Senator Herbert Hay

Senator Graham Senator Reid.

Senator Guthrie Thomas Mitchell Shakespeare, Journalist, sworn and examined. 433. By the Ohairman.-What positions do you hold ?-I am a member of the Legislative Council of New South Wales, president of the New South Wales Country Press Association, and secretary of the Aus­ tralasian Provincial Press Association.

434. The Committee wishes to ascertain wheth1:.·r the introduction of a penny-a-word wireless service is desirable, and also whether it . is commercially pos­ sible. Do yo u know Mr. Robert McMillan?-Yes, he

was editor of the 8 toclc and Station Journal for a long while. 435. Do you know that he advocated penny-a-word telegrams ?--Yes, and before him Sir Henniker Heaton, the father of penny postage in .Australia, editor and part owner of the Evening News, Sydney, and a member of the H ouse of Commons. 29 years ago Mr.

McMillan succeeded in getting the New South Wales Country Press Association to endorse that idea as an integral plank of its platform, and the Association has unceasingly supported that principle. First it was

penny postage and now it has come to penny-a-word cables. We must thank Robert McMillan more than any other man in .. A.ustralia for the establishment of the all-red route. In his booklet he placed penny­ a-word cables as the ultimate aim.

436. Then you have given some consideration to this matter?-It has been my bread and meat for many years. 437. Have you studied it from the commercial stand­

point ?-Yes ; but I am at a little disadvantage. If I were in Sydney I could supply definite data. 438. Then yo u t hink it is not a dream but a possi­ bility ?-It is desirable, and in a far-flung Empire like ours, in which the Dominions are free nations, it is almost compulsory that the freest exchange of

opinion should take place throughout the Empire. Formerly we were mere colonies, guided entirely by thE Old Country, but to-day we have independent thought, and to give that proper play we should be well informed on all matters. This is imperative if the Empire is to last, and, if the difficulties and di:ff erences are to be overcome, we should adopt the cheapest and quickest methods of communication between the various parts of the Empire, and particularly with the Mother

Country. 439. Do you advocate penny-a-word cables merely for the press or for the public ?-I have been a

pressman for 45 years, and I should say that the

reform is required primarily for the press. So far as ordinary cables are concerned, I suppose that they must be considered under the searchlight of :financial possibility. But the post office should not be run

entirely for prt':>:6.t. In a matter of this kind it should have a monopoly, and should exercise it in the interests of the Empire. The only mouthpiece we have is the press, which should have the benefit of penny-a-word cables as a natural right.

440. Do you not think that if the man in the street enjoyed the priYilege of cabling to persons in the Old Country at that price, it would be of advantage?­ Yes, everything like that assists to cement the bonds of Empire.


441. I under tand that the Rugby Wirele s Service sends out messages all day long ?-That is regarded as British propaganda. It is done by the British Govern­ ment for the information of Britishers at sea, and also for the purpose of correcting wrong opinions formed in foreign countries as to British affairs. It is the stan­ dard service of the world.

442. Are you, as a pressman, allowed to utilize it?­ Y es, and no. I may if I choose to pay what I claim

to be an unjust tribute to Amalgamated Wireless Limited. For a small outlay it is possible for anybody to install a receiving set capable of picking up Rugby. It is only necessary to understand the Morse code, but one is not permitted to receive those signals and publish

the information in a newspaper unless he pays a

royalty to Amalgamated Wireless. I consider that blackmail. 443. What do you call blackmail ?-Forcing a person to pay money for a thing when they have no right to make him pay for it. The company claims to have patent rights over the valve that is required to receive the signals. You must pay a royalty for publishing

any message, or you can pay 10s. a day, which

gives you the right to use all the messages that they care to intercept, but they are the judges of what you would receive. When they were not too busy they would give you what they had. A comparison of

the British wireless news published in Wellington, New Zealand, with that of Australia shows that we are very badly informed. Much information published in New Zealand comes from Rugby.

444. But if you pay 10s. a day you can only

get what Amalgamated Wireless chooses to send you?­ I shall trv to be fair to them. The amount of news

taken for"' the 24 hours would be voluminous, so they make a selection from it, but if a man were taking

it with his own wireless set, he would be the best

judge of what he required. I do not know what

royalty the company charges, but I have it on sworn evidence that they are entitled to a royalty because of their patent rights over the valve used in the set,

and they will not surrender that right. 445. You say that in New Zealand a much greater amount of news is published than here ?-That is so. The New Zealand Government exempted everybody from the company's patent rights, and said to the

company "If you want to :fight over the patent, you must fight the Government and not the individual." All the cables that come to Australia to-day are from one source. TT nder the new arrangement, the Sydney Morning Herald, the Sun and the Evening News re­ ceive a unified service, but if they want to supplement it from their London offices they can do so. The

country press is a subscriber to that service, and every newspaper has to pay for the right to use it. The

news is sent to them, and no priority is shown as

between the big newspaper and the small one. The same "flimsy" of the message that goes to the Sydney JJ[ orning I-I erald and to the Sun goes to the other sub­ scribers, and we each pay 5d. per 100 words to the Postal Department for a copy of the flimsy. Reuter has

been placed under subjugation, and the Australian Press Association js to-day pre-eminent as a news-gatherer. Baron Reuter was a source of weakness to the Empire 11ntil the new arrangement took effect. He was a German,

and his service was international, but it did not contain sufficient British news for our purposes. As a collec­ tion of international news, it was very good, but as an Empire builder it was "piffle." The international news can be obtained through Rugby, and in my opinion more Rugby news should be published. If every news­ paper could use the Rugby service, and please itself which items it published, the people of this country would be much closer to the heart of the Empire th::.n they are under present conditions.

446. Pres wires now cost 6d. by cable, und 4d. a word by wireless ?-Officially, I do not know, but I think that is the ratio. 447. Wireless is getting about half the trade at

4d. a word. Why do not people send all messages by wireless rather than by cable ?-Just as every newspaper has to take precautions against strikes and delays in deliveries, and obtain its supplies of p~p~r from various sources to ensure a regular supply, 1t 1s necessary to use the cable in addition to wireless.

Fading occurs. It may last for minutes or it may

be for hours. I see no reason why the press should not use wireless exclusively if it were not for the fading. It is said that messages transmitted by wire­ less are secret, but they might be intercepted by a

foreign power in time of war. 448. Suppose wireless killed the cables. Every nation would be exactly in the same dilemma ?-No. No Empire is exactly the same as our own. We live by the steam boat and by the cable. If we lost those

things we should be beaten. 449. By Senator Reid.-When you install a wireless set, do you enter into an -agreement not to receive Rugby news ?-I cannot understand the position. Amalgamated

Wireless claims that it does not surrender its rights under the patent law. It permits the manufacture of the valves in question, but if I use the Rugby service for profit I must pay for it.

450. The New Zealand Government has stepped in, and the company has never challenged the position that it has adopted ?-That is so. 451. The Commonwealth Government owns half the

shares in the company ?-Yes. It is wonderful the interest you take in your own infant. If the Govern­ ment had not been tied up with this company, it would certainly have taken up the attitude adopted by New Zealand. The Dominion gives more prominence to Home matters than Australia does.

452. Would you prefer the Government of Australia to adopt the stand taken by New Zealand or continue to hold shares in the company?-I think that the Go­ vernment, having gone half-way, should take over the other half of the company, and relieve the public of the payment of that royalty. The company was forced into

the courts on two occasions over this matter. In one big case, it was held that the company had no rights at all, and, according to another judgment, it had, so it is fifty-fity; but, since the Government has made an

agreement with the company, and we are paying tribute to it to grant the public certain concessions, we should see that those concessions include the royalty on the valves used for receiving Morse messages.

453. That should apply to the press as well as to the public ?-Yes. 454. I suppose it pays you to use the cables as well as wireless for the sake of safety ?-Yes.

455. If the difficulty of fading could be overcome there is no reason why everything should not be trans­ mitted by that service ?-Yes. 456. By Senator Carroll.-Would it be a good thing

if the Government took possession of the wireless ser­ vice, and worked it as an adjunct to the post office?­ I can conceive of nothing better. Anything short' of that would create greater monopolies for the private company.

457. Could the Government operate the service as well as anybody else ?-Yes. We have the experience of the world in r egard to post and telegraph matters. In America all telegraphic and telephonic services are in private hands. In Australia, we have the best organized

and the best conducted and the cheapest system in the world, and it is conducted by the Government. 458. By Senator Guthrie.-N aturally you are more interested in getting a regular ne-ws service than in


maintaining the cable system, in addition to wireless because of its importance from a defence point of view? -That is so. 459. You referred to an injustice done to the press by the post office because of the charge made for certain " flimsies " ?-Yes ; I had paid £90 in one quarter for copies of them. When I have paid for a cable I have

the right to be supplied with a copy. This flimsy is only a duplicate carbon copy, and we are charged 5d. per 100 words. There are 7,000 to 8,000 words coming through daily.

460. You do not think that the Postal Department is treating the press as liberally as it might do ?-No ; it is not fair. 461. Owing to the extraordinarily favorable treat­ ment given to the press of Australia by Parliament, you

are getting your cable news at 6d. a word, while every­ body else has to pay 2s. a word ?-I dare say that a private individual would be only charged 6d. a word if he could guarantee a loading of 8,000 to 10,000 words a day.

462. You will admit that a large newspaper is a huge business concern ?-Yes. 463. O,ving to the favoritism given to the press, as compared with every other business, the ]federal Parlia­ ment makes the press a present of between £200,000 and

£300,000 a year, that being the amount that the post office loses on that account ?-I do not agree with you. Our newspapers are vehicles of public information. We have to give certain news. The Commonwealth

Government has made it possible for us to supply that for the information of our readers. . If, instead of charging us 6d. a word, we were charged ls., we should only get half as much information out, but we should sell just as many newspapers.

464. The evidence given to this committee is that the post office is losing over £200,000 a year owing to the low charge for _ press telegrams in Australia. There is also a heavy loss on the carriage of newspapers ?_;._I do

not like the suggestion that the press is favored. Our messages are given no precedence over those of private individuals, unless we pay the same rate as the man in the street. Everything on the file must be cleared beforP,

one press message is taken. A considerable number of press messages are sent at ordinary rates, and some at snw;ial rates. 465. The large packages of newspapers that are sent

to all parts of Australia by rail are distributed by the department at a loss ?-That is not quite correct. W 'l pay according to the weight of the newspapers, and the payment is made not to the post office but to the Rail­ way Department.

466-67 . . Then if any loss is made it would be made by that department?-That is so. You tell us that in New Zealand action has been taken in connexion with Amal­ gamated Wireless. Would it be a good thing if the Aus­

tralian Government took similar action ?-The Govern­ ment are half-owners of the wireless company. 468. They did that with the idea of safeguarding the interests of Australia, but you think it would be better

if the company were taken over completely ?-If it were mine, I would either own it or disown it. 469. Do you think it would be better for the Govern­ ment to own the lot ?-Yes; or else take up the same

attitude as the New Zealand Government has adopted. 470. By the Chairman.-There is nothing to prevent the copy of the press cables from being handed over to the newspapers, and they could make their own arrange­ ment for the distribution of the carbon copies ?-If

twelve copies were given to one person, we could make a profit of thousands of pound~ by making our own arrangements for their distribution. I contend that the charge of 5d. per 100 ·words is extortionate. One penny per 100 words would be a fair thing.


471. You think you could save money at 5d. per 100? -I could saYe ma,iy thousands of pounds in Sydney. 472. If every newspaper had a wireless set, and picked up the Rugby news in the way you have sug­ gested would it cause a loss to the post office ?-The

Gover~ment gives us a big concession on our telegrams for enabling them to keep their men employed when they would otherwise be idle. Looked at in one way it is a co11cession, but from another point of view it is no concession at all.

473. Would the revenue of the Government be less jf you adopted the course that I have indicated ?-Yes . no less than 18,000,000 wod.s of press messages were carried oyer the 1\f ew South Wales _lines last year, as

against 14,000,000 in all the other States. Portion of­ those rr~essa ges was cable news. 474. Might not the Post Office be opposed to you if you provided wireless sets of your own ?-Every post­ master-General-and Mr. Gibson is no exception-takes up a dual attitude. When you ask him for anything, h0 tells you that you are already getting too many conces­ sions and the Government are losing money on account of them. When you ask for the right to use wireless, he says: "Oh no; if you did that we could not keep our men employed."

475. By Senator Reid.-Does Rugby send out general news concerning affairs in the Old Country ?-It i6 ::i. :fine summary of news of all descriptions, excluding su<·h items as divorce cases and sensational news. These come

by our present service. 476. If the Rugny service were free, the public wo11ld have m.)re news from the Old Country than they have at the present time ?-Yes. For instance, if you look

up the Melbourne and Sydney newspapers at the time of the great strike in England, you will find that the reports were meagre, but the reports published in ~ cw Zealand at that time ·were full and informative, giv·rng

a clear insight intc what occurred. If t }1E; Rugby ser­ vice were free, the public would be better informed. 477. It ·would keep the people in close touch with thr domestic affairs of the Empire as well as the foreign

affairs ?-Yes. The witness withdrew.

(Taken at Sydney.)



Senator THOMAS, Chairman; Senator Carroll Senator Herbert Haye

Senator Findley Senator Reid.

Thomas Mitchell Shakespeare, recalled and further examined. 478. By the Chairman.-When you were last before the Committee you said that it was your intention t,) make available certain information which was not then in your possess ion ?-Yes, but before doing so, I should like to inform the committee that a statement has been published by the Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Limited in Sydney to the effect that in so far as that company is concerned, any newspaper in the Common­

wealth has been at liberty since 1927 to receive British Government press messages direct from Rugby free of charge. That is the :first time that such a statement,

which I welcome very much, has been made. Up to within four weeks ago that information was not known to the Postal Department. On many occasions I have sought to ascertain from that department just where we

stood, and in every case I was informed that the agree­ ment entered into between the Federal Government and Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Limited did not F.736-3

cover the point raised. We understood that they

would require royalties ·wherever their valves were used for commercial purposes. The agreement referred to retailers selling certain goods without the question of copyright being raised, but the position taken up at the original inquiry was that after the goods had been sold the company would still require the payment of royalties if the valves were used in receiving long dis­

tance messages, such as those sent out from Rugby. It was on that assertion that I based my previoud evidence, and I think that so far as the press is con­ cerned the inquiry by the committee has been justified, inasmuch as we have obtained a definite statement from the company.

479. Any one can use news transmitted from Rugby 1 -Yes, and it will be readily availed of. 480. As you have always taken a deep interest in cheaper press communication between Australia and Great Britain, I should like to know if you have closely studied the practicability of transmitting such messages at the rate of 1d. a word ?-I have given considera­ tion to the question so far as a layman can. When I entered the newspaper business 45 years ago press messages from Great Britain cost 3s. a word, and at that time not more than 300 words of press messages came to Sydney daily. Even at that time there was a

strong agitation for a reduction in the cable rates, just as there is to-day for reduced rates for wireless messages. At the time of which I am speaking it was said that it was impossible to reduce the cable rates, but to-day the cost of sending press messages through the Eastern Extension Cable Company is 6d. a word, and over the Pacific route deferred messages .can be sent at the rate of 4id. a word. In consequence of these rates the messages sent to one association alone com­ prise approximately 8,000 words a day, as against 300 words when the rate was 3s. a word. The cost to-day is, therefore, approximately one-sixth of what it was some years ago. Of course, the increase in traffic may be responsible for a reduction in the rates, but there is no reason why they should not be further reduced. I have endeavoured during the last few minutes to obtain from a Times atlas the exact distance by air be­ tween Sydney and London, but it is not shown. It is said

that the mail route is approximately 12,000 miles, and I would not be surprised if the distance by air is not more than 8,000 miles. It is generally accepted that a direct route is usually one-fourth less than a com­ mercial route. Although Canberra is 207 miles f"rom Sydney by road or by rail, its distance by a direct line to the Sydney Post Office is just under 150 miles. To­ day \Ve are sending telegrams, which after being relayed many times, distances of from 7,000 to 8,000 miles at

ld. a word, which rate, I suppose, is profitable to the · department. A telegram can be despatched from Cape York, and after being repeated several times can be delivered at Broome at a cost of 1d. a word. In these

circumstances I should say that it should be practic­ able to send an ordinary Beam wireless message to London at cheaper rates than now prevailing. The present rate of Beam messages is 1s. 8d., as against the rate charged by the cable companies of 2s. a word. Deferred messages can be sent at ls. a word, and week­ end messages at 7{d. a word. At present press wireless messages are charged 4d. a word and deferred messages

3d. a word, so that the difference between the rate no-w charged and that which the committee is considering is not great. I feel sure that the increased business which would follow a reduction to 1d. a word woul

making of profits. It should endeavour to assist Empi1·e trade expansion and quick and cheap communicatiu1, between every unit of the Empire.

481. You are not con:fining your remarks now solely to press messages ?-No. If it. pays a Conservative British Government to maintain one of the largest wireless stations in the world, from which messages are sent out free to almost every country and to ships at sea under the present system, there is no reason why messages should not be despatched from Australia at

ld. a word, particularly when the service would be rn the interests of the nation. 482. But if the wireless system obtained all the work and the cable services were not used, it might be serious from the Empire's point of view ?-Conditi_ons. are always changing. Although we have electric light,

there are occasions when we :find it necessary to revert to some more primitive form of illuminant. I believe that for many years the cable systems will be necessary because they enable messages to be transmitted privately. In times of national emergency it would be

in the interests of the Government to have the cable services at their disposal. They could be subsidized by the Government. 483. Do you know if the interests of the Paci:fic Cable Company have been acquired by what has been referred to as a merger company?-From what I have read I should say that if the Paci:fic Cable Company has not already been acquired by other interests, it soon will be. If the Government allows the Pacific Cable

Company to be acquired in that way it will be selling the people. It is as vital to the nation's interests to

retain that service as it is to maintain naval vessels. I know that vested interests are at work, and it would be a pity if that service, which was responsible for saving millio·ns of pounds sterling and tens of thousands

of lives during the war, "ms allowed to go out of

national contl'Ol. 484. You can recall the time when the Paci:fic cable was not in operation ?-Yes. We were then told that it would never pay, but it has proved a pron.table proposition.

485. Privately controlled cable companies were strongly opposed to the Paci:fic cable ?-Yes. At that time all the news came via the Eastern Extension Company. When the Paci:fic cable was completed the news which reached Australia came from only one

source, namely, through the Australian Press Associa­ tion, in conjunction with Reuter's. All the messages came through the Eastern Extension Company. At that time the Federal Government felt that it was necessary to assist the Pacific Cable Company, and offered a subsidy to provide an independent service for

the press of Australia. Prior to that time not 1 per

cent. of the press messages to Australia were coming through a Government controlled line, but in conse­ quence of the Government subsidy to provide an independent cable service the Pacific route was used, ·

and is now being availed of on a 50-50 basis. It has always been well controlled; its work has been

expeditious, and the service in every way efficient. 486. What effect did it have upon the newspapers?­ The company was formed by well-known newspaper men including the late Mr. Henry Brett, who was asso­ ciat~d with the Auckland Star, and by other influential newspaper men associated with the Sydney Sun. Sir Hugh Denison was also on the directorate of the

Board of the company. Before that service wa.s

initiated every newspaper man in Australia who wanted to utilize the cables had to sign an agreement, one of the principal clauses of which was that he would Hot receive for publication any news received through any other service. For in tance, if the Sydney lJ1 orn­ ing H erald receiv~d a cable message of. the _greatest importance from its . London repre~entatrve, it co~ld not be published until the ~ustrahan rress ~ssocia­

tion and every other subscnber to their service had been apprised of its contents. They. would then have the right to use it simultaneously with the newspaper


that had received it direct from its London represen ta­ ti ve. We felt that the system was killing enterprise and that Y1e should fight for independence. Ther~ vvere other questions, such as the charges made to dif­ f ~rent people, and. in. the end the .associat~on was respon­ sible for accornphshrng three thrngs. First it had the benefit of an independen t service and under the new agreement any prorietor coulq. utilize whatever service he liked in addition to that supplied by the Australian Press Assocjation. Secondly, it was provided that new subscribers to the serYice could have the same facili­ ties so long as they paid the same price as other news­ papers vvere paying, and thirdly, practically one-half

of their business was given to the Paci:fic Cable Com­ pany. 487. When you were agitating for an independent service the other companies opposed it?-They did not help.

488 .• Were they considering the interests of the Em­ pire, or thinking only of dividends ?-As a commercial concern they would naturally study it from a :financial viewpoint; I suppose the possibility of paying dividends

would receive first consideration. 489. Has the payment of a subsidy been of service to the country ?-Yes. It was a benefit conferred upon the Commonwealth by the then Prime Minister, the late Mr. Fisher.. We are also indebted to Senator

Thomas, 'iVho was then Postmaster-General, for the assistance he gave. 490. By Senator Reid.-Does the British Government pay for the collection of news transmitted from Rugby? -It is drawn from various sources and the British

Government Vi'ould not attempt to take anything from any one without paying for it. I have no definite

knovvledge as to the system under which the news is colkctod and transmitted. 491. It would not be supplied free of cost to tbP

Government ?-I think they must pay for it in some form, perhaps in the ',ray of concessions. As the

British newspapers have never complained, they must be compeusated in some vvay. They would not allo·w their news to be pirated without receiving some con­ sideration.

492 . Do you think the acquisition of the Pacific Cable Company by other interests would be detrimental to Australia ?-Yes, it would affect our means of com­ munication with other portions of the Empire. It is

as essential to retain our interests in that concern as it is to retain control of telegraphic and other such systems. 493 Do you think that the whole wireless system in operation in Australia should be under the control of the Government ?-The Beam system should be under

the absolute control of the Government. At the rates at present charged the Beam system cannot be utilized by the poorer section of the community, and a charge of one penny a word would increase the usefulness of

the service to the people. 494. By Senator Herbert II ays.-The British Go­ vernment would not be unmindful of the fact that the Paeific Cable service was beneficial to the Empire?­ It has so many important issues to handle that its importance may be under estimated. In my opinion, we ha-ve as much right to surrender our army or navy to a foreign power as we have to dispose of our interest in the Pacific Cable Company to outside interests.

495. You think that Australia should offer the

strongest possible protest. to such a · proposal ?-That is my opinion. It is worth a big fight. It may not see1;11 of major significance now, but within a few years 1t may prove of vital value to the nation. The Pacific

cable comes from London right through Canada across to Suva and thence to Australia. 496. What is the attitude of the New Zealand Go­ vernment towards the proposed merger ?-I do not


know but l should say that New Zealand would be guide'd largely by t he action taken by the Common­ wealth. 497. If wireless messages could be despatched at one penny a word ther e would be little work left for the cable companies. What steps do you suggest should be taken to retain cable services ?-I cannot suggest the best basis on which such services should be retained; that is not for me to say. Although we have expensive electrically controlled machines in modern nmvspaper offices, we still have gas engines which can be used in case of emergency. The cable serYices could be used in a similar ·way and ·would always be available should they be required .

498. Do you think they should be subsidized ?-Yes. 499. By S enator Carroll.-Have you any idea of how the company which is supposed to be taking over the interests of the Pacific Cable Company is constituted? -It is not a government-owned concern. The published reports suggest that it would be an international con­ cern and that British inter~sts would be represented in the share lists. 500. But the shares held by Britishers could be sold in the open market ~-They could be acquired by repre­ sentatives of any nation, and if Great Britain were not strongly r epr esented it would be detrimental to the nation. ·

501. By Senator Findley.-You are aware of the disadvantages experienced by the newspaper proprie­ tors some year s ago as a result of what is known as the cable monopoly ?-Yes.

502. The i ndependent service established during the regime of the Labour Government was of immense service to the newspaper proprietors ·who were not linked up with the monopoly 1-Y es.

503 .. If it h ad not been for the action taken at that

time many newspaper proprietors would not have had the service they have to-day ?-I think the answer is in the negative. 504. If the proposed merger between certain com­

panies materializes will it be disadvantageous to the newspaper proprietors of Australia ?-I do not think it would be t o their detriment. The newspaper pro­ prietors, generally speaking, are in a po~itio1: to fight

their own battles and to demand concessions m a way that no other section can. The combine will see that the press is not penalized. 505. How could it :fight a powerful combine over­ seas ?-There are newspapers in every country and their common interest would become articulate at certain periods such as at election time. I do not think any

combine would attempt to take from the press the privi­ leges which it enjoys to-day. 506. How long wer e those outside the combi11e iu get­ ting the advantages they now receive ?-Practically a lifetime.

507. Monopolistic concerns are not philanthropic in­ stitutions ?-Most of the newspaper proprietors are in some way associated with monopolies. I am against combines unless I am in them.

508. Are the newspapers interested in the proposed merger ?-The big newspaper men would certainly bP associated with it . 509. Can you name a big nevvspaper proprietor who would ?-No; but in the great fights in the past the London 'l.'imes, for instance, has always been interested in the subject of cable communication, and such men as Lord Rothermere, Lord Burnham, and Lord Beaver­ brook, have been closely associated with the interests of newspaper proprietors in their relations with cable companies.

510. Are the newspapers interested in the Eastern Extension Company?-Possibly the proprietors namrd will be found in the share lists.

.'511. If the British newspaper proprietors are finau­ cially interested in the proposed merger, do you suggest that the interests of Australian newspapers would be protected ?-I would not put it that way. I think the Ausralian press is strong enough to see that its interests

are protected. 512. Would you prefer the present position to con­ tinue rather than to run the risk of what might occur if the merger materialized ?:-I prefer the present con­ ditions to continue because I am afraid that the pro­

posed communications company will ultimately com0 1~nder foreign domination. 513. Until 1927 obstacles were placed in the way of newspapers receiving information from the Rugby station free of charge ?-Yes.

514. Can you use that service ?-Yes, or services from any other quarter. 515. The news broadcast from Rugby would be take11 from the London Times and other leading newspaperd? -It may be.

516. If you are permitted to use that news in yom paper a cable service would hardly be necessary?-The organization of the Australian Press Association in London is very efficient. It does not permit Reuter's or any other company to send messages to Australia.

Collecting agencies send the whole of their news into its London office from which a selection is made. The men there are doing their work very efficiently, and out of every 100,000 words supplied I suppose they despatch only 1,000 words. The Australian newspapers are sup­ plied with a summary of the worlds news, particularly that relating to Empire affairs.

517. Could not Australian newspapers obtain this service almost free of charge ?-That is possible nov,; through Rugby; but the information received is not all that we require. It may not have any direct reference

to the market prices of commodities in which Au:;­ tralia is interested or to important persons visiting the old world. Broadly, the present service is imperial 111 character, and is for expressing the happenings ia Great Britain as well as other important events in other parts which have a direct bearing on international relations.

518 . If the Rugby station were taken over by the suggested. Communications Company, do you think i ~ ·would give the same service as you are getting to-day '? - -I could not say. The British Government select im­ partial editors to handle the news, and if it were taken ?ver as you suggest by the Communications Company, 1t could render the same service only by receiving

a subsidy from the British Government. If the Go­ vernment handed over the station and did not subsidize the company, we ·would not get the same service. 519. In Australia items taken from the newspapers are broadcast free of charge ·?-Yes.

520. A newspaper proprietor would not be per­ mitted t o publish nmvs so broadcast ?-Yes, because there is no copyright law controlling news items but if . ' newspaper propnetors have their way, as was expressed

at the conference in Canberra last year, they will en­ deavour to get the Government to copyright all news published in Australia, which will lead to a good deal of opposit ion .

T 521. Would not th~t apply to news from England?­

_i_t would. A collectmg company once took out an in­

junction against us and our legal representative saiJ tha t "·e could. take a commission to London and cou1<1 prove that th~y had no more right to the news than any one else, but 1t would cost you £5,000 to do it.

522. You believe rhat the Beam wireless system awl the cable se:i:vices should be under the control of the Go:7e1:n~ent ?-Yes. War may come at any time. Bntam s ~upremacy of the seas may be challenged any

day, and 111 the event of war means of cable cnmmuni­ cation are essential.

523. We have a Beam station in .. A .. ustralia, but if the British station were handed over to a Communications Company, what would our position be ?-In the event of the British station being under the control of other interests, our position ·would be immeasurably weaker, but in the event of vrnr the British Government would see that it was not exploited or its operations in any way

interfered with by private interests. 524. If the communication services between Great Britain and .Llustralia ,-vere under the control of private companies ,re might be isolated in the event of hos­

tilities ?-Yes, and trouble may occur at any time. The recent sinking of the Tm Alone beyond American terri­ torial waters is sufficient to cause international com­ plications. It would be in the best interests of the

nation fo'r the Beam wireless station in England to remain under the control of the British Government. 525. By Senator Herbert Hays.-The control of such services would be safeguarded by the British authori­ ties ?-I hope so, but I always fear the power of money. One nation has control of over one-half of the ·world's gold stocks, and that nation was responsible for sinking

a British ship. In the event of war we should not be compelled by lack of proper communication to take a back seat. 526. If every possible contingency were provided for, you still think there would be a danger ?-Yes. The

treaty for the renunciation of war originated in a

country which has recently been displaying some an­ tagonism towards Great Britain, and which was respon­ sible for sinking one of our ships. The witness withdrew.

Frederick John Gidley Fleming, S"ecretary of the New Settlers League of New South Wales, Sydney, sworn and examined. 527. By the Chairman.-The Committee is inquiring into the practicability of reducing the cost of wireless messages to one penny a word, and as you are associated with the work of bringing migrants to Australia, we

thought you might be able to give the committee some information. What is the object of your league ?-To facilitate migrants becoming happily settled after arrival in Australia, and also to stimulate migration.

528. Do you think that cheaper communication would facilitate your work ?--Yes. I consider the present rates are somewhat excessive and hamper our negotiations with Great Britain. Moreover, migrants would feel more contented if they could communicate with their relatives in the Old Land more· expeditiously,

and at considerably cheaper rates than is possible under the present system. The capital of the average migrant is very limited. A person in this country

who ·wishes to nominate a migrant would be assisted considerably if cheaper means of expeditious communi­ cation were provided. There are about 1,200 boys coming to New South Wales, most of whom are without funds

and who would gladly communicate with their relatives if the rates were cheaper. This would provide a closer touch with their parents and relatives, and would result in their being more satisfied in their new surroundings.

At present, the week-end messages provide the cheapest way of communicating quickly with Great Britain. At our last annual conference we discussed the question of ch eaper communication, and the motion carried was to the effect that if the rate could be reduced to one penny a ·word, it would materially assist migrants. Of course I do not know whether such a rate is com­ mercially practicable. Under the present system, owing

to the cost of using the cable, it takes about six months to nominate a migrant and to settle him in Australia. With a cheaper means of communication this could possibly be done in perhaps two .months. With improved facilities in this respect I thmk a larger number of


migrants would be attracted to Australia and even if a financial loss ,vere incurred the Gove/nment would be compensated in other way/ 529. By Senator Findley.-How many members of the league do you represent ?-I represent 280 branches on whose behalf . I am speaking to-day. I cannot say that any .individual members of the league have spoken to me with respect to cheaper communications.

530. If a migrant arrived to-day and despatched a letter at once, how long would it be before that com­ munication was delivered to his home in England?­ Possibly six weeks.

'531. The members of your organization are scat­ tered all over the State ?-Yes. 532. By Senator Reid.-If a migrant on arrival in Australia wished to make provision for bringing out his family, how long would it take ?-I have known instances where six months have elapsed before the family has arrived in Australia.

533. With cheaper means of communication the period could have been shortened ?-Yes. 534. Do you think migrants would utilize such a service ?-I think so. It would also be utilized by the

people interested in Great Britain who also have to conserve their money. 535. By Se·nator Findley.-Have you an organization overseas ?-No, we work with Australia House. From

time to time ,ve communicate with the parents of some of the· boys, but we have no organization in England. The witness withdrew.

Albert Howard, Secretary, Migration Branch, Salva­ tion Army Headquarters, Sydney, sworn and examined. 536. By the Chairman.-As you are closely asso­ ciated with migration work, perhaps you could tell

the Committee if migrants would be likely to use the Beam wireless service to any extent if the rate was reduced to one penny a word ?-Most decidedly. Aus­ tralia is so far removed from the Old Countrv that migrants prefer to settle in Canada rather than in

the Commonwealth, but if the cost of communication was reduced I believe that many who now go to Canada would come to Australia. Naturally, many of these people feel very lonely in a strange country, and that sense of loneliness would be to a large extent removed if they could communicate with their relatives and friends in England at a cheap rate. I believe that 90 per cent. of the migrants who come to Australia would

avail themselves of such facilities if they were provided. The Salvation Army authorities use the cable service somewhat extensively, but all our cable work goes through the resident secretary in Melbourne. If an intelligible message from a migrant could be despatched for 5s., it would be of enormous advantage, but the great bulk of migrants could not afford even that. If the rate could be reduced to one penny a word,

which would enable a message of 30 words to be sent for 2s. 6d., it would be of wonderful

benefit to migrants and of great assistance in our migration work. I do not know, however, if such a rate is commercially practicable. The average migrant does not use the wireless service, because he cannot afford it. Supposing those who now use the wireless system did not spend one penny more if the rates were reduced, the number who would use the system under reduced rates would be infinitely greater, :vhich ·would, to some extent, compensate for the lo 111 revenue.

537. By Senator Herbert H ays.-Do you think. a majority of the migrants regret the cost incurred. rn sending messages ?-Yes. On the way to this meetmg


I met two migrant girls and informed them the nature of my business. . They both replied, " I hope you suc­ ceed." 538. By Senator Carroll.-How many migrants does vour organization bring out each year?-Approxi­ i:nately, 2,000, of which number about 350 come to New South Wales. They consist mainly of youths for farm work and domestics.

539. By Senator Findiey~When the migrants brought out under your auspices arrive in Australia, are they assured of employment ?-Those whom we actually nominate are assured of work. We do a lot in connexion with private nominations. Although we have no real responsibility in this connexion we give nominated migrants advice and help in other directions. Most of the lads en gage in farm work. Those under seventeen years of age receive 15s. a week to com­ mence and over that age 17 s. 6d. a week and keep.

540. Have you had any complaints from new settlers with respect to the time occupied in corresponding with Great Britain ?-They do not complain, but they fre­ quently exclaim, "What a long time we have to wait."

541. By Senator Reid.-Can you estimate what per­ centage would take advantage of the cheaper rates jf they were available ?-I can only say that I think the great bulk of them would. Many personal messages would be exchanged. Cheap wireless messages would facilitate nomination work. At present a charge of 15s. is made to the nominator for a cable message, and subsequent cables, which are sometimes rendered neces­ sary, cost 10s. The cable is sent to Australia House,

and the authorities there advise the Salvation Army and the nominee. The cable is framed by the depart­ ment. 542. Would cheaper rates facilitate the work of your institution generally ?-Yes. The Salvation Army is a great international organization, the head-quarters of which are in London. It despatches and receives com­ munications from all parts of the world. Our inquiry department is like a great detective agency, as it is continually conducting inquiries on behalf of people in all parts of the wor Id.

543. By the Chairman.-If wireless messages could be sent at l d. a word, that branch of your work could Company, what would our position be ?-In the event be carried out more efficiently and expeditiously?-­


The witness withdrew.

William H enry Jones, General Secretary, Home Mission Society of the Methodist Church, 139 Castlereagh-street, Sydney, sworn and examine~. 544. By the Chairman.-Are you associated with migration work ?-I am not in such close contact with

the work as I was, as much of it is · now done by a

sub-committee. I am, however, directly responsible for the migration activities of our church. I have had a good deal to do with it, but am not closely in touch with its activities at present.

545. Do you think cheaper communications, say, by wireless at ld. a word, would assist that branch of your work?-Yes. We find it necessary at times to com­ municate quickly with our agent overseas, and there have been occasions when migrants have been very

anxious to communicate with friends more rapidly than they can by ordinary methods of correspondence. We work through the Methodist Brotherhood and also the migration branch of the Young Men's Christian Association in London. We arrange for the migration of families who are prepared to engage in rural occupa­

tions, and also young men who are willing to take up Home Mission work. In conducting these activities we take advantage of the week-end rate and under

which a message costs, roughly, 10s. That has usually to be paid for by us, as the migrants seldom have

sufficient funds to meet the cost. Latterly, most of this business has been done by wireless. Generally speaking, I think migrants would find it more satisfactory to write than to send messages by wireless or by cable. Most of our communications on official business are by letter, but if the rates were cheaper we would use the

wireless service more. Wireless messages are more or less public property, and to whatever extent their cost may be reduced a letter would always be cheaper. I do not think cheap rates would assist us in getting more migrants, but they might help in :finalising our

arrangements. There might be a doubt concerning the suitability of a migrant that might lead to his rejec­ tion, whereas if he could communicate quickly it might make all the difference.

546. How many migrants come out under your auspices every twelve months ?-During the period of two and a half years we have nominated 90 families. We have received between 70 and 80 families, who have been placed in rural occupations. Altogether we have received between 250 and 300 people within twelve months.

547. By Senator Findley.-Would the introduction of cheaper messages increase the number?-Possibly. If it became a common means of communication, it woulti be availed of by a greater number of people. I do

not think, however, that many social messages would be sent, even if the rates were reduced. The service would be more likely to be used for commercial or semi­ commercial communications. Migrants would perhaps send a message to notify their arrival, and possibly when something of importance happened, but I do not think they would utilize the service as a general means

of communication. 548. A previous. witness expressed the definite opinion that cheaper communication would be helpful to the organization which he represented ?-It would be a help in some directions, particularly in instances where there was doubt concerning the suitability of a person who had been nominated.

The witness withdrew. The committee adjourned.

( Taken at Sydney.)



Senator THOMAS> Chairman; Senator Carroll Senator Herbert Hays.

Senator Findley William Brooks, Manufacturing Printer and Publisher, Sydney, sworn and examined. 549. By the Chairman.-! understand you are a.

emb 0 r of the Legislative Council of New South Wales ?-Yea. 550. Doubtless you are aware that the Committee is inquiring into the possibility of conducting a wireless service between Australia and Great Britain at rates lower than those at present prevailing, and preferably at ld. a word ?-Yes.

551. Have you ever seen a publication entitled Penny a Word Cables issued by a fo·m of stock and station agents some years ago ?-Yes. .

552. That pamphlet contains a letter. signed by "William Brooks". Were you the wnter of that communication ?-Yes. About the same time I wrote a pamphlet concerning a Pacific cable service to the

Commonwealth, but I have not been able to obtain a copy of j~ to 1•efresh my memory. In that pamphlet,

hov;rever, I advocated the establishment of a cheap cable service, and with the assistance of the late

manager of the Pacific Cable Company, a Mr. Milward, I worked out a table showing the loss that would be incurred by such a cable service provided for the use of the public and for Empire purposes on various

rates right down to ld. a word. If my me~~ry

serT"es me aright, the loss even at ld. a word, with the full use of a duplicate cable, would have been insignificant as compared with the enormous benefit that would accrue to Australia. I cannot speak with any degree of confidence after the lapse of so many years, but I believe that in the circumstances I have mentioned the loss at the lowest rate would have been

about £150,000 a year, which would have been born~ by the different Governments concerned. 553. Have you given consideration to the possibility of cheaper wireless communications between Aus­ tralia and Great Britain ?-I have naturally been interested in the proposed merger, which I think is a great mistake, and which would not be in the interests of the Empire. If the merger is brought about I

think it will have the effect of destroying the ideal which we had in mind 20 or 30 years ago, which was to have Empire communications under Empire control. Although I have not studied the subject closely I look askance at the proposed merger of the cable and Beam services. I am unable to speak with any authority concerning the possibility of the Beam service, but so far as I have been able to gather I do not think that

we can expect a Beam system at least for many years to guarantee continuous and uninterrupted service. The Beam system could not, I think, do it alone. 554. Do you think that during portions of the day the Beam system might be ineffective ?-At present I believe .it is subject to natural influences and inter­ ruptions, and, in my opinion, if we depended solely on the Beam system we might possibly be placed in. an unsatisfactory position.

555. If we could be authoritatively assured of a con­ tinuous and uninterrupted service would we be justified in relying upon the Beam system ?-Notwithstanding all the guarantees that may be given by scientific men, I think it would be a great mistake to depend solely

upon the Beam system and to be absolutely devoid of a cable service. It is found in all activities of life

that it is unsafe .to depend only upon one source

of service. Commercially, industrially and scientifi­ cally we must, wherever possible, have something to fall back upon. I consider it would be the greatest possible mistake to depend solely upon the Beam service and to disregard the cable system altogether.

556. Do you suggest that the Beam system should not compete with the cable service to such an extent as to destroy the utility of the latter?-W e are entitled to take full advantage of new inventions, but irrespec­ tive of the cost we should . at present, I think, retain the cable system.

557. Do you think that the cable system, although unable to compete with wireless at ld. a word,

should be kept in reserve ?-Yes. If it were possible for Beam wireless messages to be transmitted at ld. a word it would pay the Government to so

arrange overseas communications that the cable com­ panies would also transmit at a similar rate. The

cable companies would then be earning some revenue and at the same time be kept active. 558. Ha-ve you studied the subject sufficiently to disco-.;-er whether penny-a-word wireless messages are practical from a commercial view-point ?-No.. I have only heard a few cas~ial .rem~rk.s, caust.ic and other­ wise concerning this idealistic proJect of the

Com'mittee but from what I gather the representative::; of Amalga::n.ated Wir~les~ ( Austra.lasia) Limited r~gard this penny-a-word obJective as futile and an unbusmess­ like proposal.


559. Years ago when the establishment of the Pacific cable was under consideration you studied the project from a financial view-point ?-Yes, but I have not made the same study in connexion with wireless communica­ tions. The agitation for a Pacific cable extended over many years. It was discussed at Imperial conferences in London which were attended by our representatives, and also at conferences in Australia and New Zealand.

At that time the Eastern Extension Company was charging 4s. 6d. a word for cable messages, whilst the press rate was 3s. a word. When the Eastern Extension Company was asked if they would not reduce the general rate to 3s. a 1vord they said that they would need a subsidy of, I think, £150,000 a year without which they said they could not consider the proposal. After a time

the British Government, in conjunction with other governments concerned, decided to lay down the Pacific cable, when the Eastern Extension Company decided to reduce their rate to 3s. a word for ordinary messages. Notwithstanding all the agitation there had been at this end and the display of alleged imperialism and patriotism concerning what was termed an all-red route, on the completion of the Pacific cable, the newspapers entered into a contract with the Eastern Extension

Company to send all their business through that

company, although the Pacific cable was available. After a time, however, the Pacific cable became a portion of our imperial connexion, and, as a communi­ cation service, has done its work well. Notwithstanding the patronage that was promised the Pacific cable most of the business went through the Eastern Extension Company whilst the Pacific Company languished.

560. Is it not a fact that the service via the Pacific was not quite so reliable as the Eastern Extension Service owing to the fact that the Pacific Cable

(fompany's business had to be carried over a private line from Vancouver through Canada ?-Yes, and then it had to cross the Atlantic by means of a cable

under foreign control. 561. Many of the delays which then occurred were on the land line which now belongs to the Pacific Company ?-There may have been something in that. There was a movement some years later with which I was associated to establish an outside company to get news across the Pacific. We were to arrange with the American and British press to utilise the service and

eventually it was used by some of Australia's leading newspapers. 562. If the establishment of our present telegraph system in Ai1stralia has up to the present cost about £8,000,000 in providing and maintaining the necessary equipment, could carry on without a loss at a flat rate of one penny a word, surely it would be possible to transmit Beam wireless messages at one penny a word when the cost of the Beam station in Australia was £120,000 and that of a similar station in England was somewhat less ?-One would think so. Over 20 years ago Sir Henniker Heaton was agitating for penny a word cables, and if that were practicable by the full use of the cable service at insignificant cost to the

Government, the Beam service, if it is all that it· is claimed to be, should be able to transmit messages at a penny a word and make a profit. That could,

however, only be done if the service was fully utilized. 563. It would be utilized to a greater extent if the rates were cheaper?-Most decidedly. Under the present conditions, wireless and cable communications

are confined almost solely to business; but if the rates were reduced to one penny a word one can hardly imagine the extraordinary extent to which the service would develop. The growth of domestic and social communications would be tremendous.

564. Would you prefer to receive a brief daily mes­ sage by wireless or a lengthy communication every five .weeks Z-Personally, I would pref et' a daily message,


I would like to emphasize the extraordinary, incalculable and almost unimaginable benefits that would accrue to inter-Empire trade if we had a wireless service at a penny a word. We are all agitating for increased trade between Australia and Great Britain, and, generally, for an extension of inter-Empire trade. If we had the advantage of a preferential rate and were able to communicate expeditiously and cheaply with firms in the Old Country, we would practically be on the same footing as business firms in London, who are able to send telephone messages from one portion of the city to the other.

565. If the service were conducted even at a loss, it would be justified because of the indirect benefits that would accrue ?-Yes. I believe that if a very con­ siderable annual loss of £3,000,000 a year r esulted we should not be perturbed, because it would be more than outweighed by the increase in inter-Empire trade arnl by the strengthening of Empire sentiment.

566. Do you use the cable or Beam service for your overseas communications ?-Our overseas messages are sent through another house, which I think uses the Beam service to some extent.

567. If wireless messages could be sent at one penny a word, would you use the service for business pur­ poses rather than communicate with :firms overseas by letter ?-The use of wireless would be so extensive that in many cases merely confirmatory letters would be s~nt. In the ordinary course, important communica­ tions would go by wireless or by cable if the rate was one penny.

568. B y Senator Findley.-Twenty years ago you were interested in cheaper cable communication ?-Yes, and before that. 569. In a letter contained in the pamphlet previously referred t o, you stated that if cable messages could be despatched at one penny a word, a saving of about three months would be made in receiving replies to communications ?-Yes, under such a system we would be able to communicate expeditiously and economically with firms overseas and obtajn a reply within a day or two instead of waiting two or three months.

570. As a business man, you would take into con­ sideration the effect that such a cheap service would have upon a privately-controlled company such as the Eastern E xtension Company ?-That is an aspect that would have to be taken into consideration. In dealirig with Empire communications I feel that, as a main

principle, it is necessary to consider that a private company would ultimately have to be dealt with i~ a fair and generous manner, as they are always dealt wi th by British communities.

.571. Do you hold the same views to-day?-Yes. -572. Do you believe in the competitive system?­ U ndoubtedly. 573. If the Beam wireless system provides a cheap

and satisfactory service, you would not seriously con­ sider its effect upon, say, the Eastern ·Extension Com­ pany?-I do not think that I should feel that there was any obligation to consider such a company.

57 4. Some have expressed the view that if a cheap wireless service were established between Australia and England, it would affect the Eastern Extension Com­ pany to such an extent that it might be driven out

of business ?-I would never brush aside the legitimate interests of any private company that had rendered good service to the community, but in important issues pf this nature, which affect the progress and develop­

ment of our country and which have an Imperial bear­ ing, the main consideration has to take :first place; the means of meeting the losses incurred by a private com ... pan;r would be a secondary con ideration.

575. Do you think that wireless communications should be under the sole control of the Government?­ The subject of overseas communications is of such vital importance that it should be controlled by the Govern­ ment rather than by private enterprise.

576. According to Mr. Haldane, the Accountant in the Postmaster-General's Department, a loss of between £200,000 and £300,000 a year is incurred in handling press messages. Would you favour the cable companies being subsidized if the Beam wireless could successfully conduct the press business on behalf of Australia?­ I would not hesitate in saying that in the public in­ terest the 9"overnment would be quite justified in sub­ sidizing the services, and in maintaining preferential

press rates which are of great benefit and of interest to the whole community. I do not regard press mes­ sages as being of a private nature; they really become public property. Provision should alw8ys be made for the fullest possible dissemination of news that is of jnterest to the public.

577. Have you read of a proposed merger between the Eastern Extension Cable Company, the Pacific Cable Company and the London Postal Department's section of the Beam wireless business ?-I have read of it.

578. If this merger materializes and a private com­ pany should assume control over the British wireless station at Rugby for a period of years as well as the Eastern Extension and Pacific Cable Companies, do you think it would be in the interests of Australia?­ Such a merger would be detrimental to the interests of the Empire.

579. Would you favour the wireless station in Aus­ tralia, which is under semi-government control, passing into the hands of a monopoly?-No. 580. You think we should have control of a wireless station in Australia and that the British Government should have control of a station in Great Britain to enable messages to be freely transmitted between the two countries ?-I would infinitely prefer that course. Speaking without any definite knowledge of all the cir­ cumstances, but on the broad question of principle, I should be sorry if Australia lost control of its Beam station.

581. The Leader of the Labour party in the British House of Commons, Mr. Ramsay Macdonald, when discussing the proposed merger in Canada said that the Labour party thought it deplorable that one of the most essential Imperial services should pass into the hands of a private concern. He also said that Imperial unity demanded the most perfect system of communica­ tion, and that they might as well let out their army to private contractors. Do you share that view?-I agree with the statement .

582. As a business man, you are satisfied that Aus­ tralia is handicapped by the absence of cheap com­ munications between Australia and Great Britain?­ U ndoubtedly.

583. If the proposed merger is brought about, we would be more or less in the hands of a private com­ pany, which would be able to "write its own ticket"? -Yes, unless under the agreement with the govern­

ments concerned provision was made for a controlling influence, but even so there would not be the same control that could be exercised if the merger was under the actual control of the governments interested. If the Communications Company was-to use your own term-" able to write its own ticket," it would be

calamitous. Even with inferential control set out in an agreement, the governments would not have control of the rates to be charged. 584. You are of the opinion that if the merger is

brought about the governments would not have control of th rvice 1- No.

3 ~. Would you share the oprn10n expressed by one witness that if anything in that direction was

attempted the press ,vas so powerful that it would not be able to do any thing of the kind ~-That is an absurd idea. I do not think the press would have any in­

fluence whateYer. 5 6. We have no control over the overseas press, and, a suming it was a comprehensive statement, do yon think the overseas press would be seriously concerned

with the interests of the Australian newspapers ?-The Au tralian press would be a nonentity. 5 7. You are inclined to the belief that if this merger is brought about not-withstanding any sta~ement that may be made concerning the power of the overseas pres=,,

the Australian press would be powerless in the matter of fixing rates ?-The Australian press would have as much influence as I have. I do not wish you to think that I do not attach any importance to the influence of the press, but if the whole of our Empire communica­ tions, including wireless and cables, were under private control, the company would be able to establish a claim in support of the rates they advocated whatever in­ fluence might be brought to bear by the press.

588. The merging of these interests is not done for philanthropic purposes ~-Generally, it is in the interests of the public and for the benefit of business.

589. Under the proposed merger system would the press be as well served as it is to-day?-Probably the merger would give the service that the press require. I would not like to say that under the control you suggest

the service would become indifferent. 590. I was referring more particularly to the rates? ·-No doubt the press would be well treated. From the point of view of self interest the merger would keep

the press on the right side, Mn. Before the Pacific cable was instituted the treat­ ment meted out to the press and to the people was not altogether satisfactory ?-No, the Eastern Extension Company had us within their grip.

592. That was when there was no competition?-­ Y es, but we were an isolated portion of the Empire. In fairness to the principle I may say that the merger scheme is so comprehensive that I do not think there would be any particular disability or that any porti011

vf the Empire would be detrimentally affected. My objection to the merger is that the Government would lose control. 593. Without any competitor in the field we were not given that consideration by the Eastern Extension Com­ paP.y which we considered we were entitled to ?-We were not getting a fair deal.

594. If all compet.ition is removed in this instanc,~, do you think the position would be different from what it was when the Eastern Extension Company had not any competitor?-The proposed Communications Com­ pany would be like any other large concern; it would give the best service it could, but it would demand its price.

595. By Senator Herbert H ays.-Are you conversant with the details of the proposed scheme under which certain services are to be amalgamated ?-Only from what I have seen in the newspapers.

596. Do you think the amalgamation has been sug­ gested in consequence of the competition being ex­ perienced by the Beam wireless system ?-I assume that the intrusion of the Beam system of communication is responsible for the merger proposals.

597. What are the objections to the scheme if the interests of the Empire are safeguarded ?-I am op­ posed to the amalgamation because it will destroy what we have been working for for 30 years-Empire con­ trol of Empire communications. If we are to admit that there is no necessity for Empire control of com­ munications or for the protection of Imperial interests, there would be no objection, but I do not think we have yet reached that stage.


598. Do you think we should resist the merger ~v far as is practicable ?-I should like the Government and the people to resist the proposal to the utmost of their powers.

599. If no resistance is offered at the other end what should ·we do ?-That is a matter for the Government. I presume the conditions under which the amalgama­ tion would be carried out would be agreed to by the British and Australian Governments, who would see

that the terms of the agreement were such that we got a fair deal. 600. Would you say that it was absolutely essential

that Australia should protect its own interests in the matter of communications ?-Yes. 601. I suppose Australia should fight its own battles so long as its policy does not conflict with Imperial

interests ?-We should do all we can to ensure receiving just treatment. 602. Do you think that the proposed merger if

brought about will hamper rather than assist cheaper overseas communications ?-That is quite possible. If the cables and wireless services are kept under the con­ trol of Empire governments, and maintained at what­

ever losses are necessary, it would be infinitely prefer­ able to handing over those services to a merger company. 603. It is obvious that cheap wireless communication would eventually destroy the cable services as a means

of communication ?-I am not convinced that the Beam system can give us all the service that we require. .1 think the Beam system is just as anxious to serve its own interests by the proposed merger as are the cab]e companies.

604. W ciuld it have been pref er able for the Govern­ ments concerned to have assumed control over all ovei·­ seas communication services ?-::::Undoubtedly, and the present would have been a good opportunity to have done so. I was sorry when I found that the Common­ wealth Government was falling in with the proposal.

605. By Senator Carroll.--Do you think that a pri­ vate telephone company conducting the work now under­ taken by the Telegraph Department would carry on operations at a loss ?-The conditions here are such that

the telegraph service should be controlled by the Go­ vernment. A private company could not be expected to carry on at a loss. The service :r:endered to the people by this department is worth the cost.

606. A private company would not conduct a tele­ graphic service unless it was obtaining a reasonable profit ?-Considering the extent of our territory and the sparseness of our population, I do not think a privately owned telegraphic service is a feasible proposition.

607. If the proposed merger was for an amalgamation between the wireless interests and the Pacific Cable Company a good deal of your objections to the merger would be removed ?--=-Yes. If those two services were controlled by the Governments concerned, it would be satisfactory.

608. It would be extremely unwise for the British Government to sell their shares in the Suez Canal Com­ pany ?~It would be a calamity. 609. Do you regard the handing over of the control of Empire communications in the same light ?-Un­ doubtedly.

610. If we keep these services under government control, do you think we are more likely to get cheape1· communications than we have to-day than by allowing them to be placed under private ownership ?-I think so, although I am opposed to government trading enter­ prises. This is a totally different matter, as the control of Empire communications is of vital importance to the nation. In this instance the Government would no~ be entering into competition with trading concerns.

The witness withdrew.

Sir Benjamin John Fuller, K.B., Theatre Proprietor, Sydney, sworn and examined. 611. By the Chairman.-! understand you have ex­ pressed the opinion that cheaper communication between .Australia and Great Britain would be of great advantage not only to those engaged in business but to almost every section of the community ?-I am ;tronglv of that opinion. "

612. If it were practicable to reduce, say wireless messages to ld. a word, do you think the volu~e of com­ mercial and social messages would increase ?-Un­ doubtedly.

613. Have you gone into the :financial aspect of such ?- proposal ?-No. On one occasion, however, I was

rnformed by a representative of the Marconi interests that an almost incredible number of words can be sent over the Beam wireless system within 24 hours, and, as we have the plant, the cost of running which I do not think is great, it should be utilized to its fullest possible capacity. As the Beam system is capable of handling a tremendous volume of business it seems to me that the rate for transmitting messages could be reduced. Sine~ the cable rates have been lower I have despatched ten times as many cables as I did before the reduction occurred, and if the wireless rates were reduced to ld. a word I would use the service to a much greater

extent than I do at present. Most of our cable mes­ sages are now sent in plain language as we have dis­ pensed almost entirely with the use of codes. When using the Bentley's and Western Union Codes we some­ times found that it took an hour to code and de-code a message, and as at times a decision had to be reached within a few minutes we found it preferable to use plain language in our cable messages.

614. Do you think that if wireless messages could be despatched at ld. a word it would assist trade

withtn the Empire ?-Naturally, expeditious and in­ expensive means of communication would assist Empire trade to a tremendous extent. When Mr. Amery, not the Secretary of State for the Dominions, was lecturing on migration, he said that Canada had a great advantage over Australia, because of the shorter distance which separated that Dominion from the Mother Country. During a discussion which followed, I said that if migrants who arrived in Australia were able to trans­

mit personal messages to their relatives and friends at home at ld. a word, the distance which now

separates Great Britain from Australia would be annihilated, and the objection which some migrants have to coming to Australia ·would then be removed. A more rapid transport service would also assist in that direction.

615. Do you think ld. a word would be justi­

fied even if a loss were incurred ?-Yes. If the wire­ less system were more extensively used as a general means of communication, possibly the amount of mail matter now despatched to Great Britain would be reduced, and if a reduction in the mail contract was brought about, it could be used to offset the loss caused by the introduction of cheaper messages. In such cir­

cumstances, the mail service could be used more for the carriage of documents and the more important com­ munications. 616. Have you given consideration to the proposed

amalgamation of certain communication services ?-I have not taken any particular interest in it, but I

should imagine that vested interests are looking after themselves. I presume they have created a value, and are entitled to benefit by their efforts, but they should not do so at the expense of the general community.

611. By Senator Herbert Hays.-Are you of the opinion that a substantial reduction in the rates of wireless messages would result in the volume of mail

matter being red~ced and the mail contract being let at a lower rate m conseauence of that reduction?­ That might possibly result. 618. By Senalor Oarroll.-That would have the effect of reducin~ postal revenue ?-Possibly, as only docu­ ments and unportant letters would be sent by the mail steamers.

619. Do you think that wireless communications should be handled by our Post and Telegraph Depart­ meut ~-Yes. 620. I11 such circumstances, we would be more likely to ge_t a reductio_n in the tran?mitting rates than by han_ dmg _the service over to private enterprise ?-Yes,

as I believe our postal and telegraphic services are very ·well conducted. 621. By Senator Findley.-Do you use the cable system somewhat extensively?-Yes, our business has

deYeloped and our overseas communications have i ncrcased in consequence. 622. Do you think that those you employ from over­ seas would nse a cheap wireless system fairly exten­ sively ?-Yes.

623. And you think that others engaged in different sp~e:·es o~ a?tivity · would also take advantage of the privilege 1f 1t were available ?-Undoubtedly. 624. Do you use the cable or the Beam system ?-All our communications to Great Britain are sent via the Beam system, _but in communicating with New Zea­ land, we. deal with the Eastern Extension Company, and

the Pacific Cable Company on a fifty-fifty basis. 625 . What has been your experience with the Beam system ?-The Beam messages have always been des­ ~a tched to England expeditiously, and at what I con­ sider a favorable rate in comparison with the cable com­ panies' charges. In communicating with Great Britain.

we usually take advantage of the deferred rates and frequently obtain a reply within four days, ;hich shows t~at the messages are not held over for any time. Ia sendrng cables from Australia to America, I have despatched a message before closing the office at 6 o'clock, and have had a reply the following morning.

626. Have you had any difficulty in connexion with the transmission of Beam messages ?-Tliere have been no mistakes, difficulties or delays. 627. Before the introduction of the Beam system you had to depend Ti'pon the cable companies?-Yes, when

vve coded. our messages we found that there were mis­ takes, and generally we had to take more risks. We have found the Beam system more satisfactory, and the .rates cheaper than those charged by the cable com­ pames.

628. Do you know anything of the proposed merger? -I noticed that Marconi and others have made cer­ tain proposals, but I did not think that they would

have any effect on the Beam wireless system in Aus­ tralia. 629: As the Gover~ment controls the postal, tele­ graphic and t~lephomc services, do you not think it desirable that 1t should also have absolute control over

the Beam wireless station in Australia ?-Yes. 630. If the British Government were to hand over the _control of the Rugby station in England for a long penod ?f years, and the Beam transmitting station in Au traha were also handed over to the Communica­ tions Company~ do you think it would be of advan­ tage to Australia ?-It is impossible for me to say as I am not conversant with the conditions under which the proposed amalgamation is to be brought about. There are many anomalies in connexion with our local ~elegra:rhic ystem, which if rectified, wouild mean ~ncrea rng the telegraphic business in Australia. For rn~t~nce, I can send a message to New Zealand con­ tarnmg merely two words "Fullers, Wellington" which would convey a certain meaning to our representatives

there, for 9d., that is, at 4fd. a word, but to convey


the same information to Melbourne, in plain language, after 8 o'clock at night, vvauld cost me 2s. 8d. It is

anomalies such as this that should be removed. 631. A the Beam system in Australia, which is a semi-goYernment institution, has given you complete ati faction, would it not be better if the British Go­ Yernment retained control of the Rugby station, and

also had a controlling interest in the cable companies in order to ensure efficient Empire communication?­ Yes, if the services were conducted on business lines. 632. Do you think the communication services in Au tralia are efficient ly managed ?-Yes, in the main.

633. If they are not, the people have an opportunity 0£ changing the Go';,rernment ?-That is so. 634. But the proposed Communications Company would be independent of governments ?-I presume the governments concerned would have some voice in the policy of the company.

The witness withdrew.

Sir Joseph Cook, P.O., G.O.M.G., Ex-High Oommi::i­ sioner for Australia, Sydney, sworn and examined. 635. By the Chairman.-You occupied the position of Postmaster-General in New South Wales before the inception of federation, you have been Prime Minister · of Australia, and have also occupied the position of High Commissioner for Australia in London ?-Yes.

636. The Committee is considering the practicability of transmitting ·wireless messages between Australia and Great Britain at a much lower rate than at present prevails, possibly at ld. a word. Do you think

that cheaper communication between Australia and Great Britain is essential?-Undoubtediy. I know of no other arrangement that would be so valuable to the Commonwealth as an increase of the facilities for over­ seas communications.

637. As Postmaster-General of New South Wales you had some experience with the cable companies which were operating between Australia and Great Britain before the Pacific cable was opened ?-Yes; it was part of my ·duty at the time to assist in the negotiations for

the formation of an Empire Pacific Cable Company. 638. It is recorded in JI ansard that when a private member of the House of Representatives you said in effect that we would never have had the Pacific cable but for the way in which we had been treated by the Eastern Extension Company ?--I do not think I made such a statement without qualification, as in the course of years another cable vvould inevitably have been laid to link us up with Great Britain by the Pacific and

provide an Empire cable service. 639. Naturally the Eastern Extension Company op­ posed the laying down of a Pacific cable ?-At the moment I am not quite clear as to the attitude adopted by the Eastern Extension Company, but the fact re­ mains that up to that time they had a monopoly which was controlled by private interests.

640. Did the Eastern Extension Company make any concession in the matter of rates until it knew that arrangements were completed for the laying down of the Pacific cable ?--So far as my memory serves me, the Eastern Extensjon Company was at that time charging 5s. 9d. a word for messages transmitted over j ts

cables, and below that rate they would not budge, but when the Pacific cable came into operation the rates were reduced to 3s. 6d. a word, and later to 3s. Whe?1 the Eastern Extension Company saw that we were de­ termined, and, thanks to the late Sir Joseph Ohambel'­ lain, that it was likely to beeome an accomplished fact the company asked for some concessions. I do nof remember exactly what they were, but I think they were in relation to terminal privileges for which they undertook to provide a rate of 3s. a word. I was rather oppo ed to this as it looked like an attempt to break

down the new competing cable, but a the result of fur­ ther negotiations through the Chamber of Commerce, 3s. a word became the actual rate. 641. Do you think that the cable services should be owned and controlled by the governments interested or by private persons ?-It is on the whole better in an Empire like ours that the Governments should have some iuterest in them if not the final control.

642. Do you think it practicable to reduce the Beam wireless rates between Australia and England ?-I am not prepared to positively state that a reduction coulcl be made; that requires actuarial investigation. So far

as I know the Beam system has not yet paid any divi­ dends, and if that is so it must have taken all the monev it has bee.n earning to meet its expenditure. ~

643. You are therefore of the opinion that it is im­ practi, to reduce the charges ?-I would not say that; it is perhaps a matter of Government policy. If the Government wished it could subsidize the service.

644. Can you say what traffic the Beam system is carrying in comparison with "the cable systems ?-No; but undoubtedly the Beam system is taking a good deal of the traffic previously handled by the cable companies.

At the same time it is developing new business as all cheaper rates do within certain limitations. I under­ stand the earnings of the Pacific Cable Company were very much reduced last year, but notwithstanding that a

~mall profit was made. Undoubtedly the Beam system is now handling a lot of the work which was previously handled by the cable companies. Both systems are essential, but a :financial problem is involved.

645. Do you know that there is a very slight dif­

ference in the traffic notwithstanding the introduction of the Beam system ?-I did not know that. 646. lVIr. Brown, the Director of Postal Services said that for twelve months prior to the introduction of

~he Beam system there was an increase of 7 i per cent. m the cable messages between Australia and Great Britain and vice versa, and that since the opening of the Beam system the increase was only 8i per cent. That covers a period of two years ?--In the two preceding years there had been a very serious diminution in the

earnings of the Pacific Cable Company owing to the fact that the Eastern Extension Company had made an arran9ement wj th !~e Western Telegraph Company in Amenca under whicn the messages of the former com­ pany were carried over the land lines at a cheaper rate. That affected the business of the Pacific Cable Company .to the extent of £80,000. '

647. Do you think that migrants settled in Australja would use the cable or wireless services if the rates were reduced considerably ?-Not a great many. 648. We were informed that when press messages cost 3s. a word, only 300 words a day were received from overseas, but now when the rate is 6d. a word 8 000 words are received daily ?-That is not due sdlely to the i:eduction _in the rate! but largely in consequence of

the rncrease rn populat10n and the general extension of ~ress activitie~. . When v:'e were agitating for a Pacific cabl~ service !t was said that it would not pay, but :ve had m our mmd as part of the project that the

service could be used for conveying, say, perhaps a column of news matter at a nominal rate. That, how­ ever, never eventuated. I do not know why. The only r eason was, I suppose, that the tendency in all

businesses is to stick to business that pays. 649. As telegraphic messages are sent all over Aus­ tralia at rates of ld., !d., id. a word by

means of a system which has cost the country

£8,000,000, and. on which £100,000 i.s spent

annuall.y on repairs and maintenance, it would appear that wireless messages could be transmitted from a Beam station which has cost only £120 000 at ld.

a word. Does not that seem feasible ~-'r think the labour costs alone of the Beam would be more than 1 d. a word.

650. If messages could be transmitted at ld.

a word, surely increased business would result ?-Not necessarily. You have already said that although the wireless rates are cheaper than the cable rates, the in­ crease in the business is equivalent to only 1 per cent.

651. At present the reduction is only 4d. a word) but if it were reduced to ld., the difference would be

much greater?-There would be a big increase in busi­ ness, but I am doubtful whether it would be a payable proposition. Personally I do not think it would. The last reduction by the Pacific Cable Company reduced the company's profits by about £250,000 last year. It made a profit of only £40,000.

652. The Beam system is taking much of the traffic? -But the Beam system has not yet paid a dividend. 653. Do you think the charges could be reduced?­ I would be very much surprised if, as a result of the pro­

posed merger, the. charges were not made lower. 654. Do you favour the proposed merger of certai~ 1 companies ?-Yes. When Sir George Allard was i1l England I told him that in my judgment the only way out of the difficulty was the formation of a merger company.

655. You are in favour of handing over the control of the Beam system to a merger company?-I would not call it handing it over to a merger company. I

consider it a reasonable and satisfactory way out of the diffi culty. It enables the Government to retain an interest in the undertaking. The Government will be delegating its authority in some such way as the Government of this State delegates its authority to the Railway Commissioner; it does not necessarily lose absolute and final control. I understand that the

British Government has appointed the chairman and the assistant chairman of the proposed Communications Company, and that Sir Basil Blackett and Lord Claren­ don have been selected to fill those positions. In these circumstances the Government is not losing entire con­

trol of the undertaking. 656. By Senator Herbert Hays.-You approve of the proposed merger ?-I do not know the details, but it seems the only thing to do in the circumstances.

657. In answer to an earlier question you said that you considered it "a reasonable and satisfactory way out of the difficulty". To what difficulty did you

refer ?-The competition between the Beam system and the cable services . I was thinking more particularly of the Pacific cable and the Beam service. As to the

relation of the Eastern Extension Company with the proposition I am not quite so clea r. It occurs to me that when 1ve ha,,e the Beam system, the control of which may be said to be in the hands of the Govern­ ments which provide the bulk of money, and the

Pacific cable that is owned and controlled by the different governments concerned, these two under­ takings are, as it were, competing ·with each other, which is absurd.

658. Would it be preferable to arrange an amalga­ mation between the wireless interests and those of the Pacific Cable Company ?-I am not fully conver­ sant with the conditions under which the proposed

amalgamation is to be brought about, but I rather think, with the meagre information at my disposal, that what has been done is, on the whole, the best. During the last two years I was in London I gathered that

the Eastern Extension Company, which is not under the control of any government, had made certain arrangements ,vith a private company which had enabled it to undercut the rates and take £80,000 of revenue from its competitor during the first year. That was causing much serious concern when I left, and it was difficult to determine what was to be done. The members of the Committee must remember that £5,000,000 sterling has been inYcsted in the Pacific Cable Company.


659. Is one of the r easons prompting the British Government that the Eastern Extension Company was becoming a serious competitor ?-I do not know its motive, but I think it is a satisfactory arrange­

ment from our view-point. I do not know sufficient concerning the details of the merger to speak authori­ tatively on the subject, but I have always believed

that private companies handling communications that become of vital importance in war time hould always be in some way or other under the final control of the Government.

660. Would the British Government have more control under the merger than before ?-I should think so, as far as the Eastern Extension Company is con­ cerned.

661. But in relation to the whole question of overseas communication ?-I do not know, and I could not say precisely until I know the constitution of the proposed directorate. I hope we shall not be losing entire

control over capital represented by our section of the merger. We should still have some voice regard­ jug the Australian rates and conditions. There are different entities concerned and. some arrangements will have to be made as to the allocation of business

handled and to the distribution of earnings. 662. If the merger is not brought about the Beam system might become such a _serious competitor that possibly the cable companies would be compelled to go out of business ?-I would not say that, because in ordinary circumstances a certain amount of business must be handled by the cable companies. The Beam service, as you are aware, i~ not entirely secret, and I do not know whether reliability can be assured at all times of the day throughout the year.

663. If that assurance can be given it would be a serious competitor ?-Undoubtedly. The Pacific Cable Company was not a paying proposition until after the outbreak of the Great War, and even when its revenue increased, the deficits which had accumulated to the extent of £600,000 or £700,000 were not liquidated.

664. If you were a shareholder in a cable company you would regard the Beam service as a serious com­ petitor ?-Undoubtedly. I should say that its overhead expenses are less. The difficulty is that in connexion with the Beam system and the Pacific Cable Company,

the same authority has to carry the overhead expen­ ditures. 665. Would you prefer the rates to remain as they are and the Government to subsidize the cable com­ panies for any losses incurred ?-I would not favour the Government paying any large sum to bolster up an uneconomic concern, as already too much has been done by governments in that direction.

666. Seeing that the wireless system can be operated cheaply, would you allow it to carry on its business in the ordinary way and to provide a cheaper service even if it detrimentally affected the revenue of the cable companies ?-I think they should both be permitted

to do their best as is the case in connexion with our telephonic and telegraphic services. I have been amazed in a recent inquiry in South Australia to· find the extent to which certain of our governmental activi­ ties, both Federal and State, are being conducted upon an uneconomic basis.

667. Should all governmental activities be conducted upon an economic basis ?-As far as possible and within certain limitations. 668. I understand that the cable system is essential, particularly as regards the secrecy of communication? -Yes.

669. What system is employed upon war vessels?­ Commuuication is by wireless, but all naval communi­ cations are transmitted in secret and exclusive cod,~. There is less risk in transmitting overseas messages ir. t.he matter of secrecy by cable than by wireless,


670. By Senator Firzdley.-How long is it since you vacated the position of High Commissioner for Aus­ tralia in London ?-About eighteen months. 671. During that time did you have an opportunity of inspecting the Rugby Beam Station ?-I have seen it; I know something of its work, but I have not

examined its apparatus or investigated its method of operation. 672. It is owned and controlled by the British

Government ?-Ye . One of the objects associated with the establishment of the Rugby Station was that

responsible government officials should collect informa­ tion of interest and transmit it all over the world. 673. How is that information collected ?-So far as I know the obligation is upon each country to

organise its own system. ·

67 4. Would it be correct to say that the informa­ tion transmitted is gathered from the newspapers published in England ?-I could not say. It is collected I think under the supervision of the Foreign Office.

675. What has that station cost the British Govern­ ment ?-Something in the region of £500,000. 676. From what you know, is the station giving satisfaction ?-Yes.

677. You are familiar with the conditions of the proposed merger?-N o, I know only what I have read in the newspapers.

678. Does the proposal involve the inclusion of the Rugby Beam Station ?--Not to my knowledge. 679. Assuming that it involves the merging of the Rugby station, which you say cost approximately £500,000, and the interests of the Eastern Extension

Company and the Pacific Cable Company, do you think that such an amalgamation would be in the

interests of Australia and the Empire ?-I think so. 680. You took exception to the expression of "hand­ ing over" our interest to the proposed merger, and said that the proposal resembled the delegation of powers by a State Government to its Railways Com­ missioners, because the Imperial Government would elect representatives to protect its interests ?-That is so . I understand we shall have some one representing our interests.

681. Assuming that the British Government hand over the Rugby station to a Communications Company for a lengthy period, do you suggest that it would be similar to a government delegating its powers to Rail­ ways Commissioners ?-I would not carry the analogy

too far. I was replying to a statement of the chairman, who suggested that we would be parting· with all

control. 682. If we handed over our railways to a private company would be have representatives on the board of management ?-The proposed Communications

Company will not be a private concern as the Govern­ ment is to be represented on the directorate. In these circumstances I assume that we shall have some repr8-sentation. · 683. Assuming that we have representation, do you

know how many directors there will be ?-No: 684. Although Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Limited can be regarded as a semi-government institu­ tion, I do not know that we have a controlling power? -In the last resort we have.

685. You favour Government control and ownership of our telegraphic and telephonic services ?-Yes, jf associated with business and economic control. 686. Are you prep~red to go further and say that in regard to a service essential to Australia and to the Empire that that service should a1so be owned and controJled by the Governmeut ?-Not entirely. I do

not see any necessity for it. So long as we have a

certain amount of control, and at the same time provide for the introduction of sound business principles, it will be better for all concerned. That is what is being done

in connexion with the proposed merger. It will be controlled in a different way, and our interests will be protected. The Pacific Cable Company, which is owned by the Government, will have an interest to the extent of £5,000,000 in the proposed merger, and the Government owns one-half of the capital of the Beam system which will also be transf erred to the merger company. The Government will therefore have

some voice in its control. 687. What amount will the Eastern Extension Com­ pany be contributing ?-I understand that £30,000,000 is the total capital of the merger.

688. Therefore the :financial interests of the Eastern Extension Company will be far greater than those represented by the Beam wireless system and the Pacific Cable Company. In these circumstances will

it not dominate the position ?-Not necessarily. It will expect a fair re°turn for the capital invested, but at the same time will assist in seeing that the service

is run as cheaply as it can be in the interests of all

concerned. 68 9. Is Mr. Ramsay Macdouald, tho Leader of the Labour party in Great Britain, a person who stands high in the opinion of the people of the Old Country? -Yes.

690. In discussing the proposed merger in Canada, Mr. Ramsay Macdonald said that the Labour party thought it deplorable that one of the most essential imperial seryices should pass into the hands of a

private concern, and that the future interests of im­ perial unity demanded the most perfect system of com­ munication. He further said that Great Britain might as well let out its army to private contractors as to

lose control of essential communication services. Do you share that view?-No. There is no analogy between the two. Mr. Ramsay Macdonald speaks as a

socialist. 691. Apart from the fact that he believes in collec­ tive ownership we haYe had witnesses before us who have stated most emphatically that it would be exceed­ ingly detrimental to the nation if the Government lost control of such a service ?-I do not think the Govern­ ment is losing all control, as the Government will

nominate some of those who are to control the under­ taking. For instance, the control of Nauru and Ocean Island has been delegated by the Government to a Com­ mission, and within certain limitations the Government cannot interfere with the working of the deposits 011 those islands. Notwithstanding the delegation of authority, no complaints have been made concerning the administration.

692. If these communication services were under Government control vvould not the rates be lower than they are to-day ?-I ·would not say that. 693. Our telegraphic and telephonic rates are lower than they are in the United States of America where the system is under private control ?-I do not know if that is the case.

694. The Director of Postal Services said that they were lower in Australia than in America ?-He should know. 695. The fares and freights charged on State-owned

railways are as low as those charged by privately­ owned companies even after making allowance for the difference in population ?--Last year the railways were in debt to the extent of £5,000,000 or £6,000,000

sterling. 696. But they were constructed for the purpose of opening up new country?-That policy can be carried too far as is disclosed in the report of the South Aus­ tralian Disabilities Commission, which shows that that State is in dire difficulties. Railway construction should always be undertaken on a sound business basis.

697. Press messages are transmitted and delivered at a loss which involves an · annual indebtedness of

£200 000 to £3 00,000 a year?- That is as far as the depa~tment should go. Th.ere is a limit to what any go,ernment should do, unless it believes in taxing the people unnecessarily. It will be better for all con­ cerned particularly those who are strongly in favour of Go~ernment enterprises, if all Government under­ takings are economically sound.

698. You are opposed to the Government owning and controlling the means of communication between .Aus­ tralia and Great Britain ?---I did not say so. 699 . .Are you in favour of the Government owning and controlliug the means of communication between .Australia and Great Britain ?-Yes, on a business basis

and within certain limitations. 700. By the Chairman.-! suppose broadcasting has seriously interfer ed ,vith our telephonic business ?-It has to an extent. When we undertook the construction of the first telephonic trunk line in Australia the tele­ graphic department was rather afraid that it would inter£ ere with its business.

701 . Would y ou favour hampering broadcasting in order to ensure the stability of the telephonic service? -No, I would f eel that I had an obligation to perform to both. There is no need for one to destroy the use­ fulness of the other. A fair arrangement would be to

allow them bo th to operate in the interests of the

people. 702. B y Sena for H erb ert Hays.-When you were interested in the establishment of the Pacific Cable service h ad you any regard for the interests of the

Eastern Extension Company ?-We thought that com­ petition would do good, and it did. 703. H ow far were you prepared to go in the matter of destroying the utility of the Eastern Extension Company?-There was not the slightest sugge~tion of the kind. It is a company which has a world-wide con­ nexion and we are now only competing with it on the

eastern side of the continent. 704. When the negotiations were proceeding for the formation of the Pacific Cable Company, did you confer with the Eastern Extension Company ?-No.

The witness withdrew.

Emil R obert Voigt, Social Secretary, Trades an

at a rate of ld. a word. .As we understand that

you are associated with the busine~s of broadcasting~ perhaps you would give the Committee the benefit of your opinion ?-For nearly two years I was the gene~al radio manager of the United Distributors, a ~rm with branches in each State. I was also an executive mem­ ber of the association for the development of wireless,

and about tw o or three years ago I was associated with the late Mr. G .... L Taylor, the president of that associa­ tion which was formed ·with the idea of advancing the interests of wireless. The association devoted som•3

attention to the Beam system and collected some data, which I do not think was very extensive, and which was contained in a file in Mr. Taylor's office. Wheu

asked by the secretary of the Committee to attend this meeting I informed him that I did not have any reliable data at my disposal. I then got in touch with Mrs.

Taylor and asked whether she could give me access tu the file of her husband who is now deceased. She in­ formed me that it was not in her possession, and that the secretary who looked after his business could nor locate it. .All that I c11n give the Committee is a general statemeut which I have hurriedly prepared.


Actually l ha \'e eeu uothing· of the tran mis ivn

apparatus of the Beam service, but by courtesy of the management I have had the opportunity of inspecting cursorily some of the registering and signalling

apparatus at Melbourne. What I aw ga-ve me the impression that the .Amalgamated Wireless (.Aus­ tralasia) Limited is tackling the problem--it is I be­ lieve still something of a problem-of overseas radio communication very thoroughly and very scientifically.

The most satisfactory method of arriving at a just esti­ mate regarding the reasonableness of the Beam charges would be, in my opinion, to ascertain-1. The capital costs, and running costs of the Beam service.

2. The same information regarding the cable services. 3. The same information regarding any other alter­ native radio service. If the capital cost of a cable service between .Australia and Britain is, for example, :five times greater"than that of the Beam service, and the running costs of the Beam are 50 per cent. less, it would appear that the charges for Beam service could be reduced to a tenth of those of the cable service. .Again if the Beam service will transmit three times as many words per minute as the cables, it would seem that potentially the Beam charges could be brought down correspondingly, still further.

Another method of arriving at the relative charges would be to take the inclusive costs per 100 ·words for Beam and cable transmission and arrive at just charges accordingly. This data is not available to the layman, but no doubt it could be made available to the

Committee. .According to cable news published widely in the Sydney press over two years ago, a firm named, I think, Autoveyors Limited, offered to run a com- · mercial wireless communication service between .Aus­

tralia and Britain, providing each capital city with a short-wave transmitting plant. It was stated that each of these plants would cost only £500 to construct. According to the newspaper reports this company made its offer to the Federal Government. The capital cost of these transmitters do es seem to me to be absurdly low, but I could not express an opinion one way or another

as to the feasibility of the London plan owing to lack of exact information. It seems to me that with the de­ velopment of short-wave transmission, by the aid of which communication can be established with the

United States of America, and even Great Britain, on a power of 20 watts, with a simple apparatus costing less than £100, and for approximately two hours per day with an apparatus of 100 watts, there is a clear indication that in radio a new method of communica­

tion 11as been established which costs only a fraction of the cost of a cable service, and that correspondingly the charge to the public should accordingly only be a frac­ tion of the cable rates.

Most people will appreciate tlie splendid pioneering work that has been done in radio overseas transmissioH by .Amalgamated Wireless Limited. That firm has now operated the Beam service long enough and accumu­ lated sufficient traffic to ascertain fairly accurately what its working costs are, and what its charges to

the public reasonably should be. My own rather un­ informed opinion is that they are capable of very sub­ stantial reduction while still operating profitably. Mr. Taylor, who was president of the .Association for the J?eveloJ?ment of Wireless, was, I know, in close collabora.­

t10n with Mr. E. G. Beard, the chief radio engineer for United Distributors in connexion with the costs of erecting an overseas radio transmitter. I understand that Mr. Taylor applied to the Commonwealth Go­ vernment for a licence to erect two stations, one in Australia and another on the other side of the world which were to be conducted in competition with the Beam service. From my association with Mr. Beard

and Mr. Taylor I can assume that they were of the

opinion that the Beam system was not as effective as a transmission service in a particular direction as would be a broadcasting system transmitting in all directions. The station which they contemplated con­ structing would not have been upon the Beam principle. So far as I know Mr. Taylor was not permitted to go

ahead with the work although I know he was prepared to do so. I imagine that some of the working costs of a station capable of communicating with Great Britain on a commercial basis during a period of 24 hours " ·ould be rather surprising, and I therefore suggest that

the committee should call Mr. Beard when he returns to Sydney in a day or two. I was pleased to hear cer­ tain members of the Committee stress the importance of wireless communication from a national viewpoint,

and I am in agreement with the opinions expressed by Senator Findley concerning the advantages of collec­ tive ownership. I contend that any essential service should not be conducted for profit, as it is only on that basis that the interests of the community can be safe­ guarded. Such a service is useful not only for ordinary messages, important as they frequently are, but is also essential for national safety. In these circumstances, it is therefore necessary that the community should own

and control a service that is essential to its existence. Wireless communication is vital to any nation. In a comparatively short period one of the most powerful, economical and flexible means of communicating which the wo:r ld has ever known has been developed to a re­ markable extent, and wireless service is one which the community should assist in protecting and developing. Its importance to the nation and to the community generally will be intensified within the next few years. I believe that the British Government has introduced certain legislation to provide for the public control of certain developments in connexion with the wireless

transmission of power, light and heat. It is essential that any public utility should be controlled by the com­ munity even if in its early stages its development is left to private enterprise. In some instances our gas

and water supplies have been established in the ii.rst place by private enterprise, but have later been taken over by the Government in the interests of the people. As there is no wireless competition with the Beam service we have no means of determining whether the

charges imposed are reasonable or otherwise. 706. Is the wireless system secret ?-Wireless trans­ mission on a short: . .-wave length is largely secret, because the receivers in the possession of the general public an' not capable of receiving messages on short wave lengths.

Transmission beyond the usual wave length would be considered as secret. An enemy nation determined to ascertain what messages were being transmitted would search the ether until it discovered the wave length being

used. The only way to overcome that objection would be by the use of a secret code. 707. To what extent can wireless messages be jam­ med ?-They can be jammed by a station sufficieritly powerful provided the distance is not too great, but

against this objection I may mention that submarine cables can be cut and their use temporarily destroyed. In the event of a block, the wave length can be

changed by simply moving a dial, and the effectiveness of the service as a means of communication is not

interfered with. On the other hand, if a cable is cut, the whole service breaks down. In computing the values of different services, the proper course to adopt is to set out the advantages and disadvantages of both and

to strike a balance. Undoubtedly, wireless has one or two disadvantages, but in my opinion, its advantages in the matter of overseas communications outweigh the disadvantages.

708. Would you be in favour of developing wireless communication and dispensing with our cable system? -I do not think it would be altogether disadvantageous to devote the money which is now expended in operating


and mainta1111ng our cable services, to the develo:p­ ment of wireless communications, as I think it would be found that the ·wireless system would be able to render a more efficient service at a considerably reduced cost. Up to the present, very little has been spent on wireless research. There is no central research branch devoting activity to applied research, and such a depart­

me,nt with even £1,000,000 at its disposal could achieve wonders. I do not know of any new and important industry that is so essential to commercial, social and international understanding and development that has been hampered in the way the wireless business has

been. It has been hampered by restrictions which are almost unprecedented. That is particularly notice­ able when one remembers that for an expenditure of £60 or £70 a transmitter can be constructed which would

be capable of sending messages from one end of the city to the other. These restrictions have been imposed largely because if such transmitting sets were in opera­ tion they would seriously interfere with our telegraphic and telephonic revenue. If certain persons in isolated

portions of the Commonwealth ,vere permitted to use transmitting sets capable of sending messages for ten miles or so, they would be of inestimable benefit in cases of sickness or in the event, say, of bushfires.

For about £2,000, a station could be erected in the north that could r eadily communicate with Sydney, and indeed w~th practically every part of Australia with the exception, perhaps, of Western Australia,

but if such a station were · operating on a short-wave length, the cost would be less. For instance, if a trans­ mitting set were installed at the Drysdale Mission Sta­ tion, in the vicinity of which Mr. Kingsford Smith is supposed to have landed, the residents there could, by the use of the Morse Code, have communicated with the

authorities. Such a plant could be supplied for, I

. think, from £60 to £100. 709. Do you think the poorer section of the com­ munity use the wireless or cable system as a means of communication ?-No.

710. Do you think they would if the rates were

cheaper?-I believe that a substant1al reduction in the rates would lead to an enormous increase in the traffic handled. 711. By Senator Herbert H ays.-Are you conver­

sant with the conditions under which the proposed merger is to be brought about ?-I have only read what has appeared in the newspapers. ' 712. Are you of the opinion that transmission could

be done cheaper by wireless than by cable ?-Yes. I was informed by a person associated with the Amal­ gamated Wireless (Australasia) Limited, six or eight months ago, that the Beam service was then handling

approximately 60 per cent. of the entire overseas busi­ ness. If that is so, it is seriously competing with the cable companies. 713. Do you think that wireless communications should be conducted at a minimum cost, and the cable

companies subsidized, or should we support the amal­ gamation of certain communication companies ?-I do not favour the merger system which I think, if accom­ plished, will seriously restrict the development of wire­ less communication. Every effort should be made to

permit the free development of the wireless system, but by supporting the merging of certain interests we are restricting the income which would be collected by the Beam system and generally retarding wireless develop­ ment.

114. By Senator Findley.-Do you share the opinion expressed by Mr. Ramsay Macdonald in regard to this proposal ?-Yes, and in doing so I am speaking tor the trade union movement in New South Wales, which represents over 200,000 persons. At the recent ~nnu~l

convention just concluded a motion was carn_ed lil favour of an investi~ation into the Beam wireless

charge alld reconnncuding that the Labour party sup­ port a policy of a reduction in the rate to one penny a word. That shows the opinion held by a large number of Australian citizens. The convention had already pa sed. a resoluti on providing that all broadcasting stations in the Oommomvealth should be the property of the community.

715. If the Rugby station is absorbed by the merger, do you think that messages would still be transmitted free ?-I do not think that for a mowent. 716. If the mPrger becomes an accomplished fact, do you think the interests of the people, particularly in Australia, will be amply protected ?-I do not feel in­ clined to ans,ver in the affirmative until I am informed concerning the constitution of the board of control, but I should think that a company whose primary object

was the making of profits would not serve the people as well as an undertaking under Government control. I am surprised to learn that it is the intention of the

British Governmellt to support the proposal as it has previously shown bostility towards the control of over­ seas communications being in private hands and par­ ticularly when foreign capital is employed. When Mr. Taylor was in Great Britain he interviewed the postal authorities, and the letters I have seen prove my

assertion. 717. What would be the position if, under the merger, our Beam system in Australia was acquired ?-Wire­ less development would be seriously restricted.

718. Do vou uot think that the Government would lose much ~f the control which it has to-day?-That would depend upon the constitution of the merger. 719. The interests overseas would be too powerful? -That is so; they ·would be sufficiently powerful to

dominate the governments concerned in the matter of overseas communications. 720. If there were cheaper means of communication, would more messages be transmitted from the Trades Hall than are forwarded to-day ?-Undoubtedly. When we inaugurated 2KY, which ·was the :first high

power " B " class broadcasting station in Am­

tralia, we :fitted a Morse key with the inten­

tion of communicating with the trades union

movement in Great Britain in order to inform it of the state of trade aud conditions in Australia. We

also expected to receiYe from it reports from Great Britain concerning the conditions obtaining in that country, but the Commonwealth Government ordered us to disman tle the Morse key. If the transmission rates were cheaper, undoubtedly the people would use the service more extensively than at present.

721. That would have been of great service to the Trades Hall authorities in informing those overseas of t e :financial, political and industrial conditions in Aus­ tralia ?-It would have been a means of expressing the view-point of 1,000,000 organized people in Aus­ tralia and also of obtaining information on their behalf. We have all the machinery for determining the condi­ tions of indnstry and ascertaining the general living conditions of the people if we had the right of free communication with the outside ·world.

722. Do you thi nk it ,vo uld be better if the wireles system were under the control of the Government. Would there not he more likelihood of the rates being reduced ?-Yes.

723. The organization you represent is strongly in favour of GoYernment ownership and control of wire­ less services '?-Yes, with certain re ervations. 724. By Senaiol' JI erberl H ays.--Do you favour the unrestricted use of wirele s within Australia ?-Not altogether. Its nse could be extended within certain limits.


mes age , would 11ot the value of other public utiliti seriously diminish ~-Transmitting could only be carried out by private persons within certain limita­ tions. If too many were permitted to transmit, they would naturally be interfering with one another. The free and unrestricted use of the telephone has not interfered with the telegraphic service, but has in­ creased its usefulness.

726. But those services are under the control of the one authority?-Yes, but they are put to the fullest possible use. I cannot conceive of the unrestricted use of ,vireless for technical reasons; one wave length would interfere with another. We could not all be transmitting on the same vrnve length and therefore some control would be necessary. Every one could not have a transmitting station.

727. You want the privilege which you think should be denied to others ?-No, the 2KY Broadcasting Station would not be operating in the interests of one individual, but in the interests of 1,000,000 organized workers, and I would not deny that right to any other organization of similar strength or with a smaller number of members; and it has to be done within cer­ tain limits.

728. By Senator Findley.-Y ou do not suggest that there should be free and unrestricted opportunities for those who wish to transmit wireless messages ?-That would be impracticable.

729. You think there should be one institution under the control of the Government ?-Yes, for commercial wireless, but I do not see why certain bodies who represent large sections of the community should be prevented from having their own means of communi­ cation if they so wish. That is the practice in the

Railways Department, which has its own telegraphic and telephonic service between stations. I would not like to commit myself to the statemeut that there

should be only one avenue of communication from Australia, and that that should be through a service under the control of the Government. 730. By the Chairman.-Are the working costs of the wireless system less than those of a cable service~ -I should think that the operating costs would be about the same. The witness withdrew. The committee adjourned.

(Taken at Sydney.)



Senator THOMAS, Chairman; Senator Carroll Senator Herbert Hays

Senator Findley

Herbert Campbell-Jones, Journalist and Managing Editor of the Sun Newspapers and Daily

T elegraph Pictorial, Sydney, sworn and examined. 731. By the Chairrnan.-Are you aware that this Committee is inquiring into the practicability of a wireless communication service between Australia and Great Britain at rates cheaper than those now prevail­ ing, preferably at one penny a wo rd ?-Yes.

732. As one who has been closely associated with the press for a number of years you have doubtless taken some interest in the subject of cheaper overseas communication ?-Yes, we have been agitating for cheaper press communications for a number of years.

725. If facilities were granted to certain sections, similar concessions would have to be made to others. If people were allowed to transmit and receive private 733. Are the newspapers with which you are con­

nected associated vYith the Empire Press Union of which Lord Burnham is president ?-Yes.

734. To what xteut do you think the rates for press messages could be reduced ?-The present press rate for cable communications is 6d. a word, and for Beam messages 4d. a word, and I believe that the wireless rates should be reduced if possible to one penny a

word as is charged on messages despatched over land lines. 735. As the newspapers with which you are associated are, I presume, using the Beam system, and also the

cable service, I should like to know if you find the Beam system as reliable as the cable service ?-During the past seven or eight months we have found the Beam system quite reliable.

736. Since the wireless system has been in operation, have you found that the service rendered by the cable companies is more efficient ?-Yes, immeasurably. Before the war we considered that we were fortunate if we received messages from London within 3i hours on an average. After the war the period increased, and it was sometimes ten hours, but to-day we are receiving our cable messages on an average in from 50 to 70 to 80 minutes from the time of despatch, which is practically the same time as is occupied when trans­ mitted by Beam. Taking an average over a period, I should say that an advantage of about five minutes could

be shown in favour of the Beam system. 737. Is the reduction in time occupied in receiving messages over the cable due to the competition of the Beam system ?-Unquestionably. We use whichever service suits our traffic purposes on about a fifty-fifty basis.

738. What do you mean by·" traffic purposes"?­ Some months ago, messages lodged in London at sun­ down for transmission to Australia had, in consequence of fading of the Beam system, to be transferred to the Pacific Cable Company or to the Eastern Extension Company, and as it was impracticable to waste the time involved in the handing over of these messages to the cable companies, we handed them direct to the cable services. The same precedure was followed at this end when messages, which ordinarily would have

been handed to the Beam service but which could not be despatched immediately, were handed direct to the Pacific Co~pany or to the Eastern Extension Com­ pany.

739. Has the position improved during recent months ?-Yes, the Beam system has improved con­ siderably, and for our purposes is quite reliable for messages lodged at the right time.

7 40. Do you ·think the Beam system should be con­ ducted on a cheaper basis than the cable system?­ From the literature I have read on the subject and in­ quiries I made in Great Britain two years ago, it would appear that there would be practically no difference between the working and maintenance costs of the two systems, but the installation of the cable system would of course involve infinitely more than the establishment · of a Beam service. I understand that the establish­

ment of a Beam station in Australia cost about

£120,000, · whereas the laying down of an extensive cable would cost from £3,000,000 to £4,000,000. The cable to the Oape cost over £2,000,000, and if being laid to-day-owing to the increased cost of material

and other charges-would cost practically double. In these circumstances, the Beam system should un­ doubtedly be able to operate on a cheaper basis than the cable system.

7 41. If the rates for wireless transmission were to be substantially reduced, would the cables be thrown out of commission ?-No, I think the cable companies would be compelled to reduce their rates in an en­ deavour to compete with the Beam system, but under

the merger system, which is now an accomplished fact, they no w have what w ay be termed a benevolent neutrality.

742. Have you formed any opinion concerning the merger?-It would have been an advantage if a clause in the agreement protects the public of Australia. In 1909 when the Cape cable service was instituted provision was made in the agreement for a gradual reduction in the rates from 6s. down to 2s . a · word, but I presume that in consequence of the merger that

provision which has ceased to function, as the minimum rate was reached two years ago, will not operate; that does not, however, suggest that the rate could not have been further reduced.

7 43. Would the leading articles published in the Sun from time to time express your opinions ?-Sometimes. 744. In an article which appeared in that journal on the 12th January, 1928, it is stated that "the cable

company seeks therefore t o do what many other com­ panies have done, to buy in its competitor and acquire a monopoly which enables it, in the gentle language of commerce, to arrange for the mutual protection of mutual interests. It is an old trade device for keeping up prices." Do you subscribe to that view ?-There is

an international aspect of this subject which, perhaps, the committee has not canvassed. I understand that the cable and wireless companies of the United States of America were linking up with the cable companies

of Germany in order to obtain control of the inter­ national communications of the world, and the only way to combat their activities was fo r the British Government to bring about a merger of companies in control of overseas communications. H ad the authorities not moved in the matter, the United States of America and Germany would possibly have obtained control of practically all of the European traffic to the detriment of Great Britain, weakening Britain's control and seriously affecting her trade and commerce.

There is more in the proposal than certain eompanies coming together to· save or to make money. 7 45. We have been informed that if the wireless rates were substantially reduced, the cable companies would be so seriously affected that, poss ibly, the service which they now provide would not be available in the event of war?-Yes. In our present stage of develop­ ment it is still essential that cable services should be

at our disposal. During the war, overseas communica­ tion was conducted by wireless and by cables. The Germans picked up our wireless messages, and we also intercepted theirs. It was because of the interception

of a German wireless message that the British Navy came in contact with the German Fleet. The Germans were unable to interfere with our cables to any extent because their fleet was bottled up. Most of the

Empire's commercial communications were conducted over the cables, and, in the event of another war, com­ munication would be carried on in the same way. 746. Do you think that cheaper wireless communica­ tion between Australia and Great Britain would benefit those who would despatch other than commercial mes­ sages ?-Yes, and bring about a closer relationship between the people of the Empire. Everything that tends to promote a freer intercourse between people must

assist in strengthening the Imperial tie. That is an objective we should all have in mind. T hose who wish to ·send other than commercial communications can take advantage of the week-end def erred cable rates. During the past twenty years, nearly all important commercial communications are sent by cable, but it is

true that a larger number of persons would send social messages if the rates were lower. I should suggest that a rate of ls. a word instead of the present 2s. 6d. rate would be suffici ent in the circumst ances.

747. The week-end r ate at present is 5d. ?-Yes, and 3d. for press messages . 7 48. Would you favour a minimum of twenty words~ -Yes, that would be necessary to carry on the business effectively at low rates, and a 1d. rate for press


749. At such rates do you think a whole leading article appearing in a British newspaper would be sent irom Great Britain to Australia, or vice Yersa ?-It would be at the existing rates if it were of sufficient public interest; expense is no object in cases of that kind. Irrespective of the reduction in rates, we are spending more money on transmission by cable than we were ten years ago. The publication of a leading

article appear ing in a British newspaper, eve '.1

if of some importance, depends upon the amount of space available here. I could not say whether a rate of ld. a word is a commercial proposition, because I do not know the volume of traffic to be handled.

750. As we have been informed that a :flat rate of ld. a word for all telegraphic messages within the Com­ monwealth ·would enable the department to make u profit, or at least to meet its expenditure in tlwt branch, one would assume that messages could be transmitted by wireless at the same rate ?-That is inevitably coming, when wireless takes its proper place and becomes definitely directional and confidential. When in London I saw in Marconi's office a machine which received a speech, turned it into gibberish, and upon reception at the other end it was converted again to its proper sense. For some reason the British Postal Depa:r'tment did not consider it desirable to use the machine, because, I suppose, it would not be long before some would find a means of de-coding it. Valuable a3 the machine appeared to be, I suppose that in time of war it would no t be absolutely reliable for conveying confidential communications.

751. In t he leading article which I previously quoted it is further stated, "It is certainly time that the

Governments of the dominions and of Britain took steps to decide ·whether the people's interests or the interests of a few shareholders in two companies shall be the determining factor in the future of wireless." Do you agree with that opinion ?-Yes.

752. By S enato1· Herbert Hays.-Do you think that proper r epresentations will be made to protect the interests of A.ustralian under the merger ?-Yes. Before the war it was amazing if we got a cable

message t hr ough under six hours, although the cable companies have the equipment to enable them tv despatch messages as rapidly as the Beam service. 753. Have the newspaper proprietors made any re­ presentations to the Australian Government concerning the merger ?-Yes, not only on one point. At the

conference of the Australian newspaper proprietors a year ago we passed a resolution asking the Govern­ ment to bear in mind that the merger might not be beneficial, and if its operations were not arrested it might have the effect of retarding the development of wireless. The reply we received was that the Govern­ ment was giving consideration to the matter, and we have not since done anything.

754. Do you know if the nego tiations have actually been completed ?-Yes, and 11.ustralia, through its Government, is a party to the arrangement. Australia's position unp. er the agreement has not yet been di~­ closed.

7 55. Are the Australian newspapers organized ?-The whole of the metropolitan newspapers of Australia are members of an organization, ·which meets twice a year. 756. By Senator Findley.-! understand that you have been associat ed ·with the newspaper world for a number of years, and as a representative of Australian newspapers visited Great Britain ?-Yes, for the pur­ pose of establishing a cable service. I remained in London in association with the London Times for four years, and have since visited Great Britain on several occasions.

7 57. When you were last in London was the Beam wireless service operating?-It was just commencing. F.736.-4


7 5 . What were the cable rates for pre me saged at that time ?-The full rate was 3s. a word, and the press rate 9d. a word. The rates to-day have beeu

reduced by 30 per cent., which I think can be attributed to the establishment of the Beam service. 759. Are you aware that the British Government owll and control the wireless system associated with the British Post Office, and also the wireless station at Rugby ?-Yes.

760. I understand that the Biitish Government broadcast certain information to different portions of the Empire free of cost ?-It is broadcasted from Eng­ land free of cost, but we have to pay Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Limited for picking it up in Australia.

761. How is that information gathered in Great Britain ?-It is collected by the British Government through Renter's with the object of providing the Au.'3-tralian people with certain news. It is submitted to the Foreign Office, where it is perused, and if approved is passed on for broadcasting purposes.

762. Would that be information vvhich in the

ordinary course of events would be despatched by cable ?-No. The information is in a sense limited. There is an obligation upon the Government not to send certain classes of information. It is generally stale news, except in so far as it may embody in

detail a speech or a statement by a Minister or portion of a debate in the House of Commons. Otherwise it is what may be regarded as stale. 763. Can the newspapers in Australia use informa­ tion so transmitted free of charge ?-If they contribute towards the cost of picking it up here. It comes

through by Morse, and Amalgamated Wireless (Aus­ tralasia) Limited pick it up and supply it to the

newspapers. We receive that news every day, but use very little of it, unless it enables us to elaborate a

speech, a digest of which we have received by cable. Our representative might send by cable a message con­ sisting of 200 words, embracing a statement made by Mr. Bonar Law on, say, the condition of lepers in Smyrna, which ·we could elaborate on the fuller report

we received by wireless. 764. Where do the broadcasting stations in Australia obtain the information which they distribute ?-From the Sun newspapers.

765. It has been said that such information can be used by other newspapers free of charge ?-They can only by stealing it. 766. We have been informed that newspaper pro­ prietors, presumably in England, will be associated with the merger?-That is not so.

767. Do you think that the newspaper proprietors will be in a better position under the amalgamation?-­ If the merger had not been brought about Great Britain would have run the risk of losing a good deal of foreign traffic.

768. When asked how the newspapers could fight a powerful combine overseas, we were informed that there were newspapers in every country, and that their interests would become articulate at particular periods, such as at election times. Do you think the newspapers would be able to combat such an amalgamation ?-I do not think so.

769. Do you think that the amalgamation will haYe the effect of the newspapers losing the privileges which they enjoy to-day ?-I do not think so. We are more concerned in the matter of a general reduction in cable rates than for a reduction particularly in the interests of the press.

770. Do you favour wireless and cable services being under Government control instead of being in the hands of private enterprise ?-The best form of control is that which permits competition, which is being eliminated

under the merger system. If as a result of the amalga­ mation the benefits we would derive under the Cape agreement are arrested, it will not be to our advantage. No one knows what the terms of the agreement are.

771. Would not every one be more adequately pro­ tected if such services were under government control? -My experience is that a cable service under gover­ ment control is the slowest on God's earth. My ex­

perience in going . to London in 1912 to inaugurate a cable service, which meant business equivalent to £20,000 a year to the Pacific Cable Company, was that that company actually pushed me off, wh~reas the Eastern Extension Company treated me with every

courtesy, and offered every possible assistance. 772. According to your evidence the cable service has greatly improved since the introduction of wir.e­ less, which is under the control of the Government rn Britain and under semi-government control in Aus­

tralia ?-Although the "·ireless system is supposed to be owned and controlled by the British Government, Marconi is still directing. The Rugby station is used almost solely for propaganda purposes; it is not a commercial broadcasting station.

773. Do" you believe in the Government controlling the .postal, telegraphic· and telephonic" services in Aus­ tralia ?-Yes, in Australia, but if our population was similar to that of America we would probably find that private enterprise would be able to beat the Govern­ ment stroke.

77 4. Assuming we had a wireless receiving station in Australia and overseas, do you not think we would be in a better position than we will be under the

merger ?-No. Tho success of the Beam wireless system in Australia is due entirely to the business capacity, push and imagination of Mr. Fisk, and is not in any sense due to the fact that it is what has been termed a semi-goyernment institution.

775. But the Government have a controlling

1 nfluence ?-But the Government does not exercise con­ trol in a real sense. Government concerns invariably slow down as soon as those in control find that they have established a comfortable position for themselves.

That remark cannot be applied to Mr. Brown, the Director of Postal Services. The Government is singularly fortunate in having at its disposal such a capable officer and one· who undoubtedly possesses a

good deal of thrust and drive. 776. Is a cable service essential to the newspaper~ to-day ?-Yes. 777. If cheaper cable rates are available, it would be of advantage to the newspapers, and consequently the community would benefit ?-The community always gets the benefit of any concession which newspapers .

receive. 778. Does not an institution under government con­ trol provide a better service than one which is pri­ vately-owned ?-Has the community received any great

advantage from the Pacific Cable Company? Are the rates lower than those charged by the Eastern Extension Company? 779. According to the evidence the newspaper pro­ prietors benefited by the laying down of the Pacific cable ?-Not because it " Was under the control of the Government, but because it was operating in competi­ tion with the Eastern Extension Company. Even if the Governments concerned had not arranged for the establishment of the Pacific cable service private enter­ prise would soon have stepped in.

780. Did the journals which you represent send messages overseas in co1mexion with the Test matches? -Yes, to Great Britain, South Africa and Singapore; such messages were sent by cable.

781. There are periods when the wireless servic·~ is not too reliable ?-Yes, when fading is present. · We do not experience . any difficulty in that regard to-day, although ,,Te did some months ago. If our messages

could not be taken by Amalgamated Wireless (Am­ tralasia) Limited they would be handed over to the Pacific Company. The Eastern Extension Company does uot get any of that business unless the Pacific Com­ pany is experiencing difficulty in Canada, ,Yhen it is sent via Eastern.

782. Have you experienced delays in connexion with the cable companies ?-Not for months. 783. You attribute the increased activities of the cable companies to the advent of wireless communica­

tions ?-Yes. 784. By Senator Carroll.-Do you think that the so]e control of wireless should be in the hands of the

Government or .. A .. malgamated Wireless (Australasia) Limited ?-Personally, I think it should be under the control of Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Limited.

785. By Serwtor Findley.-At present items taken from the newspapers in Australia are broadcast free of charge. Would a newspaper be permitted to publish news so broadcast ?-Yes, because there is no copy­

right law controlling actual news items. 786. A previous witness was asked if a newspaper proprietor would be permitted to publish news that had been broadcast, and he replied " Yes, because there is

no copyright law controlling news items, but if news­ paper proprietors have their way, as expressed at the conference in Canberra last year, they will endeavour to get the Government to copyright all news published in Australia, which will lead to a good deal of opposi­ tion." Have you any comments to make upon that opinion ?-There is an effective copyright law. The gentleman who, I presume, gave that evidence was

associated with cable work in 1915-16 and the cables which we paid for, and which were published in our papers, also appeared in certain country newspaper<,, without any acknowledgement. The matter went into court and the organization was closed up. News itself is not protected by any copyright law, but any comment is protected. For instance, I might say that Senator

Thomas jumped out of a ·window on the ninth floor of 'this building. That would be news; but if the report stated that he jumped out of the window on the ninth floor and fell on the footpath with a thud, it would

contain comment which can be protected under our copyright law. 787. By the Chairman.-In 1911 the following rates were published :-

By Atlantic Cable Combine. London to Eastern Canada-Montreal, 2,800 mile;,, 5d. word; London to '\Vinnineg-, 3,930 miles, 7d. word; London to Vancouver, 5,180 miles, 8d. word.

By State-owned Pacific Cable. Australia to Vancouver, 7,319 miles, 3d. word; Aus­ tralia to Montreal, 9,669 miles, 4d. word?-Those are press cable rates. In comparing those rates it must be remembered that transmission over land lines in Canada is involved. Some of those messages would be transmitted over leased lines across Canada

over which messages can be shot across. at any rate whilst others have to be tr:=tnsmitted over the ordinary Canadian-Pacific line. It was the intention of the Pacific Cable Company to lay down another cable, but that project has now been abandoned since the merger has materialized. In selling the Pacific cable to the merger the Government is losing control.

788. At a meeting held at the Mansion House i11 London on 12th December, 1908, which was attended by the late Postmaster-General for Canada, the late Minister for Defence, Sir Frederick Borden Lord Milner and others, the following resolution .,;as car­

ried:-" That this meeting composed of repre&'..;,nta­ tives of commercial and industrial interests respectfully suggests to His Majesty's Government the convening of a conference of postal authorities of the States and


is becoming obsolete. The Committee may be iutere~te

developed to any great extent, but in my opinion it will make rapid progress, and it seems only a matt!Jl' of time before press messages, and a great deal of com­ mercial communications will bti sent in that ·way. It should be a comparatively easy matter to photograph, say from 200 to 500 words of type-written matter, and

transmit it by wire from, say, Australia to Londou, and obviate the necessity of conveying messages in dots and dashes. This means of transmission should be closely studied in connexion wjth any proposed reduc­ tio11 jn Beam charges.

789. If lettergrams can be sent from Montreal to London at one penny a word, and delivered as ordinary correspondence, should not we Le able to send messages from Australia to London at the same rate ?-The con­ ditio11s are not the same; a longer throw is involved, and greater power is necessary. There are also other diffi­ culties to overcome. Those rates may have been im­ posed owing to a lack of traffic; they may be cut rates.

The witness w1:thdrew.

John David Corbett, Foreign Editor, Daily Guardian, Sydney, sworn and examined : 790. By the Chairman.-Have you given considera­ tion to the subject of cheaper communication between Australia and Great Britain ?-Yes. During my asso­ .ciation with different newspapers, I have taken a very

keen interest in the subject of overseas wireless com­ munication. In order to make a reliable comparison between the cable and wireless rates it would be neces­ sary to understand exactly the business being under­ taken by each concern and the manner in ,d1ich it is

being carried out. A layman considering· the sub­ ject would naturally assume that the B ea m system must he cheaper to operate than tho cable system as in con­ nexion with the former there is not such a heavy

expenditure in establishing and maintaining the service. To establish a cable service involves the expenditure of perhaps millions of pounds; heavy costs are also entailed in maintaining the service, and also jn con­ ducting the repeating stations at various points. The cable companies have also to build or purchase cable ships for carrying out necessary repairs and conduct­ ing general maintenance ,vork. Such expenditure as is incurred by cable companies does not have to be met under the Beam system, v:hich merely has to establish a transmitting station at one end, and a receiving

station at the other. It ,Yould therefore appear that the Beam system should be cheaper than any cable system. In my opinion, the Beam rates could be

materially reduced, seeing that the rate charged between Australia and Great Britain for press mess ages is at present 4d. a word, and between Great Britain and India it is only 2{d .. a word. I understand that

Mr. Campbell-Jones said that the higher charge was probably due to the fact that greater power was re­ quired for transmitting messages a longer distance~ but I maintain that if it is possible to transmit cable messages from England to India or South Africa at

2-! d. a word, it is a practical proposition to make the same charge bet-1.v-een Great Britain and Australia. Not­ withstanding what has been said, the extra power, if any, required would be very small, and insufficient

to justify the additional charge which is now im­

posed. In ordinary tran mission, the power has to be sent, as it ·were, all over the globe, whereas under the Beam system it is sent out in a fan-like form,

and it is therefore unnecessa ry to use as much po\ve r as under the ordi11ary broadcasting system. ..\.nothcr aspect is that it is unnecessary to use nearly as much p01.ver for transmitting on a 29-metre wave length. The wave length at tbe Rugby station is much groater. For these reasons, it Y·:ould appear that the Beam wireless rates could be materially reduced to the bene­ fit of both countries. :Moreover, I believe we are reach­ ing the stage when the Mor e system of tran mis ion

791. Did you say that the. Government objected to the use of that system for other than the object with which it was primarily to be employed ?-I under­ stood the Postmaster-General said that regulations were

being framed to prevent type-written ma,tter being photographed, and despatched as it would be, competing with the telegraph system. 792. To what extent do you consider the Govern­ ment is jus6fied in preventing the full use of new

inYentions, which may interfere with existing systems? -I am not prepared to express the policy of the news­paper I r epresent in this connexion, but speaking per-onally, I may say that I am always in favour of the use of the most modern systems. It is true that a very large capital expenditure has been incurred iu csta blishing und maintaining our telegraphic system, and a return on that capital expenditure has to be taken into consideration in dealing with inventions of this kind. 793. Is not the telephone service competing with the Telegraph Department ?-After twenty years of com­petition, the Telegraph Department is still rendering a necessary service to the public, and one which could not very well be dispensed with. 794. Have you given consideration to the practica­bility of transmitting wireless messages between Au.1-tralj a and Great Britain at one penny a word ?-Yes. The ordinary press rate for Beam messages is 4d. a word with a 3d. rate for deferred messages. In these circumstances it would appear a practical proposition to reduce the rate to one penny a word, particularly in view of what I have said conceruii1g the rates prevail­ing between Great Britain and South Africa and India. I do not think that the distance is of much consequencP. in the mattel' of Beam messages. _ 795. It may be of advantage to the community 10 send penny-a-word messages even if a slight loss was incurred. Do you think it would pay t0 despatch mes­sages at that rate ?-Of course it is impossible for me in the absence of data to say whether that rate would be p3.yable, but a reduction would doubtless have the effect of considerably increasing the traffic between the t"'irn countries which ·would possibly compensate at lea8t to some extent the loss that might be incurred. Mor(> 0 1;rcr, I believe that business could be conducted at h profit because Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Limited have not to incur the same heavy annual ex­penditure as have the cable companies. 796. Do you think that ordinary messages could be sent at one penny a word ?-Deferred messages cou1d be sent at that rate. 797. Would there be any objection to such messages being delivered in the ordinary course of post instead

of Ly a special mes.::;enger?-N o, that is the system under which deferred messages are delivered.

Obviously it is impossible for me to say whether it i. practicable from the company's point of view as I have not the information before me to enable me to come t,) a reliable determination.

798. What is your opinion of the merging of certai.1~ communication companies ?-That involves a question of policy, and is a matter upon which I am not pre­ pared to expres an opinion.

799. By Senator Findley.-As the newspaper you represent receives cables from all parts of the world, your cable bill ,vould be a considerable item ?-Yes. 800. Are such messages received by cable and by

Beam ?-Yes, we utilize both systems. 801. What would be the percentage of Beam mes­ sages as compared with the total ?-I should say be­ tween 45 and 50 per cent.

802. How long has the Guardian been established?-­ Eight years. 803. During that period have you noticed any dif­ ference in the time taken in receiving messages ?-I cunnot speak for the ,vhole period during which the

Uitardian has been in existence; I can speak of our ex­ perience only over the last nine months. The Beam service is usually prompt. It must be so in ordinary circumstances because there are no repeating stations, and ·wheu f atling effects the Beam system our messages are diverted via Pacific.

804. The Beam system has been responsible for re­ ducing the cost and facilitating the receipt of overseas messages ?-There is no doubt about that. 805 . Would I be 1·ight in assuming that the policy of the Guardian is to support communication services owned and controlled by the Government ?-I am not prepared to make a broad statement in support of that policy, but I feel confident that the Guardian would not favour the activities of the Postal and Telegraph Department being controlled by a private concern.

806. Are not the Australian newspapers receiving better treatment under the Government control of such services than if they were under private control such as they are in some countries ?-We receive a satisfac­

tory service from the .Amalgamated Wire]ess (Aus­ tralasia) Limited, the Pacific Cable Company, the Eastern Extension Company, and the Telegraph De­ partment.

807. Are you aware that in consequence of the pre­ ferential rates granted to the press in the matter of telegrams, a loss of from £200,0000 to £300,000 is being incurred ?-I am not aware of the figure, and do not know if the loss is due entirely to the existence of

preferential press rates. The system of charging for telephone trunk-line calls and telegrams differs, and this may be responsible for some of the loss. The

method under ·which telegraphic rates are fixed is illogical. 808. Have you any fears regarding the effect of the merger ?-That is a matter upon which I do not wish to express an opinion.

809. Would you have any hesitation in saying that it would be better for the Government to retain :-l

controlling interest in the Beam wireless station in ... \.ustralia or to allow it to come under the control of

the merged--! understa:qd that the Government owns the majority of shares in Amalgamated Wireless (Aus­ tralasia) Limited, and theoretically is in control. 810. Do you believe in the present system ?-I am inclined to the belief that the press system is pref er able

to what you suggest. If we are to become associated with the merger we should have some voice in its <'Ontrol. 811. By Senator H erbert Hays.-You consider that

a substantial reduction could be made jn the Beam rates ?-Yes.


812. Do you consider it essential that the cable service should also be retained ?-That involves consideration of the conditions of the merger and is a subject which I um not prepared to discuss.

813. If the wireless ·rates were reduced to ld.

a word the Beam system ·Kould be a serious competitor of the cable companies ?-Yes. 814. Owing to the heavy capital expenditure the cable companies could not very well meet such competition?­ N o.

815. If the cable companies impose rates based on their capital expenditure the ,vireless systeI-U operating under much lower rates would make it impracticable for them to carry on ?-As a commercial undertaking,

very probably. 816. It has been said that the cable services should be maintained in the interests of the Empire ?-That is a point worthy of the closest consideration.

817. Therefore if Beam messages were reduced to 1d. a word, it would be necessary to subsidize the cable companies if for Empire purposes they were to be retained ?-Yes.

818. We were informed by Mr. Haldane, the Accoun­ tant in the Postmaster-General's Department, that a loss of from £200,000 to £300,000 was incurred annually in transmitting press messages ?-If that loss has been

incurred, it has not been with the object of conferring a benefit upon the press. The information which the press receives and despatches is used for the benefit of the people. If the press system were altered that loss might be reduced.

819. By Senator Carroll.-You expressed the opinion that the rates between Australia and Great Brita-in could be reduced to those in force between Great Britain, India and South Africa. In expressing that opinion you were not taking into consideration the posi­

tion of the cable companies ?-I was considering Beam wireless as a commercial proposition and without con­ sideration of the effect of such rates upon the cable companies.

820. Can you explain why there is such a tremendous volume of press business transmitted by cable when the rates via the Beam system are lower ?-All our Eastern news from Tokio and Shanghai comes by cable as there

is no Beam system operating between those places and Australia. All our press information from South Africa also comes by cable. The messages from the East come via Eastern Extension Company service.

821. A representative of a section of the press said that the newspapers would have nothing to fear from the merger. H~ said that they were quite capable of looking after themselves. Do you subscribe to that

view ?-I presume a newspaper has better opportunities of looking after its interests thaI} the average individual. The witness withdrew.

Ernest Gordon Beard, Chief Engineer, United Dis­ tributors Limited, Wireless Manufacturers, Sydney, sworn and examined. 822. By the Chairman.-According to the informa­ tion the Committee received from Mr. Voigt, we understand that you have taken considerable interest in wireless communications ?-Yes.

823. We are considering whether it is practicable to transmit wireless messages between Australia and Great Britain and vice versa at 1d. a word. Have you giveu close consideration to the subject of cheap communica­ tions ?-About eighteen months ago the late Mr. George

Taylor conferred with me on the matter of cheaper wireless communication between .Australia and Great Britain, and at that time Mr. Taylor applied to the Government for a licence to erect a station for this purpose. We went very fully into the matter in an

endeavour to ascertain whether we could establish a service and obtain sufficient traffic to work it at a profit by charging id. a word. Negotiations were not com­ pleted owing to Mr. Taylor's death, but we anticipated that if we imposed a rate of ld. a word it would be

sufficient to cover the Post Office charges for handling the messages over land lines and delivering them. 824. How much traffic would be necessary at that rate to make the venture profitable ?-If I remember aright we based our calculations on a plant capable of transmitting 160 words a minute for a period of eight hours, and we estimated that at the rate I have men­ tioned our return would be satisfactory. Our proposals were based on the possibility of guaranteeing an eight­ hour service, instead of guaranteeing a continuous service. It was considered preferable to run two

stations for eight hours when the conditions were favorable, and thus get in sixteen hours' communication in every 24, rather than endeavour to combat the diffi­ culties of maintaining a continuous service.

825. Was that for every day in the year?-Yes.

That was the reasonable maximum capacity of the plant we were considering. 826. Did yo u require the service you have mentioned to enable the business to pay?-I could not state de­ finitely without referring to the notes which were compiled at the time.

827. What was the nature of the plant you antici­ pated erecting?-It was on the non-Beam principl,·, with a short wave transmission and an input of 50 to 100 kilowatts to the aerial.

828. The plant would be different in principle from the Beam ?-Entirely, and would involve only a small fraction of the cost of a Beam station. 829. What would be the cost ?-The transm1ttmg plant alone without the high speed gear could be pro­ vided for about £5,000. The high-speed gear would have to be purchased, but I could not give the approxi­ mate price without referring to the notes which were prepared at the time.

830. Did the Government give any reasons for object­ ing to your proposals ?-It did not object; the negotia­ tions merely stalled. The Government asked what arrangements were made for financing the scheme, and whether we had completed our negotiations with Great Britain, and other matters of that nature. The la'3t communication which Mr. Taylor despatched before his death was that he considered it essential to be assured of receiving a licence at this end before he took any steps to negotiate in Great Britain.

831. What are the advantages of your system over the Beam ?-It is a very complicated matter. One of the great advantages in the short wave system of

transmission is that in our case we would have been relieved of the need for erecting a very expensive aerial system. Our aerial installation would have been one of the cheapest portions of the plant; but on the other hand we would have to use more power than is neces­ sary under the Beam system. We also considered that

at the rate at which wireless was developing it was necessary to remember that a plant may not be used for more than five to ten years, and that the saving in power effected by the use of the Beam system was not comparable with the capital cost of a complicated aerial system and the necessary tuning circuits. Another point is that on the short wave system the wave length can be changed within a minute, whereas under the Beam system I assume that two months would be neces­ sary to make the required change.

832. Is there any plant of the kind you had in mind being operated elsewhere in Australia ?-I understand that such a plant is in use at Garden Island, with

which constant communication is maintained with Great Britain. All the Australian warships have also small plants, which communicate in the same way.


With such a plant we can invariably hear stat10ns all over Eu.rop~ and America, and, generally speaking, commumcat1on can be regularly received on an average of eighteen hours a day.

833. A_re you of the opinion that Beam messages could be profitably despatched at ld. a word ?-I do not know what expenditure has been incurred on the plant or the power that is being used. Very little informa­ tion is available to the public concerning this station and all we have to guide us is the meagre particular~ that are made available to the public from time to time. I am inclined to think that its capital cost will make

a considerable reduction in the present rates imprac­ ticable. Although the radiated energy is considerably reduced by the Beam, the overall efficiency is so much reduced that I am inclined to think that the power bill under the Beam system would be greater than the system which I am advocating. In my opinion the Beam system may gain 90 per cent. of the power re­ quired by the aerial system which gives the Beam, but on the other hand that probably results in 90 per cent. of loss in power in the overall efficiency. Probably the operating costs of the Beam system are much higher than we · contemplate.

834. You could not say if the present Beam plant could carry on at the reduced rate even if sufficient traffic were available ?-I assume that the responsible engineers carefully investigated both methods of transmission, and decided that the Beam system was more economical than the method we were to adopt. If their calculations were correct, their expenses should be less.

835. They had the two schemes before them before they decided in favour of the Beam system ?-Yes. Our system has been known for years, although

perhaps it is only within the last four or :five years that the general public has had the advantages of the short wave system placed before it. 836. Do you think that the merger of certain com­ munication interests will be detrimental to wireless development ?-I do not think it will retard wireless development, but it will not be beneficial to the com­ munity generally. For instance, if we were at war it woul

take an enemy station, say, in Europe, only 24 hours to erect a non-Beam station. Transmission from a 1 kilowatt station would be sufficient to cut off the Beam until the wave length was changed, which would take at least a month, whereas it would take only thr8e minutes to change the wave length of the station under the control of an enemy power. I consider it abso­ lutely unsafe to rely upon the Beam system as a means of communication in war time. If war should occur we would be compelled to cease using the Beam, an

837. Would there be any danger in adopting that system ?-I do not think there would be any occasion to worry. In such circumstances, it is quite feasible that communication ,rnuld not be interrupted for more

than perhaps one minute or two an hour. In times of stress the utility of the Beam service could be utterly destroyed. 838. Could such a station be erected as a standby?­ Y es.

839. In such circumstances the cable service could be dispen sed with ?-I think so. 840. At present it is necessary to retain the cable services, which have cost millions, to overcome the diffi­

culties which may be encountered in connexion with the Beam service ?~-Yes. 841. If wireless communication could be conducted at A heaper rate, the system would be more extensively

used ?-Yes. When I am away I pref er to use the

telegraph sy tern rather thau to write letters and I

am ure that with cheaper communication between Aus­ tralia and Great Britain the wireless system would be more exteruively used, particularly by those who were conducting other than commercial correspondence.

842. By Senator Oarroll.-Where is your office situated ?-72 Clarence Street, Sydney. ·843 . I have estimated that with a transmission at the rate of 160 words a minute you could, if operating eight hours a day, despatch 28,000,000 words a year? -I ha,;e not the figures before me, but I assume that

that calculation is approximately correct. 844. Can you say how many words pass between Am­ tralia tmd Great Britain at present ?-I believe it is in the vicinity of 14,000,000, but I cannot state definitely

at the moment. Under the scheme which we had out­ lined we were confident of occupying one station during the full period upon which we had based our calcula­ tions. Mr. Taylor was closely associated with the publi­ cation of two or three magazines and therefore fully understood the requirements of an overseas press service.

845. You believe that the erection of such a plant would obviate the necessity of retaining the cable services ?-Yes. 846. You believe that a foreign power could erect a short wave station in Europe that would be able to throw the Beam service out of commission ?-Yes, I believe there is a case on record of an amateur listener­ j n in England temporarily destroying the connexion.

847. Could a plant of the type you have mentioned be erected in two or three months ?-Yes. 848. Why could an enemy nation erect one in a much shorter period ?-It would only have to erect a 1 to lf k.w plant, whereas we would have to erect a plant with high speed transmission.

849. In effect, they would only have to erect one with sufficient power to render ours ineffective on a par­ ticular wave length ?-Yes. 850. Supposing we were to erect a plant of the type you describe, could we defeat an enemy power in its

efforts to destroy the usefulness of our messages?-We would have to change our wave length very rapidly according to a pre-aranged schedule. We had the ex­ perience during the war of the Gloucester being pre­ vented from communicating with Malta during 75 per

cent. of the time merely because they could not change the wave length. 851. You do not suggest that the Government defi­ nitely refused your application for a licence, but merely shelved the question ?-The Government required us to complete negotiations with the British and Indian

Governments before approaching it. Our greatest diffi­ culty would be in negotiating with the British postal authorities, who are in control of wireless communica­ tion.

852. Do you not think it desirable that wireless com­ munications from Australia be under the control of the Postal Deparment ?-That is the only method under which I think we could obtain complete success.

853. By Senator Findley.-How long have you been associated with wireless in Australia ?-I commenced first as an amateur in 1913. Later I joined the British Navy as a telegraphist, and in 1920 I transferred to the

Australian Navy. In 1923 or 1924 I was appointed to my present position with United Distributors Limited. 854. Who approached the Government in the first place for a licence ?-Mr. Taylor, who was providing the necessary finance, conducted the negotiations.

855. It would have been an advantage to Mr. Taylor if he could have obtained a licence from the Australia11 Government before approaching the British or Indian Governments ?-Exactly.

856. I understand that a plant of the type you men­ tion would cost only about £5,000 ?-Yes. 857. It would not involve the use of an extensive aerial system ?-No. The Beam system uses 32 masts


800 feet high, whereas under the system I am advocating the use of one mast only 150 feet high is necessarv, which reduces the capital cost enormously. "

858. Are any patent rights involved under your system ?--The usual controversies still obtain concern­ ing the Meissner patent which expires this or next year. 859. Is there still some controversy in respect to your patent rights as well as others ?-The agreement which has been signed has left the manufacturers very much in the dark as to their exact position, but we intend t0 give its provisions a very liberal interpretation from our

viewpoint and endeavour to establish ourselves on that basis. •

860. Did I understand you to say that a system simi­ lar to that which you have described is used on our war vessels ?-Yes, plants are in use without the high speed apparatus which has nothing to do with the radio side.

861 . Messages are transmitted by that system from the warships to places overseas ?-Yes, Garden Island, I understand, communicates regularly with the station at Portsmouth, as do the war vessels in Australian

waters. 862; Do you think that the Beam system is becoming obsolete ?-I am of the opinion that it is on the decline at present. At present the slight advantage in the

matter of power is surrounded with so many complica­ tions that I believe a majority of radio engineers are opposed to the Beam system. There is a non-Beam oystem at Pennant Hills which is in communication with England.

863. It has been said by some authorities that the cable system should not be superseded because it is more confidential than transmitting by wireless ?-In times of stress the cable is regarded as secret, but it is an easy matter for an enemy power to tap the cable. Its only secrecy is in the codes and ciphers used, and not in the means of communication.

864. Would that apply i11 the case of wireless?­ Equally so. 865. In your opinion there is no strength in the argu­ ment that the cable system is more reliable ?-The only

advantage of the cable is that messages can be sent in time of war without an enemy power being aware of the fact. Messages sent by wireless may be intercepted

at any time although those receiving them may not understood them. In certain circumstances a message may be sent without those for whom it is intended being unaware of the fact, but those occasions are rare.

866. Did Mr. Taylor meet with opposition in other directions ?-We took care to handle our proposition very quietly and endeavoured to prevent any one else from knowing what we were doing until we met with opposition in the direction I have indicated.

867. If the Government had granted a licence and your proposals had been favourably considered by the authorities overseas, you would have been competing against Amalgamated Wireless ?-If Mr. Taylor had lived there is no reason to suppose that the station would not have been operating to-day. That is, of course, if we

had been able to overcome the objections which I have mentioned. Mr. Taylor was of the opinion from the in­ formation he gathered when overseas and from corres­ pondence which subsequently followed that we should have been able to overcome the difficulties because the

authorities at home recognized the limitations of the Beam system. They are apparently suspicious of its possibilities . If we had completed arrangements with the postal authorities we expected to operate on a basis of one penny a word under the conditions I have

mentioned. 868. How long ~go were these negotiations con­ ducted ?-About eighteen months. 869. Have you given consideration to the merger?­ Yes. My personal opinion is that sooner or later it must come under the control of the postal authorities

as the undertaking is too important to be controlled

privately. They may complete the merger and enter into an agreement, but eventually we must have

cheaper comunications. In these circumstances I think it will not be long before the authorities will be com­ pelled to effect a change. 870. I understand that a rental of £250,000 a year is to be paid for a period of 25 years for the Beam system as from April 1st, 1931. It would, therefore, appear that the British Government is involved in the merger? -Yes, but British Governments may change at any

time within intervals of three years. Great Britain and Australia are not the only countries interested, as there are many others that desire cheaper com­ munication, and, sooner or later, there will be strong

agitation in this direction. As the merger has been completed, certain rates will be imposed upon messages despatched to warships and merchant vessels, and if unnecessarily high rates are imposed the governments concerned must interfere in the interests of the people. I understand that Garden Island can send a message to

Great Britain at a cost of, probably, one-fifth of a ld. a word, and if that becomes generally known, it will be difficult for a rat~ of even 3d. a word to be

maintained for any time. 871. Two strong combinations, one in America, and another whose head-quarters may be in some other country, controlling long distance communications,

would be powerful enough to protect their own interests regardless of the public welfare ?-Similar companies acted in such a way in America that anti-trust laws were introduced, and if a communications company acted to the detriment of the public interests it would not be long before similar legislation was introduced.

872. This proposal has the support of the British Government ?-Unfortunately it has, and cheaper com­ munication will now be delayed, I believe, for several years. I believe, however, that public pressure will be sufficiently strong to force the governments concerned to move in the interests of the people.

873. But the Government is going out of the busi­ ness ?-The Government has been in and out of the radio business at different intervals during recent years, but as a :result of public pressure, I believe it will again have to become closely associated with its operations.

87 4. Do you think it preferable that wireless com­ munication should be owned and controlled by the Government or by the respective companies constituting the merger ?-I believe that the service should be con­ trolled by the Government.

875. Do you support the opinion expressed by Mr. Ramsay Macdonald, an ex-Premier of Great Britain, who said that it would be deplorable if our communica­ tion services passed into private control, and that there would be as much justification in handing our navy over to private contractors as there is in losing control of vital communication services ?-I agree with that opinion.

876. Mr. Ramsay Macd,.mald further said that if the party which he represents was successful at the next general elections, it would revert to the old system?­ I trust that that will be possible.

877. By Senator JI erbert H ays.-The communica­ tion services in the United States of America are con­ trolled by private companies ?-Yes, but there has never been a national crisis in that country to satisfactorily test the effici ency of their system.

878. As the rates in America are higher, does it not suggest that we are getting an efficient service at a reasonable rate ?-Yes, 879. Do you know the object of the merger ?-No.

880. Do you think there are sufficient reasons for bringing it about ?-There may be reasons with which we are not acquainted. 881. The British authorities have, doubtless, studied the Empire communications from every possible angle? -I think there must be reasons apart from Empire


considerations. I believe there is an international agreement under which messages will be received from other countries on which maximum rates are :fixed. 882. Do you think it essential that the Beam system in Australia should be controlled by the Government? -Yes, because any Australian company would be

insignificant in comparison with a foreign company. The Government is the only authority which has suf­ ficient power to barter with these people. 88 3. In order to permit the people to have the fullest use of wireless communications, do you think that the Government should subsidize the cable companies so long as a cable service is considered an essential line of communication ?-Yes, but that would be for only a limited time.

884. In the interests of the nation, we should have some other communication service apart from wireless? -There should be some alternative to the Beam. 885 . If others express an opinion to the contrary, what would you say?-I would prefer to trust my own judgment on a subject of which I know something.

The witness withdrew.

James Walters Kitto, Deputy Postmaster-General for New South Wales, Sydney, sworn and examined. 886. By the Chairman.-When Mr. Brown, the Director of Postal Services, was before the Committee, he said that if 60,000,000 words were to be transmitted from Great Britain, instead of 10,000,000 as at present, it would require more telegraphists · and additional

plant ?--I understand that he gave the Committee in­ formation to that effect. 887 . Is it a fact that fewer telegraphic messages were despatched in 1926-27 than in 1925-26,. and a considerably reduced number were sent in 1927-28 as

compared with 1926-27 ?-For the year ended 30th June, 1926, the number of messages despatched to places within the Commonwealth was 17,637,776, whereas for the year ended 30th June, 1927, 17,274,289 were de­ spatched, and for the year ended 30th June, 1928, 16,608,226 were sent.

888. Would it be correct to say that 20,000,000 fewer ·words are being sent over the lines to-day than were handled in 1925-26 ?-Approximately.

889. If that is so, it would not require more plant to send- an additional 20,000,000 words ?-Possibly it would. It would depend upon the place of origin and the destination of the business. The present plant may be so distributed as to be unable to handle an increased business.

890. You have ·a network of telegraphs through­ out Australia ?-Yes. 891. If an additional 20,000,000 words were coming through from other lands, it is natural to suppose that the present plant would be adequate ?-The plant for transmission between the Commonwealth and overseas would be sufficient, but--

892. If sent to the same places as two years ago, you could despatch an additional number ?-Some of the lines which were used for telegraphic purposes are now used for telephonic purposes. The growth of the tele­ phonic branch has to some extent decreased the use of certain telegraphic equipment.

893 . There are more telegraph offices operating to-day than there were in 1927 ?-There has been a slight in­ crease; probably there are 25 more. 894. You have, therefore, more plant than you hart two years ago ?-Our telegraphic and telephonic plant combined is greater.

895. Is it a fact that scientific improvements in yom· telegraphic system enable you to carry more traffic over the same equipment than in 1929-20 ?-Yes. 896, Have you fewer telegrapists to-day than you had two years ago ~ - Yes.

897. Is that due to more up-to-date methods, better organization, broadcasting and telephones ?-They ar<~ contributing causes. 898. Broadcasting and the more extensive use of the

telephone system has interfered with the telegraphic business ?-Only to a limited extent. Some sporting in­ formation that was previously transmitted by telegraph is now disseminated by wireless, but the difference is

not great. 899. To what do you attribute the reduc­

tion in the telegraphic business ?-The reduction has been brought about largely in consequence of the exten­ sion of trunk telephone lines throughout country dis­ tricts.

900. The Director of Postal Services contended that it is essential in the interests of the Empire that wire­ less should not be permitted to enter into unfettered rompetition witp. the cable systems, because if it were it would rossibly compel the cable companies to go into liquidation. Do you agree with that contention ?-Yes.

901 . Is it essential in the interests of the Oommon­ '"'ealth that the telegraphic system should be main­ tained ?-Yes. 902. The Government is continually providing addi­ tional facilities to those using the telephonic system?­ Yes.

903. If the Government assumed full control of broadcasting in order to make it of greater advantage to the public and it unduly interfered with the telegraphic service, do you think it would be in the interests of the

Commonwealth ?-If wireless broadcasting were under the control of the Government it could be more readily co-ordinated with our telegraphic and telephonic systems. ·

904. Would it interfere with the business now con­ ducted by the telegraphic department ?-Possibly. 905. Up to two years ago all messages to Great

Britain were despatched by cable ?-Yes, that was the only means. 906 . To-day a large proportion are despatched by wireless ?-Yes.

907. The wireless rates to England are from 10 per cent. to 15 per cent. lower than the cable rates ?-Yes. 908 . In order to reduce the cost of messages the Government reduced the terminal charges ?-Yes.

909. What loss was entailed by the department iu consequence of the reduction of the terminal charges?­ The earnings from cable terminal charges in 1927-28 were £83,700 less than in 1925-26.

910. Prior to the advent of Beam wireless, coufd the cable companies handle all the traffic that was offering? -Yes. 911. Has the volume of traffic increased in conse­

quence of the lower charges ?-There has been a slight increase in the traffic since the introduction of the Beam service. Prior to the introduction of the Beam service the natural increase was about 7.92 per cent., and since

that service has been in operation it has been about 8 per cent. That increase can be attributed to the natural growth of the traffic. 912. Are we justified in assuming that the reduction in charges has not been responsible for the slight in­ crease in traffic ?-Possibly so.

913. The cable companies and the wireless system arc therefore doing only what the cables did before the in­ ception of wireless ?-Yes, plus the natural increase. 914. I understand that the traffic consists of official, business, and social messages ?-It is distributed between

the three classes. 915. Would you say that social messages are sent by 20 per cent. of the people, and that the remaining 80 per cent. do not despatch such messages ?-I have no means of determining the proportions.

916. A large percentage of the people do not use the wireless or cable systems ?-I think that is a reasonable assumption,


917. What would be the proportion of those who do not do so ?-I have no means of forming a reliable opinion. 918. There are not more persons using the cable now than before the reduction in rates became effective?­ Apparently not.

919. Whilst the reduced rates provided under the wireless system benefit the commercial men, they are not availed of by the average citizen ?-The benefit is available to all, but it does not appear as if the cheaper rates are attractive to the general community.

920. Is it due to the charges or to the absence of th2 desire ?-Apparently a majority of the people have no occasion to use this means of communication. 921. Would they if the charges were even lower ?-I do not think they would to any extent.

922. The telegraphic and telephonic departments are not paying?-No. 923. The loss of £83,700 on terminal charges which you previously mentioned has to be met by the general taxpayer ?-Yes.

924. Messages can be sent from, say, Sydney to Perth at ld. a word, but if the rates were higher would it

interfere with the volume of traffic ?-If the rates were increased the volume of business communications would decrease. Most of the telegraphic business, particularly to 'distant places, is of a commercial nature.

925. Are you of the opinion that constant communi­ cation by wireless between Australia and· Great Britain would assist in consolidating the Empire ?-Any system which encourages free intercourse between people in the different dominions should have that effect. ·

926. What rate do you think either under the cable or wireless system would bring overseas communication within the reach of the people ?-I should not like to ex­ press a definite opinion as the rates are now so low if any one has any actual need to communicate the charge is not prohibitive. The service would need to be free to attract some people.

927. If the telegraphic rate was increased to 2d. a. word would the same amount of business be offered?­ I do not think it would. The number of private or

social messages would, I think, decrease. 928. Would the same amount of revenue be obtained? -Possibly, but not with the same measure of benefit tc the community.

929. If a wireless plant were at the disposal and under the control o_f the Postal Department, and a similar plant was under the control of the Postal De­ partment in England, do you think that irrespective of terminal charges the service could be conducted at one penny a word without loss ?-I have had no experience with an overseas wireless service and a reliable opiniou could be expressed only by one ·who has had experience with overseas communications.

930. If the wireless rates were reduced to one penny a word, do you think the traffic would increase from 12,000,000 words to say 50,000,000 or 60,000,000 words ?-I am sure there would be an increase, but the

extent I could not determj ne. 931. By Senator F:_indley.-How long have you beell in the service of the department ?-Forty-four years. 932. Prior to federation there were varying postal charges in the different States ?-Yes.

933. Has the volume of postal business increased in consequence of the adoption of the uniform rate of pos­ tage ?-The volume of business has increased, but that is due to several factors. The reduction in the postal charges has contributed towards the increase in business.

934. Would you say that the reduction in the over­ seas rate has been responsible for the increase in thu: direction ?-One is justified in assuming that the re­ duced rate is a contributing factor.

935. As the reduction in the postage rate has led to increa ed postal business, would not a reduction in the

·wireless charges increase the number of wirele com­ munications sent overseas ?-Possibly a reduction would result in an increase. 936. If we eliminate press messages the Australian

telegraphic service would be a payable proposition?­ If we had a or uniform rate the result wou]d br different from what it is to-day. 937. Have you formed any definite opinion as to

the desirability of reducing the cost of wireless com­ munications between Australia and Great Britain?-[ have given the subject some thought, but I do not think it ,vould be wise to reduce the wireless rates to such an extent as to make the continuance of the cable service impracticable.

938. By Senator Carroll.-You would not favour the postal and telegraphic services passing beyond the con­ trol of the Government ?-No. 939. Do you consider our wireless service as con­ ducted by your department an essential part of our system of communication ?-Yes.

940. Are you of the opinion that it should be con­ trolled by the Postal Department ?-Yes, as under one control the services will render the greatest benefit to the com unity.

941. You believe that it is essential in the interests of the Empire that our cable services should be re­ tained ?-Yes. 942. Do you consider that a wireless system should be evolved that would render our cable service non­ essential ?-Nothing has yet been evolved that will allow us with safety to scrap our cable systems.

943. If there were no cable services in operation you would consider the reduction of wireless rates from a different angle ?-Yes; one has to consider the effect of overseas communication rates upon the Empire as a whole.

944. By Senator Findley.-Do you contend that a reduction in wireless rates to 1d. a word would

not encourage those who are not now using the service? -I do no t mean that reduced rates would not be of any benefit, but I do not think that they would be respon­sible for a large increase in the traffic. 945. It costs 8s. 4d. to -day to send twenty words by wireless, but if it were possible to send a similar number of words for 1s. 8d., do you not think that business would increase ?-The volume of business would un­doubtedly increase, but it is difficult to determine if many who are not now using the service would take advantage of the lower rates. 946. If it were practicable to reduce the rate tu ld. a word, surely there would be a considerable number of persons in Australia who would utilize the service ?-1 am not clear as to ·whether we could effec­tively handle the business between here and Great Britain at very low rates, because of the amount of ·work involved in connexion with the land lines at both ends and also in conducting and maintaining operations generally. 947. You are studying the subject from a financiai view-point ?-Yes. 948. Do you consider all these proposals from the same stand-point ?-That is an important consideration, but not the only one. 949. Cert ain losses are incurred in different direc­tions for the good of the people. Would you supply that in a general way to wireless communications ?-The ex­tension of a mail or other services may sometimes be un­dertaken when they provide a distinct contribution to the progress of the country and when no counter-cou­siderations are involved, but in this instance we have tJ consider whether a reduction in wireless rates to 1d. a word will give a great incentive to persons to use the service who have not previously done so. In that case there is no counter-consideration. If an un­ns~ally low rate would imperil the continuance of the


cable service which should be manitained for national purpo es any reduction requires the most careful attention. 950. Do the oYerseas mail services pay?-It is diffi­ cult to say. The subsidy given to the shipping com­

panies for the con yeyance of mails is not only in con -nexiou ,vith the carriage of mails but i to assist in en­ suring the maintena11ce of a regular steamship serviJe in the interests of the people.

951. By the Chairman.-Were you associated with the Postal Department ,vhen lettergrams were first in­ troduced ?-Yes. 952. I understand lettergrams were introduced with

the idea of utilizing the time of telegraphists when they were not fully occupied ?-The system was intro­ duced with the object of obtaining revenue which we otherwise would not have received, and at the same time to render a service to the community. Lettergrams can be lodged at any time but they are not despatched until after 7 p.m. unless an opportunity is provided earlier owing to a temporary slackness. In the ordinary cours,! lettergrams would be a dead loss to the departmen\ but in order to occupy the time of telegraphists during the slack period and to render a service to the public the system was introduced. Lettergrams can be lodged only at certain selected country centres, and the depart­ ment does not undertrJ,ke to despatch the messages until

aftei: 7 p.m., and then they are delivered by letter­ carriers. 953. Messages can be sent by cable from Australia to Norfolk Island at a rate of 3d. per word and there is no minimum. Four words could be despatched for ls.?· -Yes.

954. A similar number of words despatched to Wan­ garatta would cost ls. 4d. ?-Yes. The witness withdrew. The committe adjo·urned.

( Taken at Sydney.) WEDNESDAY, 10TH APRIL, 1929. Present: Senator THOMAS, Chairma~; Senator Carroll Senator Herbert Hays.

Senator Findley Ernest Thomas Fisk, Managing Director, Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Limited, Sydney, sworn and examined.

955. By the Chairman.-W e regret that the Board of Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Limited has been reluctant to give evidence before this Committee, and that it should have seen :fit to communicate with the Prime Minister on the matter, instead of first approach-1 ng us. Amongst other objections, we deny the right of even the Prime Minister to interfere with the func­

tious of a Select Committee appointed by the Senate. The Committee is in no way antagonistic to the Com­ pany. We appreciate very much the opportunity given to ub yesterday by your company to see your works, and we were extremely pleased with all we saw. It was a matter of great gratification and satisfaction to U8 to sec \vlrn.t your company has been able to accom­ plish. l t was pleasing to find that the work which we

tnspected was done in Australia by an Australian com­ pany, a11d we understand, practically all by Australian "rnrkme11. ~~lthough we regretted the action of the Board, and of the Prime Minister, ·we were prepared to take into serious consideration the advisability of delaying calling you until the negotiations ref erred to in your letter ·were completed; but the Prime Minister

rofu ed to give us an opportunity of extending the inquiry by thi committee beyond the 30th June, which

made it imperative for us to proceed as best ,ve could \Yith our inve tigations. Would you care· to give the rea ons which actuated the Board in this matter?-­ I do not wi h the action of my Board to be misnnder-

tood. The Board considered it its duty on any matter of policy concerning the Government or the Parlia­ ment to communicate first with the Prime Minister, as the representative of the Commonwealth Govern­ ment, ·which, as you are aware, has a controlling interest

in Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Limited. More­ o-ver, we considered it necessary to direct the attention of the Prime :Minister to the fact that the public

inquiry being conducted by this Committee might at the present juncture prejudicially affect Australia's intere t and also the company's interest in connexion with certain negoiations which were proceeding, and

with which the Prime Minister was being kept closely in touch. It was, in the opinion of the Board, only

right that these aspects of the matter should be brought under his notice. Apart from these considerations the Board had no desire to delay the work of your Com­ mittee or to criticize it in any way.

956. What are the functions of your company ?-We are an organization under Australian control, and our bu£iness is to develop all branches of wireless activity.

957. It is part of your business to transmit and to receive wireless messages between Australia and Great Britain ?-Yes. 958 . Will you outline the general activities in which your company is engaged ?-We design and manufac­ ·ture wireless apparatus of all kinds. We erect and

· operate wireless stations for various purposes, and we conduct research and experimental work in all branches of wireless. It is the company's policy, so far as it is able, to make Australia the wireless centre of the South­

ern Pacific, and we think that can be done by Amalga­ mated Wireless (Australasia) Limited, as an Australian organization, provided we have the continued support of the Commonwealth Government. In other parts of

the world, great strides are being made in all branches of wireless communicatoin, and we recognize the great value of this science to Australia. We also see in

other parts of the world a movement for development in the matter of research, and in the conduct of ser­ vices to extend and to be controlled by large organiza­ tions, national jn their character, in each country. Perhaps I may be permitted to mention what has hap­ pened in the United States of America, a country which has been prominently associated with the development of wireless. Some years ago, wireless in the United States of America was being conducted by the Mar­ coni Company, which was largely a British concern,

and therefore, so far as the United States of America was concerned, a foreign corporation. The United States Government therefore restricted the full develop­ ment of wireless by that organization. The United States Government subsequently urged the establish­ ment of an organization entirely under American con­

trol to develop these extensive wireless activities, and to link the United States of America, as far as

possible, with every other country in the world. To­ day they have their big organization formed practic­ ally at the request of the United States of America Government, entirely under American control, refus­ iug to employ any but American citizens, and develop­ ing all branche of wireless activity. There is no doubt that by that means America has been placed in the forefront, but not ahead, of wireless development. It i our opinion that wireless communication is of such great importance to Australia that a similar policy in

the Commonwealth is most desirable. We find that as a result of the rapid development and intensive research which is being carried out, that no one country to-day is able to be entirely independent of other coun­

trie on thP technical side of this work. It is found


that if we are to have the fullest use of wireless in

all its branches, we must make use of all inventions vvhich arc. continual~y being ~dd~d to.. Consequently, these national service orgamzat10ns rn the various countries have acquired in their own countries the right to use the inventions of other countries. That right is

even more essential in Australia than in some

countries, as in Australia effective wireless communica­ tion is most essential. Moreover Australia with a relatively small population cannot develop its

wireless research to the same extent as other

countries with larger populations and where more capital is available. We can do a great deal, but we must have access to the inventions of Great Britain, America, France and Germany, which are the prin­

cipal countries at present undertaking developmental and research work. Therefore, our policy is directed towards having in Australia a wireless company which, relatively, will be as important and as strong as similar companies in other countries. It is our desire that this company shall be an Australian organization controlled in Australia, and not in any way under the domination of persons beyond the Commonwealth. It is, however,

our desire that our company shall have access to the inventions, research and developments on the technical side of these big organizations in other parts of the world. That has been achieved. We have acquired

the rights for Australia and New Zealand of these great wireless organizations outside Australia, and we have made the company, which at one time was not under Australian control, now an organization which is effec­

tively under the control of the Australian people. Moreover, the . organization is one in which the Com­ monwealth Government ho]ds a majority of the shares. The Commonwealth Government appoints

three of the directors and the Commonwealth directors and the private shareholders have equal vot­

ing power in the appointment of the seventh

director. We have built up m Australia a

complete organization, which, so far as I

am aware, carries out every wireless function that similar organizations do in other countries. We con­ duct a great amount of research work on the technical side. Investigations are made into patents in other

countries, and we design and manufacture all classes of wireless apparatus in our own Australian workshops. We design, manufacture, and erect wireless, telegraphic, telephonic and broadcasting stations, ap.d are carrying

on wireless services for all purposes. VTe are operating the wireless service on board over 100 merchant ships, and are conducting a wireless service on the Australian coast through which communication is maintained with ships of all nations at sea. On the technical side, we

are operating two of the principal broadcasting stations, and have also built a majority of the other principal broadcasting stations. We are also operating special stations under a wireless telegraphic and telephonic system for communicating with the trawlers on the New South Wales coast. We have established a wire­ le~s service between Australia and N ournea in New

Caledonia, which has entirely taken the place of the cable service. We have also established and are operat­ ing a Beam wireless service direct with Canada and Great Britain. In addition, we are carrying on wire­ less telegraphic traffic between Australia and New

Guinea and Papua. Moreover, we have recently taken over from the Imperial Government the wireless sta­ tions in the Fiji Islands, and have just ocmpleted our work of bringing these stations up to date by installing at Suva and other places the most modern type of appa­

ratus, which was entirely designed and manufactured in our works in Australia. These installations

were made by an Australian engineer who

was sent to Fiji for the purpose. We ~ave

co-ordinated all these activities into one orgamza­ tiou which 1s employing ~early 11000 persons.

Our company is recognized in other part of the ·world as being one of the leading wireless organizations. We are by no mean behind other imilar companie , and have been able to do all this work, including the opera­ tions of an improved Beam service, ·without having to

import any one into thi country, with the ingle

exception of an expert glass-blower. The opening of the Beam service itself involved entirely new work on the technical side, and also on the commercial side. The view we took was that as the employee iu our

own service were capable of extending their knowledge and experience, we arranged for their training, ome in Australia and some overseas, with the result that we opened with an improved service and ·with a staff re­ cruited entirely from our existing service. That staff included a traffic manager, who is in charge of the whole service. On more than one occasion we have been complimented by the British authorities in control of the station at the other end, who have said that,

although they are associated with the Beam services to the other dominions, the operation of the Bea m ervic<' at the Australian end was an example to others. We are doing all that work, and, in addition,

we can confidently assert that the British Empire to­ day is equipped with the most effective and up-to-date wireless communication service in the ,,·orld as a result of the pioneering efforts of our Australian

company. Although we did not invent or develop the Beam system in its early stages, it is a

fact that, but for the policy of this Australian company, the British Empire would not have the advantage of the up-to-date system which it has to-day. It would havr had what was proposed some years ago, the old Norman relay system, which Australia alone did not believe in and which it fought against. Ultimately, Australia was responsible for converting the rest of the Empire, with the result that it was able to establish and success­ fully operate the up-to-date Beam system. That is a brief, general review of the company's activities, and we hope that it will be given an opportunity to carry its work still further. We have built up an Australian organization, and have been responsible for linking

Australia direct with Great Britain by wireless, which, a few years ago, we were informed was impossible. By wireless telegraphy and telephony we can link Australia with every important country in the world, and hope to make Australia the wireless centre of the Southern Pacific. The taking over of the Fiji service is the first step- in that direction.

959. As telegraph messages can be despatcheJ throughout Australia at a 1d. a word by using equip­ ment which has cost the country several millions of pounds, the Committee is of the opinion that wireless messages could be despatched overseas at a much cheaper rate, possibly at ld. a word, particularly as the capital cost of installing the Beam system

has not been very great. We should like to

know whether you think it practicable m the

present circumstances to despatch and receive

wireless messages at 1d. a word ?-I do not

think it practicable to-day; but I would be sorry to · think that it would never be practicable to despatch and receive messages at that rate. The history of wire­ less development suggests that your ideal will ultimately

be reached, and I hope in the near future. This objec­ tive should be achieved if there are persons in our midst who will keep constantly reminding us, and also if we ha,e the necessary ellcouragement to enable us to ~·o 011

with our development work. 1 lt1 1ongh ,,·e haw not been able to carry business at the low rate .rou mention, the operation of the Beam service has been the means of saving the community in the matter of overseas com­

munication some hnndre

ling would have been despatched by cable at higher rate . I should say that th re ha been a aving


to the community of well oTer £100,000 a year;

but rn addition the Beam ystcm has stimu­

lated a reduction in the cable rates-with that

some will not agree-with a con equent saving to the community. 1Uthough the Beam . y tern has only been in operation about two year , it ha during that time shown a very considerable saving to the community. I believe that wireless has possibilities, the extent of

"hirh we cannot at present estimate. We have shown in the past that we are anxious to develop wireless communication in all its aspects, and in adhering to the policy of the past ·we should be able to make stiJl greater progress. At present ,ve are carrying a very consider­ able load of traffic on which our net return is lfd.

per word. It will, therefore, be seen that so far as

Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Limited is con­ cerned we are in some respects operating at a rate approaching that which you favour. We could not, however, carry traffic even at that figure if we had not the assistance of the full rate traffic of 1s. 8d. a word, out of which we get a net return of 8fd. a word. Our problem is similar to that which confronts railway

authorities, who, if they dispensed with first class fare~, ·would be compelled to increase the second class fares. In the same way, if what may be termed the luxuries trade were taken away it would mean increasing thn

cost of the bread and butter trade. In these circum­ stances, if the full rate traffic were not available it would not be possible to-day to carry week-end messages and letter telegrams at under 2d. a word net return to the company. Of course, the actual charge to the public is greater than that, because the authorities operating the Beam service in Great Britain have to be paid for their work at the other end; there are also fairly heavy terminal charges which the traffic has to carry. We have to pay terminal charges on every word that goes over our circuit, whether those words are transmitted

and delivered by the Post Office or by our­

selves . As a matter of fact 1 the Postal Department carrjes about 23 per cent. of our traffic, therefore the actual charge we pay to it for the full rate messages it carries is approximately ls. a word. Up to the 30th

,T unc, 1928, we paid an averag of 12.19d. per word to

the Postal Department in Australia for the full rate messages which they carried on our account. On the de­ f erred messages we paid 2.33d., on the daily Jetter tele­ gram 4.72cl., and on week-end letter telegrams 3.12d. per word. In addition we pay over £5,000 a year for the rental of lines, all of which has to be added to the

actual cost of the messages we transmit. Unless the terminal charges at both ends are abolished, operatina costs are less, wages lower-which we do not desire~ and_ the :'olume of traffic could be very greatly and very rapidly mcreased, I cannot see how a substantial re­ duction co1;1-ld be made without the payment of a subsidy.

You mentioned that the Postal Department, which has inv?lved ve~y heavJ: capital expenditure in providing eqmpment, is carrymg· messages throughout Australia at ld. a word; but a close investigation will show that there are certain factors which have a very important bearing upon the rates. The actual cost to the Postal Department-so far as I have been able to gather from

the evidence given to you by representatives of that department-on an annual traffic load of 432 000 000 d . ' ' wor s is about .96d. per word. If their traffic load was reduced from 432,000,000 to 10,000 000 or even 50,0?0,000 words, their cost would be very ~uch greater, particularly as the department has to maintain lines and offices all over the country, irrespective of the trnffic load. I do not think it would be possible to

continue an inland telegrap_ hic service to-day on its present low basis of rates without a considerable sub­ sidy. I understand from the evjdence tendered by a representative of the Postal Department that a loss of

between £200,000 and £300,000 is incurred annually which mean the service being subsidized to

that e.rtent by the general taxpayer. From a

rough analysi of the figures given in evidence

it appear to me that the loss on press messages

may po sibly amount to £175,000 a year; but even if this bu iness were taken away altogether it is difficult to see how the department could reduce its organization and it owrhead costs. I suppose if these prnferential

rates were dispen eel with the volume of press business ,rnuld uot be so great. Their capital and overhead charges, which consist of maintenance, interest and ad­ ministrafrrn costs, amounts to about £13,600 per annum

for each 10,000,000 ·words. On the enormous load of traffic which the department is carrying to-day the maintenance charges are over £200,000 a year. Their total capital and overhead charges only amount to

one-third of ld. a word.. The Beam service has not, and. i not likely to have for some time, anything like a traf­ fic of 400,000,000 words per annum. It has to be self­ snpporting. It does not receive any subsidy. If

it makes a loss, that loss falls upon the

company itself, which perhaps is desirable, as

it would lead to a stimulation of effort

and a desire to search for new traffic in

every possible direction. It would be practicable to subsidize the Beam service to-day, and bring the rates down lower than they are, but that is a matter of

policy, and 011e which involves the question of whether the taxpayers should be asked to contribute towards the cost of cheap messages, which would benefit only the section using the service. I am not prepared to say whether that should or should not be done; but to-day

penny-a-word messages are impracticable. ·when our first agreement was entered into with the Common­ wealth in 1922 we did not contemplate the stage of efficiency which we have reached to-day. We undertook

to provide a station in Australia for direct communica­ tion with Great Britain and with Canada having a minimum total traffic capacity of 17,280,000

words per annum. In 1924, with the consent

of the Commonwealth Parliament, we changed over to the Beam system, and under the revised agree­ ment undertook to provide a service with a minimum capacity which was 50 per cent . . greater than pre­

viously, and which is equivalent to approximately 26,000,000 words per annum. Through the Beam ser­ vice we have provided a traffic capacity considerably in excess of what we undertook to provide when the ser­ vice was authorized. That advance has been made within seven years, and I hope that during the next seven years similar advancement will be made in the direction of jll<:,~·easing the capacity of our long dis­ tance service. This advancement will probably be due to the development of what is known as facsimile trans­ mission\ and also to multiplex transmission. These

two systems ca 11 be developed at the same time. A great amount of research has already been carried out in England, United States of America, and in other countries in connexion with the facsimile system, which is leading us to the point where a written, printed

or type-,vritten document can be reproduced in fac­ simile through the wireless service. When this method can be employed, it wiU be possible to transmit such documents which will be photographed and transmitted by wireless, and this may result in an appreciable reduc­

tion in the existing rate. The multiplex system is also being developed as a result of research, and under which it ·will be possible to use one Beam station to con-vey several communications simultaneously. That

will involve additional apparatus in the Beam station, and more capital cost, but taking these two systems together, it would appear that within a few years we shall be able to provide, between Australia and Great Britain, and other overseas countries, a wireless ser­ vice which will have a greater capucity than the present

Beam service, and the operating costs of which will be !es er word, or whatever unit is employed, than


they are to-day. It is by following up the development which has taken place. all over the v,rorld and at th~ . . . ' same time contrnurng our own research and develop-men~al work in Australia, as :v ell as by applying a pro­

port10n of our revenue f~r this purpose, that we expect to aclvnnce. Of course, 1f ,ve spend £5,000 or £10 000 on res earch work i11 any one year, we cannot expect to reap the benefit ·within that year; it may be some

time afterwards. Such ·expenditure can come only from existing revenue, and the benefits which we enjoy to-day must assist in paying for further advances which we expect in the future. By active development and

research work, I think your objective will be arrived at by this means, and I hope very soon. I trust you

will not lose sight of the fact that although we are

not transmitting overseas messages at 1d. a ·word, the Beam service, under the control of the Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Limited, has been responsible more than any other agency in reducing the cost of communication between Australia and overseas coun­

tries. This has been done in face of considerable

opposition. 960. Do I understand that the Postal Department is handling only about 23 per cent. of your traffic ?-Yes. 961. And you are handling the remainder?-Yes, accepted from or delivered direct to the public. The bulk of the overseas traffic originates in or is destined

to the principal cities. The total traffic despatched and received by the Beam wireless system in the different States for 1927 was apportioned as follows :-New South Wales, 43.4 7 per cent.; Victoria, 42. 78 per cent.; Queensland 3. 77 per cent. ; South Australia, 4.35 per cent.; Western Australia, 3.24 per cent.; Tasmania, 1.6 per cent., and the Federal Capital Territory, .79 per cent. The :figures for the six months ended 30th June, 1928, were-New South Wales, 45.83 per cent.; Vic­

toria, 39.55 per ceut.; Queensland, 4.93 per cent.; South Australia, 3.76 per cent.; Western Australia, 3.89 per cent.; Tasmania, 1.34 per cent., and the Fede­ ral Capital Territory, .7 per cent.

962. If it were not for the terminal charges would you be able to handle the business at lower rates?­ Whatever saving was effected could be passed on to the public, and the various classes of traffic would benefit.

963. For 70 per cent. of the traffic you get' a net

return of under 2d. a ,vord ?-On approximately 70 per cent. we get 2d. per word or less. Approximately 45 per cent of the total is below 2d. per word. 964. For 30 per cent. of the traffic you get a net

return of Sid. a vrnrd ?-There are three classes of traf­ fic on whi;h the 11 et returns, respectively, are-4d., 4d., and Sid. 965. If the rate were reduced to 1d. a word all round do you not think that the traffic ·would increase tre­ mendously ?-Yes, but not suddenly. There would be

a period during which there would be a heavy loss. It would take a few years before it increased to what we would regard a paying load. An indication of the time which would be taken in reaching a paying load

is found in the report of the Pacific Cable Board. Be­ fore the week-end rate was introduced, the lowest rate to Great Britain was 3s. a word. Week-end telegrams were introduced on the 1st January, 1913, but prior

to that the full rate was 3s. a word, and the deferred rate 1 s. 6d. a word. Week-end telegrams were then introduced for which the rate was 9d. a word, which was a considerable reduction. During the :first six months, 44,612 words were despatched at that rate out

of a total load ·of 2,660,000 words. In the next twelve months, 326,920 words were despatched out of a total of 3,000,000 ,vords, and during the following year, out of a total of nearly 4,500,000 words,

approximately 1,000,000 were despatched at the reduced rate. It will therefore be seen that it

was some time after the rates were reduced before there was a substantial increase in the traffic load. If you

take the figures frurn the t~rrniuation of the war up iu the opening of the Beam service you will find that they remain fairly stationary at between 3,000,000 and 4,000,000 words for the , ·eek-end traffic. There is

another aspect of this matter which I have previou ly mentioned, and it is that we must have full rate traffic to enable us to carry on the service. The :figures I have quoted sho,v -rery clearly that these reduced rate3 were re ponsible for interfering with the traffic at the full rate. The difficulty in suddenly introducing a ld. a word rate is that we would be faced with a heavy loss

as 'i\·e could not expect a sudden increase in traffic to ensure a paying load. I therefore suggest that the best way to achieve the Committee's objective jg by

degrees, and taking ·what we have done to-day

as an indication of the possibilities of the future

there should be n reasonable prospect of re­

duced rates as developmental research work pro­ ceeds. A class of traffic has been introduced across the Atlantic which is based on lid. a word for post letter telegrams. Under this system, which has recently

been adopted and extended by the cable companies, messages are sent first by post and then either by ordi­ nary Beam service or by cable, and on· arrival are again h andled as ordinary mail matter. For instance, a message may be posted in the ordinary way to the des­ patchrng centre and then transmitted by wireless or by cable, and a message so received may be despatched to the

addressee by post. That appears to be a good class of traffic and I have no doubt that when we are able to see our way a little more clearly than at present some­ thing of the same kind may be possible here. Of course there are no terminal charges on such messages and they are transmitted only when the circumstances permit. They could not be carried over the Trans-Atlantic ser­ vice when there are big loads of higher priced traffic, but the staff co uld be employed in handling such traffic during slack periods. Business rushes, particularly in Australia, which is so widely separated from other coun­ tries, are concentrated within a few hours; but there are other portions of the day during which the plant has to be kept going and \Vhen the staff has to be in

attendance when such messages could be transmitted. There is a class of traffic on which, if considered alone, money is lost; but which is payable provided more ex­ pensive traffic is offering. I do not know what our

position would be here. Last year we introduced some­ thing of the kind between Australia and the ships at sea, under which persons on board ship can transmit mes­ sages to our shore stations and vice versa. Messages received from ships are sent on by post in the ordinary course at about one half the cost. We pay the postage on messages sent on by mail. We are obliged to pay the Postal Department a -!-d . a word 011 every word we handle. If that rate were applied to the post letter

telegrams we could not introduce a service such as they are operating else\vhere. 966. If that system could be introduced many of the difficulties in the matter of rates would be overcome, as I believe the average person would not object to a delay

of 24 hours ?-I think it \YOuld be a good anangement. 967. Do you know if our overseas means of communi­ cation is used to any extent by the man in the street?­ We get a fair number of other than commercial com­ munications, but it would be difficult to say what propor­

tion of the people use the overseas services for personal messages. I should say that the average person does not use the week-end rate more than once or twice a year. For week-end messages there is a minimum rate

of 8s. 4d. for 20 word , and I do not think there ar~

many people in -\. ustralia who could not afford to send a week-end message occasionaJly. Between London and New York there is a minimum charge for post letter telegrams of 4s. 2d. for 40 words. The minimum for 100 words jg 12s. 6d. and above that 1 Jd. is charged for each additional word. The rates therefore are for 100 l~d. a worJ°; if le:s than 100 words 2d., and if le :; than 40 words 2Jd. a word. The lowest charge is

-!s. 2J. for 40 words. 968. Do you think the proposed merger between cer­ tain communication companie is likely to interfere with the development of wireless ?-It is impossible for me to say ; everything depends upon the policy which i ~ followed in the future. I do not see why the merger should interfere with wireless developments, but, as I

have said: it depends upon the policy adopte

come out of the traffic, but whnther that would make a big

971. On the other hand if the Postal Department has to consider the interest of the cable companies, it could not do th" work better than you could ?-I do not think so.

972. By Senator CarroU.-A statement was made by a witness which left the impression in my mind that th:: Beam system had practically outlived its usefulness ar.d that the system would be practically dropped by wiri=.!­ less experts withjn a very little while ?-:-I think I saw a statement to that effect in the press yesterday and which was made by a gentleman \Vho I do not think has yet seen a Beam station; instead of being a back number

I find that wireless research workers represeuting the 11:::.t ions devo6ng a good deal of attention to wireless

developments are concentrating their energies more :rnd more upon Beam wireless rather than upon other systems. 973. The same witness said that it would take a

month or more to change the wave length of a Beam station, whereas under the system he was advocating the wave length could be changed within a few hours? -Under the Beam system the wave length can be

changed as quickl,v as under any other system, provided the apparatus to do it is available. I think we co uld change our wave length in three seconds ,vi th the

necessary equipment. 97 4. Do you think it necessary, in view of the latest wireless developments, to retain the cable services?-­ That point has already been decided at a conference at which the various governments of the Empire were r epresented, and at which it was apparently decided that for a time, at any rate, it is essential to retain the cable services. In these circumstances I do not care to express an opinion, and can only adhere to the decision which has been reached. Of course, there are particular circumstances in Australia which have to be considered. I am not an authority on defence, but I have consider ed · the subject in my own way, and I understand what I

think is the relation of wireless to defence matters. The view I take is this : If there were war in this part of the world, wireless is the only system of communication with the outside world that could be relied upon. We have our cable system, but if we were at war an enemy with any sort of fleet, unless it were bottled up, would be able to render the cable service ineffective, as it would be very difficult for us to patrol 7,000 odd miles of cable across the Pacific and, say, 3,000 miles across the Indian Ocean. The German cables were cut during the Great War because Germany did not control the seas. In the event of war there is always the risk of cables being destroyed, and in these circumstances we would be jsolated from the outside world except for wireless com­ munication. If wireless activities are permitted to

develop, I think we could defy any enemy power to interfere with wireless communications, although it might at times make communication difficult. We had that experience during the Great War. Germany had no cable communications because her cables were cut, but the Allies were unable to permanently interfere with her wireless communications. Germany endeavoured to interrupt the wireless communications of the Allies, and

although at times they made communication difficult, they never stopped it. Wireless communication is far more efficient to-day than it was then, and if we erect wireless stations in Australia at only a proportion of cost of the cable, I think we could guarantee to provide communication in any circumstances. Moreover, the wireless stations could be placed well inland. As an instance, I may mention that before finally deciding on

the sites for our Beam stations I consulted the defence authorities. I rejected a number of sites because 1 knew the defence authorities would not approve of them, and others were rejected because they did not approve.

The sites we have, and which were approved by the defence authorities, are fairly well inland, whilst the cable landing stations are right on the coast. Australia, in her isolated position, should do whatever the Govern­ ment advises, but by all means we should develop wire­ less to its fullest possible extent, so that an Australian

organization can materially assist the defence of the country in time of war.


975. Under the merger it is proposed to amalgamate the cable and wireless services ?-In Great Britain the wireless service will be taken over from the Postal De­ partment and controlled by a company known as Im­ perial Communications Limited, whir-h will also own

the cable services. 976. In future the wireless companies will have to carry the cable services ?-I should rather not express an opinion on that point.

977. You are strongly in favour of cheaper wireless communications, and your company is working in that direction ?-Yes. 978. By Senator Herbert Hays.-Has your company

any reciprocal arrangement with other wireless com­ panies overseas in respect to inventions and research work ?-Yes, with all the principal wireless companies in the world. We have the right to benefit by their

investigations and research .. work, and we obtain infor­ mation far in advance of its publication. We maintain a special department for studying inventions and results of research, and decide what to do in co-ordinating it

with or benefiting by what is done elsewhere. 979. Did I understand you to say that the wireless service between Australia and Noumea has taken the place of the cable service ?-That is so.

980. Is that giving a satisfactory and continuous ser­ vice ?-I am not certain whether the service is con­ tinuous, but it meets all the requirements of the traffic. 981. Has the establishment of the Beam service been responsible for expediting the handling of cable mes­ sages ?-I think the development of wireless has stimu­

lated the scient:fic develop:ment of cable communications. 982. Has it resulted in the more rapid despatch of the cable company's business ?-I have had no opportunity of judging.

983. Would you care to express an opinion concern­ ing the terminal charges. Do you think they could be substantially reduced ?-Not beyond saying that they contribute towards the revenue of the telegraphic de­ partment and help to make up its losses.

984. The terminal charges form a substantial part of the transmission cost ?-Yes. 985. You said earlier in your evidence that certain things have been achieved against much opposition.

What did you mean by that ?-A great deal of our opposition came from the Postal Department. The establishment of the Pacific cable services was

strenuously opposed by the British postal authorities. We also had opposition in various other directions which I need not mention; qut the only opposition within Aus­ tralia was from the Postal Department.

986. It has been stated to the committee in eviden,~e that if the wireless system were used to its full capacity :11-essages c~uld be despatched at a cheaper rate ?-Yes, if the termmal charges were reduced or abolished· but

without that only as, a result of further developm~nt. 987. We must, therefore, retain the present wireless charges, so as not to interfere with the cable services or allow wireless to develop to its fullest extent and

subsidize the cable companies ?-All that has been con­ sidered at the conference of representatives of the British and Dominion Governments in Great Britain. If we can bring the t'wo services in Australia under

efficient administration, and effect is given to the decision r eached at the London con£ erence, we can largely develop on our own lines. 988. Would you care to express an opinion as to how the wireless system of Australia should be con­ trolled ?-I think it advisable to continue the policy

adopted in other countries of having the wireless of Australia' under our own control as far as possible. 989. By Senator Pindley.-I understand you to say that Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Limited was

under the control of an Australian company ?-Yes. 990. Can you tell the committee approximately the number of shareholders in the company apart from the Government interest in the undertaking?-From memory, I think there are about 2,000, but I am not certain.

991. Do any of the shareholders in the company reside outside Australia ?-Yes. 992. Are they prominently associated with the wire­ less business ?-Yes, the Marconi Company is interested.

993. Is the Marconi Company and Marconi himself interested in Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Limited ?-Not Marconi personally. Under the merger the shares of the Marconi Company will pass over to the new Communications Company.

994. The company with which Marconi is associated is interested in Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Limited ?-Yes, but it has not a controlling interest. 995. Might I ask to what extent the Marconi Com­

pany is interested in Amalgamat.ed Wireless (Austral­ asia) Limited ?-Personally I have no objection in giving the information, but I do not think I am at

liberty to say what individual shareholders hold. The Australian shareholding interest is at least 80 per cent. of the total. 996. Would you care to say that Marconi is interested in all large wireless companies in different parts of the world that are to be associated with the Com­ munications Company?-! do not know, but I do not

think so. 997. As the Marconi Company is interested in

Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Limited it would follow that that company is interested in wireless com­ panies in other parts of the world ?-It would probably have been its policy, but I could not say that that is

the case. 998. It is more than likely that those associated with the Marconi Company are :financially interested in the proposed merger?-The merger is an amalgamation of the Marconi Company and the Eastern group of cable companies. There are two phases, according to the published report of the conference. There is the

merger, which consists of a complete merger of the Eastern Extension Cable Company and its associated companies with the Marconi Company; but distinct from that there is a Communications Company, which

will actualJy own and operate the services. That Com­ munications Company ie to issue a number of shares, and those shares are to be held by the merger


9~9 . .Are intlueuecb being exerci 'ed directly or in­ directly to include Australia ?-I prefer not to deal with that subject one way or the other. ....lustralia wa represented at tlte conference in London. At this stage I prefer not to discu s the subject, for rea on which

I know you will understand. 1000. Would you pref er the present system of semi­ government control to the control being handed ffrnr to the merger ?-Decidedly.

1001. In t4e event of the Communications Company bringing about a complete merger, under which the Australian company becomes a part of the merger, do you think that that would be pref er able to the system under which we are working at present ?-I could not

compare that with our present position, as it jg one which must eyentually be altered in consequence of what has recently transpired in Great Britain. 1002. It is inevitable that an alteration will take place ?-Some arrangement must be made in .Australia to deal with the situation which has recently arisen in England between the wireless and cable intere ts.

1003. Assuming the merger has been adopted, what is likely to happen if the British Government should be defeated at the next general election and Mr. Ramsay MacDonald becomes Prime Minister, seeing that he has said that if the Labour party is returned to power it will favour a reversion to the present sytsem ?-I would rather not discuss such a situation. All I can say is

that if we retain control in Australia it does not matter very much what is done at the other end. 1004. Do you not think that Australia would be dominated by the .larger interests ?-A.ustralia's interest would be relatively small, but if she is able to look after her own household she is doing as much as any other country interested can do.

1005. Of what service would our Australian stations be if they could not work in conjunction with wireless stations overseas ?-We are always faced with that situation.

1006. You have not any difficulty to-day ?-We do not get everything we want but we are now working satisfactorily. 1007. Is there any difficulty in sending messages to 01· receiving messages from Great Britain or other parts of the Empire?-No.

1008. Under an amended arrangement with which Australia was not associated you might have difficulty 9. - I could not say.

1009. Arc any negotiations pending in connexion with the merger ·which are likely to affect Australia?­ Some arrangement is essential and certain negotiations are being undertaken.

1010. Between ·whom ?-Between the company here and those concerned in Great Britain. The Common­ wealth Government is being fully informed as to all that is being done, but I should rather not explain i11 public at present ·what is actually happening. Certain negotiations are proceedi11g with the full knowledge of the Federal GoYernment.

1011. The Prime Minister of Ai..ustralia as Leader of the ·Government has declared that the Government doe not believe in goYernmental control of certain enter­ prises, and I should like to know whether there has bem1

any indication of the Government's desire to get out of this business ?-I do not know of the Government hav­ ing any intention in that direction. 1012. Accordi11g to published reports there are to be

two mergers. Is it likely that these two mammoth companies will eventually combine ?-That has been made impossible by the tatement made on behalf of the British Government that the communications companys

in Great Britain will always be under British control. I understand there are two big mergers going on in the United States of America. Although I have received my information only from the press it appears that there is to be a merger between the Mackay Bennet


( '01 pora tiou i\'l1j ·h eoutrol cable auJ certain wire le '

enic s and another, under which the International Telegraph and Telephone Company of America will take owr the whole of the communications system of the Radio orporation of .ii.merica. The International

Telegraph and Telephone Company, I believe

controls a number of trans-Atlantic cables and

probably some of the cables to South America and other countries. The Radio Corporation has a wirele ser­ vice to most of the European countries and to South America as well a the Far East. These interests are being placed under the control of the International

Telegraph and Telephone Company so far as one can judge from press reports. These big American mergers of communication companies were causing much con­ cern to the British Go-vernment and communicatio~1 authorities, who seemed to fear that these big foreign mergers could not be met unless they had in Great Britain some equally powerful organization. Although ..ilustralia has a relatively small population, overseas communication is vital and everything that can be done jn the interests of the Empire must be undertaken. W.::, cannot retard this movement neither can we ignore it, but we should endeavour to avoid control by overseas interests. Naturally all we can do in the circumstance:;

i to strengthen our own concern and to insure that

its control will at all times remain in Australia. Bv developing and protecting our own concern 1m nee 0 d

have no fear for our future position. 1013 . .. A..lthough we have been able to hold our o-wn in the past may there not be difficulty in the future ?-It may be more difficult but not impossible. If we have a company with the same freedom of action as is possessed by other companies and we have a company here which hns the support of the Commonwealth Government we have nothing to fear from what is going on overseas. Whilst retaining our independence we should endeavour

to obtain the greatest advantage we can from what is going on elsewhere. Extensive as are the operations of the merger it cannot conduct business with Australia rxcept through the rhannels we provide and that is

where ,ve come 111. We could say that if you 1vant to c:ommunicate i\'ith us, if we are an independent concern you cannot rlictute terms. They could not refuse ou;. con1munication or malrn it difficult for us to transmit

messages overseas because they will wish to communi­ cate with Australia. We must meet on equal terms and that is how communication between the two coudtries ·will be carried on. The position would be very dif­ frrcut if the Australian organization was under the control of these people. In that case we would havr· very little authority.

1014. Do you think that the merger has been brought about in consequence of a substantial interference with the business of the cable companies ?-The terms of 1:eference of the Imperial Wireless and Cable Con­ ference included these words-" To examine the situa­ tion arising as a result of the competition of the Beam service with the cable service".

1015. If it had not been for the extent to which wire­ less has developed that conference would not have been held?-No. 1016. If it had not been for the effective manner iJJ which wireless communication is being carried out those interested in the cable companies would not have sought a conference ?-I cannot answer for the cable companie ; they have to protect themselves.

1017. When a witness was before the committee he said, according to an uncorrected proof, that a plant of the type he advocated would cost only £5,000. What does your plant cost ?-I estimate that the beam service in this country has cost over £300,QOO.

1018. The same witness said that his system would not involve the use of an extensive aerial system, and that the beam system uses 32 masts each 800 feet high, whereas under the system he wa advocating the use

of one mast 150 feet high was necessary which would reduce the capital cost enormously. Is' his statement correct ?-.rJ o beam station has masts 800 feet high. The highest I know is 350 feet and our masts are only 250 feet high.

1019. I also asked him if he thought the Beam

system is becoming obsolete, and he replied "I am of the opinion that it is on the decline at present. At present the slight advantage in the matter of power is surrounded by so many complications that I believe

a majority of radio engineers are opposed to the Beam system. There is a non-Beam system at Pennant Hills which is in communication with England." Is that statement correcd-There is a non-Beam station at

Pennant Hills, but we are doing our best to convert it into a Beam station to enable it to become more efficient. 1020. You do not share the opinion expressed by that witness that the Beam system is surrounded by so many complications that a majority of radio engineers

are opposed to it ?-There are many complications associated with the Beam system as there are with others, but I think I am safe in asserting that that

gentleman is not conversant with what is· being done. The radio research en~ineers in Great Britain, France, Germany and the Umted States of America are con­ centrating all their energy on the development of the

Beam system, and patents for various methods of Beam transmission are being investigated in large numbers to-day. 1021. Is the beam service used on Australian war­

ships ?-It is difficult to install the Beam system on ships. 1022. Is the non-Beam apparatus used on ships giving satisfaction ?-Yes; but it would be more efficient if transmission and reception were conducted lJ.nder the Beam system.

1023. Can you state the approximate number of persons employed by Amalgamated Wireless (Aus­ tralasia) Limited ?-There a:re approximately 900 engaged in various capacities.

1024. Do you supply the requirements of Australia in the matter of wireless equipment ?-Yes, in everv­ thing except listening-in sets and of these we supply a considerable proportion, but there are other concerns

which import or manufacture them. In the more im­ portant aspect of wireless we provide all the necessary equipment. 1025. Are all your workmen Australians ?-Yes, with

the exception of a glass-blower. 1026. Are they giving satisfaction in their work?­ After having worked in the shops in Great Britain, T nited States of America and Canada, I can say that

our people turn out work which is, at least, as good, and, in some respects, better than work performed in other countries. 1027. I understand you employ a number of youths in different capacities, some of whom may find it difficult to improve their positions ?-In order to assist

them, we have provided a means whereby they can extend their education and also have an opportunity of improving their position. We employ a tutor to coach suitable youths in English and other subjects in order to improve their standard of education, and, in addition, we m8:ke our wireless training school available to them. If a boy can go through that school and obtain a full wireless course, he has then a career before him. We, however, take great care in selecting boys to take this

course, and, in addition to keeping in touch with their parents, we do our best to encourage and educate them, 1028. ])oes that system apply to apprentices ?-Thev go right through their apprenticeship, and, at the sam



time, take a course in electrical engineering at the

technical . colle&'e, for :v hich if . n_ ecessary they are allowed time off. Our wireless tramrng school is avail­ able to apprentices as well as to clerks or other em­ ployees who wish to take a course in wireless. The

only ones who have time off are apprentices attending the te~hnical college, and if they are absent from duty for this purpose, no deduction is made in their wages. 1029. By Senator Oarroll.-In the event of a dead­ lock .bei1;1g reached between your company and the Com­ mm~icat10ns Company, could any other company in Aus­

tralia establish communication with the merger with­ out the consent of the Commonwealth Government?­ N o. 1030. By the Ohairrnan.-Are you providing a re­ liable service ?-Yes.

1031. To what extent can you guarantee secrecy?­ For commercial purposes, I claim that we can

gua~antee as much secrecy as any other telegraphic service. 10.32. Is .the traffic you are handling equal to the service which you undertook to provide ?-In 1922

we guaranteed a minimum capacity of 17,000,000 wor~s, and in 1924 when our agreement was

modified we guaranteed a minimum capacity of 26,000,000 words. To-day our capacity is far in excess of that figure. Telegraphic capacity is based on five letters to a word, but that is not all-earning capacity. In any telegraphic business a considerable proportion of

a company's daily or yearly capacity is occupied by non-earning transmission, and in some cases is calcu­ lated at as low as 40 per cent. One authority states that with a telegraphic capacity of 300 letters a minute which is equivalent to 60 words, a cable would

only carry 28 paying words a minute. I would

place our earning capacity somewhat higher than that. The actual capacity is not the full-earning capacity, because even if it is fully loaded, a considerable por­ tion of the work done is not paj

1033. Supposing you had all the traffic you can carry, what could the Beam service handle ?-I do not wish to give those figures to-day. 1034. If messages can be sent from Australia to New Zealand by cable at 2-!d. a word, why does it cost so much to transmit messages from Australia to

England by wireless ?-It would depend upon the size of the transmitting stations. A good deal of the

traffic on the New Zealand cable is overseas traffic which is carried at a rate of 2s. a word. Only a small proportion of the New Zealand traffic is carried at a low rate.

1035. How long does it take to send a radio wave from Australia to England ?-One-twentieth of a second, or at the rate of 1,000,000 miles a minute. 1036. Would that make any difference in com­ municating over a long distance ?-It is a matter of the strength of a signal when it reaches its destination. If we have a strength of signal of, say, five, we can run

the machine at a hundred words a minute, but if the signal strength is 25 we can run our machines at 250 words a minute, and thus give greater capacity at. the same station. A message reaching England from Aus­

tralia has less energy than one reaching England from India. 1037. To New Zealand the cost should be less?­ That is a different proposition. The smaller the capa­

city the greater the working speed. When the ·working speed is greater the earning capacity is increased. The capacity of a plant operating between Great Britain and India would be greater than between Great Britain and Australia, because of the shorter distance.

The witness withdrew. The committee adjourned.

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