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Thursday, 28 June 1906

Mr PAGE (Maranoa) . - When the report in connexion with the Hawker inquiry was presented a request was made by some honorable members that the evidence should be printed, but the Prime Minister could not see his way, in view of the extraordinary expense, to grant the request. It appeared that the expenseof printing, according to the estimate of the Government Printer would be £135.I was one who desired to have the evidence printed, but when the Prime Minister informed us as to the estimated cost I was fairly staggered, and did not proceed further.

Mr McWilliams - There must be an enormous mass of evidence for the printing to cost that amount.

Mr PAGE - That is the estimate received from the Government Printing Office. The honorable member for Corio then made inquiries from a union printing office in Melbourne, and there the estimated cost for 1,000 copies was given at £25.

Mr Liddell - That must be under sweating conditions.

Mr PAGE - No; that is an estimate from a union printing office. I asked the honorable member for Corio particularly on that point.

Mr McWilliams - It is very much more like what should be the price.

Mr PAGE - It has been supplied by a union printing office [laying union rates of wages. We are being robbed by the Government Printing Office, or there is something radically wrong, if 1,000 copies of this paper can be printed for £.25, and the Government Printer demands £135 for the work. The matter is one . which should be inquired into. If the difference in price be so great in respect of one small item of printing, it would be interesting to know how much we have paid in excess for printing done in the past.

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