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PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES.

SESSION 190 4.

(FIRST SESSION OF THE SECOND PARLIAMENT.)

VOL. XXII.

(Comprising the period from 28th September to 27th October, 1904.)

SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.

Printed and P ied for the GOVERNMENT of the COMMONWEALTH of AUSTRALIA by

ROBT. S. BRAIN, Government Printer for the State of Victoria.

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not ask, and have never asked, for more than not been a single interruption of the line. that. I have always recognised that the There are, according to a return I saw, Eastern Extension Company, being the fewer mistakes per message made on the pioneer company, has spent a lot of money line than on the Eastern Extension Comon the development of its Australian busi- / pany's line. The Pacific Cable is less ness, and that it came here on the invita- | liable to interruption, because it does not tion of the States. Therefore, it is impos- cross any volcanic belts, as do the Eastern sible for us to say to that company that we Extension Company's cables. will bundle it out of Australia, and not al

Senator PLAYFORD.-There is no volcanic low it to continue its cabling traffic. Senator HIGGS.—That invitation was pro

belt between here and South Africa. bably prompted by the company itself. Senator STANIFORTH SMITH.—No,

Senator STANIFORTH SMITH.-But but two of the company's cables stretch we are entitled to a fair share-I should say over some of the worst volcanic country in to a half share of the cabling business the world, and there are continual interof the Pacific Cable, and we could easily get ruptions. The Pacific Cable is the quickest that without allowing ourselves to be swal- means of communication between Australia lowed by the Eastern Extension Company. and the old country. As a proof of that The working expenses of the Pacific Cable statement, I may say that, when the last are only about one-third of the working ex- great cricket match was being played bepenses of the Eastern Extension Company. tween the English and Australian elevens in The working expenses of the Pacific Cable Sydney, the result was sent home viâ the for the year ended 31st March, 1904, were Pacific Cable in three and a half minutes, £54,000. I have no later balance-sheet of which is a world's record when the lines the Eastern Extension Company than that have not been cleared for any particular dated December, 1902. But for that year message. It is a record which I believe the their working expenses were in round Eastern Extension Company has never apfigures £139,000.

proached, unless it has cleared all its lines Senator PLAYFORD.-Does that include for a message. The great difficulty with India ?

the Eastern Extension Company's messages Senator STANIFORTH SMITH.-No; is that after 12 o'clock messages sent from but the working expenses of the company Australia by that company are dehave been increased since then, because they laved at Singapore by the enormous have opened new offices, and have an army amount of Asiatic traffic, which clogs of canvassers, by whose means they are the lines for hours at a time. When endeavouring to induce people to send their messages with regard to important horse cables via the Eastern Extension Company. races, or cricket matches, in Australia are That company, in spite of the fact that it

sent home, in order that they may reach enjoys more than two-thirds of the total | England as soon as possible, thevare, 1 cable traffic of Australia, now complains

believe, sent by the Pacific Cable. I am that its Australian cables are run at a loss.

ustralian cables are run at a loss. saving this in order to point out that the When Mr. Hesse, the general manager, and Pacific Cable offers equal, if not superior, the Hon. Mr. Peel were here they told me advantages to those offered by the Eastern that the cables running to Australia were Extension Company, while it is worked at worked at a loss. But whose fault was about one-third of the cost. Yet it is prothat? The company deliberately reduced posed that we should have a joint purse, so the cabling charges to 3s. a word, at which that the enormous loss on the Eastern Exrate, I believe, the traffic will not pay. The tension Company's business should be borne Pacific Cable Company did not make the by the people of Australia. If there were reduction. It was the Eastern Extension a joint purse, the loss to Australia on the Company that did it. Apparently, 3s. 1 Pacific Cable would be infinitely greater word is not noi sufficient to enable both than it is at the present time. Any one companies to pay. The Eastern Extension who looks at the facts must see that that Company is increasing its working expenses must be the case. All that I desire is that in order unfairly to filch from the Pacific the same facilities shall be granted to the Cable the traffic that it is legitimately en- Pacific Cable as are granted to the Eastern titled to. The Pacific Cable is admitted to Extension Company, and that the people be one of the best laid cables in the world. of Australia shall have a perfect right to It was opened on the 8th December, send their messages by which cable they 1902, and from that day to this there has please.

Senator PLAYFORD.-If people do not Queensland, or New South Wales, viâ state which cable they wish their messages Eastern Extension Company, there we to be sent by, they are now sent by the be a fivepenny terminal rate in the i Pacific Cable.

zone, and a fivepenny rate in the seca Senator STANIFORTH SMITH.-Peo zone. That would mean the payment ple can say which cable they desire to have tenpenny terminal rates on a message their messages sent by.

the Eastern Extension Company, and Senator PLAYFORD.--And they are sent fivepenny terminal rate via the Pac: by the Pacific Cable if people do not say Cable. I metion this to show what c which.

powers are, and what we ought to do Senator STANIFORTH SMITH.-But the Eastern Extension Company adopt t almost in every hotel in Australia at the tactics of unfair competition. present time there are bundles of tele- Senator PLAYFORD. — Where is the ui graph forms placed there by agents of the fairness ? Eastern Extension Company, upon which Senator STANIFORTH SMITH.-I forms there is printed in not too large let- | going to enormous expense in opening of ters,“ viâ Eastern Extension Company." | fices when they have the same facilities a

Senator PLAYFORD.—That is business, is the Pacific Cable Proprietary has of re it not?

ceiving messages through the Post Office. Senator STANIFORTH SMITH.--It is The Eastern Extension Company wishes to not unfair for the Post Office to send mes- put the Pacific Cable Company to the sages by the Pacific Cable if the Eastern same expense in opening new offices, and Extension Company adopts such tactics. emploving canvassers. What I should like to see is an equality of Senator PLAYFORD.--For the convenience opportunity between the Pacific Cable and of the public. the Eastern Extension Company in allow- ' Senator STANIFORTH SMITH.ing people to send by whatever line they Convenience be hanged! Where is the please. That would be a fair deal. But convenience to the public? What inconif the Eastern Extension Company is going venience do the public suffer when they can to keep open offices, and go to an enormous send a telegram from any part of Austraexpense to attract business, and if it is lia to the old world by means of the Post going in for cut-throat competition, which Office? I am concerned with the interests will necessarily increase our working ex- | of the people of Australia, and am endeapenses, we have a simple remedy, and vouring to conserve those interests. I adone which I think would be very mit that to adopt such a zone system would effective. Article 10 of the Berne mean a great loss to South Australia, which Convention of 1903 allows each State in at the present time reaps an enormous beneEurope to fix differential terminal and fit on every cable word, amounting to contransit rates. That applies equally to Aus- | siderably over a million words per annum. tralia. Australia can be divided into dif- | South Australia receives 4d. on every cable ferent zones with different terminal rates. word that is sent via the Eastern ExtenIn fact, at the very inception of this Pacific sion Company. Cable, the British authorities wrote out Senator PLAYFORD.— The Pacific Cable suggesting that we should have differential has caused us a loss of tens of thousands terminal rates in each State. Now, if the of pounds. Eastern Extension Company persists in its Senator STANIFORTH SMITH.-I present policy, all that we have to do is to admit that. But, as the eastern States divide Australia into two zones-Western assisted South Australia to maintain the Australia and South Australia being in one, telegraph line from Adelaide to the Northand Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania, and ern Territory, it would be equally compeNew South Wales being in the other. tent for the Commonwealth to contribute

Senator PLAYFORD.--Rather lopsided towards the loss of revenue to South Auszones !

tralia on account of the decrease in her Senator STANIFORTH SMITH.-I | cable revenue. We must have a fair am merely explaining the powers we can division of the existing traffic of Ausexercise if the Eastern Extension Company tralia between our own British Cable, adopts unfair tactics. What would be the and the Eastern Extension Company ; result? There would be a fivepenny ter- and it is just as well to know what minal rate in each zone. If a person our powers and rights are if the

shed to send a message from Victoria, ' Eastern Extension Company will persist

in opening offices in the various States, and are being made by the Eastern Extension in going to enormous and unnecessary ex Company to make the former unpayable. pense in granting facilities which are not They are conveying messages at a loss, required by the people.

and sacrificing their own profits in order Senator PLAYFORD. – The people use to make the Pacific Cable so burdensome to them at all events, and that shows that the eastern States that the control of the they are necessary.

rival line may be handed over, and the old Senator STANIFORTH SMITH. - monopoly re-imposed. I am sorry that the They use them, certainly. If I came leader of the Senate was not able, in conwith a four - in - hand drag and of sequence of the short notice, to give a reply fered to drive Senator Playford to Par to my question as to the instructions sent liament House every day, his accept to the representative of the Government ance would not prove the necessity of at the Conference to be held in London in the offer. Every reasonable facility is given | November next. This Parliament, and the by the Post Office; and Victoria is' bemoan- people of Australia, who own one-third of ing a loss of £10,000 a year, which could be the Pacific Cable, have a right to know prevented, while the internal revenue could what has been communicated; and I hope be enormously increased by sending one that when Parliament meets again the Athalf of the messages by the Pacific route. torney-General will be able to lay on the New South Wales would benefit to a much table information which will show that the larger extent, and Queensland would divide instructions tend to conserve the interests with New South Wales and Victoria the of Australia, and provide for fair play whole of the advantages from the terminal between the partners in this great enterrates.

prise. Senator PLAYFORD.—Who is going to Senator HIGGS (Queensland).-I am bear the loss ?

glad that Senator Smith has brought up Senator STANIFORTH SMITH. - this matter, and I hope the leader of South Australia ; but it would be quite com- the Senate will allow his Australian nationpetent for the Commonwealth to contribute | alism to guide him in dealing with it. If towards any loss sustained by that State there is one thing to admire about the leader in the erection of the telegraph line from of the Senate it is his Australian sentiment, Adelaide to Port Darwin. I want to be to which he now has an opportunity to give perfectly fair to every State. I object to practical effect. The suggestion which apthe Eastern Extension Company monopoliz-peared in last Monday's issue of the Mel. ing two-thirds of the traffic, and using bourne Age is no doubt prompted by the every means consistent with honesty-be- self-interest of that and other newspapers cause I never accused them of doing any which control the Cable "ring." business that was not honest—for the ex- Senator WALKER.-Surely the honorable pansion of their business. But the East- senator does not think that the Melbourne ern Extension Company are using their in

Age is selfish ! fluence as a private concern to make the

Senator HIGGS.--I give the Age every Pacific Cable unpayable, and suggestions are

e credit for the work it does. No doubt made in influential quarters that that com

that newspaper does a great deal of good pany should be allowed to acquire the in the interests of the people of Victoria, Pacific Cable, and thus clinch their mono

and of the Commonwealth generally, and poly in Australia.

more particularly in the interests of the Senator GUTHRIE.—That is "private en

people of Melbourne, by the publication of terprise."

articles regarding the adulteration of food, Senator STANIFORTH SMITH.-The

and matters of that kind. Pacific Cable is one of the greatest socialistic enterprises the world has ever seen.

Senator STYLES.- The butter bonus ! Four nations have come together in a joint

Senator HIGGS.--As the honorable senacommercial undertaking, and I desire to see tor interjects, the Age has done good work that undertaking a success. I am a in connexion with the doings of the people Socialist to the extent that I believe in who control the butter business. nationalizing dangerous monopolies, such Senator FINDLEY.-The Age advocated as that which the Eastern Extension Com- the appointment of a Royal Commission, pany have enjoyed in Australia for thirty-| and then desired that the proceedings of the three years. The Pacific Cable has broken Commission should close before the business that monopoly, and most strenuous efforts was half over.

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