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Thursday, 5 October 1911

Senator READY (Tasmania) . - I have been surprised to hear honorable senators opposite constantly asserting that there is no party flavour about this motion. If that be so, why did Senator McColl submit it in this form? Instead of stating that the action of the Post and Telegraph Department is unfair, and should be discontinued, he might have suggested that it should be a recommendation to the Department to abolish the particular charges of which he complains. If he had taken that course, no honorable senator on this side could have suggested that there was any party feeling displayed by him. I am not surprised that the Minister of Defence should wax warm in discussing such a motion when it plainly suggests that the Labour Government are not doing their duty to those who are unfortunate enough to have to live in the back-blocks in the. matter of affording them proper postal facilities.

Senator St.Ledger was bold enough to use the farm-yard simile of the old cock crowing, and the young cock learning from him, and I think I may say, to complete the farmyard simile, that we have since had the privilege of listening to the old hen cackling. Some of the protestations of honorable senators opposite might very well have been left unsaid in view of the objectionable terms of the motion. In my own State, during the past eighteen months, the administration has been more liberal to the residents of the back-blocks than that of any previous Government.

Senator Walker - How far are the backblocks of Tasmania from postal facilities ?

Senator READY - I admit that, in Tasmania, the "Garden State" of the Commonwealth, distances are not great, but in some parts of that State, the means of communication are very bad, and owing to the mountainous nature of the country, some settlements are almost inaccessible. I have, on more than one occasion, waited upon the Postmaster-General to voice complaints of the residents of such regions, and have always been met in a very reasonable way. I might quote specific instances if it were necessary to do so. I can mention that the present Government promised the State Government of Tasmania that they would' provide communication with the almost inaccessible Port Davey by telephone, at a fairly heavy expense. The request to do so was not entertained by any previous Administration. The present Federal Government have provided the necessary facilities in view of possible shipwrecks.

They have also provided postal facilities for the benefit of the residents in the south of Tasmania. At the request of an honorable member in another place they have established a motor car service for carrying the mails on Sundays between Launceston and Hobart, and in this way have enabled the residents of southern Tasmania to get their mails a day sooner than they otherwise would. I mention these matters to show the liberal way in which the present Government have endeavoured to improve the facilities afforded the people. I believe that this Government will have great problems to face, involving considerable expenditure, within the near future. When the report of the Postal Commission is discussed-

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