HC Deb 15 March 1887 vol 312 cc368-9

asked the Postmaster General, Is he aware that letters from England for New Caledonia, viâ Australia are charged 4d. each, while letters also from this country for Australia, 1,000 miles nearer, and carried by the same steamers, cost 6d. each;and, will he consent to the appointment of a Select Committee of the House, with a view to remedy these and other anomalies?

THE POSTMASTER GENERAL (Mr. RAIKES) (Cambridge University)

Yes;I am quite aware that letters can be forwarded by French packet to New Caledonia for a postage of 4d. each, while 6d. is charged for a letter to Australia by any route, and whether by British or by French packet. The explanation is that New Caledonia (a French Colony) is in the Postal Union, and enjoys its advantages, while the Australian Colonies are not in the Union. The question of the Australian Colonies joining the Postal Union is one entirely for the consideration of the Colonies themselves. Hitherto they have not thought it expedient to do so. As the Conference of Colonial Representatives about to meet in London is expressly invited to consider this and other questions, I should think it scarcely courteous to the Colonial Governments to anticipate any recommendations which that Conference may make by instituting an inquiry by a Committee of this House at this moment.