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Wednesday, 30 October 1912

Senator BARKER (Victoria) .-I shall certainly support the third reading of the Bill. We have heard very much about conveniencing the public. The Post Officeexists to convenience the public. We have heard a great deal about the methods which it pursues. Why should not the Department takeevery possible means to convenience the public, whether the convenience will be enjoyed by a few persons or not? If large commercial firms can be convenienced by any method, contrivance, or machine, why should they not have the advantage of that convenience?

Senator Rae - If it can be done safely, yes.

Senator BARKER - There is no machine made, I think, which some persons cannot imitate or counterfeit. If the line of argument which has been used were followed to its logical conclusion, there would be an end to the invention of all machines.

Senator Rae - We should not provide facilities for fraud by Act of Parliament.

Senator BARKER - Every facility which is offered to the general public as a convenience can in some way be counterfeited. When it was proposed to introduce bank notes, the whole cry was that the notes would be counterfeited, and lead to the commission of crime. No contrivance of this kind has been introduced, I think, but some one has raised the objection that it would be counterfeited or imitated, and that fraud would result. Why, the present adhesive stamp can be manufactured, sold, and used.

Senator Rae - Do you know of any instance where it has been done?

Senator BARKER - The little contrivance on the table looks very simple, and is introduced as a strong argument why the Government should not undertake to give facilities in the shape of recording machines. The Government have not yet accepted any recording machine. They propose to appoint some experts to report upon the various machines, and to adopt one ofthem hereafter.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - Let us catch our hare before we cook it. Let us have the machine.

Senator BARKER - The honorable senator is against the Bill altogether.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - What is the use of passing the Bill if we have not the machine ?

Senator BARKER - The honorable senator wants the Bill to be withdrawn. There are large firms in the Commonwealth which have an enormous amount of correspondence, and their convenience should be considered. If means can be devised for providing facilities to the general public or ilarge firms, the Department has a right to provide those facilities, and, therefore, I intend to support the third reading of the Bill.

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