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Tuesday, 10 October 1972
Page: 1399

Senator TOWNLEY asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice:

(1)   What action is being taken by the PostmasterGeneral's Department to provide telephone subscribers with an account which would indicate each telephone number called, together with details of the duration, cost and date of each call as is being done in certain other countries.

(2)   Does the Postmaster-General agree that a telephone subscriber has a right to know accurately the reasons for charges made to his account.

Senator GREENWOOD-The PostmasterGeneral has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1)   There are no plans to provide lists of call details for local calls, within Australia or any other country in the world. Details of trunk calls made through the operator have always been and will continue to be provided on request at a nominal charge. With the multi-metering system we have in Australia, lists of STD call details cannot be provided.

The multi-metering system is similar to systems used in the great majority of countries in the world where subscribers are able to dial their own trunk calls directly. A notable exception is the U.S.A. and Canada where the system does provide for a printed record to be made of each directly dialled trunk call, but the charges for calls are precisely the same as for operator connected calls i.e. a minimum of 3 minutes. Therefore the cost savings to subscribers available from the multi-metering system, where charges are more closely related to the actual duration of the call, are lost to the subscribers in those countries.

There arc basic differences in the type of telephone exchange equipment in Australia which preclude, at present, adoption of the automatic ticketing system used in North America. If it were decided to introduce this system in Australia, it would take a good many, years to carry out the necessary modifications to the existing equipment.

(2)   Yes and this is done to the extent practicable within the limits of our present system.

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