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Tuesday, 5 September 1911

Senator RAE (New South Wales) . - I desire to know whether this item of £4,963 for the mail service to the Pacific Islands includes the mail service to Papua ?

Senator Findley - Yes.

Senator RAE - Then I trust that a larger sum will be placed on the Estimates, in order to provide a very much better service, not only to Cooktown, but also to ports in northern Queensland. I am quite in sympathy with Senator St. Ledger's request. I can recollect receiving a copy of the resolution which was passed by the Chamber of Commerce. We should do what we can to help the little places, because the big ones can always look after themselves. Having lived in the backblocks, I know that Cooktown is the kind of place which attaches special significance to the mail arrangements. I have recently been at Cooktown, and it appears to me that we are deliberately leaving it out in the cold. It is not quite so small as an interjection would make out.

Senator Givens - It was a very big place at one time.

Senator RAE - Certainly; and in the surrounding country there are possibilities which may make Cooktown a place of some importance again; but even if that were not the case, I shall always speak up .for the little back places, so that their people may live on equal terms with those in other civilized communities. I trust that there will be a larger sum voted to provide speedier mail communication with Papua.: It appears to me that that Possession, which has great possibilities ahead of it, can never be properly treated or developed until its people are brought into touch with those on the mainland. It is a matter of extreme regret to me that nothing has yet been done in the way of wireless telegraphy to link Papua up with the mainland, and give its people - nearly all of whom have relatives living at Cooktown or other parts of north Queensland - an opportunity to communicate with them, especially in cases of sickness. I trust that the matter will not be overlooked.

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