HC Deb 31 July 1894 vol 27 cc1397-8

Resolved, "That with regard to the proposals from time to time made for penny postage between Great Britain and the Colonies, and, more recently, that such be adopted for letters from the United Kingdom, leaving the rate from the Colonies as at present, this Conference, while recognising the desirableness of adopting the lowest possible rate, desires to express the opinion that the heavy cost of providing speedy and regular communication does not admit of any further reduction being made at the present time, the reduction to 2½d. in 1891 having resulted in an annual loss to the Colonies of about £40,000; and that the partial reduction proposed—namely, in the rate from Great Britain—would be most undesirable, as such a measure would compel the Colonies to reduce their inland and intercolonial rates from 2d. to 1d., involving a probable loss to them of £250,000 per annum, in addition to that already mentioned as the result of the reduction to 2½d., and that a copy of the foregoing be transmitted to the Imperial Government. The only later expression of opinion which has been received from any Colonial Government on the subject is a telegram from New South Wales to the Agent General for that Colony in the following terms:— Inform Lord Ripon we repudiate any action taken by Mr. Heaton re Penny Postage, and have sent the following telegram to Victorian Government. This Government dissents from the proposed cable message to Mr. Henniker Heaton for the reasons urged at the Conference by the Postmaster General and other delegates. Mr. Heaton in no way represents this Colony in his views in postal matters.


Is the Postmaster General aware that Sir James Patterson, Prime Minister of Victoria, has denounced the action of the New Zealand Postal Conference as foolish and not in accordance with Australian public opinion; that he has telegraphed to the other Australian Governments cordially approving of Imperial penny postage and my action; that the Governments of New Zealand, Tasmania, and Victoria also concurred in a request to send to England a telegram to this effect; and that the Government of New South Wales (Sir George Dibbs) which has dissented, was turned out of Office a few days after the despatch of the telegram to the Agent General?


No doubt the telegram from New South Wales was in answer to the one from the Victorian Government.