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Friday, 13 July 1906

Mr MAHON (Coolgardie) . - I wish to draw the attention of the Prime Minister to a statement published this morning in the Age newspaper under the heading. " Future of Papua." It is stated -

It is understood that the Prime Minister has received quite recently a communication from Sir William McGregor, intimating that until certain action is taken by the Colonial Office he is not free to accept the proffered appointment. The inference is that if the Colonial Office can and will select a successor to him in the Governorship of Newfoundland within a reasonable time, he will favorably consider a definite proposition from Australia.

I should like to ask what truth, if any, there is in that statement, and whether any communications have recently taken place of which he can disclose the particulars to the House? I also wish to know the intentions of the Government in regard to another matter which is now prominently' before the public, and which is of great importance to Australia. I understand that the Government of New Zealand, in view of therecent developments in wireless telegraphy, have placed the sum of£7,000 upon the Estimates for the purpose of promoting that invention in New Zealand. I think that the time has arrived when the Commonwealth Government should let us know whether it is proposed, or is considered desirable, that a sum of money for a similar purpose should be placed upon the Estimates which will shortly be submitted to Parliament, and whether, in the opinion of the Government, it would not be justifiable to expend money upon the development of this invention in Australia, especially on account of the great advantage which wireless telegraphy would be to the shipping ' community, and on account of its great value in the event of any international complications.

Mr Carpenter - Does the honorable member mean that the Commonwealth Government should acquire the patent rights?

Mr MAHON - I make no suggestion as to that.

Mr Carpenter - What would the sum of money be for, then?

Mr MAHON - I presume it might be voted for the purpose of establishing, stations, if the Government saw fit to establish them, or in any way that the Government thought advisable for the development of wireless telegraphy in Australia.

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