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Thursday, 23 August 1973
Page: 276

Mr MALCOLM FRASER (WANNON, VICTORIA) - I direct my question to the PostmasterGeneral. In view of the fact that the Government's decision to increase postal charges will strike heavily at the country newspaper industry, will the

PostmasterGeneral reconsider the answer he gave to the Leader of the Australian Country Party yesterday? Is the PostmasterGeneral not aware that country newspapers rely on postage for their deliveries and that that is not the case with metropolitan dailies? Is the PostmasterGeneral not aware that his new policy will favour the centralist national newspapers against small rural newspapers which arc often the only means of disseminating local community news?

Mr LIONEL BOWEN (KINGSFORD-SMITH, NEW SOUTH WALES) - As indicated yesterday, it is not a policy of this Government to create subsidies and to ask other taxpayers to pay for them. I appreciate that the honourable member for Wannon is a member of the Liberal Party and not a member of the Country Party, but it is interesting to note that the Country Party is always indicating in the public forum that these subsidies should be part of the Consolidated Revenue problem and not a matter for the person who uses the telephone or buys stamps. The honourable member was a member of the Party which was in power for some 24 years but which did nothing about this attitude. The full details of the increases were given to the Country Party at a meeting yesterday. Members of the Country Party obviously are very satisfied with those details. They have not asked any questions about them.

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