4th Parliament · 3rd Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
– It is stated in today’s newspapers that the Minister of Home Affairs intends to establish polling booths in connexion with the next election at every institution under public control. Will the honorable gentleman consider the advisableness of establishing booths at all institutions where the number of inmates is sufficient to warrant it ?
– We are making inquiry as to whether the public institutions will permit us to establish booths on their premises. As soon as that matter has been fixed up, we shall provide booths at all institutions where there is a sufficient number of inmates; we shall not confine the provision’ of booths to particular institutions. We wish to provide all the facilities necessary to enable the inmates of institutions to vote.
– Is the honorable gentleman aware that in Western Australia polling booths have always been provided at the public institutions?
– Yes. Western Australia is a very progressive State.
– Is the Minister of Trade and Customs aware that many per sons arrive in Australia from Great Britain suffering from communicable diseases? If that is so, has he power to prevent such persons from boarding vessels in Great Britain to come to Australia ?
– Immigration is a matter coming under the control of the Department of External Affairs, but the prevention of the introduction of diseases is under the control of the Quarantine Branch of the Department of Trade and Customs, - whose officers have prevented from landing many persons suffering from communicable diseases. Some, time ago the States were asked whether they were prepared to hand over to the Commonwealth Government the examination in Great Britain of intending immigrants, and they declined to do so. Communications are now proceeding between this Government and the States with a view to the establishment of some proper system which will prevent persons afflicted with disease from leaving Great Britain for this country. It is abroad that the prevention should be exercised.
Epping Post Office - Brunswick Post Office - Lighting of Country Offices
– I wish to know from the Minister of Home Affairs when the post-office at Epping is likely to be proceeded with. Is the honorable gentleman aware that Parliament has voted money for the work on several occasions, and can he tell the House why the Department evidently declines to proceed with it?
– The Department does not decline to proceed with the work, but there has been a little delay owing to the tremendous increase of the costof material. I think that the matter will be fixed up shortly.
– Is the Minister aware that the decision to build the Epping post-office was arrived at two years ago? Does’ he think, therefore, that there has been only “ a little delay “ ?
– There is no doubt that there has been delay, but I do not think the honorable member wilt have to wait much longer. I hope not.
– Is the Minister aware that a piece of land has been bought at East Brunswick for the purpose of erecting a post-office, and that the building has not yet been erected? Will he take into consideration the relative importance of a post-office to Brunswick as compared with the requirements of the honorable member for Parramatta, and the importanceof having the building erected before the next election ?
– I will look into this matter.
asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
Whether the experiments undertaken by the Postal Department for the- better lighting of country post offices have been successful ; and, if so, what particular light has he decided to adopt ?
– The experiments have not yet been concluded. Recently two other processes have beenbrought under notice, which it is considered are well worthy of a trial.
Bf -MONTHLY WORKS SCHEDULE.
– “Will the Minister of Home Affairs send a copy of his bi-monthly works schedule to each of the Labour Councils of Australia, so that they may be kept informed of the works being carried on by the Commonwealth Government.
– Will the Minister of Home Affairs send to the Employers’ Federations in the various States a copy of the valuable bi-monthly publication which is issued by his Department, and also a copy of the statistical paper which is issued monthly, I think.
– Has the Prime Minister seen the following cablegram which is published in to-day’s newspapers?
Views of Two Bishops, “idle rich and agitators.”
London, Oct. 2.
Speaking at the Anglican Church Congress, which continued its sitting on Tuesday, the Bishop of Oxford (Dr. Gore), counselled churchmen to support trade unions, and to encourage agricultural labourers to obtain improved conditions.
The Archbishop of York (Dr. Cosmo Gordon Lang) attributed much of the industrial unrest to “ the idle rich, whose selfishness and luxury are more responsible for the bitterness and discontent than are the agitators at whom they sneer.”
Will the right honorable gentleman have those opinions printed as a parliamentary paper, and sent to the Farmers and Settiers’ Association, and to the Employers’ Federation.
– Is the question in order? It is an argument addressed to the House.
– I have on several occasions pointed out that questions should not be founded on mere newspaper rumours, and that it is not proper to ask a question merely to give an opportunity for reading to the House some statement that has appeared in the press. I hope that the practice will not be continued.
Victorian Match Factory - Motor Chassis
– Has the Minister of Trade and Customs seen the statement in the press that a match factory in Melbourne has been closed because the Tariff protec tion to the industry is not sufficient? Will the honorable member cause an investigation to be made into the matter, and if it’ be found that more protection is needed, will he consider the advisability of introducing a proposal for the aid of the industry without opening up the whole Tariff? Could not some extraordinaryaction be taken by Parliament to assist the industry, if necessary?
– I have seen the pres, statements. The factory is in my own electorate, and probably most of the hands who have been dismissed are my constituents. I have already had inquiries made, and they will be continued, but I cannot promise that the Tariff will be re-opened to meet one particular case.
– Let them make good matches.
– Some persons are always ready to decry Australian manufactures. The Australian matches which I have used have been good.
– They are the best in the world.
– I do not say that. I shall take the whole matter into consideration, and if anything can be done to relieve this or any other industry, I shall be prepared to do it.
– Will the Minister of Trade and Customs also consider whether the action of those who are getting behind the desire of Parliament by importing a large quantity of matches for advertising purposes does not form part of the unfair competition to which local manufacturers are subjected?
– I understand that that enters very largely into the matter, and I am very sorry that some Australian manufacturers, who are good Protectionists for themselves, are using imported matches for advertising purposes.
– Will the Minister extend the same consideration to the manufacturers of chassis, which are on the free list? I believe that these persons are also suffering great hardship.
– I feel confident that, once the Tariff was opened, it would not be one question but practically the whole of the items with which we should have to deal. The Government’ were reluctant to open the Tariff until they had more detailed information, especially when the manufacturers were crying out that they could not get enough employes.
– In view of every box of European matches containing from 60 to 65 matches, and of the duty on matches being is. per gross of boxes, can anything be clone to compel the Japanese to pay more if they put 100 matches in a box?
– The wording of the item in the Tariff is -
Matches and Vestas of all kinds. -
Inboxes containing 100 or less of matches or vestas, per gross of boxes, 1s.
The Japanese are, apparently, going right up to the limit allowed, in putting 100 matches in a box. Some of the other boxes which are imported bear the words “ Average contents, 60 matches,” while others bear the words “ Average contents, 45 matches.”
– I desire to ask the Prime Minister whether he has seen, in last Monday’s Sydney newspapers, a statement in which Mr. Griffith, Minister of Public Works, is reported to have said that the progressive land tax would have to be increased in its incidence on estates over £5,000 in value if closer settlement was to proceed in New South Wales, with regard to large estates adjacent to railways particularly, with that speed that is necessary in the interests of the people ; whether it is a fact that a considerable number of the estates, valued by the owners for land tax purposes, are very considerably undervalued ; whether he proposes to take some action to have these valuations brought into line ; whether there is a sum of , £8.000 on the Estimates for this year for the appointment of additional valuers; and whether, if he finds that the valuations are-
– Order !
– I have nearly finished. If he finds the valuations approximately correct and the incidence of the tax insufficiently heavy to effect its purpose, will he consider the advisability of increasing the incidence of the tax upon estates over . £5.000 in value?
– This is rather a formidable question. The suggestion reported to have been made by the Hon. Mr. Griffith I have not seen, nor did I hear of it until the honorable member spoke. I have no doubt as to the versatility and ability of Mr. Griffith to make a statement if he thought it necessary regarding the effect of theland tax. I can only answer that the
State has unlimited powers to proceed in its own way in whatever direction they please or think necessary. The Land Tax Commissioner is charged with the duty of making a true valuation. He does not merely take the valuation made by an owner, but he checks the figures with all the information that he has. His duty is largely confidential, and is carried out properly. He is taking steps now for a revision of that kind. The Government donot propose to reduce the minimum in any, way. An increase of taxation is not proposed either.
Lease at Port Adelaide : Naval Defence.
asked the Ministerrepresenting the Minister of Defence, uponnotice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are -
Messrs. Dean and Sons was approved.
asked the Minister representing the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are -
In addition to the amount provided on the Estimates 1912-13, it is estimated that a sum of £1,719,000 will be spent on the construction of the Fleet unit, the necessary funds being available in the Trust Fund.
Statistics : Labour Agents and Correspondents
asked the Minister of Home Affairs, upon notice -
Will he inform the House as to the names of the labour agents and correspondents employed in connexion with the labour and industrial branch of the Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics; the place for which each is appointed ; and the rate of remuneration (if any) paid to each?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is -
The names and districts of the persons appointed were given in printed schedule No. 8 issued to members in April last, and any changes given in subsequent issues. The particulars are as follows : -
Rates of Remuneration-
L. Duncan, Sydney, New South Wales, 30s. per week, £78 per annum.
W. Blundell, Newcastle New South Wales, 10s. per week, £26 per annum.
J. Holloway Melbourne, Victoria, 20s. per week, £52 per annum. ]. R. Little, Bendigo, Victoria, 10s. per week, £26 per annum.
McHugh, Geelong, Victoria, 10s. per week, £26 per annum.
Skirving, Brisbane, Queensland, 15s. per week, , £39 per annum.
Mullan, Townsville, Queensland, 10s. per week, £26 per annum.
Hall, Bundaberg, Queensland, 10s. per week, £26 per annum.
B. Merry, Adelaide, South Australia, 15s. per week, £39 per annum.
McCallum, Perth, Western Australia, 15s. per week, , £39 per annum.
Millington, Kalgoorlie, West Australia, 15s. per week, £39 per annum.
T. Middlebrough, Hobart, Tasmania, 10s. per week, £26 per annum.
V. Axup, Launceston, Tasmania, 10s. per week, £26 per annum.
Steps are also being taken for the appointment of agents at Broken Hill and Ballarat.
Up to the 30th September, 1912, thirteen agents and correspondents to the Labour and In dustrial Branch had been appointed, at remunerations ranging from £26 to £78 per annum, the average rate being£36per annum. These agents are all prominent trade unionists, and their duties are to assist in collecting returns from Unions and to make reports on additional matters to this Bureau.
In connexion with the organization of the British Labour Department, there are -
Four (4) “Trade” correspondents, who are secretaries of important Employers’ Associations, and who are appointed with a view to keeping the Department in touch with employers.
Thirty-two (32) “ Local “ correspondents and four (4) “ Additional “ correspondents, whose duties are similar to those of agents of this Bureau, with the exception of the fact that the duties and reports of the “ Additional “ correspondents are confined to special industries with which they are connected. All these correspondents are prominent members of trade unions. They are paid at rates ranging from £15to£30per annum.
In Great Britain the inadequacy of any system of organization which did not allow for the services of “correspondents” was soon recognised, and the result of the defective system of inquiry first established (with no correspondents) was to gravely impair the efficiency of the Labour Department. (See “ The Reorganization of our Labour Department, D. T. Schloss,
Journal of Royal Statistical Society, 1893, page 47.) Since the re-organization of that Department and the appointment of correspondents its efficiency, and utility have greatly increased.
– Order ! Does the honorable member intend to read much more?
– There is not much more-
Particulars as to number or rates of remuneration are not available.
The importance of the work which the Labour and Industrial Branch of this Bureau is undertaking indicates the necessity for the appointment, at an early stage, of an expert staff, comprising not only additional office staff and agents and correspondents (members of Trade Unions), but also trade correspondents (members of Employers’ Associations) -
– I rise to order. I wish to take your ruling as to how far this question and answer business may proceed. In the first place, we had the honorable member for Robertson addressing to you, or rather to the Minister, a. series of speeches which, with the questions on them, were allowed to be put, and then he was pulled up - after it is all put in
Hansard, I suppose. We also had the honorable member for Cook simply adopting the interrogative form for a speech which he delivered to the House, and now we have the Minister of Home Affairs, in answer to a question, delivering a most elaborate argument in favour of labour exchanges in general all over the world. If that kind of thing is to be permitted, there is nothing to prevent us putting arguments covering the whole of the subjects on the notice-paper, and so getting speeches into print in the interrogative form, under cover of question and answer. I want to know what you rule upon the matter, because it will be the easiest thing in the world to work in speeches in the way of questions if that kind of thing is to be permitted.
– I am not sure whether this is a point of order, or whether it is directed against myself personally. The honorable member distinctly said” that I allowed certain things to be said, and only stopped the honorable members concerned after permitting their remarks to get into Hansard. I do not know whether that statement was directed against myself personally, or whether it had anything to do with the point that the honorable member raised. The honorable member asked the Minister of Home Affairs for certain information. The Minister desires to give the information in the way that he thinks best. I have followed his remarks very closely, and, so far as I can gather, he appears to be giving information which is, perhaps, additional to that for which the honorable member asked, but which still has everything to do with the question that the honorable member put upon the noticepaper. In the circumstances, the answer is quite in order. As regards the other questions to which reference has been made, I have repeatedly called honorable members to order on that score. Now that I am on my feet, I may say that members on both sides of the House have a habit of rising and asking questions founded upon idle rumours in newspapers. That has been done ever since this House has been established. I have frequently called attention to the practice, and I ask honorable members now not to indulge in that form of asking questions. For instance, today one honorable member rose and asked a Minister if he was aware of the fact that so-and-so had taken place, and the Minister replied “ Yes.” In that case, instead of the questioner asking for information - as those who put questions are supposed to do - he simply gave informa tion which was well known to himself and to the Minister. I took no notice of the incident at the time, but I point out now that a question of that description is distinctly out of order, and inform the House that in the future I shall certainly look more closely into the methods adopted in asking questions.
– May I ask you, Mr. Speaker, a question? I should like to know what my position is. Have the remarks which you have just made any reference to the question that I put to the Minister of Trade and Customs with reference to the match factory at Richmond ? I simply stated what were known to be facts in order to ask the Minister if the Government could do anything in the matter. Will you inform me whether the restrictions which, you say, are to be placed upon members, apply to a case of that description?
– I cannot give a ruling on something that has not occurred. When the point occurs again I shall rule on it.
– The remainder of the information is as follows -
Tentative communications, with a view to obtaining the co-operation of the Federal Council of Employers, are now in hand. It must be clearly recognised that, if the true facts are to be adequately presented, both sides of the questions (viz., employers and employes) must be investigated, and set forth with the necessary statistics.
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 2nd October, vide page 3754).
Clause 139 -
Any seaman or apprentice may demand permission to go ashore at a convenient time in order to consult a superintendent or Justice, or to take legal proceedings against the master or any officer of his ship.
Amendment (by Mr. Tudor) proposed -
That the following new sub-clause be inserted : -
A seaman or apprentice who by any false statement or pretence obtains leave to go ashore for any such purpose shall by guilty of an offence. Penalty : Five pounds.
.- I doubt the expediency of inserting this new subclause. There is no such provision in the Merchant Shipping Act of 1904, and I can quite understand why one was not inserted. If it is alleged that an offence has beencommitted in the form of a false statement or pretence, it is almost impossible to secure- a conviction when the question of intention arises. Where it is a question of fact, the truth of which can be determined, it may be otherwise ; but I know from personal experience and from general knowledge of the law in these matters that where the false pretence consists of the intention of the defendant or prisoner it is very difficult to secure a conviction. Suppose an apprentice obtains permission to go ashore to consult the superintendent, or to take legal proceedings. If he does not take legal proceedings it might be possible to secure a conviction, because after a reasonable time had elapsed the fact that no proceedings had been taken could be fairly well established. But even there 1 doubt whether a jury would find that the requisite facts existed. Where, however, it is a matter of asking permission to go ashore to consult the superintendent, how could any one say that the apprentice did not at the time intend to do so? What would the charge be? That he did not consult the superintendent afterwards? It is a great mistake to render seamen liable to prosecution when there is no possibility of a case going to a jury or conviction ensuing. It only irritates men and puts a number of penal provisions into our Act which must be largely futile.
– The new sub-clause is intended to safeguard sub-clause 1. lt is felt that a man should have some justification for going ashore, and it was thought proper to safeguard sub-clause 1 against abuse. If, however, the honorable member for Angas objects to the sub-clause, and believes that it would be useless, I am prepared to withdraw it. If a man has a justification for going ashore, he should be allowed to go, and the master should be penalized for not allowing him to go. But we think we ought to be perfectly fair, and that the man should be liable to some punishment if he desires to go ashore without justification.
– Let it gc then.
Amendment agreed to
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clauses 140 to 144 agreed to.
Clause 145 - (1.) No person, not being in the King’s service, or not authorized by law, shall -
Penalty : Twenty pounds.
– I move -
That after the word “ pounds,” the following, words be inserted : - “ or imprisonment for three months.”
The additional penalty is proposed to be inserted to enable us to deal effectively with crimps and runners who hang about ships inducing men to desert. There would be no possibility of obtaining a monetary penalty from some of these men, and a term of imprisonment will act as a deterrent.
– I think that the Imperial Act provides even a higher penalty than the Minister proposes. It prescribes imprisonment for six months. We can, I think, well agree to the amendment.
– I do not know whether the Minister has looked into the question of foreign law on this point. The clause must be read in connexion with clause 146, which gives the Governor-‘ General power to apply the provision to foreign vessels. We are dealing with a part of the Bill which does not, except by express mention, apply to other than British ships, and it might be that if we inserted penalties here which are not in conformity with those prescribed by the Merchant Shipping Act we should be inserting a provision which was not in conformity with the Acts of foreign countries. The test on the point is the Merchant Shipping Act, because the Imperial legislation would probably be in line with that of other countries on this subject.
– The honorable member for Angas will see that this clause does not apply to sailors. It applies to persons who go on board ships in our ports. That is to say, it applies to our own citizens, and not to foreigners. We are legislating here to deal with persons who entice sailors to desert, and not with the sailors themselves.
– I do not think the Minister has quite apprehended the point that I sought to make. I wished to emphasize the necessity of having as much similarity as possible between this clause and the general provisions of the law in Continental countries with which we come in contact in connexion with shipping. My guide in this matter is the Imperial Shipping Act, which, it seems reasonable to assume, would be framed for reciprocal purposes, and there is in it a clause corresponding with clause 146 in this Bill. That clause enables us to reciprocate, when arrangements of a similar character to those set forth in clause 145 are provided, in relation to British ships, by a foreign country. This, however, does not touch the point made by the Minister. The’ reciprocation would be for the protection of a foreign-going vessel against people unnecessarily going on board.
– I understand that the Merchant Shipping Act provides for a penalty of j£20, or imprisonment for six months.
– That is so.
– The honorable member suggests that, in this case, we should provide for six, instead of three, months’ imprisonment.
– Very well; I shall ask leave to amend my amendment accordingly.
Amendment, by leave, amended accordingly, and agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clauses 146 to 148 agreed to.
Clause 149 (Application).
.- I rise merely to point out that with this clause we reach a new division, which, with the succeeding division, is almost a copy of the Imperial Act. I notice that in one clause the word “ where “ has been changed for “ whenever,” but there does not appear to be any alteration of substance.
– The honorable member’s statement is correct. The clause provides that the division shall not apply to ships registered in the United Kingdom, and I desire to mention that this limitation has been inserted to meet an objection by the Board of Trade. British ships are subject to the Merchant Shipping Act of 1906.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 150 to r6o agreed to.
Clause i6t (Relief of families by public institutions).
– This provision is taken from the New Zealand Art, and not from the Imperial Act. I do not think there is such a provision in the British Act.
– It is taken from the New Zealand Act of 1903. The matter was dealt with by the . Imperial Conference, and, so far as I know, there has been no alteration.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 162 and 163 agreed to.
Clause 164 (List of crew to be delivered).
– I shall ask the Committee to negative this clause. It is mere redundancy, since it covers ground fully covered by clauses 52 and 168.
.- This clause must apply only to foreign ships, and clause 166, which also relates to foreign-going ships, appears to cover the same ground as is covered by clause 168. Then, it seems to me that our Immigration Restriction Acts practically accomplish the same purpose that we have in view here. In the circumstances, I think that the Minister is quite right in proposing to omit this clause as being superfluous.
Clause 165 (All ships may be searched).
.- This is a new clause. I do not think that it is in the Merchant Shipping Act or the New Zealand Act. It is a provision for the searching of all ships, which, I suppose, includes foreign ships, by a Customs officer or any officer of police. There is a provision to this effect in the Customs Act. This clause will be a valid provision of course, because, if it be bad for navigation, it will be good for Customs. As we are often tautological in discussion, there is, perhaps, no reason why we should not be tautological also in the Acts which are the results of our discussion.
– I am not sure as to when this clause was inserted, but I see that it was clause 162 in the 1908 Bill. The honorable gentleman has said that if it be not useful for navigation, it will be useful for Customs purposes. No doubt it was Dr. Wollaston who had the clause inserted in the Bill.
– T find ‘‘hat this provision was included as clause 1.63 in the Bill of 1904. It read in that BillAll ships may be searched by any officer of
Customs or any office of police authorized in writing by the collector or by a superintendent - and so on. There is no marginal note indicating the source from which it was taken. I believe it is right that we should assume this power.
Clause agreed to..
Clause 166 -
The list of the crew-
– I move -
That the words “the thirtieth day of June and the thirty-first day of December in each year” be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “ the termination of the agreement.”
In the clause dealing with agreements we have decided that they may run for six months. It is the practice of the Board of Trade that agreements should terminate upon a certain date. We consider that it would be far better that they should not all terminate on the same date, but that none should run for longer than six months.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 167 - .
The master of every ship shall record in his log-book every birth, death, and marriage happening on board his ship, and the prescribed particulars concerning them, and upon his arrival at any port in Australia shall transmit to the superintendent in the prescribed form a return of the facts recorded by him in respect of any birth, death, or marriage.
– I move -
That the word “his,” line 1, be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “ the official.”
Two separate log-books are kept; the ship’s log-book, which is the property of the owners, and the official log-book, which must be lodged with the superintendent immediately a voyage is finished. The object of the amendment is to make sure that these entries of births, marriages, and deaths shall be made in the official logbook.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 168. - (Agreements to be produced).
– The Minister in this clause takes power to proclaim principal ports in Australia as defined by the regulations. That represents an alteration upon the preceding drafts of the Bill. Do the Government propose to define ports generally for the purposes of the Bill ? In the definition clause the only reference to a pott defines it as including “ place and harbor.” Is this clause framed to assist a scheme of administration?
– On going through the Bill some months agoI found several clauses dealing with the matter of the delivery of agreement to the superintendent. In one clause it was provided that it should be within forty-eight hours after arrival of the vessel. In another no time was specified, and in still another it was to be within twenty-four hours after arrival.
– I suppose the reference to principal port is to insure that it shall be at places where there is certain to be a superintendent.
– That is so. The object is really to insure the delivery of the agreement. I suppose we can safely say that nine-tenths of our shipping is confined to half-a-dozen ports in Australia.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 169 (Documents to be handed over to master’s successor).
.- I wish to direct attention to the fact that the word “ master “ is not defined to include a person acting as master. There are many clauses in the Bill which raise some doubt as to whether, when there is a person acting for the captain, during his illness, for instance, all the provisions relating to the master would apply to such a person. The matter crops up again in connexion with the “ successor,” who would not be a person acting for the master during illness. I direct attention to the matter because I understand that the Minister proposes to recast some of the definitions, and it might be as well that he should bear this point in mind.
– I shall take a note of it.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 170 and 171 agreed to.
Clause 172 consequentially amended, and agreed to.
Clause173 agreed to.
Clause 174 -
– I am informed that at the present time official logs are permitted to knock about shipping company’s offices, and no record is kept by the authorities of happenings on board. These logs, which are the only record, are very often lost or destroyed, when really they ought to be kept as carefully and safely as deeds and other documents, for inspection. Nobody, apparently, is responsible for the custody of these official logs, and they ought to be placed in the charge of some reliable offirer, so that they may be open to the public on payment of a fee.
– I think the object of the honorable member will be met by an amendment I intend to move for the omission of sub-clause 3. The official log, as has been pointed out, records births, marriages, deaths, and so forth, and ought to be carefully preserved. . Under the Imperial Shipping Act and the New Zealand Act the official log must be given up to the superintendent, by whom it is filed and kept for inspection at any time. Under the Bill, the superintendent, as a Commonwealth officer, will have the administration in each State, and by the omission of sub-clause 3 he would be enabled to retain the log. I may point out that there are two logs, one the master’s log, which ultimately becomes the property of the owner, and the other the official log, which is sometimes required as the only record of happenings on board ship. I know that under the Old-age Pensions Act it has been found necessary to consult these records at times.
– I suggest that words should be inserted in the clause definitely making the superintendent responsible for the safe custody of the official log for the purposes of record and reference.
– I take it that under this clause as amended the superintendent will at once become responsible for the safe custody of the log. In the case of the Customs Department, we do not specifically declare that the officers are responsible for the safety ofall documents, because the Department, represented by the officers, is responsible.
– Matters are very loosely managed now.
– That may be so as far as the Shipping Departments are concerned, and probably the provision, as it stands, was adopted from the practice of the States in this connexion. I think there is no necessity for an amendment such as that suggested by the hpnorable member for Lang.
Amendment (by Mr. Tudor) agreed to -
That sub-clause (3) be left out.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 175 agreed to.
Clause 176 -
– I move -
That after the word “ superintendent “ the words “ or surveyor “ be inserted.
The engineer’s log contains particulars in regard to the engines which may be of value to the surveyor, and the amendment provides for the production of the log as required.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clauses 177 to 184 agreed to.
Clause 185 -
– I move -
That after the word “ this,” line 1, the words “ part of this “ be inserted.
This clause relates solely to foreign seamen ; that is, seamen on foreign ships. A similar provision is made in other clauses in regard to British seamen ; and the amendment is intended to limit this clause, in its application, to this part of the Act.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 186 agreed to.
Clause 187 -
If any foreign seaman is left behind at any port in Australia from any ship, unless with the consent of the Consul of the country to which the ship belongs, and also that of the superintendent, the master, or the owner of the ship shall be liable for all expenses which may be incurred by the Commonwealth Government in returning the seaman to his native country.
.- I think that this, clause is a new one. It provides that the Commonwealth may deport any foreign seaman who is left behind at any port in Australia unless the Consul of the country to which the ship belongs - who in this part of the Bill appears to take the place of the superintendent - consents to his being left in the Commonwealth. I am not quite sure that we have the power to deport a seaman in such circumstances. Clauses 87 and 88 deal with the deportation of seamen who are discharged. I wish to know whether there is any provision in the Bill which sets out that we have power to deport these men. Our powers of deportation may not be quite as extensive, perhaps, as the Minister of Trade and Customs has been advised. Of course, we can, to the extent of those powers, deport a person, and it may be that we can take the action provided for in this clause under the Immigration Restriction Act. A seaman who may be left behind may be an obnoxious character who would not be permitted to enter the Commonwealth under the terms of that Act, which apply, not only to persons who cannot pass the dictation test, but to undesirables. In this clause it is assumed that we have power to deport seamen who are left behind at any port in Australia. I should like to hear a statement from the Minister on the subject.
– I understand that this provision is intended to operate in cases where a seaman has been left behind at any port, perhaps from an unavoidable cause.
– If a seaman deserts, he will be left behind at a port.
– If he is a deserter he will be punished. Arrangements have been entered into between Great Britain and the principal foreign countries for the mutual deportation of seamen who are left behind at various ports from unavoidable causes, and we practically propose to take advantage of that arrangement.
– It is a .new clause. It was not in the Act of 1904.
Clause agreed to.
This part of this Act shall apply to all ships, British or foreign.
.- I think that this clause raises some question of jurisdiction. As far as I remember, the Imperial officers, upon looking through this part of the Bill some time ago, questioned out power to go beyond the provisions of the Imperial Act, which we may adopt. The question has also been raised, amongst others, by Mr. Keith, in one of the volumes of the Society of Comparative Legislation, whether we can really add to the provi sions of that portion of the Imperial Act which clause 264 of the Merchant Shipping Act gives us power to adopt. To some extent we have done that in this part of the Bill. I notice that in the last work of Mr. Keith, Vol. III., he asks-
To what extent can the Dominion Parliament add further provisions? For example, the Imperial Act does not provide for the survey of non-passenger vessels.
We do make that provision, and consequently the question at once arises, “ What are really our powers in this connexion?” Personally, I do not think that the Minister would_ be justified in modifying any part of his policy which he deems to be sound. I do not believe it is likely that the whole of the Bill will be rendered invalid because we add to it a few provisions which are inter-dependent. In any case, this question will have to be decided at some time in order that we may know exactly how we stand.
– What the honorable member for Angas has said is quite correct. At some time or other this question will have to be decided. The clause relates principally to the question of survey. According to the figures for 191 1, nearly three out of four of the vessels engaged in Australian trade are British or Colonialowned, but it is thought advisable to take power, if we can, to require the survey of all vessels. Sailing ships especially occasionally come here which have not been surveyed for some time ; indeed, New South Wales and New Zealand are the only British Dominions providing for the survey of sailing vessels, the New Zealand Act of 1909 applying the provisions of the Act of 1906 relating to the survey of steam-ships to sailing vessels, so far as they can be made applicable. Many Australians ship on board sailing vessels, and we should try to insure their safety. Honorable members will recollect the case of the Papanui which indicates the present position of matters. That vessel, which was Britishowned, had her bottom ripped by a rock in Bass Strait, and was brought to Melbourne, but her owners refused to dock her here, because of the cost. She was subsequently sold to an alleged citizen of Nicaragua, and went out of port flying the Nicaraguan flag, the local authorities having no power to detain her, notwithstanding doubts about her seaworthiness. The honorable member for Angas, who has expressed doubt as to whether we can take the power we desire to exercise, seems to admit that the attempt to do so should be made. A similar provision was in the 1908 Bill.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 189 and 190 agreed to.
Clauses 191 and 192 postponed.
Clause 193 negatived.
Clauses 194 and 195 agreed to.
Clause 196 (Survey of steam-ships).
– I ask the Committee to negative this clause, which was inserted in the Senate,It provides for the survey of vessels over five years old once every six months, but clause 208 contains this provision -
A steam-ship in respect of which -
a certificate of survey granted by the Hoard of Trade of the United Kingdom, or
a prescribed classification certificate granted by any corporation or association for the survey and registry of ships, approved by the GovernorGeneral, has been issued, shall, whilst that certificate remains in force, but subject to the provisions of sub-sections (3.) to (5.) of this section, be exempt from survey under this Act.
The Minister is empowered by the Bill to compel a survey at any time where vessels are notoriously tender, or where their plates are very thin.
– It is only by making a survey that the tenderness of a vessel can be discovered.
– The Board of Trade has objected to this provision. Under clause 208, by registration outside Australia the six-monthly survey can be avoided, and none of us desires to encourage registration out of Australia. Most of the shipping built for the Australian trade is built under a Lloyd’s certificate, which could be renewed from time to time, and we are bound to recognise the certificates of Lloyd’s, the bureau Veritas, and similar institutions. Were it not for clause 208, I should be prepared to consider the question of a sixmonthly survey.
.- I hope that the clause will not be struck out, and that if there is any difficulty the Minister will postpone it for further consideration. My practical experience convinces me that a six-monthly survey is necessary ; I do not mean a general survey - that is, a survey of the machinery - but a survey of the hull. The condition of some of the vessels which has been discovered by a twelve-monthly survey is a disgrace to the mercantile marine of Australia.
Mr. W. ELLIOT JOHNSON (Lang> [12.0]. - I desire to support the contention of the honorable member for Dalley in this regard. I think that it will be very risky indeed if the Minister does not insist upon this provision, for the reason which the last speaker fully stated in his secondreading speech, and briefly recapitulated to-day. He brought some specimens taken from the hulls of vessels, which were laid upon the table, and I also exhibited some specimens which I had taken from the main structural portions of steamers in the Australian trade. I think that nothing more ought to be needed to convince honorable members of the necessity of providing for a more frequent survey. This survey need not extend to every portion of the ship, but certainly so far as the hull is concerned, especially in the case of ships of modern construction, where the material is not anything like so tough or durable as the material in ships of older construction, I think it is a very necessary precaution indeed to have a survey oftener than once in twelve months of ships over six or seven years old.
– No part of the Bill has caused greater concern than that which we are now considering. I realize with the honorable members for Dalley and Lang the necessity of having a survey of such a character that it will insure that the work is done thoroughly. I think it was the honorable member for Lang who stated in his second-reading speech that he had met men who said that they were going off to survey a steamer, and whom he met halfanhour afterwards coming ashore after the survey had been completed.
– That is so.
– I candidly admit that what the honorable member for Dalley has said is probably the correct procedure. I am perfectly willing to postpone the survey clauses for re-consideration, because I believe that, after all, it is quite possible that they may be amended in such a way as togive general satisfaction. Tt has been suggested to me by persons whose knowledge of these matters is far greater than my ownthat instead of having a survey once every twelve or six months, there should be a continuous survey going on. In order tomake sure that the whole of a vessel is surveyed at least once in the time specified it would be necessary, as the honorable member has pointed out, that the vessel should go into a dry dock for the purpose of being overhauled. But a surveyor should be able to go down on one trip and examine all or part of the port engines, and on the next trip to examine other portions of the machinery, and these portions of the ship need not be surveyed when the vessel is in dock.
– The hull cannot be surveyed without dry docking.
– I have the matter under consideration.
– I am glad that the Minister proposes to consider some modification of the clause, because it has been represented to me that it is a very onerous one to pass. I am informed that in the case of some owners it would entail an expense of something like ,£1,500 a year in one line, and about £20,000 a year in others if a survey had to take place every six months. In some cases, especially in Queensland, it would be very difficult to get the necessary dock accommodation.. In addition to that outlay, there would be a heavy expense for towage. The £20,000 would include painting, for instance. In the law of Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, and New Zealand there is a provision for a survey every twelve months.
– In New South Wales there used to be a survey every six months.
– When we find three States of the Commonwealth, the Dominion of New Zealand, and the Imperial Parliament providing for an annual survey it must be considered sufficient. Besides, the necessity for a re-survey is less in the case of our vessels, which are frequently in port, than it is in the case of deep-sea ships. There is in the Bill, I think, a provision under which the Minister can at any time ask that a vessel be resurveyed. These matters ought to be tome in mind. I see that the Minister intends to insert this amendment - iq6. Subject to the power of the Minister to -extend the time for re-survey, every steam-ship shall be surveyed once at least in every twelve months by the prescribed surveyor.
I know nothing more than what has been told to me in these matters. I thought it was just as well to put before honorable members what men conversant with shipping business think about the clause as it stands. I hope that the Minister, as he intends to postpone the clause for recon sideration, will not go back upon the position he has assumed by adopting the Bill as it stands.
– I have not. I propose to strike it out.
– I take it that none of us has any desire to harass in any unnecessary way the owners of steam-ships or other vessels. What we are mainly concerned about is the safety of human life. That should, I think, be paramount above considerations of expense, although that also should be considered. We are not in a position to question the accuracy of the figures quoted by the honorable member for Angas. We realize that they are given in perfect good faith so far as he is concerned, but they do seem to suggest an exaggeration, especially in the case of vessels of comparatively small tonnage. Twelve months is, I think, too long a period for a vessel trading in Australian waters under present conditions to go without a survey of her hull after she has been in service for a few years. I sincerely hope that the Minister will take the trouble to visit some of the vessels which sail out of Melbourne, and which may be seen alongside the wharfs, especially some vessels of the smaller and the older types, and see whether he will not be confirmed in the opinion that vessels of that class at any rate ought to be subjected to a half-yearly survey of their hulls. Many of them are very old, and ought to have been scrapped long ago. The marvel to me is that they can get certificates, and are allowed to continue running. I think it is a conundrum to most men of nautical experience how the responsible authorities permit vessels of that kind to be still granted certificates. The only explanation can be that, having had no experience of sea life, they are not conversant with the dangers attendant upon the continual re-issue of these certificates to vessels which are practically crumbling to pieces with decay. I hope that the Minister will look further into this matter, and pay a visit to some of these vessels. If then, after personal observation, he still thinks twelve months should be allowed, I shall be very much surprised.
– The Royal Commission on navigation took a good deal of evidence on this subject, and found as a result very much what the Committee would infer from the statements made by the honorable member for Lang and the honorable member for
Dalley - that it is not the period so much as the method and efficiency of the inspection that are important. The Commission found, as regards the survey, that, taking the conditions as they were in Australia at the time, there were three things essential. The first was that sufficient surveyors should be appointed, the second that they should have adequate powers, and the third that provision should^ be made to enable those powers to be given effect to. We stated further in our report -
As to the first, the evidence shows that modern shipbuilding called for some change in the qualifications of persons acting as marine surveyors. The modern ship is largely constructed of steel, yet the marine surveyor is usually a man whose knowledge better fits him to speak as to the seaworthiness of the older type of vessel. He is not usually an expert in machinery, and so cannot speak with authority as to the condition of the ship’s engines. Yet it is upon the efficiency of these that the safety of the steam-ship largely if not entirely, depends. And, as has been pointed out by Mr. Travers, Secretary of the Shipwrights’ Society, surveyors are generally seafaring men, possessed of expert knowledge on the general fitness of the ship, but not so competent to detect flaws ar.d imperfections in structure or equipment as an expert. Your Commissioners, therefore, consider that, in these days of specialization, a radical departure from old-time methods is necessary, and they, therefore, recommend the appointment, after examination, of three classes of surveyors -
General surveyors - men who are qualified to speak of the general fitness of the vessel, her deck, and hull (if constructed of wood), rigging, stowage of cargo, fitness for the voyage, and general equipment.
Boiler and iron hull surveyors - experts in regard to boilers and iron hulls.
Engine surveyors - experts in respect of the engines and machinery.
Clause 191 of this Bill states that the regulations shall provide for three classes of surveyors, as follows : - Class 1, shipwright surveyors; class 2, boiler and iron hull surveyors ; and class 3, engineer surveyors. That clause carries out the recommendations of the Commission. If it is passed, and the class of surveyors that we recommended are appointed, many of the dangers to which attention has been drawn ought to be considerably minimized. When a vessel has been once thoroughly inspected she should be seaworthy for twelve months ahead at least.
– Once in twelve months should do if the examination is effective.
– Yes, and the complaints that have been made of the defective condition of boats arose under the old condi tions. If the new conditions proposed in the Bill are established, a twelve months’ survey seems reasonable. If not, six months would be reasonable.
– The mere fact that a boiler-maker has been appointed to survey the hull does not mean that the ship is going to be any more safe.
– Much of the necessity for more frequent survey hitherto has arisen from the fact that there has not been a proper system of survey. I am only too pleased to act on the advice of those who have knowledge of these matters, and I agree that we ought to accept any provision that will insure the safety of ships. I should go even further, and err on the side of caution, requiring perhaps something more stringent than is necessary, in order to obtain ideal conditions. We find, however, that a twelve months’ survey is accepted in the Old Country and in the States. In Great Britain, notwithstanding the continual revision that has taken place lately, that period still continues. There seems therefore something to be said in its favour. I presume there must have been expert authority on its side. The Imperial Board of Trade made very strong representations upon the whole of this part of the Bill, and the several Australian Governments insisted upon their right in this matter to exercise their own powers. With that attitude I am in thorough accord. The Imperial authorities pointed out the danger of retaliation, and the enormous amount of shipping they had compared with Australia, but those reasons, which were seriously considered, did not alter the line of action which the Australian Governments took. On 28th October, 1908, the following reply was sent by the Deakin Government to the Imperial objections -
Clause 188 has been law in New South Wales and Victoria for many years without complaint or entailing suggested inconveniences or expense. Therefore abandonment right survey cargo ships would not be accepted.
– That is another point- Prior to that time it was only steam-ships carrying passengers that had to be surveyed. We have included all the ships.
– I am coming to the question of the period of survey -
Suggest only alteration of period from six to twelve months. Presume, in view of resolution one Imperial Shipping Conference your objection will not be further pressed.
I believe that the suggested alteration of the period from six to twelve months did not appear in the original draft of the 1910 Bill. I undestand that the Minister is agreeable to postpone the consideration of the clause.
– The Minister is inclined to postpone this clause, and, no doubt, wisely. But there seems to be some apprehension in the minds of some honorable members as to the effect of the proposed alteration. I think this arises out of a misapprehension. First of all, the application of the clause, as it stands, is practically confined to Australian ships - that is, Inter-State and coastal ships. It does not extend to British ships. It does not, of course, extend to foreign ships. It is said that such being the case; we have to consider what are the provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act in respect of British ships which trade to Australia regularly, and upon which Australian citizens and seamen are from time to time engaged. We are considering this matter solely from the point of view of the safety of life and property. The British Merchant Shipping Act provides for a certificate remaining in force twelve months. Clause 208 provides that a steam-ship in respect of which - a certificate of survey granted by the Board of Trade of the United Kingdom, or a prescribed classification certificate granted by any corporation or association for the survey and register of ships approved by the Governor-General has been issued, shall, while that certificate remains in force, be exempt from survey. In clause 202, as amended, it is provided that the Minister shall have power to send a surveyor, or any person authorized by him, to inspect or survey a ship at any time. First of all, we have the operation of clause 196 restricted to Australian ships. Other ships largely trading in Australia will be under Board of Trade certificates. But all ships may be inspected and surveyed at any time, whether their certificates have expired or not. We propose to give extraordinary powers to the Minister under clause 202, so that he can send a surveyor on board at any time if he has reasonable cause to believe that a ship is not seaworthy. It all comes down to this : What sort of a survey are we going to have? I do most emphatically protest against the idea that a frequent survey will give us a guarantee of safety. A survey every six months will give us no better guarantee than a survey every twelve months if it is a mere perfunctory survey. I remember very well being present when Mr. Sam Smith went to a vessel lying at Mort’s Dock. In my presence he pushed his umbrella right through one of the plates of the hull. It will be understood that a steel-ferruled umbrella will easily penetrate a plate worn down to three-sixteenths of an inch. There have been vessels with plates in that condition whose certificates were not two months old. There are others whose boilers are in a dangerous condition. The Royal Commission looked at the whole of the circumstances, and what they realized was that it is not the frequency of the survey, but the thoroughness of it, that matters. What the Commission proposed was that the survey should be carried out by persons not only competent to survey a wooden ship, but an iron ship ; and to survey every part of it. This Bill, therefore, provides for a class of men being employed who are qualified to determine the general fitness of a ship - her deck, hull (where the hull is constructed of wood), rigging, stowage of cargo, fitness for the voyage, general equipment, and other prescribed matters in relation to the ship.
But we also provide that another class .of surveyors - shall consist of men who are qualified to determine the condition of a ship’s boiler and hull (where the hull is constructed of iron or steel).
At the present time it is not the practice to employ men who are experts in that direction. Sometimes experts are employed; more frequently they are not. To-day vessels are, in 95 per cent, or more cases, built of iron. A ship may be totally unfit to go to sea, not because of any defect in her hull, but because of defects in her boilers and machinery. I want to emphasize the reasons which actuated the Government ir> proposing this amendment, which will insure safety as far as human foresight can do. We do not want to have one law for one class of ships and another law for another ; and we are relying not so much on frequency of survey as thoroughness. We also rely on clause 202 and previous clauses, which give the Minister power to authorize any person to go on board at any time during the currency of the certificate and make a thorough survey. Under the circumstances, I consider the proposal amply warranted, and that the alteration suggested by the Government ought to pass.
– If the honorable member for Dalley would withdraw his objection to the clause being omitted I should be pleased, as I should prefer to pass it than to postpone it. As the AttorneyGeneral has said, it is not a matter of having surveys made frequently, but of seeing that they are thorough. Unless you have effective administration you are not likely to have effective survey. The position is that we are bound to accept a certificate issued by the Board of Trade in the United Kingdom, or any prescribed certificate granted by any corporation or association approved by the Governor-General, which, of course, means the Government. No one would think that the Governor-General would shut out a Lloyd’s certificate. Any person who has any knowledge of seafaring is aware that, of course, we would accept a Lloyd’s certificate or a certificate of the Bureau Veritas - a foreign equivalent to Lloyd’s. Unless we modify the clause, vessels could go away if registered in New Zealand, because New Zealand vessels would be exempt. The honorable member for Dalley knows that perhaps 90 per cent, of the new tonnage coming to Australia is built under the supervision of Lloyd’s surveyors, and a Lloyd’s surveyor in Australia would give to such vessels Lloyd’s certificates, even although they were Australian-trade ships. They would be registered under Lloyd’s. I am sure that we are all anxious to make travelling by sea as safe as possible, and I think that we can achieve the object which the honorable member has in view by making sure that the survey is carried out thoroughly, and not as has been the case in some instances, in a perfunctory manner. We should insure that every survey shall be complete and thorough, and that vessels not fit to proceed to sea shall be refused a certificate. By taking such a stand we should improve navigation matters in Australia, and also strengthen the position of Lloyd’s surveyors here. If the honorable member desires that the clause be _ postponed until we can obtain further evidence on the point, I shall be prepared to adopt that course
.- This matter is of grave importance to the public. Despite anything that has been said by the Minister, the position undoubtedly is that the condition of a vessel cannot be ascertained except by frequent surveys. When a vessel is about to be surveyed, it is assumed that the work will not be carried out in a haphazard fashion, but that ‘t will be honorably and fairly performed. The question arises as to what is the respective wear and tear upon a vessel during periods of six months and twelve months. Is the wear and tear during a six months’ period such that the failure to make a survey at the end of that period would endanger the life and property of the community? I say, deliberately, from my own association extending over many years with docking firms, that there is great danger in this regard, and that it would be obviated by causing comparatively frequent surveys to be made. I respectfully submit that a survey should be made every six months. The Minister will take whatever course of action he pleases, but I enter my emphatic protest against this clause as it stands. I think that a six months’ survey is essential.
– If the honorable member desires the clause to be postponed, I shall agree to the adoption of that course, although it will mean that the whole question will again be discussed. I think that if he looks at proposed new clauses 202 and 196 he will see that a wide power is to be given to the Minister to order a survey to be made, and that he may direct a survey to be made once in six months.
– Very well; I shall not ask that the clause be postponed.
Clause 197 (Report of survey).
.- I move -
That the following proviso be added : - “ Provided that whether or not the report of the surveyor be satisfactory no ship more than 16 years old from the date of launching shall be subsidized by the Commonwealth Government in any way, or for any purpose.”
I have been led to submit this amendment because of a recent experience. In company with several members of this Parliament I travelled a few months ago on the steamer Warrego from a North Queensland port to Thursday Island. That ship, according to a tablet on board, was built in 1883, so that she was, at the time in question, at least 29 years old. She was practically falling to pieces. Several of our party carried away, as mementoes of the trip, small pieces of her plates, and her general condition suggested that she was really not seaworthy. My desire is not to place that vessel on the scrap heap - where she ought to be - but simply to insure that the Commonwealth Government shall not subsidize such a vessel for any purpose or in any way. I have used the words “ in any way “ for the reason that a vessel of this kind might be subsidized other than by means of a cash grant. The Government might, for instance, agree to pay part or the whole of the wages of her crew, or to remit the lighting dues. The Warrego is at present being subsidized to carry the mails between certain ports in the far north of Queensland, but she might be subsidized for other purposes. A grant might be made to her to carry troops, munitions of war, or ordinary Government stores. It is to preclude any such possibility that I provide in the amendment that a vessel over sixteen years old shall not be subsidized “ in any way or for any purpose.” On the return voyage from Thursday Island we travelled by a Japanese steamer, the Yawata Maru, which is subsidized by the Japanese Government to carry mails between Australia and Japan. That vessel, although a floating palace as compared with the Warrego, is to be withdrawn from the service next year. She is only fourteen years old, but the Japanese Government refuse to subsidize in any way a vessel that is more than fifteen years old. The Warrego is at least 29 years old. but is still being subsidized by the Commonwealth Government. I contend that this provision would to some extent safeguard the public.
– Could not the honorable member’s object be met by inserting a clause in the mail contracts?
– It might be; but if this proviso were inserted there would be no option - the Government of the day would be compelled to observe it. I am sure that the reasonableness of the amendment will appeal to honorable members. By adopting it we shall be following the example of a nation which, although in the opinion of some not as advanced as it might be, has recently taken action in this direction. We shall, indeed, set a worthy example to other countries, and I trust that my proposal will be accepted.
Mr. PAGE (Maranoa) (12.40]. - I hope the Minister will give some consideration to what the honorable member for Herbert has said. Since the establishment of Federation, we have had more than one illustration of what the shipping companies are prepared to do. One of the most recent illustrations has been given in connexion with the mail service between the mainland and Tasmania. I know the Warrego, the steamer referred to by the honorable member for Herbert. She is about as old a colonial as I am myself.
– The honorable member has not such a worn look.
– The Warrego does not always look worn. They give her a periodica] coat of paint. I remember that 1 scarcely knew her when I saw her on one occasion. She reminded me of a fashionplate, she was got up so regardless of cost. 1 support the contention of the honorable member for Herbert. He has mentioned that the Japanese Government have refused to subsidize a boat which is a floating palace compared with the Warrego, merely because she is fifteen years of age. A vessel that is not good enough for the Japanese Government should not be good enough for us. The longer we permit the use of these inferior vessels for the carriage of our mails the longer the public will have to suffer. If we subsidize boats for the carriage of mails, we should see that uptodate vessels are used in the service.
– We have not yet heard what attitude the Government propose to adopt in connexion, with the amendment moved by the honorable member for Herbert. One may view the amendment with favour, but I doubt whether such a provision should be included in this Bill- The honorable member’s proposal is practical I that no ship over sixteen, years of age shall receive any subsidy from, the Commonwealth. By that, I presume that the honorable member means that no ship over that age shall be allowed to carry Commonwealth mails.
– Except at the poundage rate.
– The provision, if agreed to, would operate in that way. I remind the honorable member for Herbert that wecall for tenders for the carriage of mails, and the service is tendered for on a business basis. The amount of the tender will depend on the class of boat employed in the service. If we demand a higher class of boat for the carriage of our mails, we must be prepared to pay higher rates for the service. Is this not rather a matter of administration than a matter of the general law relating to navigation? If the Commonwealth desires the employment of a certain class of boat for the carriage of mails between certain ports, we should specify the class of boat required in calling for tenders.
– Much would depend onwhether the Administration were sympathetic with the use of old or of new boats-
– I have no doubt that an Administration composed of men like the honorable member and myself would specify the use of the best boats that could be obtained.
– That is so; but there are others.
– It should not be forgotten that the traffic between many ports is not very great, and would not justify the employment of the most modern vessels. I can understand, for instance, that for some time to come the only class of boats we could expect to get for the carriage of mails between ports of the Northern Territory would be comparatively inferior, though they might be quite good enough for the work they would be called upon to do.
– If a vessel carries only one passenger, he should be properly served.
– The honorable member’s amendment would apply to all ships, and not merely to passenger ships. I agree that in calling for tenders for the carriage of mails, for instance, between the mainland and Tasmania, between Papua and the eastern coast, and between Port Darwin and the eastern coast, we should, as far as possible, provide for a service of the best class of vessel ; but the amendment submitted by the honorable member for Herbert would probably, in some cases, amount to a prohibition, and we should not be able to get our mails carried at all. If the Minister would give the Committee an assurance that in calling for tenders for the carriage of mails the Government will be prepared to accept such terms as will secure the use of modern and up-to-date boats, the object of the honorable member for Herbert in submitting his amendment will probably be sufficiently served.
– I am advised by the Crown Law Department that this amendment is foreign to the Bill. Parliament will have in its own hands the granting of subsidies to boats.
– The ship to which I have referred is subsidized at the present time.
– Yes, but when the contract under which that vessel is running comes to be revised, Parliament can, if it pleases, object to the continuance of that boat in the subsidized service. We could specify, when calling for tenders for the carriage of mails, that no vessel over a certain age should be employed in the service. A future Parliament would not necessarily be bound by this provision in making contracts of the kind. The amendment is not germane to the clause we are considering, and I am advised that it is foreign to the Bill.
– It is certain that the amendment is not germane to the clause under consideration, and it is a great mistake to include in a Bill provisions which cannot be found in any index to the Statutes. A man would not refer to the Navigation Bill for information as to mail contracts; and for that reason I suggest that the Minister might accomplish his object in some other way. Personally, I think that this is rather a dangerous provision. We all sympathize with the humane motives of the Minister, but there are many vessels over twelve years of age which are perfectly seaworthy. The boilers and machinery are renewed from time to time; and that is the chief matter to be considered. Some of the larger vessels are, I believe, kept quite up-to-date in every respect. I have been unable to ascertain what is regarded as the seaworthy life of a vessel, but I am told that the *Omrah, for instance, is fourteen years old, and quite efficient. Such vessels are put into dock at the end of each voyage, and subjected to regular survey ; and it seems a pity that they should not lie entitled to share in Government contracts. A condition is imposed on the Postmaster-General, limiting his choice of vessels, when, at the best, he may not have much option; and while there should be no unnecessary risk to life or property, I do not think that this amendment should be insisted on.
– I hope that the amendment will not be persisted in. As the Minister of Trade and Customs has pointed out, it is very doubtful whether the amendment is covered by the scope of the Bill ; and if it should not be within the scope, its effect would be nugatory. And even if it be within our powers and the scope of the Bill, it cannot be contended for one moment that such an amendment would act as a perpetual prohibition on future Parliaments and Governments. Regarding the question on its merits, I am sure that ‘it would be most inadvisable to prescribe that every ship over sixteen years should not be subsidized.
Ships, like men, differ; and those vessels which live only sixteen years must be very badly built. There are many ships on this coast twenty and thirty years old, and some still older. And there is another point that must be looked at. The Peregrine, for instance, is a very old vessel, but, to all intents and purposes, it has been re-constructed and re-made; indeed, a vessel which goes into dock one time and another may be in the end like a careful housewife’s quilt, patched and re-patched, until nothing of the original is left except, in the case of ships, the date of registration. The greatest safeguard we have is that the fittest boats get the subsidy, all other things being equal ; and if the fittest boats do not get the subsidy, nothing we put in the Bill in this way will insure that they shall. Ships are now being better built, and, above all, care is taken that they are adaptable to the most economical methods of working; the fittest vessel is that which will do the most work on the smallest consumption of coal. Some of the older ships may be better .built than modern ships, but the boilers, engines, and general arrangements of the latter insure the most economical consumption of coal.’ Doubtless there are many subsidized ships on the coast which, under a proper system, would be in a nautical graveyard ; but I cannot see that the amendment would write their epitaph, and I suggest that it be withdrawn.
.- I thought that, in suggesting a period of sixteen years, I was excessively generous, considering that the period prescribed by the Japanese Government is only fifteen years. The Warrego, which is twenty-nine years old, carries troops to and from Thursday Island; and I have seen the fore-deck so crowded with sheep as to permit only a narrow passage for passengers. Until comparatively recently non-commissioned officers and their wives had to travel steerage, but the present Minister of Defence, as one of his last acts as a member of the Watson Government, ordered that in the future the wives should travel saloon. There is no doubt that the conditions were disgraceful ; and I submitted the amendment with a view of inducing or compelling the shipping companies to provide better accommodation. We pay a large subsidy to this vessel to carry mails from Brisbane to Burketown, and this should enable the company, if they are not animated solely by a greed for dividends, to give us better ships.
However, after hearing the arguments of legal members, I ask leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 198 to 201 agreed to.
Sitting suspended from 1 to 2.30 p.m.
Clause 202 (Ship may be required to dock).
– I ask the Committee to negative the clause, as I propose to insert another in its place of which I have given notice.
Clause 203 agreed to.
Clause 204 -
The Minister may, if he is satisfied that the immediate resurvey of a steam-ship would occasion unreasonable or unnecessary expense or inconvenience, and that no danger to the ship or her crew, passengers, or cargo will arise from the extension, extend the time for her next resurvey, and the currency of her certificate of survey, for any period not exceeding one month.
Provided that no extension of the currency of the certificate shall be granted to enable the vessel to proceed to another port for the purpose of docking or repairs, if proper facilities are available for such docking or repairs at any of the ports to which the vessel is usually trading.
.- The clause enables the Minister to postpone a resurvey, but it is provided that no extension of the currency of the certificate shall be made to enable a vessel to proceed to another port for docking or repairs if proper facilities are available at any of the ports to which she usually trades. A vessel whose usual place of docking might be Sydney, might be at Brisbane, and under this provision be prevented from going to Sydney for repairs. This provision may work injuriously to some of the companies. A vessel’s owners might have repairing shops in Sydney, but none at some other port at which she happened to be, and it would be unfair to prevent her from going to Sydney.
– I hope that the clause will be retained. The shipping companies try to keep their vessels travelling as long as possible with as little expense for docking and repairs as it is necessary to make. They will always ask for permission for vessels to proceed from one port to another, taking the greatest risk. For many years I have had evidence of this in Victoria and in New South Wales. The companies run to the verge of disaster before they will do anything for the repair of their vessels. The clause provides an essential safeguard.
– - I am under the impression that one of the steam-ship companies has a repairing establishment at Brisbane.
– None of the shipping companies provide their own docking accommodation. They send their vessels to the works of engineering firms to have repairs made.
– I understand that none of them have repairing places of their own.
– I admit the need for regular surveys to insure the prompt carrying out of repairs where necessary, but it would seem hard to prevent a vessel from making a short run to get to the place at which she is usually docked and repaired.
– 1 am informed that the shipping companies do not maintain repairing works.
– I have been told that one of them has its own works in Sydney.
– I am not aware of that. The proviso is intended to prevent the extension of the currency of a certificate to enable a vessel to leave Australia. None of the runs on the Australian coast exceed three weeks. The Sydney to Fremantle return run, which is longest, only lasts that time, a steamer leaving Sydney regularly every third week. I ask the Committee to agree to the clause. If it is likely to create hardship, the ship-owners will be sure to object to it, and I have not yet heard any objection. Should it be objected to, I shall be willing to agree to a recommittal, though I do not promise to make any alteration in the clause. If a vessel whose usual place for being repaired is Sydney were not likely to be there on the date when her twelve months’ certificate would expire, she could have the survey made a fortnight earlier, should she be on the Fremantle run, to insure her repairing in Sydney. The extension contemplated is to meet the case of vessels whose certificates expire at ports like Cairns, where there are no facilities for repairing. Such a vessel would be granted an extension of time to go on to Brisbane. I do not think there would be any difficulty about a vessel going on from Brisbane to Sydney
.- I take no exception to the provision that no extension of the currency of the certificate shall be granted to enable a vessel to proceed to another port for the purpose of docking or repair if proper facilities are available for such docking or repair at any of the ports to which the vessel is usually trading. There are only a few ports - Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne, for example - where vessels can be docked and repaired. At other ports there is no such facility. When you enable a vessel needing repairs to proceed to sea, you allow her to do so at the risk of the lives and property of the community. I hope that it will be provided that vessels must from time to time proceed to ports where they can receive a thorough overhaul. The re-surveying of ships is a most important matter. The resurvey should be carried out, if not every six months, at least every nine months, or every year. There must be a definite period, and the clause is too vague to be allowed to stand in its present form.
– The Minister will not have power to extend the time for resurvey unless the vessel is in a place where she cannot dock. If she is at Cairns or Cooktown, the Minister can extend the time, say, for a week, to enable her to reach Brisbane or Sydney to dock. I take it that no Minister would grant an unlimited extension of time.
– There is a good deal of force in the statement of the honorable member for Dalley, who has sounded a note of warning that should not be disregarded. In times past the survey of shipping on the Australian coast has been a huge joke. The honorable member for Dalley some time ago produced specimens of worn plates from a steamer’s hull, which should have convinced honorable members of the necessity of putting an end to a condition of things which appears to have been well known to every one except the official surveyors themselves. How it is that certain vessels were not condemned and sent into dock years ago I have found it difficult to understand. The honorable member for Darling Downs talks about vessels being repaired at their own yards. Repairs that do not necessitate a complete overhaul are frequently done at the various shipping companies’ wharfs, but a vessel must go into dock for a proper survey and overhaul. I think this clause will have a tendency to induce States which have no docks at present to provide the necessary facilities for docking ships. I have known of cases where Lloyd’s surveyor has reluctantly given a permit for a vessel to go to another State for the purpose of obtaining docking accommodation. We may pass legislation in this Chamber providing for periodical surveys, but everything really depends on the administration of the Act. In the Old Country there are any number of inspectors connected with shipping, but the only object of having an inspector appears to be to satisfy the public that there is a man who is supposed to do something. The man himself never does anything at all, and the consequence is that a false feeling of security is created. If the State laws had been carried out years ago in regard to the proper inspection of vessels, and overhauls insisted on when necessary, the condition of things would have been much improved. Vessels have been frequently allowed to go to sea for another trip, when every person who had a practical acquaintance with shipping knew that the passengers and crews they were carrying were incurring great danger. I do not blame the shipowners who are moving in this matter for pushing their views. We all know how the world goes round. Some shipping companies appear to have acted on the maxim that it was as well to run a vessel as long as possible, and let her get broken up, and so ended. Other companies have their fleets in good order. We know that all these things are accidentally done all over the world. I do not say they are done intentionally, but it is our business as legislators to protect the public from these “ uniform accidents,” so to speak. Too much care, therefore, cannot be taken. I am not going to pit my judgment against that of the honorable member for Dalley, but I think there is sufficient security provided by the clause as it stands so long as the Bill, when it becomes an Act, is properly administered. That has been where the leakage has occurred in the past. There is no necessity to harass shipowners in the matter. The officers of the shipping companies know the state of their vessels perfectly well. They know when a ship should be surveyed and overhauled, and no one knows it better. Why, then, do they not have it overhauled ? Is it not the same as in the Public Service, where you will find a Department, the head of which will do everything he possibly can to cut down expenses and reduce wages in order to put up a good record with his Minister, and get his own wages raised? That is the case with the superintendents of the shipping companies. The directors say, “ You must keep expenses down.” The superintendent knows that the ship is not fit to go to sea, but in spite of that he sends her to sea. An engineer in a responsible position on a ship says to the superintendent, “ So and so is the case.” The answer is, “That is all right; get away to sea. You know it will be put right when you come back again. Get away from the wharf now and do not make too much noise.” The man is not going to quarrel with his bread and butter, and so he keeps his mouth shut. If that sort of fooling affected only one or two people it would not be so important, but when it affects the safety of the crew and the travelling public it is too serious a matter for joking. I hope the Minister will stick to his clause, and, if he moves at all, move in the direction of making the survey more frequent rather than of extending the time.
.- I do not differ at all from the remarks of the honorable member for Hindmarsh, but they do not apply to the point to which I was endeavouring to direct the attention of the Minister. We all agree that the Minister ought not to allow, under some plausible or ridiculous pretext, an extension of time for re-survey, but there are occasions on which it is justifiable to grant an extension. This the first part of the clause recognises, but by the proviso the Minister is absolutely barring himself from meeting one occasion. If a vessel trades ordinarily between Melbourne and Cairns, and is about to leave Cairns on the return trip to Melbourne, she may be stuck up there by an accident or by a strike. In the ordinary course she would have been able to get back to her home port in time to go into dock for re-survey, but is prevented from doing so by something over which the owners or master have no control. However, when she gets as far as Brisbane, the Minister, because there are docking facilities there, is not permitted by the proviso to grant a reasonable request that she should be allowed an extension of two days longer to reach her home port, and there have the repairs done in the ordinary course. If a vessel coming from Calcutta reaches Fremantle, and in the ordinary course of events would have been able to reach Melbourne or Sydney within the time of the certificate, she may be detained at Fremantle by accident or strike, and there again the Minister cannot grant a reasonable request for an extension of time, because there is a dock at Fremantle into which the vessel could go for re-survey. That is very harsh, and I ask the Minister to consider the suggestion which has been forwarded to me-
– Is it that of the steam-ship owners ?
– Yes. The suggestion is that the clause be amended so that a vessel might proceed to her usual docking port, provided that she was on her voyage to that port, but that if she were not proceeding to her docking port, then she should survey immediately after the expiry of her certificate. If, then, the vessel is bondfide on a voyage to her usual docking port, but is prevented from getting there by unforeseen circumstances, it is reasonable to grant an extension of time.
– The very nature of the proviso precludes many of those contingencies which have been put before the Committee. If the Minister is inclined to give an extension, it must be in a proper case. If it is a case for docking, it must relate either to the hull or the external mechanism which propels the hull. If there is a serious defect in connexion with the boilers or machinery, the vessel cannot reach another port, but if the matter is trivial I cannot conceive of any difficulty arising.
– The clause deals with the extension of the certificate, but the proviso prevents extension in certain circumstances.
– If we took the proviso out, the Minister would have power to permit a vessel, which had been declared to be not worthy of an extension of the certificate, to proceed to another port, so that she might be made seaworthy there. But no Minister should have that power. Seaworthiness ought, as far as possible, to be safeguarded by the measure. There must be a discretion, but that discretion should be limited. This proviso simply declares that, although the Minister has a discretion to allow a vessel to leave port when she is not seaworthy, he ought not to allow her to leave if there is opportunity and convenience at that port to repair her and make her seaworthy. It would be monstrous for him to say that, notwithstanding that there was in that port a means of making the vessel seaworthy, she should be allowed to go to sea in an unseaworthy condition. That is the actual position under this proviso. If a vessel were seaworthy the certificate, of course, would issue. Without this proviso I should not be prepared to vote for the clause.
.- I would point out to the Attorney-General that the Minister can grant a certificate of extension only when he is satisfied that an immediate re-survey would occasion unnecessary expense or inconvenience, and that “ no danger to the ship or her crew, passengers or cargo will arise from the extension.” He could not grant an extension for a month if he thought that danger would arise.
– Because the clause declares that he must be satisfied that no danger will arise.
– It would be a matter of opinion.
– But the Minister would not act without evidence to support his action. What danger would there be in allowing a vessel under such circumstances to leave Brisbane or Sydney for Melbourne? By this proviso, however, we are declaring that if a vessel happens, for instance, to be at Brisbane when the time for a re-survey has arrived, there should be no extension of the certificate if she can be repaired there. The AttorneyGeneral said that he did not believe in an unseaworthy boat being allowed to go to sea. We are all agreed as to that. The Minister can grant an extension only when he is of opinion that there will be no danger, and that being so, the AttorneyGeneral’s argument in reply to the honorable member for Angas does not apply.
– Under the proviso a boat would be refused this extension if proper facilities were available for repairing it at any of the ports - not at a particular port - to which she was usually trading.
– The authorities who have brought this matter under notice complain that the proviso will lead to hardship.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 205 (Expiration of time before arrival).
– I shall ask the Committee to negative this clause for the reason that it is redundant arid also faulty. It would apply only to vessels that returned to Australia, and therefore would not cover those coming here for the first time.
Clause 206 -
.- Is there any reason for the retention of sub-clause 3? This clause deals with the overcrowding of steam-ships, and declares that the owner and master of a steam-ship shall not take on board passengers in excess of the number allowed by the certificate. Non-compliance with this provision renders the offender liable to a fine of £100, as well as to an additional penalty not exceeding 5s. for every person on board above the number a llowed by the certificate. Is it reasonable that any person should be allowed to take action for the recovery of those penalties?
Mr. -Howe. - A man taking action would have to prove his case.
– But he might not be a man of substance.
– Then he would not be able to take up the case.
– That is not necessarily so. There should be some safeguard. I object to the overcrowding of vessels, but think that if any person is to be at liberty to take proceedings under this clause he should be required first of all to obtain the sanction of the Minister, the superintendent, or some responsible officer. That would give a guarantee that there was a prima facie case.
– This is the United States practice.
– It is peculiar that we are not applying it to any of the other provisions of the Bill.
– This is practically the only clause that affects passengers.
– Not at all. The most important provisions of the Bill relate to the safety of vessels. It is just as improper lor a vessel to go to sea without proper appliances as to go out overcrowded. I ask the Minister to consider the advisableness of providing that any private individual taking proceedings must first obtain the sanction of the superintendent or some other responsible officer who would investigate the case.
– The honorable member for Darling Downs has said that we do not give to any individual in the community the right to sue for penalties under other clauses. I would remind him, how ever, that other clauses of the Bill relating to the seaworthiness of vessels differ from this, inasmuch as the Department itself has to see that a vessel is seaworthy, and that she makes proper provision for the comfort and safety of passengers and crew. The departmental inspection is continuous. We could not, however, have officers constantly watching every vessel to see that she did not take on board passengers in excess of the number allowed by her certificate. Inter-State boats, for instance, leave this port every Wednesday afternoon, and we should not have been able to have officers watching the whole of them. A man is not likely to take proceedings under this clause without some justification. The average citizen dislikes going to law, and would rather suffer inconvenience than institute legal proceedings. Then, again, it is difficult for the average man to tell whether a vessel has on board more passengers than she is permitted to carry ; but if it were thought that some vessels were persistently overcrowding, some one would probably take action as a warning to others. We are following what is practically the practice in the United States, where it is provided that it shall not be lawful to take on board any steamer a greater number of passengers than is stated in the certificate, and that for violation of this provision the master or owner shall be liable to any person suing.
– Does that refer to river and bay boats?
– I think it applies to all. Here the police carefully watch the river and bay traffic, but it is doubtful whether we have power over river and bay boats.
– But the Government are not exempting them.
– The chances are that there will be a general clause exempting river and bay boats.
– Some Inter-State steamers at holiday times engage in the bay traffic.
– The Flinders, for instance, which usually runs to Warrnambool, occasionally engages in the bay traffic, and she is permitted to carry more on a bay excursion than she would be allowed to carry if she were putting out to sea.
– Will the Minister consider whether it is not possible to devise means of preventing any improper action?
– I shall look into that aspect of the matter.
.- The steamer Loongana has a certificate entitling her to carry a given number of passengers, but at certain periods of the year she applies for an exemption permitting her to carry a number in excess of that which her certificate allows. Would this clause bar the steamer from getting exemption at any time? For instance, at Christmas, when I suppose she carries more passengers than at any other time?
– The Marine Board of Victoria grants exemptions to the Loongana and other vessels to carry more passengers than the number stated in the certificate ; and I remember that the last time I came from Tasmania such an exemption had been granted. This is a matter which I think touches the provision of life-saving apparatus.
– Would this clause altogether stop exemptions?
– If a vessel got an exemption, I think that a person would not be able to sue, because the certificate would allow the vessel to carry the extra number.
– It would be very dangerous to allow a vessel to carry any passengers in excess of the number for which she is licensed.
– That is not proposed by this clause.
– I understood the honorable member for Wilmot to be making a suggestion in that direction. Every person in excess of the proper number is a source of danger, though if sufficient life-saving appliances were provided something might be said in favour of exemptions.
– What we are proposing now is a restriction on the practice of exemptions.
– I understood the honorable member for Wilmot to be asking that the restrictions should be removed.
– I was merely asking for information.
-I hope that no exemptions will be granted to enable passengers in excess of the proper number to be carried.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 207 to 209 agreed to.
Clause 210 -
Amendment (by Mr. Tudor) proposed -
That the word “ transverse “ be left out.
– This clause, I think, requires a little further explanation. What is the Minister’s reason’ for proposing to strike out the word “ transverse “ ? The consideration of the safety of the vessels and those upon them is the paramount one. I do not know whether it would be advisable to insist on all the small vessels engaged in river trade being fitted with false bottoms; but I do not see why those vessels should not be fitted with other partitions. Whether these should be transverse or longitudinal I am not sufficient of an expert to say ; but from recent readingI gather that there is a general tendency on the part of British marine architects to favour both transverse and longitudinal partitions, as being safer than transverse or longitudinal partitions only. Where transverse watertight partitions are provided there should be at least one longitudinal partition, so that the water cannot affect the stability of the ship by slopping in large volume from side to side.
– I intend to propose a further amendment, to insert the words “as prescribed” after the word “bottoms.”
– Does the Minister mean that he desires power to prescribe false bottoms?
– That power is not given as the clause is worded.
– I confess I do not like the wording of the clause. In the case of the Titanic, for instance, there were watertight partitions, but when, as Lord Mersey’s report shows, the vessel was practically ripped open from near the bow to near amidships, the water filled up one bulkhead after another, they being of varying heights. This result showed that transverse watertight partitions are not effective. At the present time a committee of the Board of Trade, under the presidency of Professor Byles, who advises the Commonwealth Government in England, is considering the whole matter, and doubtless we shall receive a copy of the report when it is issued. After all, when we have passed this Bill we have not said the last word on navigation; there is no doubt that many of the clauses will have to be amended from time to time, ft has been stated by the honorable member for Richmond and others that those interested in the river boats object that a large amount of their space will be taken away ir they are obliged to provide watertight false bottoms, having regard to the minimum depth of the river. I understand that some of the river bars mean only 7 feet or less on a flood tide, and if from 6 to 10 inches are taken away in order to have false bottoms, there will, of course, be so much less space on the ship. Although I do not care for the wording of the clause, I do not see that much harm can be done by striking out the word “ transverse.” However, I shall be glad to hear honorable members on the point, which is, without doubt, an important one.
.- Do I understand that the Minister is prepared to accept the last word in connexion with scientific ship-building as the expression of what he is prepared to do?
– I say that we have not heard the last word.
– - I mean up to the present. 1 take it that the Minister will take the information that he has now as the measure of what he will do in safeguarding vessels; and if he cannot insist on transverse, longitudinal, or any other kind of watertight compartments, he will take what steps he can to insure safety.
.- I believe that what the Minister says in regard to the draught of the river boats is correct. This clause will apply to boats which are not merely river boats, in the sense of rivers connected with the sea, but boats which ply on internal seas like the Murray. 1 believe the average draught required by the river boats on the Murray is 6 ft. 6 in., and this means at least another 1 ft. 6 in. tinder the keel of a boat of 5-feet draught to allow of the necessary play.
– Some of them have to drive through the mud.
– That is so on the Murray sometimes; but to insure proper navigation, assuming the river to be locked, engineering reports all agree that there should be at least 18 inches under the keel, so that a boat of 5 feet draught will mean a draught of 6 ft. 6 in. Whether this clause applies to river boats may be doubtful. A penalty is imposed on the master for “going to sea” under certain conditions; but “going to sea” is a technical term which is defined as including more than going on the ocean. It includes, for instance, getting under way for the purpose of going to sea; and if this applies to rivers it may impose limitation on a clause supposed to be peculiarly applicable to river boats.
.- Has the Minister made any provision for existing vessels so far as watertight compartments are concerned? Some of them would not be worth altering. I think that the amendment is necessary, because the last word has not been said on the subject of naval architecture, and from the opinions expressed in Great Britain in connexion with the last great disaster it is difficult to anticipate the future. New South Wales representatives, who are aware of the nature of the boats necessary in the northern rivers trade, know that it would be hardly worth while to alter them to provide water-tight compartments. The rivers are very shallow, and only vessels of light draught can be used on them ; but a vessel going to sea must have hold of the water. A flatbottomed vessel is not safe at sea.
.- 1 wish to know whether it is proposed to enforce the requirements of the clause in regard to vessels now built, or in course of construction ? To do so would impose an onerous and almost impossible condition, which would not be fair to the owners of vessels. I think that some such proviso as this should be added -
Provided that ships built prior to ‘the passing of the Act, also ships in course of construction or in the ‘limited coast trade, or river and bay boats, shall be exempt so far as water-tight bottoms are concerned.
– This clause furnishes subject for serious consideration, and I would therefore ask the attention of the Committee to the opinions of one or two naval experts regarding water-tight compartments and the subdivision of holds. Mr. Edward Wilding, the naval architect of the White Star Company, and Mr. L. Peskett, the naval architect of the Cunard Company, gave evidence before the Court of Inquiry into the circumstances of the Titanic disaster. Mr. Wilding stated -
The Titanic was designed to float when any two compartments were flooded. From the first evidence tendered, Mr. Wilding said that Nos. i, 3, and 6 boiler-rooms appeared to have been invaded. As the ship was not fully laden, however, the water would not have reached above the level of the bulkheads. He. therefore concluded that No. 2 boiler-room must have been flooded as well. With all four compartments flooded the water would have topped the bulkhead levels; and the ship could not have remained afloat for more than one hour and a quarter. Mr. Wilding said that, the Bulkhead Committee of 1891 had rather discouraged the use of longitudinal bulkheads, seeing that they reported that compartments thus subdivided should be treated as single compartments - unless the owners were able to assure the Board of Trade that no dangerous list would result from the subdivision on one side alone being flooded. The list due to the filling of the compartments that would be sufficient to imperil a ship would depend upon the length of the longitudinal bulkheads.
That seems an argument for longitudinal bulkheads, with occasional transverse bulkheads to equalize weight and to reduce the risk of foundering after collision -
Where the longitudinal subdivisions extended in a ship of the size of the Titanic as much as 400 feet, their flooding would certainly involve a dangerous list. The Lusitania and Mauretania, he said, had longitudinal watertight bunkers and longitudinal watertight bulkheads, but the objection to such bulkheads was that coal had to be worked through watertight doors, and it was difficult to keep these doors in good condition. Nor did Mr. Wilding approve of a double skin being carried up the sides of the ship.
Mr. Alexander Carlisle, formerly managing director of Messrs. Harland and Woolf, said -
He had a strong preference -for transverse bulkheads. He thought, however, that these should be carried up higher - though it would be no use carrying them above the weather deck. ‘He believed in having very few doors, and he thought that these should always be kept closed at night.
The injury to the Titanic extended for about 200 feet, and was a rent, or series of punctures -
Knowing the time that elapsed after the Titanic had struck the iceberg until she sank, it is possible to calculate precisely the area of the rent in her plates. These rents or punctures, as other evidence shows, extended about 200 feet from the bows. Supposing that the rent were continuous, the opening would only be f inch wide. It is practically certain, however, that the injury consisted of a series of punctures. None of them were large, and their collective area at first sight seems surprisingly small, for it could not have been over 12 square feet. An opening 3 feet by 4 feet looks insignificant on such an enormous bulk - the hull was 852 feet long, and from keel to boat deck it measured 96 ft. 6 in. - yet, this leak was sufficient to send the giant ship to the bottom. Through it 16,000 tons of water found their way into the hull forty minutes after striking. As the compartments filled the rate of inflow would be gradually reduced.
I have here a diagram of the Great Eastern. The tendency of naval architectural opinion seems to be to adopt the theories of Brunei, who designed that vessel, and was a genius who lived a few years before his time. It is said in regard to the’ Great Eastern -
It is somewhat humiliating to reflect that the latest theories in marine architecture - theories that have been freely exploited as something new since the Titanic disaster - all found concrete expression in the Great Eastern fifty years ago. … A writer in the Scientific American remarks that a ship so sanely designed might well have survived the blow that sent the Titanic to the bottom. … A reversion to Brunei’s practice in the Great Eastern is very likely to be followed closely in the Atlantic liners designed from this time on. We may expect to see, therefore, transverse bulkheads carried up to 30 feet above the water-line ; an inner skin with numerous cellular subdivisions carried up to the water-line; and, perhaps, considerably higher; and very likely these provisional means of ensuring buoyancy will be further supplemented by two bulkheads about 20 feet from the sides of the hull, extending the full length of the ship.
I should like to draw the particular attention of the Minister to these statements of fact, especially in regard to the construction of the Great Eastern. So far as I can judge, the general tendency of modern ship-building since the unfortunate Titanic disaster is to accept Brunei’s idea of safety by means of transverse and longitudinal sections combined. In that way a number of watertight compartments are produced which do not interfere with the loading or disposition of the cargo, but are actually so many floating cells combined together in one outer skin or hull. If. a ship so constructed gets into collision, or strikes a hidden obstacle, and springs a leak, which in ordinary circumstances would be almost certain to send her to the bottom, there will be every prospect of her not only being able to keep afloat for many hours, but of being safely conveyed to port, although one or more of her watertight compartments are practically full of water. Even a dangerous list through water finding its way into the hull on one side through one or more of the cellular compartments could, under such a system, be counteracted by filling partially or wholly compartments on the other side. _ I trust the Minister will make further inquiries into the subject; and, in framing regulations governing the future construction of vessels, or perhaps the adaptation of modern principles to existing vessels, where that can be done without materially altering their construction, or imposing too large an expense upon owners, avail himself of the latest information in that regard.
-47]- - May I so far transgress the rules as to say how greatly delighted we all are to note the appearance here once more of our old friend, the honorable member for Hume? I would express the hope that his health may be fully recovered, and that his “ bow may long abide in strength.” The more I look at the clause, the more desirable it seems that we should leave a little elasticity to responsible officers. One scarcely knows what is best to be done with regard to the question of watertight or any other compartments, in view of the tremendous accidents that have occurred from time to time. It seemed that the last word in science had been said in the construction of the Titanic. However, she is at the bottom, a hopeless ruin, after being constructed upon the most uptodate principles, and with the application of all that science and ingenuity could contrive. It makes one wonder whether we can do anything which will give us immunity from accident. On the whole, the clause will be well amended in the direction suggested by the Minister. We must have some authority responsible for the fixation of the standards of safety, and I do not know where that responsibility can better lie than with the Minister himself, who is charged with the administration of navigation. I suppose constructors differ just as much as do any other individuals, and if we leave the word “transverse” in some of the best men in the community will say it ought to be out. Strict stipulations of the kind would seem to relieve the Government of its due responsibility for safety in these matters, and would lead also “to laxity in the administration of Departments. With respect to all that makes for the safety of passengers at sea, if we definitely fix that responsibility on the Minister from time to time, the House holding him answerable for the regulations he submits, we shall be going about as far as we can go in a general enactment of this kind.
– The clause creates a very difficult position. There are some things in it which make compliance with it in some cases almost impossible, and in others very difficult. There is the class of ships already built not possessing false bottoms, and so constructed that false bot- [Mi] toms cannot be readily placed in them to satisfy the provisions of the clause. There are also vessels either constructed or to be constructed of such shallow draught as to make a false bottom of any effective character impossible. Both those aspects of the case ought to have consideration. I am very glad to see our friend the honorable member for Hume here. We are all very glad to have him back with us, and to know his health is so greatly improved. When we were in London with him we heard a number of dreadful things that were going to happen if we enforced anything like the provisions of this Bill, and he has lived to see many of the things that were denounced then actually become part of the English law. We ought not to go quite as far as the honorable member for Bendigo has suggested, by taking out all existing ships without discretion, but we might make an amendment giving power to the Minister to exempt ships built prior to the proclamation of the Act. The honorable member for Bendigo suggested that it should be “ prior to the passing of the Act,” but there might be a very sensible interval of time between the date of its passing and the date of its coming into effect. We might also empower the Minister to exempt ships having a shallow draught from the operation of the section so far as watertight false bottoms are concerned. No Act of Parliament can make the bars of New South Wales rivers take a vessel drawing 10 feet. Therefore, long after this Act is passed vessels will be constructed in New South Wales in ever-increasing numbers drawing from 5 to 8 feet. It would be almost farcical to have false bottoms in them, and it would reduce their carrying capacity -to zero. I think we ought to pass the clause now on the understanding that we shall look into the whole matter, and that, subject, of course, to the Minister’s approval, an amendment of the sort I have indicated will be framed.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendment (by Mr. Tudor) agreed to -
That after the word “bottoms” the words “ as prescribed “ be inserted.
– In view of the promise of the Government to consider the question, and, if necessary, to draft an amendment, I shall not press my amendment.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 211 -
A ship shall not be deemed seaworthy under this Act unless -
she is not overloaded.
.- This clause varies slightly the definition ot seaWorthiness in the Merchant Shipping Act, relied on in the case of Hedley v. Pinkney referred to in the marginal note. I have always believed in following the words of the Imperial’ Act in relation to the same matter if there is no clear reason for departing from them. These were the words of the judgment in the case referred to -
Baron Parke, in the case of Dixon v. Sadler (1), defined the seaworthiness of a vessel thus : “That she shall be in a fit state as to repairs, equipment, and crew, and in all other respects to encounter ordinary perils of the voyage.” Other definitions which have been given do not, I think, substantially differ from this, and I think when so well-known a word is us,ed in the Statute of 1876 it must have its well-established meaning attached to it.
That is the case relied on in almost all matters arising in connexion with the Merchant Shipping Act, or common law actions, or actions under the Employers Liability Act, for damages caused by the ship being unseaworthy. For that reason, it is desirable not to depart, so far as that can be avoided, from the substance of the definition which has been relied upon so much in England. So far as I can hurriedly see, this clause is an extension of that definition, and does not seem to interfere with its general effect.
– I should like to add to paragraph b the words “or underloaded.” The tendency of modern passenger ships, and more especially those engaged in the Inter-State trade, is towards underloading rather than overloading. . One sometimes sees vessels coming into Melbourne and Sydney showing so much freeboard as to suggest that with an abnormally strong wind and a heavy beam sea they would be almost certain to capsize. We often see vessels coming into port, their Plimsoll mark high above the water line, and something like 60 feet or 70 feet between the level of the water and the boat deck. All this area is exposed to the force of the wind, and in such a case it seems to me that the danger arises not so much from overloading as from underloading. Then, again, a steamer during every day of her voyage is increasing her height above water by the consumption of the coal and water necessary for her propulsion. She is in that way automatically relieving herself of overweight. In the case of many of our steamers the greatest’ danger that we have to fear arises from the dual conditions of empty water ballast tanks below and their flying too light. The loss of the Yongala and the Koombana hasbeen referred to by the honorable member for Perth as showing where disasters haveprobably arisen from either the one cause or the other, or from perhaps a combination of both.
– No one knows what happened in their case.
– But from all that was known of the condition of the vessels when last seen there is a. strong probability that they capsized owing to wind and weather pressure on one side forcing them over. Their ballast tanks if empty would be like a balloon below, sothat when they were forced over to a certain angle they would probably capsize.
– How could we prevent a steamer emptying her water-ballast tanks as. soon as she put out to sea?
– I am told that that is done sometimes by the engineers without the knowledge of the commander.
– Who would the honorable member hold responsible in such a case?
– The master should be responsible. He ought to know whether his ballast tanks areempty or not. There is no difficulty about the matter, because a master could direct the ship’s carpenter or the boatswain totake soundings to ascertain whether the ballast tanks were full or empty. The responsibility rests upon the master of seeing that his vessel is in as reasonable a condition of safety as he can insure. I have seen vessels going down Hobson’s Bay, as well as down Sydney Harbor, with the greater proportion of the blades of their propellers showing out of water, and I have seen them and travelled on them in a similar condition at sea. When one sees them churning up ‘ ahuge spray whilst they are proceeding down the Harbor in fine weather, one canwell imagine that if they met with strong currents and heavy seas there would not be a sufficient command over their navigation to enable them always to keep off a lee shore in a heavy blow. I think we ought fotake this precaution, since disasters on thiscoast are more likely to arise from underloading than from overloading.
– I do not think it would be possible to make the amendment suggested by the honorable member. We provide in this clause against overloading, and also declare that a vessel shall not bo deemed seaworthy unless she is in a fit state to encounter the ordinary perils of the voyage. It seems to me that we have sufficient power under the clause as it stands to achieve practically the object which the honorable member has in view. By way of illustration, I would point out that the Loongana, on leaving her berth in the river for Launceston, would probably run light until she passed through the west channel ; that she would then pump water into her ballast tanks to carry her through the straits, and that on reaching the entrance of the Tamar she would empty her ballast tanks. No advantage is gained by a ship-owner in running his vessel light when he can use water ballast. The honorable member cited some supposititious cases-
– Actual cases. T have seen them over and over again.
– 1 have seen many vessels running light, but in none of these cases can the honorable member show that an accident has occurred. No “one has ever said that the Yongala or the Koombana were underloaded or running too light. A vessel might leave her berth in the Yarra apparently too light, but would probably fill her ballast tanks when she reached the Heads. Even if she had her tanks full on leaving port, no power on earth could prevent the master emptying them when she got away from land.
– Then there is no power, according to the Minister, to protect life at sea.
– I do not say that. The honorable member himself spoke of engineers having emptied the ballast tanks without the knowledge of the master, and he would make the master responsible for an occurrence of which he knew nothing.
– The master of a vessel should ascertain for himself the actual position, so far as the ballast tanks ure concerned.
– He would have to take the word of the chief engineer.
– The boatswain or the ship’s carpenter could take soundings.
– The chief engineer generally reports to the captain, and if he had, unknown to the captain, pumped the water out of the ballast tanks, he would not be likely to make a truthful report. I do not think it would be advantageous to make the amendment suggested by the honorable member. I fail to see how we could insure its observance. I recognise with the honorable member the difficulties of the position, but do not think owners are likely to send their vessels out too light, with the object of throwing them away. We have heard of cases where, in the old days, vessels were thrown away for the sake of the insurance money, but I do not think such occurrences are likely to-day.
– I do not think the Minister appreciates the importance of this matter. I understood that our purpose was to pass a Bill to insure all reasonable precautions for the protection of property and life at sea, and it seems to me that the amendment I suggest is one of the most necessary provisions we could have. The captain should be responsible for the safety of his ship, and he could have no difficulty in ascertaining from a subordinate officer the condition of his ballast tanks. Some time ago the Clan Ranald left Port Pirie for Port Augusta apparently in perfect trim-
– She was not underloaded.
– No, but she was not properly loaded. We might insert at the end of paragraph b the words “ underloaded or improperly loaded.”
– The honorable member means such a condition as to render the ship unstable?
– Then the clause applies, because the vessel is not in a fit state to go to sea.
– The vessel to which I have referred was certified to be in a fit condition to go to seaThe Plimsoll mark was taken as the guide ; but what was not known, and what no steps were taken to ascertain, was that the ballast - tanks had been emptied, and the vessel loaded with the empty tanks underneath. Her centre of gravity was so much affected that, in the rough weather she experienced, she capsized and went down. A similar thing happened a few months later, when a ship from San Francisco capsized in a gale of wind in sight of the Golden Gate.
It is just as dangerous to have a ship improperly loaded or underloaded as it is to have one overloaded ; and there is no use in proceeding with this Bill unless we are prepared to take every reasonable precaution to provide against preventable accidents. Most of the vessels which go out with propellers showing, and with no cargo on board, fortunately, get through ; but that is more by good luck than anything else. One of these days we shall probably have terrible loss of life, because, although a vessel may be sound in every other respect, the officers may be quite unable to keep sufficient steerage way on to prevent her drifting on to a lee shore. When an accident of that kind does occur, when the ship and her propeller have no grip of the water, we shall regret not having made proper provision in the Navigation Bill, and we shall then have to make amendments that should be made now. Only recently, I came down the coast in a vessel in which I was informed there were only 20 tons of cargo. Whether the water-ballast tanks were filled or not, I do not know; but that passenger ship was in an extremely light condition, and I was thankful for the smooth passage, for I realized what might have been the result had we met with bad weather. I have a pretty keen appreciation of these risks ; and, to guard against them as much as possible, I move -
That after the word “ overloaded “ the words “improperly loaded or underloaded” be inserted.
.- I do not think the Minister quite realizes the force of what the honorable member for Lang has said. The Attorney-General has expressed the opinion that such a case as that referred to is covered by the clause ; in other words, that the conditions of seaworthiness set forth in sub-clause b cover the case of underloading. But we have departed from the wording, if not from the substance, of the test of seaworthiness mentioned in the case of Hedley v. Pinkney, which is the case always referred to in the United Kingdom. The report of the Royal Commission of 1907 recommended that we ought to take the standard of seaworthiness set forth in the judgment in that case; and seaworthiness is there summed up as being in a fit state in regard to repairs, equipment, and crew. These words are very general ; and very often such general words have a wider scope than a number of words such as we find in the clause. Apparently, for greater caution, the draftsman has proceeded by the enumeration of things that might be included in the general terms used in the judgment, and, by doing so, he may have cut down or limited the definition in sub-clause b so as to exclude underloading. It therefore behoves us to be cautious in the wording of a Bill to deal with the same matter as that dealt with in the Merchant Shipping Act. I suggest that the clause might be postponed for further consideration, or that the Minister might undertake to consult the Law Department.
– A vessel that was underloaded would not be in a fit state to go to sea.
– That does not follow. There was much argument in the case referred to on that point, and it was held that the vessel was seaworthy, although it was due to some fault in the vessel that the accident took place. A distinction was drawn between not properly working the vessel and the state of the vessel at the time of departure; and the Court held that the vessel appeared to be, in all respects, equipped - that the fault was in not making use of the equipment which had been furnished. The question arose whether or not the fact that the crew did not make proper use of the equipment was a breach of the rule previously laid down in regard to seaworthiness.
– I regret that I cannot see eye to eye with the honorable member for Lang. In my opinion, the clause as drafted will meet the case he has in view. The very vessel of which the honorable member spoke had empty watertight compartments, which practically acted like a balloon, and turned her over. There is nothing in the Bill, and there could be nothing put into the Bill, to prevent a master from pumping the water out of the water-tight compartments, although the tanks had been full when inspected.
– Why should he desire to pump the water out?
– The Loongana, for instance, waits until she gets to the Heads before she fills her watertight compartments, and she empties them again when she gets off Low Head. According to the amendment of the honorable member for Lang, that vessel would be unseaworthy at each end of her voyage, and only seaworthy at the very time when she could not be inspected.
– Only the other day a vessel, under similar circumstances, had to put out to sea off Gabo because she had not sufficient steerage on to keep her off a lee shore.
– If the amendment were carried, the Loongana would have to fill her tanks before leaving the wharf.
– That would be absurd.
– Quite so; and, therefore, I think the amendment ought to be rejected.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 212 (Sending unsea worthy ships to sea).
– I desire to have this clause omitted, with a view to separating it into two clauses, to be numbered 212 and 212a. The clause really deals with two separate subjects, and ought to be divided.
Clause 213 agreed to.
Clause 214 - (2.) If a ship detained under this Act was at the time of the detention unseaworthy, the owner of the ship shall be liable to pay to the Minister, or to such person as the Minister directs, the costs of and incidental to the detention and survey of the ship, and those costs shall, without prejudice to any other remedy, be recoverable by the Minister, or by any person authorized by him to sue for them, in any Court of summary jurisdiction.
Amendments (by Mr. Tudor) agreed to-
That after the word “ ship,” line 1, the words “is finally” be inserted.
That the word “Act” he left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “ division.”
That after the word “Act” the words “or if it appears that a ship provisionally detained under this Division “ be inserted.
That the following new sub-clause be added : - “ (3.) For the purposes of this Division, the costs of and incidental to any proceeding before a Court of Marine Inquiry shall be deemed to be part of the costs of the detention and survey of the ship.”
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 215 -
If the master of any ship legally detained takes the ship to sea before she is duly released, he shall be guilty of an indictable offence.
Amendment (by Mr. Tudor) agreed to-
That after the word “ detained “ the words “ under this Division “ be inserted.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clauses 216 and 217 negatived.
Clause 218 - (1.) Where a complaint is made to the Minister that a shin is unseaworthy, the Minister may, if he thinks fit, require the complainant to give security to his satisfaction for any costs and compensation which he ‘ may become liable to pay in consequence of the detention and survey of the ship. (2.) Provided that where the complaint is made by two or more of the seamen belonging to the ship, and is not in the opinion of the Minister frivolous or vexatious, such security shall not be required ….
.- The New Zealand law provides that where a complaint is made by one-fourth of the crew, not being less than three, and is not, in the opinion of the Minister, frivolous or vexatious, security need not be required. In my opinion, the clause under consideration pays no regard to the relative sizes of ships. To dispense with security where a complaint is made by only two seamen, of, perhaps, a very large crew, is going too far. I move -
That after the word “by,” line 9, the word “one-fourth” be inserted, and that the words “ two or more “ be left out.
Amendments agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 219 agreed to.
Clause 220 - (1.) The prescribed life-saving appliances shall be carried by ships, and shall be used and kept available for use as prescribed. (2.) In the case of a British ship not registered in Australia, it shall be deemed compliance with this section if she carries life-saving appliances in compliance with the Regulations of the Board of Trade of the United Kingdom.
Mr. w. ELLIOT JOHNSON (Lang) [4.39]. - The Minister might well give the Committee some indication as to what is in his mind in regard to the provision, of life-saving appliances. Although the designing and construction of vessels has made. marked progress within the last two years, the life-saving appliances in use today are practically the same as those that were used fifty or sixty years ago. On the most modern liners you will find the old-fashioned davits.
– Sometimes the boats are cemented to their chocks with dry paint.
– Yes. You will often find boats which have been painted as they lie on the chocks time after time, until they are attached so firmly that it would be impossible to move them with any ordinary force.
– How long would it take to lower them to the water?
– Last year, when travelling to England on one of our up-to-date mail steamers, I saw that it took twenty-five minutes to swing out one boat, when in calm weather, and the ship was on a perfectly even keel. The boat drill on these vessels is a farce. On many of the older vessels you will find the davits rusted in the rails, and in the sockets, so that it is almost impossible to turn them. In the instance to which I have just referred, the precaution of stationing some one at the guy-lines was not taken, so that one of the davits swung out suddenly, to the risk of those in its vicinity, and to the risk of the boat. A state of chaos prevailed. What with the fouling of the falls, jamming of the blocks, and other accidents, twenty-five minutes were occupied in swinging out the boat and a considerable time in getting it back into its position ; and the shortest time on which a boat was swung out during the first boat drill was nearly a quarter-of-an-hour.
– Was the same boat swung out every time ?
– Various boats were swung out, and it should be the practice to swing out all of .them, and to lower them into the water. This is rarely done. During boat drill the boats were handled by the crews assigned to them to meet emergencies; but no special place or duty was apparently allotted to each man of the crew, and the result was confusion. It is time that better means were provided for lowering ships’ boats. A gentleman in this city has a device which seems to me to overcome many of the existing difficulties. I have seen the drawings of his apparatus, and have had them explained, and it is my opinion, supported by that of several ships’ commanders, that the arrangement proposed is a great improvement on that at present in use. The arrangement is that, instead of the boats being all placed longitudinally along the side of the ship, they should travel upon a tramway, stretched across the deck at various intervals, and not necessarily all mi one deck, but on various decks. By means of a jib crane they could be run on the tram-line down to the leeside from the weather side, and filled up with their passengers before being put in the water. They would have an iron bolt with a ring at the end of it, running through the thwarts, about 3 feet from either end, and bolted through the bottom, instead of being at the extreme ends. They would then be attached, by a bridle line, passing- through the two rings, which would act as a means of steadying the boat as it was being lowered. There would be only one wire line attached to the crane, instead of the present cumbrous manilla falls, and this would be manipulated by a steam crane, or by hand, or by both. In this way boats could be very speedily lowered with steadying guys, and from any deck. A large number of boats could be carried on a ship, sufficient to insure provision being made for every soul on board, and at the same time the additional advantage of economy of space would be achieved. This is one of the best proposals that I have seen so far in that regard. There may be further improvements yet, but the matter is one to which the attention of nautical” designers might very well be directed, to see if something better than the primitive methods now adopted on even the best qf the steamers cannot be installed. I should like to know whether any steps have been taken by the Department to ascertain if any improvements can be made in this- direction, or whether the Minister knows of any suggestions that have been offered for a better equipment of passenger and other vessels with boat accommodation, or for securing despatch, security, and certainty, so far as human foresight can effect them, in the launching of boats in time of need.
.- I wish to accentuate the views put forward by the honorable member for Lang so far as lifesaving appliances are concerned. Undoubtedly, the aspect of the case dealt with by the honorable member must finally come under such regulations as the Minister may decide upon, and the fact must be borne in mind that at present the methods of life saving, so far as launching of boats is concerned, are very ineffective. One gentleman has placed before many honorable members a system which I think is well worthy of the consideration of the Minister, and I hope he will look into it carefully. To me it appeals as a great improvement upon any previous method that I have seen in operation, or even suggested. I have seen boats that could be scarcely lifted off their cradles. They had been there for months, and it would almost need a crane to move them. The paint and rust held them down tight, and in any emergency it would be simply impossible to launch them. 1 believe that in the system I have mentioned, or in some modification of it, we have a chance of securing a more efficient method of life saving than we have at present.
– - I indorse the remarks of the two previous speakers in regard to the absolute necessity of an alteration in the methods hitherto adopted with regard to life-saving appliances on vessels. It is not a good plan to put in the regulations anything that can be possibly put into an Act, but for obvious reasons we ought to leave to the Minister the power to require the instalment of the most up-to-date appliances for’ life-saving purposes. I hope the Minister will call the attention of his officers to the necessity of collecting all the information available on the subject. I suppose we -shall have the conservative instincts of the ship-owners against any alteration of the present practice, not because they are less humane than other people, but simply because very few people like to be taken out of the well-beaten groove in which they have been in the habit of travelling. There is no doubt gross neglect in many respects in regard to this matter in the case of steamers at present on the ocean. On the other hand, it is only fair to say that there are some shipping companies - especially oversea companies trading between here and the Old Country - that have very much more up-to-date appliances than their competitors, I mean, by up-to-date, that it is customary for them to practice their crews continuously with their boats. In a recent visit to the Old Country I had the good fortune to see the boat drill on a ship belonging to one company. The boats were lowered in considerably less time than in the case referred to by the honorable member for Lang. Not only were they swung out, but they were brought down almost to the water. I do not say that there might not have been more boats on that ship, but what boats it was carrying were well up-to-date, and very useful in case of necessity. Of course, we cannot insure the travelling public absolutely against risk. They must use their own judgment, although we may do a great deal. If the travelling public have a choice, it is a very safe thing for them to travel with a company that insures its own ships. Such a company generally has a very seaworthy fleet. It takes care that the vessels are built well”, and it has every inducement to keep them fit and efficient. It is also just as well not to lose sight of the fact that so long as vessels are built of the tremendous size to which modern shipbuilding has gone, disasters are liable to happen from time to time, and no precautions on the part of any Government can save people from the risks that they incur. They must not forget that whenever they go to sea there is always a certain element of danger attached to it. On the other hand, we as legislators should see that reasonable security is given against accidents. What I said earlier in the afternoon applies to this case also. There are any number of inspectors about now, but what do they do? They are supposed to see that the boats are in a proper and efficient condition. They look at the boats, but what else do they do? Unless we have efficient inspection, the result will be that what we are doing to-day, and what we have been doing for many days past, will be labour in vain.
.- I desire to lay on the table of the House the plan of life-saving appliances which I have mentioned previously.
– The British Commission appointed as the result of the Titanic disaster has recommended a sufficiency of boats, other than collapsible boats, to carry all persons on board, instead of the number of boats being based, as now, upon the tonnage of the vessel. The Commonwealth Navigation Commission found, in the overwhelming majority of cases, that there was no effective boat drill, and that, in a. great number of cases, the boats were fast to the chocks and incapable of being swung out, while in very few cases was there boat drill, in which the boats were placed in the water and left the side of the ship. The regulations contemplated by the Government under the Bill will include such boat drill as will involve drilling in the boats, and the boats being swung into the water, and getting away from the side of the ship. During the whole time that the Commission was inquiring, I think, only on two occasions was there any boat drill, or did we hear of any drill in which the boats left the ship. They were swung out and sometimes let down to the water, but in most cases they were not let down. I can only remember one occasion on which they were let down and let go. It is obvious that the boats should be put in the water, and the crews exercised in the rowing of them. It does not matter how many life-boats a ship carries, unless there are persons available to utilize them, and unless they are in a position to be swung right out and put in the water. The Commission found on this subject that -
In respect to boat and fire drill, the evidence shows that in many cases few, if any, opportunities are afforded to the crews of vessels to make themselves efficient. Boats are rarely, if ever, swung out, and still more rarely placed in the water. The crews are not drilled, although they contain stewards, firemen, trimmers, and others who are utterly untrained in the use of oars.
It is now provided in the Bill that an A.B. must show that he can handle an oar, and the boat drill prescribed in clause 240 will, under the regulations, compel every seaman - and the word seaman will include firemen, trimmers, and stewards - employed on board to be trained in the use of oars. Otherwise people would be living in a fool’s paradise, and it would be better to carry no boats other than the dinghy with which the tow-rope is taken ashore.
.- I can support what the Attorney-General said as regards the evidence taken by the Navigation Commission with respect to lifesaving appliances generally. This showed the absolute necessity, not only of enacting, but of providing in administration, what should be done. It is not nearly enough simply to pass legislation ; we must see that there are proper periodical examinations to insure that the appliances are kept efficient and of value. We had considerable evidence, particularly at Perth, in regard to this subject. We were told, for instance, that some of the boats carried on certain vessels were of such a character that if an accident occurred it would be safer to remain on the ship than to go to sea in them.
– We were told that it took forty minutes to get the boats out of the chocks into the water.
– Quite so. We suggested that a schedule should be drawn up to meet all reasonable requirements in the matter of life-saving appliances, and that provision should be made to maintain, by practical tests and periodical inspection, the efficiency of the whole of the life-saving appliances and equipment carried on board. It was shown to us frequently that, although there was a technical compliance with the schedules there were no regular tests. We cannot do more than express the pious hope that in the administration of this Act we shall have employed persons who will make this a live and vital part of the law. While it was stated before the Commission that there was laxity in the matter of drills we found as a fact that on some vessels, such as the oversea mail steamers, and the Inter-State passenger boats, a different state of affairs prevailed. There appeared to have been periodical drills in their case.
– But the boats were not put into the water.
– That is so.
– What would the honorable member call “ periodical drills”?
– At certain times an alarm was sounded and the men called out. We saw one or two calls of the kind while we were travelling.
– I have travelled many thousands of miles by sea, but have never seen a drill.
– If there has been any laxity in this regard we need to stiffen up the provisions. This clause carries out, as far as possible, the recommendation made by the Commission, but unless we have efficient administration it will not carry usvery far.
.- Many matters call for consideration”, quite apart from the maintenance of the boats. In the course of the Titanic inquiry it was stated by some of the officers that the boats were carried at such a height from the water level that great difficulty was experienced in launching them. It was suggested that where they were carried very far above the water level, elevators should be used to lower them to a point at which they could be easily launched. It was said that when boats were suspended by very long ropes over the side of a vessel they were often smashed before they reached the water. One officer was asked why more passengers were not put into the boats before they were lowered, and he replied that, whilst they were able to carry more when they had the support of the water beneath them, they were not built tr> carry a heavy load when swinging, at each end, from ropes. That seems to be a very reasonable statement of the position. I doubt whether we have on this coast vessels of such a height that it would not be sale to lower a boat from their boat decks, but there would be no harm in providing that they should not have to be lowered from beyond a certain height. It was clearly proved during the Titanic inquiry that boats could not be lowered with safety from very high steamers. The wreck of the Pericles, off the Leeuwin, also proved that it is absolutely necessary that every man employed on board ship should be able to pull an oar, and handle a boat. I know some people who were on board the Pericles, and I am confident that had the wreck occurred in weather such as is ordinarily encountered off the Leeuwin no one would have been saved. My friends got ashore in a very big boat which was in charge of a steward who scarcely knew which end of the oars to use. But for the fact that one of the ladies in the boat knew more than he did in this regard they would not have reached the shore. Such a state of affairs is deplorable. The incident occurred during smooth weather and there was ample time in which to man the boats, yet this particular boat, loaded with passengers, was sent out with only one of the crew on board, and he had not handled a boat before. What might have happened had there been a great rush can well be imagined. We should require that all persons employed on board a vessel shall be trained and shall demonstrate to an inspector that they have been trained. The police are required to be specially trained before they are allowed to go on certain beats, and surely seamen should be trained to meet any emergency at sea. Since this Bill was framed there have been many occurrences, notably the loss of the Titanic, which have made amendments and additions necessary. During the Titanic inquiry it was shown that many systems had become obsolete, and that practically the navigation laws of the world would have to be amended. The size of vessels has greatly increased during recent years. Boats have been placed where it is most difficult to handle them, whilst on many vessels an insufficient number is carried. I feel confident that, in future, the regulations will require more boats to be carried, and to be carried where they can be easily handled and lowered in safety in cases of emergency.
.- I rise merely to emphasize the position taken up by the honorable member for Fremantle. There is not the slightest doubt that there is room for reform in the matter of lifesaving appliances, and I trust that the Minister will give very careful attention to the proposals that may be placed before him. The honorable member has referred to the difficulty of launching a boat from a very high deck. The difficulty of lowering a boat from a very high deck, especially on the lee side, is a very serious matter. Some reform, however, can be made provided that the shipping companies are prepared to bear the cost. Special boat decks could be provided, or a certain part of a deck could be specially set apart for the boats, and the boats themselves so placed that they might be safely lowered. Provision might be made for an opening in the side of vessels to enable them’ to be lowered without difficulty. I trust that the Minister, in framing the regulations, will see whether a reform cannot be effected in the simple matter of launching boats and securing better life-saving appliances than are provided for at the present time.
– The Attorney-General, as Chairman of the Navigation Commission, put the following question to a witness who was examined at Melbourne -
Some time ago, when an inquiry was instituted into these matters in New South Wales, it was found that a number of life-belts were composed of material the buoyancy of which was barely sufficient to keep them afloat. They were filled with leather, cork dust, pieces of wood, &c. A great number of the boats were found to be quite unseaworthy, and others were stuck fast in the chocks.
Those who followed the proceedings of the Commission know that the AttorneyGeneral’s statement was absolutely correct. The honorable gentleman also asked the Deputy Superintendent of Navigation at Newcastle whether he had any instances where ships had not been seaworthy, and where he had found it necessary to stop them from leaving. The witness replied -
Yes, I have a return up till September, 1904. That return shows that the number of vessels with life-saving appliances defective or insufficient, necessitating action by this Department, was 490.
Travellers by sea know that there is practically no such thing as effective boat drill on our coastal steamers. One has only to look at the boats, as the honorable member for Lang has said, to see that they have not been out of the chocks for many months, for they have been painted again and again, and the paint has run from the boats to the chocks. A large percentage of the men employed on our steamers are not sailors in the proper sense of the word, and it is far more necessary in their case that there should be a complete system of drill than it would be if they had come off a sailing ship. The sailor from a sailing ship is used to emergency work, and the lowering and handling of a boat come to him as a kind of second nature. The majority of men employed on our steamers, however, are not sailors, as we understand the term. It is courting disaster to place such men as these in charge of life-boats and passengers. One may see the terrible hash that some of the “ sailors “ on the steamers make of the comparatively simple work of lowering a boat for ordinary purposes when the vessel is lying in smooth water at the wharf.
– In one case at Cairns, when a boat was lowered, the captain said he was afraid he would have to send the stewardess after the men to bring them back.
– And I saw a somewhat similar case not far from Cairns ; and, as a matter of fact, any ordinary man, who had never been to sea in his Life, could do the work as efficiently and quickly. It is not desirable that the inspection should be left wholly as a matter of report in the captain’s log.
– What does the honorable member suggest?
– I suggest that at stated periods, when the vessel is alongside the wharf, there should be boat drill under the supervision of the inspector, or some other officer of the Department.
– I understand that on the Orient vessels, the boats on the outside are lowered to the water when in port.
– 1 believe that some of the companies insist on their men undergoing periodic drill. There are other companies that make no attempt of the kind, but only do sufficient to screen themselves from any penalties the Marine Board may impose. The sailors are exempt from work in port, and such drill as I have suggested would not make too great demands upon them. Unless something of the kind is done, any attempt we may make to prescribe regulations will prove a failure. On board some ships, there is boat drill at sea, but there ought to be drill under the supervision of a responsible officer in port.
– With the existing type of davit only one set of boats can be lowered at the wharf or jetty, but the suggestion in the plan which has been laid before honorable members would enable the boats on both sides to be swung.
– That system seems to be an enormous improvement, enabling the boats to be worked on a traveller from side to side; and all that it seems to me to be necessary to make it perfect is to prevent the swinging of the boats when being lowered. We may compel ship-owners to carry any number of boats and life-saving appliances, but unless there is a certain amount of drill, the boats are only a source of danger.
– There must also be drill at sea.
– Quite so. There are vessels on this coast which are practically ferry boats, carrying enormous numbers of passengers ; and we ought to see that the crew are competent to work the life-boats. It would not take a man of experience five minutes to see whether a crew were competent; and if they were not competent, the owners and captain should be absolutely compelled to replace them or to have them systematically drilled.
– It would be very difficult to provide in this Bill that a certain appliance, such as that in the plan submitted to honorable members, should be carried by every vessel. All we can do is to require that life-saving appliances shall be carried and kept available. Since the Titanic disaster, most of the shipping authorities have awakened to the fact that something more is required than at present. Out of a list, published about four months ago, of vessels carrying passengers from Great Britain, only two had sufficient life-boats. One of these was, I believe, a German boat, and. another a British boat, and both traded to Australia. At the present time, in order to provide for the great numbers of passengers carried, vessels are built so high out of the water that, on account of the length of rope, not more than one boat can be lowered from, a particular set of davits. In a drop of 50 or 60 feet the blocks, if they had to be raised again, would become fouled and rendered useless; and, apart from that, I doubt very much whether some of the boats are strong enough to stand the strain of being lowered with a full complement of people. As a result of the Titanic disaster, the Secretary of Trade and Commerce in the United States has approved of a regulation requiring all oceangoing steamers entering American ports to be equipped with a sufficient number of lifeboats to carry at one time every passenger and member of the crew.
– It will never be put into operation.
– I am not sure that the American people will not put this regulation into operation. Since the Titanic wreck it has been admitted that too much reliance has in the past been placed on bulkheads.
– - The most crowded boats are those in America, both on the coast and on the Lakes.
– I was surprised at the size of some of the Lake boats, and I know that some serious accidents have occurred there. Mr. Buxton, the President of the Board of Trade, stated in the House of Commons in May last, that his view was that all oceangoing vessels ought to carry a sufficient number of boats and rafts to accommodate all on board, and that 95 per cent, of the owners of vessels, ranging from 1 ,500 to 40,000 tons, had assured him that they intended to make that provision. Of course, I know there are objections, which I have at times voiced myself, to leaving all these matters to the discretion of the Minister, but the circumstances demand that the end must be obtained- by means of regulations. What would meet the case of one vessel will not meet the case of another ; and the adoption of such a system of boat lowering as that which has been laid before honorable members, is a matter for the ship-owners. Any one who has read Lord Mersey’s report must have noticed that the rush of water into the hold and the boilers caused such a deafening noise that the orders could not be heard on the boat deck, and that the reason so many third-class and steerage passengers were lost was that many ‘ of them were foreigners; they were confused, and were afraid to leave the ship with their little belongings. The main difficulty in prescribing regulations is to meet the case ot practically every class of shipping. 1 hope, however, that in the administration of the Bill, we shall secure more effective life-saving apparatus than there is at present, and I agree that the crew should be compelled to undergo drill. As stated by the honorable member for Franklin, many of those who go to sea today are not proficient in the use of oars and the handling of boats. It is intended to provide that, before an O.S. can obtain the rating A.B., he must give evidence of this knowledge. Although the number of days on which boats can be safely launched at sea is small, we should see, by insisting on adequate boat drills, that full advantage is taken of all the opportunities for saving life. I trust that the regulations will tend to increase the safety of travelling at sea, and will greatly prevent the loss of life.
.- The evidence taken in the Titanic inquiry showed that the damage done to the vessel was confined to her outer casing or sheathing, and it was suggested by some of the cleverest engineers that, had her ribs been lined up to a certain level, she would still be afloat. It was advocated that the lining of ribs in this way should be made compulsory. Hitherto it has been neglected, because of the loss of space entailed. The opinion was given that the lining of the ribs would be more advantageous than the provision of other watertight compartments. It was shown that, had the Titanic been constructed on the most scientific lines, she would not have succumbed to her collision with the ice, and that conclusion will be borne out by the modifications in construction which will be adopted in future ships. The regulations should make provision for the embodiment of all recognised life-saving appliances, so that travelling at sea may be as safe as possible.
.- The Committee is at one in thinking that every effort should be made to prevent the loss of life at sea, and, for their own sake, sailors should be prepared to take part in a much more effective boat drill than is insisted on to-day. If our mercantile marine is to be drawn on for the manning of the Australian Navy, our sailors must be better trained in this and other matters. I wish to know if the Minister thinks that the powers he has taken are sufficiently wide to enable the framing of regulations which will compel ship-owners to equip their vessels with adequate life-saving appliances, and to provide for the carrying out of proper boat drill in port and at sea.
– I do not think that it would be possible to take wider powers.
– The validity of the regulations may be contested in Court, and, therefore, it is necessary that the power to make them should be as well established as possible.
– The making of regulations is left absolutely to the discretion of the Minister.
– Although, as a rule, regulations are not very carefully scrutinized, I am sure that those framed for the carrying out of this measure will be considered almost as keenly as the Bill itself.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 221 agreed to.
Clause 222 (Offences as to appliances).
.- If I understood the Minister aright, it is left to the ship-owners to determine what life-saving appliances they should adopt, but I do not think that that should be so. Parliament should deal with the matter.
– The regulations will be laid on the table, and we can discuss them, and, if necessary, disallow them,
– I ask the consideration of the Minister for a plan for storing and lowering boats which seems worthy of attention. The present arrangements are not the best that could obtain. A ship’s boats are always exposed to the weather, and, as a consequence, the seams often gape, so that when needed they are quite unseaworthy. Crossing in a ship’s boat from Bathurst Island to Melville Island, a party, of whom I was one, found themselves covered to the knees with water within five minutes. Furthermore, the davits from which the boats are swung outboard and lowered are often rusted in their sockets, and the boats themselves are stuck so firmly with paint to their chocks that they can hardly be moved without tearing out their keels. Consequently, when the attempt to lower them is made, it is found to be almost impossible, but if the boats are placed on the water they are very often unfit to carry passengers, and lives and property are unnecessarily lost. The design for carrying and lowering boats to which I draw attention provides, in the first instance, for the protection of them from the weather, because they would be carried inboard, and they would be so placed that they could easily be brought to the lee side and launched.
– While it will be possible to compel ship-owners to have davits of such a nature as will lower the boats, it will be next to impossible to compel them to use any patent device for that work. The patent in question appeals to me as being one of the best things I have seen, and we must not forget that ship-owners are ready, as a class, to adopt any means whereby space will be saved. If it can be proved that this is a better system, I think they will be the first to take it up. The great danger in the case of a collision is that all the boats on one side of the ship may be swept away. In going alongside some piers, the fact that the boats hang out from the davits is a drawback, and a system by which the boats would be right inside would be an improvement. If also the boat-deck could be left free for a promenade, I think most of the ship-owners would readily adopt the scheme. We can, however, only prescribe that the appliances shall be of such a kind as can be readily used and effective in time of need. In any case, the regulations would have to be placed on the table of the House, and approved of by the House. If they do not go far enough, honorable members could point out the fact, when they could be disallowed, and better ones brought in.
– There are already certain enactments and regulations in the various States regarding the provision of life-saving appliances and the keeping of them in proper order, but my recent experience enables me to say that in some cases, at least, they are not observed. I do not know whether it is the rule or not, but some steam-ship agents make a great feature in their advertisements of the fact that life-belts are provided in every cabin. I travelled on a steamer going north recently, and there was no life-belt in my cabin, or in that of one of my fellow members. The average passenger does not think of a life-belt until the moment of disaster, and may suddenly find that none is provided in his cabin at the critical moment when he really needs it. A ship may make 999 trips out of 1,000 in safety, and no necessity may arise for resort to any of these life-saving appliances, but it is on the final fatal trip, when too late, that these discoveries are made. The appliances which are supposed to be there, and which the companies themselves advertise are there, are, as a matter of fact, not there at all, or, if there, are often in such a bad condition through deterioration as to be quite unreliable. Boat manning and boat drill, and the means of using the life-saving appliances generally, ought to be a necessary part of the routine of a ship. I have here a report of the finding of the Board of Trade inquiry with regard to the foundering of the Peninsular and Oriental Company’s steam-ship Oceana, as the result of a collision in the English Channel with the German barque Pisagua. The inquiry ended in a verdict throwing the blame on the steamer. It is recorded that -
In ordering that the certificate of the chief officer be suspended for six months, it was stated that the loss of life after the collision was due to Naylor’s error of judgment in lowering the boats, one of which capsized, before the vessel had stopped. The Court also censured
Naylor and Captain T. H. Hyne for having failed to take adequate measures to rescue the persons who were thrown into the water. . . .
The Court also found that the boat accommodation was sufficient, but the manning was insufficient, and the inspection inadequate. Notwithstanding the company’s elaborate system, the Court was dismayed at its failure in not particularly difficult circumstances.
That occurred in the case of a boat belonging to a company which has an established reputation, and in which the public have reposed a large amount of confidence. That reputation, I think, is in the main deserved, but in that case it was shown that, through insufficiency of skill on the part of those intrusted with the management of the boats in an emergency, considerable loss of life occurred. We must not only provide in the Bill that the life-saving appliances shall be kept in a thoroughly up-to-date condition, but must insist on the inspectors, who are intrusted with the task of seeing that the appliances are kept in proper order, really doing their work. I am afraid that in a great many cases most of the inspection that takes place is intrusted to people who are either incompetent for the work they have to do, or perform it in the most perfunctory fashion, to the imminent risk of the lives of people who travel by sea. Steps should be taken by the Minister and his Department to see that a thorough inspection is always made, and proper detailed reports furnished by the inspectors, showing the number of times the appliances have been inspected, and their condition on each occasion.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 223 -
Every ship shall be. . marked with lines. . . This provision shall not apply to … . (a) Ships employed exclusively in going from place to place in any river or inland water.
– We have now reached an exceedingly important portion of the Bill, that has been the subject of much discussion and strong protest from the British Board of Trade. This division deals with deck and load-lines, and in it a very drastic departure has been made from former conditions. The present practice, so far as coal-laden vessels are concerned, is to adopt the summer load-line. The Bill prohibits coalladen vessels, and vessels carrying dead weight, from proceeding to sea, except with the winter load-line, and, in the case of sailing-ships, the winter North Atlantic load-line. When the Bill of 1907 was introduced, it contained a proviso that, in ships laden with coal, “ the position, of the disc shall be, at all seasons of the year, not higher than that prescribed by the Board of Trade regulations for the winter-Atlantic load-line,” When the Bill was circulated, attention was drawn to this by the Board of Trade as well as by local ship-owners, and it was ultimately admitted that that particular proviso had been inserted by mis-
Lake. At all events, Dr. Wollaston made that explanation.
– It was put in on account of the number of cases of boats laden with coal meeting with accidents.
– What I have stated was the explanation given by Dr. Wollaston. When the attention of the Deakin Government was drawn to the matter we agreed, after investigating it very fully, to delete the proviso. The British Government, in their protest against it, wrote as follows -
The Board of Trade observe that this clause forbids coal-laden ships to load beyond the winter load-line at any season of the year, and they understand that an amendment has been carried extending this prohibition to vessels loaded with dead-weight cargo of any kind.
At the time that letter was written they had evidently had some news of the greater extension of the clause made by the present Bill -
The Board have already pointed out that the special dangers attaching to a coal cargo (viz., fire, gas explosion, and shifting) are not affected by a slight limitation in the amount carried, and they are advised that all dead-weight cargo, including coal, can be so distributed in a vessel as to make her as easy in a seaway as if loaded with a cargo of higher specific gravity. So far as the Board are aware, the Australian Government have not explained in detail their reasons for the provision in question, but have merely stated that they consider it necesary for safety.
It will be remembered that in October, 1908, the Commonwealth Government offered to amend this clause in a manner which they thought would meet the views of the Board of Trade.. It is not known what amendment was then contemplated, but the alteration which was in fact embodied in the clause (viz., the substitution of “ winter load-line “ for “ winter Atlantic loadline”) leaves the principle of the clause untouched, and does not affect the arguments put forward by the Board of Trade.
If the clause is to be applied to dead-weight cargoes of all kinds, it becomes still more open to objection, as constituting a restriction on shipowners which carries with it no compensating advantages from the point of view of safety. In these circumstances, the Board trust that the Commonwealth Government will be able to give effect to the offer of amendment made in 1908, and will take an opportunity of modifying the clause in such a way as to meet the views of the Board of Trade regarding this important matter.
That reference is to the undertaking of the Deakin Government to delete tha proviso.
– Clause 225 really deals with the subject.
– But we are dealing generally with the question of the loadline.
– We propose to make an amendment of which I have not yet given notice, but which I think will meet the honorable member’s desire.
– I shall be glad to see it. I wish, however, po state my position. When the new Bill was introduced it was found to contain the proviso -
Provided that in ships laden with coal or dead weight cargo, a line or mark shall be marked or affixed on the ship in the mode and position required by the Merchant Shipping Act for the winter load-line, or, in the case of sailing ships, the winter North Atlantic load-line, and in the case of ships so laden the provisions of this Act shall have effect as to that line or mark as if it were drawn through the centre of the disc.
If the British Board of Trade had any serious objection to the terms of the Bill as originally proposed, that objection would necessarily apply in a greater degree to the more drastic provision inserted in this Bill. Let me say at once that I consider it the clear and obvious duty of this Parliament to provide the fullest margin of safety, and we have the advantage of a very full investigation of the matter, which should enable us to come to a reasonable judgment as to what is the fullest margin of safety. Once having secured that margin of safety, it would be wanton and totally unnecessary to exceed it; but the terms of the Bill certainly do largely exceed what is absolutely essential. The Board of Trade has not only taken exception to this provision as being unnecessary and unreasonable, but has protested that the proviso is unconstitutional.
– Why? On the ground that it is repugnant to British legislation?
– The British load-line is fixed according to a recognised and well-known scientific method ; and the Board of Trade recognises the load-lines of certain other nations which are fixed largely according to a similar mathematical calculation. The point is that the British Board of Trade, having fixed upon a certain load-line for British ships - and we have received protests in this regard from other nations - declare that it is not within the competence of this Parliament to deal with that load-line. It is fixed in accordance with British law; and they hold that there is no power, on the part of this Parliament, to alter it so far as British and foreign ships are concerned. They have urged most strongly their constitutional objection to what this Parliament is seeking to do in this respect. The Board of Trade, in the course of their protest, went on to say -
It is not known what amendment was then contemplated -
That is a reference to the amendment to which the Deakin Government had agreed - but the alteration which was in fact embodied in the clause (viz., the substitution of “ winter load-line” for “winter Atlantic load-line “) leaves the principle of the clause untouched, and does not affect the arguments put forward by the Board, of Trade. If the clause is to be applied to dead-weight cargoes of all kinds it becomes still more open to objection, as constituting a restriction on ship-owners, which carries with it no compensating advantages from the point of view of safety.
That is a point which they have strongly emphasized in this correspondence -
In these circumstances the Board trust that the Commonwealth Government will be able to give effect to the offer of amendment made ir. 1908, and will take an opportunity of modifying the clause in such a way as to meet the views of the Board of Trade regarding this important matter.
– Does the honorable member agree with the contention of the Board of Trade that this is ultra vires f
– I do not say that it is.
– I should like the honorable member to draw a distinction between the exercise of the power in question and the exercise of the power for which clause 223 provides.
– I have always argued that our Constitution contains plenary power in this connexion. I am merely pointing out that this constitutional objection is urged by the Board of Trade and their legal advisers, and that consequently we cannot altogether ignore it.
– Quite so. I wished only to know if the honorable member supported that objection.
– I do not. I am simply seeking to pay a degree of deference to the opinion of very experienced lawyers.
– I am looking at the matter on its merits.
– That is the point with which I am chiefly concerned, it is reasonable to suggest that if an alteration of this kind is to be made, it should be- more than justified. We find, however, that it was not recommended by the Navigation Commission. The Commission recommended that -
The present Imperial law re load-lines be adopted, but power be given to the Minister to fix as (1) the season of the year; (2) the nature of the voyage; (3) the nature of the cargo may demand when the shin may not be submerged below her winter mark. 1 shall return to that point a little later on. The Board of Trade went on to urge that this proposal was opposed to the resolution, passed at the Navigation Conference held in London, and which was attended by the present Attorney-General. The ninth resolution carried at that Conference provided -
That the vessels to which the conditions imposed by the law of Australia or New Zealand are applicable should be: - (a) vessels registered in the Colony while trading therein ; and (4) vessels wherever registered while trading on the coast of the Colony : That for the purpose of this resolution a vessel shall be deemed to trade if she takes on board cargo or passengers at any port in the Colony to be carried to and landed or delivered at any port in the Colony.
That resolution was unanimously agreed to, and the Navigation Commission approved of it, Messrs. G. B. Edwards, Thompson, Knox, and Macfarlane dissenting, subject to the exemption, at page 53, of their report, lt is urged that this comprehensive provision which applies to the owners of all vessels is a departure from the resolution which was carried at the Navigation Conference, and which provided that it should be restricted to vessels registered in the Colony while trading therein, and vessels, wherever registered, while trading on the coast of the Colony, lt will be observed, therefore, that there is much justification in the protest registered by the Board.
– Was it not suggested that the Commonwealth should adopt the provisions of the New Zealand Act in regard to the load-line?
– That came before the Commission, and was approved of by them.
– Yes, the Commission also approved of the ninth resolution passed by the Navigation Conference, and subsequently of resolution 17. In dealing with this matter we have the investigation made by the Navigation Commission to help us, and we have to ascertain how this will affect our own InterState shipping trade. I understand that it will decrease to a very serious extent the carrying capacity of vessels. The present practice is simply to adopt the summer load-line, whereas it is proposed now to adopt the winter load-line. It is said that this will affect the carrying capacity of some vessels to the extent of something like 200 tons, and that it will affect the vessels of the combination to the extent of about 70,000 tons, representing a loss of something like ^25,000 per annum to the owners. That would be no reason why we should not insist upon the present provisions if they were essential and necessary, but we have to remember that these excessive precautions were not asked for or recommended by the Navigation Commission. The most that it recommended was that during certain portions of the year the winter load-line should be adopted. I have examined the evidence on which the Commission based their recommendation, and I find that the overwhelming testimony of experts goes to show that it is not necessary throughout the year to have the winter load-line but that for certain portions of the year it is sufficiently safe to adopt the summer load-line. Mr. G. W. McLean,. Engineer of Ports and Harbors in Victoria, who is well known to many honorable members, was asked - Question 995 -
You think that steps should be taken to define it?
His reply was -
I do not think the Commission need inquire into that, because a winter load-line has been provided for. It is entirely for those administering the Act to say whether or not they will adopt a winter load-line.
He was then examined as follows -
Do you not think that the Bill should make it imperative for them to do so? - I do not.
Do I understand that your remarks in reference to a winter load-line apply only to the. Victorian coast, and not to the Australian coast generally? - I think that if a winter season were determined for vessels voyaging between’ Melbourne and Sydney, it might not suit vesselsplying between Melbourne and Western Australia.
Mr. J. G. McKie, Secretary of the Vic- torian Marine Board, and Mr. Fisher.. Master Warden of the Hobart Marine Board, gave similar evidence. Mr. Bel.frage, Secretary of the Seamen’s Unionwas asked - Question 5283 -
Your statement is that there should be awinter and a summer load-line, and that the adoption of a winter-load line would reduce the risk ? -
He replied -
You would reduce it to a certain extent. If you adopt the winter load-line all the year round you are giving a big margin of safety.
Then. Mr. Inglis, harbor master, shipwright surveyor, examiner of masters and mates, inspector of crew space, immigration. officer, load-line inspector and detaining officer, Adelaide; Captain Edie, superintendent of Department of Navigation, Sydney ; Captain John McKay, port master, Queensland; and Mr. Allan Cameron, secretary of the New South Wales Seamen’s Union gave similar evidence. Mr. Cameron was asked -
You would advocate, then, a winter line during the winter months?
To this the witness replied -
Yes; more particularly in regard to vessels loaded with coal.
That is all very well; but the Bill goes further, because it provides practically for a winter load-line throughout the whole of the year. This suggestion is not justified by either the evidence or by the recommendations of the Royal Commission. I repeat that there is no justification for the more than drastic terms of the Bill, in view of the protest by the Board of Trade that they mean a serious loss, or a serious burden on all concerned, while no increased safety is secured. The clause, however, goes further and extends a similar prohibition, so far as dead-weight cargo is concerned. So far as 1 have had an opportunity to give any attention to the question, or to study the views of experts, coal has at all time been regarded as a homogeneous cargo similar to wool, wheat, and timber. It is suggested that there is a possibility of coal shifting, or of gas explosions, and so forth; but that is all immaterial, so far as the load-line is con cerned - that is, so far as explosions are concerned, the load-line is immaterial. There is certainly more justification for the provisions of the Bill in regard to deadweight cargo than in regard to coal cargo. The Board of Trade, and- their expert advisers, say that, while it is true the centre of gravity is more or less affected by a dead-weight cargo such as pig-iron or ore, the fact remains that this is readily and easily overcome by a distribution of the cargo. The Board of Trade, therefore, contend that not only in regard to coal, but in regard to dead-weight cargo, their protest ought to receive attention ; and this, surely, is worthy the serious consideration of the Government. We have not had any suggestion of a contemplated alteration by the Minister, but the honorable gentleman has indicated to me that probably he will be able to see his way to make some modification. If he does so, he will be meeting the Board of Trade, even if the modification be only on the lines of the recom- mendation of our own Royal Commission and of the Imperial Conference. If the Minister can see his way to be guided by the evidence before us, he will not unnecessarily burden Australian shipping, while not securing any substantial advantage so far as safety is concerned.
.- I should be one df the last to suggest that the load-line should be fixed at such a point as to endanger the lives of those engaged on ships, but it appears to me that this clause far exceeds anything attempted previously. If the clause passes as it is presented to us, it will not only handicap shipping that leaves Australia for abroad, or even for coastal ports, but will possibly considerably hamper many Australian industries. A great difficulty of the Royal Commission was to fix the load-line of Australia in! terms similar to those adopted in other parts of the world. Any one who knows anything of the weather conditions of Australia will realize that bad weather may come at any time on any part of the coast; there is practically no well-defined winter or summer waters here. The determination of the Royal Commission, however, seems to suggest that the winter, or North Atlantic winter line, should be fixed for ships which leave Australia to go round Cape Horn. I suppose that more ships leave Newcastle than leave any other port in Australia for abroad, but the whole of the coal thus carried does not go round Cape Horn. It goes to the western coast of America, and to other places; and this shipping does not enter any of the waters which are subject to the restrictions of the Board of Trade, in regard to the winter load-line. I have . no objection to fixing any limitation with regard to ships that go into such waters ; but I am advised by those capable of knowing that this clause will mean that an average ship leaving Newcastle will carry 200 tons less than at the present time. This is a very serious matter, if it can be shown that, under the regulations of the Board of Trade, there is no danger to those employed on the vessel. Apart from the fact of combustion, it will be found, I think, that coal is not so risky a cargo as many other dead-weight cargoes. Coal can be stowed properly ; and I hope that the Minister will recognise the importance of this clause, and endeavour to frame some amendment that will insure safety, and, at the same time, do justice to Australian industries. It must be admitted that, if we shorten the shipments by 200 tons, on the average, of a product of Australia, it means that freight must rise correspondingly; and, further, that shipping companies may not send their vessels here if they think they cannot get what they call a reasonable cargo. 1 have no objection to the operation of this clause in waters where the North Atlantic loadline is operative, but I submit that it is unreasonable to make effective, at all seasons in Australia, a load-line that has been fixed by the Board of Trade to meet certain conditions.
.- I have perused the criticisms of this clause submitted by the New South. Wales Coastal Steam-ship Owners Association, and the Australasian Steam-ship Owners Federation, and these seem to present a case deserving of consideration by the Government. So far as I can understand, the contention of the New South Wales Coastal Steamship Owners Association, they do not attack the first part of clause 225, but suggest merely the elimination of the proviso, on the ground that the position of the loadline is fixed according to tables in force in the United Kingdom, tinder the provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act; and that a vessel loaded according to this mark is as safe when carrying coal as when carrying dead-weight or other cargo. It will be seen that they do not attack the main scheme of the clause, but only the modification introduced by the proviso. They admit that it is necessary for every precaution to be taken for the safety of the ship ; but they protest against any. extravagant demands which, while imposing onerous conditions in regard to structure and limitations on the carrying capacity, will not lie accompanied by any corresponding advantage. There is no doubt that the reduced carrying capacity must result in the imposition of additional freights, as a burden om the trading community, and on our export trade. The provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act are very carefully drawn, and are considered to represent the high water-mark of safe shipping legislation in all parts of the world. I fail to see why additional conditions and requirements should be imposed on Australian shipping, unless a very strong case is made out. lt is said that practical men recognise that, however important it may be not to load a ship beyond the mark considered safe, a proper distribution, of whatever weight may be carried is a great factor.
Sitting suspended, from 6.30 to 8 p.m.
– I understand that, at the Colonial Shipping Conference, a resolution was carried to the effect that the Commonwealth should adopt the provisions of the New Zealand law, which I find is an adaptation of the Merchant Shipping Act. Surely what is good enough for British and New Zealand shipping should be good enough for our shipping. The proviso that ships carrying coal or deadweight cargo should never at any time be loaded below the winter North Atlantic load-line, imposes unfairly onerous conditions upon ship-owners. One hardly needs to be an expert in these things to know that it is not necessary to have the same loadline throughout the year. No doubt the proper placing of the load-line is a very important matter, and the line, once fixed, should be regarded as a sacred mark, because on the loading of the ship with regard to it depends the safety of her passengers and crew. But the Bill imposes very onerous conditions on the shipping companies, and if excessively harsh conditions are imposed, they will not be able to earn sufficient to enable them to pay proper rates of wages, and provide firstclass accommodation. A very strong case should be made out before a departure from the British and New Zealand legislation is made; and I ask the Minister to give weight to the representations of those immediately concerned.
– It must be assumed that the provision inserted by the Senate was inserted with good reason, and honorable members would do well to consider the reasons which prompted its insertion. The policy of the Board of Trade has been referred to, but every one knows that the opinions of the Board of Trade to-day are very different from the opinions it held ten or twenty years ago; the views of its members being modified by experience, and by the pressure brought to bear on them to secure better conditions in the shipping industry in the interests of humanity. Nearly fourteen years ago, I moved, in the South Australian Parliament, to urge the British Government to prohibit vessels carrying grain freight round the Horn from loading below the North Atlantic winter load-line. Every one connected with shipping knows that there is as much risk in rounding the Horn as in crossing the North Atlantic in winter ; but a British institution will not move until it is kicked into doing something, or awakened by some catastrophe, as the Board of
Trade has recently been awakened by the Titanic disaster. The reform which I proposed could not be carried, because the shipping influence was too strong in the Old Country; and, through the want of such a provision, many grain ships have foundered. Of course, nowadays, most of the grain is carried in steamers, and the sailing fleet which used to visit these shores every year is no longer engaged in the business. The average Australian, taken away from his own particular work, knows very little ; the educated man not differing from the working man in that respect. Even an astute and shrewd merchant rarely knows anything that does not pertain to his own calling. Therefore, the public is not aware that navigation is as dangerous on the Australian coast as on the North Atlantic ; though, of course, it is never so cold on our seas as it is on the North Atlantic Ocean. A young friend of mine, who was there last winter, told me recently that the sheets in his bunk were sometimes frozen. But, as for bad weather, it can be very rough between Newcastle and Adelaide; and further north is the hurricane area where, during the past few years, a terrible penalty has been exacted from our shipping. Of course, when a ship is in a bad position and caught by a hurricane, her loss may well be attributed to .the “ act of God.” As a rule, the worst weather in the southern parts of Australia is during the equinoctial gales. In summer, with exceptions, the weather is fairly good. There should be a difference between the summer and winter marks for Australian trade. As for the objection to the rule which it is proposed to apply to colliers, I ask any honorable member if he would care to be at sea in a collier in rough weather, remember ing how low in the water those vessels generally are? It is our duty to do all we can to make the lives of seamen more comfortable and secure. Of course, we are told that our proposals will ruin the shipowners; but that has been the cry for the last forty years, although the ship-owners have been growing fatter all the time. I do not say that there is nothing in the objections that have been raised to the proposals under discussion, or that there is only one side to this question ; but I know that there is a great deal to justify the Minister in standing by his guns. Tt has been said that the fact that cargo is dead weight should make no difference to the placing of the load-line; but any one with prac- tical experience knows that with deadweight, a ship has not so much buoyancy as with other cargo. We know the ships that have foundered in coming out from the Old Country because of the dead weight they were carrying being out of proportion to the other portions of the cargo, associated, of course, with bad weather. Therefore, it is of no use for scientific men to put forward these arguments. There is an old saying that a scientific man will prove anything for a guinea. 1 am not suggesting that they are dishonest, but all men who work in a groove are liable to be biased. Any man’s own common sense should tell him that a vessel with a dead- weight cargo is not so buoyant as a vessel that is not carrying dead weight. It is of no use to allow men with scientific knowledge to argue one out of one’s wits. 1 ask the Minister, therefore, to be very cautious before he gives up that portion of the clause which has been commented upon; or, at any rate, if he makes an alteration, to make it in the way 1 have suggested, by allowing a difference in the summer and winter marks in regard to cargoes of this character. That would be a fair compromise. There may be some justification for allowing ship-owners not to make the alteration at the present time in the case of ships that are already engaged in the coal trade ; but it is possible for a shipowner to build a ship that will comply with the requirements of the clause without his being out of pocket. The law with regard to ship building is that,, if you increase the capacity of the ship, your expenses for crew and other costs do not rise in proportion. In short, more money is made out of bigger ships than out of smaller. A ship-owner would probably say that my remarks about a ship being safer, so far as the crew were concerned, were all moonshine; but he would complain that the clause would affect the carrying capacity of his ship, and, therefore, affect his pocket. There may be something in that; but it is only a matter of time for him to build ships that will not only get over that difficulty, but make even. moTe money for him. I am not going to say that there is nothing in. the arguments of honorable members opposite; but we in Australia and New Zealand are leading the way in the more humane consideration of our shipping folk. Ship-owners, taking them as a body, have realized this, and to their honour it can be said that they have not shown much bitterness in their attitude towards these reforms. Of course the English Board of Trade will crawl along last of all. It will require another earthquake, or half-a-dozen shipwrecks, to make them move a little quicker. We need not voice our views in! regard to this matter in a way that will be offensive to our English brothers, but, with all due respect to the English Board of Trade, and their advisers, I think a strong case can be made out for the clause as it stands, in regard to the protection of those of our folk who have to earn their livelihood at sea. I hope I have done something to make out that case.
.- The honorable member for Kooyong referred to the question of whether we are exceeding our powers by applying this provision to vessels not registered in Australia, or not en-‘ gaged in the coasting trade. I do not propose to go into that matter, beyond saying that it is doubtful whether we have the power or not. The Imperial authorities deny that we have it. I think the stand taken on our side is that sections 735 and 736 of the Merchant Shipping Act give us power to repeal any of the provisions of that Act in relation to the Commonwealth, and we have power, under section 264, to adopt any of the provisions of part 2 of that Act. We have also general powers as regards ships engaged in the coastal trade, assuming, of course, that the Commonwealth is a British Dominion within the meaning of the Merchant Shipping Act. We have also the constitutional power, to whatever extent it goes. We can adopt any of the provisions of Part 2 under section 264, but Mr. Keith and others who have been advising the Board of Trade in these matters, are of opinion that we may not add to any of them. Earlier in the day I called attention to the fact that in this part of the Bill we are making some additions to the legislation included in Part 2 of the Merchant Shipping Act, and to some extent we are coming in conflict with those provisions. What I say upon that point applies to the load-line, because we have not followed out what was suggested at the Imperial Conference, and what has been adopted by New Zealand. We have not confined our load-line provisions to vessels registered in the Commonwealth, or engaged in the coasting trade. I believe the New Zealand provision has such a limitation. So much for the law. As regards the policy, I understand that there are four load-lines observed in England. There is the summer, the winter, the winter Atlantic, and the winter North Atlantic. In the discussion at the Imperial Conference on this matter I find references to the loadline that we now want to apply to all Australian ships, and also to British vessels which are in our waters. At page 136 there is reported the discussion on a motion, which must have been moved by the New Zealand representative, to the effect that the North Atlantic mark should apply to ships leaving Australia via Cape Horn. I believe the Bill embodies that provision. The honorable member for Hume spoke to the motion, and Captain Chalmers said -
The application of the North Atlantic loadline to the Cape Horn route was thoroughly considered bv the original Load-line Committee in the year 1884-1885. It was reviewed in 1898 by a very large Committee, presided over by the late Lord St. Helier, and the report of the Committee was that it was quite unnecessary , and for these reasons. The addition for the North Atlantic load-line is, in the case of steam-ships, 2 inches, and in the case of sailing ships 3 inches. With regard to steamers, the storm area in the neighbourhood of Cape Horn is contracted, and it leaves the distance between any Australian port and the storm area about 5,800 miles.
So that these conditions would be applicable at best to a very small area, and apply unnecessarily for 5,800 miles of the voyage. He said further -
In going those 5,800 miles, the steamer will lighten by the consumption of coal some 2 feet, so it is absolutely necessary for her to be lightened 2 inches before leaving Australia. With regard to sailing ships coming from Australia homewards, the Cape Horn route has always been chosen, since I can remember, as the better route, the more favorable route, and the safer, because there we get what seamen call the brave west winds of the Southern Ocean - not necessarily gales - but west winds that blow with almost uniform force between the parallels of SS an-d 60 south,, and the only danger is from drifting icebergs. That is the reason that that route has always been chosen in preference to the Cape of Good Hope - and it is quite my own experience. I have circumnavigated that part five times; once from Fremantle I came back on a sailing ship aid the Cane of Good Hope, and we wished we had gone the other way. The reason the Cape Horn route has its bad name is from ships outward bound going to ports of the West Coast of America, and there for a radius of about 100 miles you get what we call the “ storm area.” But even then the danger is confined to losing masts and spars. We have never had a record of any complaint from want of freeboard.
It seems to me that we are going beyond the experience and recommendations of experts in this matter. We are over anxious. and if the result is to affect the freightcarrying capacity, and, consequently, the profit of some of the vessels engaged in carrying coal or dead-weight cargo, it will be a very serious matter to prescribe the winter load-line for the whole year. For the reasons I have mentioned, we ought to hesitate before applying it. I think the honorable member for Kooyong mentioned that something ‘like 70,000 “tons less coal, meaning a loss of about ,£20,000 to £25,000 a year, would be carried by the vessels of the Commonwealth Steam-ship Owners’ Association. I suppose that means if they always had full ‘freight. Is coal really dead- weight cargo?
– We propose to make an alteration to strike “coal” out.
– Perhaps then we had better wait to see what the Minister’s amendment is.
.- I agree with the honorable member for Hindmarsh that we should do everything possible to make the conditions of those following a seafaring life better ; at the same time we have to be very careful that we do not injure any other industry. I admit at once that if we had to choose between the two, we ought to decide every time in favour of protecting life and property. I am advised, however, that in this case there is no danger in that respect. For many years ships have been carrying coal from Newcastle to the west coast of South America. They have not to round Cape Horn, and the result of passing the clause as printed would be that they would not be able to carry the quantity of coal that they take at present from Newcastle. I am told that the effect of this clause would be to reduce by 300 tons the cargo that each would be able to take, and they would have to raise their freights to make good the loss.
– What proportion is 300 tons to the full carrying capacity?
– I propose to put before the Committee information I have obtained from persons interested in the Newcastle coal trade. The average sailing ship leaving Newcastle carries about 3,000 tons; and we may assume that the average weekly shipments amount to 90,000 tons, although the shipments at present exceed that quantity. A third of this 30,000 tons, is carried in sailing ships. A third of this is 3,000 tons per week, and to that extent
Newcastle will be affected. The result must be an increase in freights, so that, if the desire of the Committee is to destroy the Newcastle coal trade, the clause should be passed as it stands. If we wish to give the Newcastle collieries an opportunity to hold these foreign markets, we should try to meet them in this connexion. If freights are increased, then this trade most assuredly will be lost to Newcastle, because of outside competition. Many colliery proprietors shipping coal under contract to certain ports are scarcely making a profit owing to the fact that freights have been increased since they entered “into their contracts. I know of one company which, owing to this fact, is scarcely making any profit whatever. If we further handicap the Newcastle collieries in this way, we shall .destroy this particular trade altogether ; other countries will be able to command the markets which Newcastle is now supplying. For many years we have been supplying coal from Newcastle to these foreign ports by means of sailing vessels, and, in proportion to the number of vessels in the trade there have been but few accidents.
– A great many vessels have left Newcastle, and have never been heard of again.
– It does not follow that such mishaps have been due to overloading. The vessels may have been unseaworthy when they left port. Then, again, the question arises as to whether coal, as a cargo, is similar to wheat. Experts, as a matter of fact, tell me that coal is a better cargo to carry. If that be so, and these sailing boats have not to go round Cape Horn, surely we are not justified in applying this provision to them to the injury of the Newcastle coal trade? Some endeavour should be made to meet the situation. We should endeavour, as far as possible, to protect the trade and commerce of Australia, while at the same time doing what is necessary in the interests of those following a seafaring life.
Amendment (by Mr. Tudor) agreed to-
That paragraph (d) be left out, and the following new paragraph inserted : - (d) river and bay ships.
Clause further verbally amended and agreed to.
Clause 224 agreed to.
Clause 225 - (3.) The position of the disc shall be fixed in accordance with the tables in force in the United Kingdom. …
Provided that, in ships laden with coal or dead-weight cargo a line or mark shall be marked or affixed on the ship in the mode and position required by the Merchant Shipping Act. . . .
Amendment (by Mr. Tudor) agreed to -
That all the words after .”in accordance with the,” sub-clause 3, be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “ provisions of the Merchant Shipping Acts.”
– I move -
That the words “coal or” be left out, and that after the word “ cargo,” line 5, the words “ other than coal “ be inserted.
There is a possibility that coal may not be held to be dead-weight cargo. It has been pointed out that sea captains state that coal is a far better cargo than wheat or concentrates, which are the two principal deadweight cargoes carried from Australia.
Amendment agreed to.
.- Having regard to the discussion that has taken place, I ask the Minister to reconsider the whole clause, with a view to still further amending it.
– The matter has already received serious consideration, and we are not prepared at present to go further than we have done. It is well known that more vessels when laden with wheat have been lost than have vessels laden with any other cargo. The honorable member for Hindmarsh has pointed out how he endeavoured to secure this provision. Vessels load wheat here between February and May, and by the time they have rounded Cape Horn, and have reached the North Atlantic, they are in the winter season. The bulk of our coal, however, goes, not to the North Atlantic, but to the South Atlantic. Most of it goes to the South American ports, or to the Pacific slope. The vessels laden with coal which go round Cape Horn have only to go to the South American ports on the east coast, and that is why I have been prepared to make an exception in the case of coal.
– That may be a reason for making this provision in regard to the one class of vessels, but the question is whether it should apply at all.
– I shall give the matter consideration from that point of view.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 226 agreed to. Clause 227 - (1.) Where a ship proceeds from a port on any voyage, the disc indicating the load-line shall be marked - (3.) ‘In the case of a ship which the owner is not required to enter outwards, the master shall prepare a statement similar to that required by the last sub-section to be inserted in the form of entry, and shall deliver a copy of the statement to the officer of Customs from whom a clearance for the ship is demanded ; and a clearance shall not be granted until the statement is so delivered.
Amendments (by Mr. Tudor) proposed -
That sub-clause 1 be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof, “ Where a ship proceeds from a port on any voyage for which the master or owner is required to enter the ship outwards at the Customs, the disc indicating the load-line shall be marked before so entering her, or if that is not practicable, as soon afterwards as may be.”
That sub-clause 3 be left out.
– Will the Minister consider the advisability of providing for a minimum loadline as well as a maximum load-line, so as to insure that vessels shall not proceed to sea underloaded? Some effort ought to be made to meet cases which have already been referred to on the consideration of other clauses. The greatest danger to which we are liable, so far as Australian shipping is concerned, especially Inter- State passenger steamers, is underloading.
– I shall endeavour to frame a clause so that vessels shall not receive a clearance until loaded to a certain depth, so as to be quite safe for an ocean voyage; but I do not think this provision is so important in regard to Inter-State steamers.
.- I hope die Minister will also take into consideration the coastal steamers. I made a trip from Brisbane to Papua and back, and I experienced great discomfort owing to the ship being lightly laden, and the propeller at times’ quite out of the water. A minimum load-line ought to apply to coastal ships as well as to ocean ships.
– The honorable member was not present this afternoon when this question was discussed. The coastal steamers carry water ballast.
– But they do not use it.
– As I pointed out before, there is nothing to prevent a vessel pumping out the water as soon as it gets outside the Heads, and it could just as easily pump it in again before coming into port.
– Would not the passengers complain ?
– It would be very. difficult to prove the offence by means of any passenger.
Amendments agreed to.
– The Minister seems to be under a misapprehension. I hope he does not regard suggestions from this side as being offered in any hostile spirit.
– I do not.
– I can assure the honorable gentleman that my only desire is to provide for the safety of passengers and crew, and the stability of the ship, while giving due consideration to the interests ot the owners. I ask the Minister to consider the advisability of providing for a minimum load-line for coastal ships, as well as for oversea ships. A master mariner, in this port, who had come out in charge of a large immigrant ship, which delivered in Melbourne some 4,000 tons of cargo, informed me that when the vessel left the port again, the top of the propeller boss was almost above water; or, at any rate, the greater portion of the blades was exposed. The vessel was drawing something like 15 feet or 16 feet, and she presented a huge wall-side exposed to wind and waves ; so that, if she had met with any very bad easterly weather on the coast of New South Wales, it was very questionable whether there would have been enough steerage way to keep her off a lee shore. Fortunately nothing happened ; but there was another case the other day of a ship which left this port with her propeller blades exposed, and, running into an easterly gale off Cape Howe, she became unmanageable, and the only way to prevent her from drifting on to a lee shore was to head her out to sea. With these facts in his possession, the Minister, I think, ought to give some consideration to the suggestion I have made, so that we may insure that the whole of the propeller is submerged. It does not so much matter about the fore part of the vessel being light, if the aft part is submerged, so as to give proper steerage. This is where the danger lies; and we ought to do something to prevent vessels going to sea in such dangerous trim.
.- Something ought really to be done in the direc tion suggested. My experience has been somewhat similar to that of the honorable member for South Sydney.
– Both honorable members were on the same boat?
– That is perfectly true; but nearly all boats to the islands go out well laden and come back light. Indeed, the big liners usually leave Melbourne very lightly laden. There is no doubt that, as the Minister has said, there is some difficulty in the way, because though the watertight compartments may be filled, there” is no guarantee that they may not be emptied immediately on getting to sea. From the point of view of safety, it would be .much better to have the vessels properly laden, not to mention the discomfort to passengers. I know that when I first came to Australia I suffered severely from this cause on the voyage from Melbourne to Sydney.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clauses 228 to 230 agreed to.
Clause 231 (Regulations as to lines and marks).
Clause verbally amended.
Amendment (by Mr. Tudor) agreed to -
That the following new sub-clause be added : - “ (2.) Every person who without reasonable cause fails to comply with any regulation made with respect to the entry, publication, or delivery of copies of certificates or other particulars as to the draught of water and freeboard of a ship, shall be guilty of an offence.
Penalty : O.ie hundred pounds.”
– In regard to the suggestion that there should be a minimum load-line as well as a maximum load-line, I shall see what can be done. I shall endeavour to have a clause drafted to take the necessary power under the regulations, and, if necessary, have clause 231 recommitted. This question has been discussed in the House of Commons, but the Home Parliament has found itself unable to arrive at any decision. It appears to me that a regulation of the kind is more necessary on steamers than on sailing ships, because steamers can empty or fill their watertight compartments at any time ; whilst sailing-ships usually carry stone or sand ballast.
.- Is there any standard in the Old Country for a minimum Toad-line?
– It is very difficult for ship-owners to find out what the load-line is.
– We shall have to provide a definition by inserting a new clause.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 232 agreed to.
Clause 233 -
The master or owner of a ship shall not permit her to go to sea unless she is duly furnished with the prescribed signals of distress.
Penalty : One hundred pounds.
Amendment (by Mr. Tudor) agreed to-
That the word “or” be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof, “ of a ship shall not take her to sea and the “
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clauses 234 and 235 agreed to.
Clause 236 (Wireless telegraphy apparatus)
– I propose to ask the Committee to strike out this clause. As I stated on the second reading, it was found very difficult to lay down hardandfast rules for the adoption of a new means of communication, which is being improved every day, and which has, perhaps, been substantially improved since the Bill was introduced here.
.- I am glad that the Minister has proposed this course. I called attention to the difficulty when speaking on the second reading. I understand that in the clause which it is proposed to substitute vessels of less than 50 tons will be exempt, but that there is no limitation in regard to distance.
– Yes; 200 miles.
-The proposed new clause cannot now be discussed.
– Shall I be in order in making a suggestion to the Minister? I agree with him that this clause should be negatived, because wireless telegraphy is being improved every day. It has now got far beyond the experimental stage, and the Minister will be justified in providing for installations that can be adopted for all practical purposes. But in regard to the proposed provisions respecting a vessel travelling 100 miles-
– The honorable member may not now discuss the proposed new clause.
– The proposed new clause will not fill the bill.
– The honorable member must not discuss it.
– I fail to see why we should agree to the striking out of this clause unless we are told what it is pro posed to replace it with. Any wireless installation on board ship should be independent of the main engines, so that in case of trouble an auxiliary engine could be used.
– The new clause is not now before the Committee.
Clause 237 (Compasses to be adjusted).
.- There seems to be no provision for recognising New Zealand compass certificates. It has been suggested that the conditions in the Dominion are the same as in Australia.
– I shall look into the matter. We accept the certificates of the Board of Trade, and I think we should reciprocate with New Zealand, accepting its certificates, and getting it to accept ours.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 238 and 239 agreed to.
Clause 240 -
The master of every ship registered in Australia or engaged in the coasting trade shall -
exercise his crew in boat drill in such manner, and at such intervals, as are prescribed ;
enter full particulars of each drill in his official log-book.
Penalty : Fifty pounds.
– Perhaps the Minister will inform us what he intends to propose in regard to boat drill on board ship? Although boat drill is carried out on most passenger steamers, there is no uniform practice followed. I have seen boat drills at which nothing more was done than to muster each boat’s crew opposite its boat to be inspected by the captain, accompanied! by his officers. In other drills, when the whistle was piped, the boat crews assembled, three or four men went to the falls, the others standing by wondering what was going to be done. Sometimes the falls have become entangled, or have got jammed in the blocks, a guy has been loosed by mistake, and great confusion has arisen. In these circumstances, a subordinate officer will hastily repair the mistakes, but the crew of the boat is never told what has been done wrong, and is not put through its performance until it is perfect in it. Drill rarely occupies more than twenty minutes, unless there is some hitch in swinging a boat out or getting it back, a business which, when it is attempted, is frequently bungled. This is often a long and arduous matter. No doubt, boat drills are hurried’ over on board ship, because the stewards who form a large part of the boats’ crews have their ordinary work to attend to, and with a full passenger-list are very busy. It is a blessing that so few mishaps occur to vessels. Had the boats to be taken to, the crews would be composed chiefly of firemen and stewards, men without experience in their management ; and the stewards on the oversea vessels, being for the most part anything but of a robust type, would probably become exhausted after pulling at the heavy ship oars for a quarter of an hour or twenty minutes, and the passengers would have to bear a hand. Seeing that this is so, such passengers as were willing to take part in the boat drill might well be permitted to do so, and be instructed in the methods of lowering away boats. The clause gives no idea of what will be required by the regulations in regard to boat drill. This is an obvious defect which the Minister should rectify. Boat drill, as carried out at the present time, especially on passenger ships, is very much in the nature of a farce.
– Matters in regard to boat drills must be prescribed by regulation. By one of the earlier clauses boat drill is made compulsory, and for the first time it is provided that every seaman - and that term includes every one on the ship except the master - shall be able to pull an oar, and know how to handle a boat.
– I am told that on the Loongana there is only one seaman to each boat.
– I do not want to frighten honorable members or the community, or I could show the Honorable member much worse cases on some of the Inter- State boats. Captain Jenks, of the Otranto, an over-sea boat, said the difficulty was to get the firemen to take part in boat drill. I think the Attorney-General said that on some of the boats some of the firemen would not take part in it.
– Was not that said in regard to the Titanic ?
– Yes, but that was the Titanic’ s first voyage, and there had been no opportunity for boat drill. Had there been, I presume there would have been witnessed on that vessel what we have since heard in regard to this matter. If the public of Australia are determined to have boat drill, under this Act they can have it. If they do not want it, the Act can be administered as they wish. “I believe they desire boat drill to be carried out, because they want to insure having at least a one-in-ten chance of getting into a boat, even on a rough day.
.- In travelling round the world last year our experience was that the men on the ships were anxious to take part in boat drill. When the whistle was blown they would flock from all over the ship, and be in their places in a very few seconds. To me it was marvellous.
– You never saw a boat touch the water.
– They lowered one boat. It would be ridiculous to lower them all. I certainly saw very little to find fault with in regard to the drilling of the men. Ship-owners are extremely careful to see that the drills are carried out. I have not the slightest doubt that some improvement can be effected in the appliances for getting the boats out, and believe that before very long a very much simpler way will be adopted, but I do not think there need be any fear that the men will not be properly drilled.
.- It should be provided in the Bill that, before a ship is cleared and the gangways are taken up, the captain shall get all the crew on deck, allot them to their boats, and show them their duty. Some members of the crew really do not know what boats they should go to. In a case of panic there might be too many in one boat, and not enough in another.
– I quite agree that this is a most necessary and salutary provision, but boat drill does not amount to anything unless the boats are in the water and away from the ship. On a previous clause I pointed out the experience of the Navigation Commission in that matter. Of course, it is very inconvenient for the boats to leave the ship, as the ship must slow down. It sometimes happens that the time selected for boat drill is a Sunday afternoon, when there is a solemnity about the occasion which is very pleasing to some minds. The drill should certainly not be carried out in a perfunctory fashion. There is a provision in the Bill dealing with fire drill. These drills, so far as the Commission observed, were carried out most unsatisfactorily. On the Bremen, the only ship in which we saw fire drill carried out, it ended in a most lamentable fiasco. A man handling an empty hose was suddenly called upon to handle a hose carrying a. stream of water at full pressure. I do not know what usually happens in such a case, but on the Bremen there was every element necessary to make a first class riot. The Government’s intention is to see that boat drill is carried out efficiently, with the boats in the water.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 241 to 251 agreed to.
Clause 252 -
All ships registered in Australia or engaged in the coasting trade shall be provided with an independent chain connexion to the rudder body ready for immediate adjustment in case of emergency.
Penalty : Fifty pounds.
– I move -
That the word “All” be left out and the words “ The regulations may prescribe that any” inserted in lieu thereof.
I understand that it would be an impossibility . for twin-screw ships to have a chain hanging’ loose about the rudder, but the provision may be useful ‘ in the case of small ships.
– I would rather the Minister had the whole clause left out. It is a very anomalous one, and a. stranger to me. Ship-owners regard it as ridiculous. If it has any application it is . to very old ships. It has absolutely none to modern ships, and I believe it is not within the calculations of Lloyd’s.
– There are plenty of little vessels where the practice is to have the rudder fastened with a chain.
.- My attention was drawn to this clause by the Northern Rivers Steamship Association, who suggest that it should be deleted. They state that the practice has been obsolete for many years, safety being secured by improved rudder construction.
– The regulations will not do any harm.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendment (by Mr. Tudor) agreed to -
That the words “Penalty: Fifty pounds” be left out.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clauses 253 to 255 agreed to.
Clause 256 -
Any seaman or apprentice may decline to go to sea in a ship carrying dangerous goods, and any seaman or apprentice who so declines, shall, if he so requests, be granted a discharge from the ship :
Provided that this -section shall not apply where the carriage of the dangerous goods is in accordance with express stipulations in the agreement.
– I move -
That before the word “ ship “, line 2, the word “ British “ be inserted.
The amendment is made to make it clear that the clause does not apply to foreign ships. The Commonwealth may have power to make laws which would have the effect of annulling agreements between masters and seamen of those ships, but there is some doubt about it.
– It has been pointed out to me that on almost every trip many small vessels carry some dangerous cargo, and this clause would seem to give the right to seamen almost capriciously at the last moment to delay a vessel going to sea, and seriously inconvenience trade. It requires modification.
– What is the definition of “ dangerous goods “ ?
– Goods which have been declared by proclamation to be dangerous.
– Then the seamen will have no discrimination.
– This is an old friend. It appeared as clause 249 in the Bill of 1908.
– That is so. My attention, however, has been drawn to the matter, and the Minister may find that there is some force in the objection that has been taken. Generally speaking, provision has been made for the carriage of dangerous goods, and the safeguarding of the lives of those on board. Such goods should not be carried without special provision to protect the lives of the passengers as well as the seamen. The idea underlying a clause of this sort ought to be that, if a seaman knows that dangerous goods are being carried, he should have the right to protest, and to object to go to sea with the vessel in question, if there can be shown to be any real danger. I think it would be as well to make the proviso read that the clause shall not apply where the carriage of the dangerous goods is in accordance with “ the regulations or “ express stipulations in the agreement.
– The only point brought under my notice in this connexion is whether an apprentice would have the right to decline to go to sea in a vessel carrying dangerous goods.
– The smallest package of dangerous goods carried on board would give’ a seaman or an apprentice the right to refuse to go to sea. I think, if the Minister insists on the clause, that we should insert some such provision as I have suggested.
– I see no harm in the honorable member’s proposal.
– I would advise the Minister to strike out the clause altogether. It is a rather dangerous one, for it would enable men, under a very shallow pretext, to decline to go to sea. The refusals might partake of the character of a strike. Under the clause as it stands, if there were a general strike of seamen, they could set this up as a pretext for refusing to go to sea. There is no penalty provided in the case of a man who refuses to go to sea. The clause practically takes seamen outside of their agreement, and it contains no provision similar to that which imposes a penalty on a seaman who secures permission, on a false pretence, to go ashore. May I remind the Minister, as regards this part of the Bill, that we have a Sea Carriage of Goods Act, which deals with matters that are similar. If I remember correctly, when that Act was before us, it was said that it would possibly have to become part of our general navigation law. The Minister should consider whether that Act ought not to be repealed, and its provisions embodied in this measure, or whether it is desirable to put in this Bill provisions that ought to be in the Sea Carriage of Goods Act. Those who have occasion to look up our laws should not be puzzled in this way.
– I hope that the Minister will be very careful, in dealing with this clause- When a seaman agrees to make a voyage ona certain ship, he does not know at the time what kind of cargo is to be placed on board. If, later on, he sees dangerous cargo being shipped, he should have the right to protect his life by refusing to sail in her, just as’ a passenger who might have booked his passage would have the right to withdraw his passage on discovering’ that dangerous cargo was being placed on board. If we take this right from seamen, we shall do them an injustice. I hope that the Minister will be careful to protect the lives of seamen as well as passengers, and that he will stand by the clause.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendment (by Mr. Tudor) proposed -
That after the word “with”, line 8, the words “ the regulations o: “ be inserted.
.- The clause appears in itself to require some machinery. I ask the Minister to look into the Bill with a view of determining whether there is in it anything that provides for regulations in regard to the carriage of these goods.
– I shall have the Bill carefully examined, and if it is found that we have not the power, I shall have a covering clause inserted.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clauses 257 and 258 agreed to.
Clause 259 - (1.) If, in the opinion of the Minister, the carriage of any particular cargo or goods ia any ship would endanger her safety he may notify the master or owner accordingly . . and the master or owner shall not after receiving such notice permit the ship to go to sea. …
Amendment (by Mr. Tudor) agreed to -
That the words “ and the master or owner shall not after receiving such notice permit the ship to go to sea,” be left out, with a view te insert in lieu thereof, the words “ and after receiving such notice the master shall not take the ship to sea and the owner shall not permit the ship to go to sea.”
– I would call the attention of the Minister to the desirableness of still further enlarging the scope of the clause by adding a new sub-clause’ to the effect that it shall not be permissible for passenger vessels to carry cargo on the decks provided for the use of passengers or crew, or in places other than those specially designed for’ the reception and stowage of cargo, and no vessel shall be allowed to proceed to sea carrying cargo in contravention of this provision. It is a common practice on the part of owners of passenger vessels trading along the coast to advertise the excellent accommodation provided for passengers. In the glowing descriptions that appear in the newspapers, it is sei forth that splendid promenade deck space has been allotted to first, second, and third class passengers. A great feature is made of this accommodation, and passengers are thus induced to book by them for various potts; When they arrive on board, however, they find that, although when they inspected the ve*sei previously everything looked all right, a great amount of, and, in some cases, all, the space set apart as passengers’ promenade decks is lumbered up with all sorts of cargo.
– Sometimes cattle and sheep.
– Horses, cattle, and sheep, amongst other things, are sometimes carried on these decks, to say nothing of cases of merchandise of all descriptions. On one or two vessels on which I recently travelled coastwise, some of the decks’ were lumbered with huge masses of machinery, iron girders, angle iron, motor cars, and other vehicles. The accommodation which passengers had paid for, and expected, was not available. The saloon promenade deck, and especially that portion usually devoted to games, was lumbered up with cargo to the awning, some portions of it to such an extent that it was absolutely impossible to pass along without climbing over. This is not only an invasion of the rights of passengers, but a source of danger to the stability of the ship in -bad weather when the working of the boats, and other life-saving appliances might be much hampered. The conditions were worse for the second saloon passengers, and still worse for the third class passengers. In the latter case the only space left was a hatchway, and not all of that; indeed, so small was the accommodation that all the third class passengers could not come on deck at once. When the stability tables of these vessels were prepared it is most unlikely that any allowance was made for the probability that heavy cargo would be carried on the decks with empty holes underneath. On the Warrego the lower holds were practically empty, and the tween decks only partially filled, while the deck, in spite of the protests of the chief officer, was filled in the way I have described, with heavy iron rails, girders, and machinery. The chief officer wanted this cargo put below, but the shore man in charge would not trouble. The chief officer very pertinently remarked, “ It is all very well for you, but I have to sail in the ship.” On British ships, the chief officer was held responsible for the proper stowage of all cargo, and for any negligence in that respect; but on the Australian coast, apparently, neither the chief officer nor any other officer has any say; all is left to the stevedore, who puts the cargo where it is most convenient for himself, and that apparently is on deck.
– What does the honorable member suggest that the Minister is not empowered to do in the Bill.
– I suggest the amendment I have already indicated.
– I hope that the honorable member for Lang will not press the suggested amendment, because, under the clause as it stands, the Minister has power to do everything that is desired. This clause applies to all ships ; and I am sure the honorable member has travelled enough to know that the most convenient place for some cargo is the deck. Where else, for instance, could fruit cargo be placed? 1 am not going to say that this is always pleasant for the passenger; but generally, except in very small vessels, the cargo is placed where it does not very much interfere with one’s comfort. The amendment would have the effect that small boats would be able to carry no cargo except butter in the refrigerating chamber. The larger boats have all wells where cargo can be stowed; and, though it may sometimes get in the way of people, the voyages are short, and very frequently there are other sensations which prevent the inconvenience from being overbearing. If the amendment is pressed the honorable member will not be doing a service to the people he wishes to help, and, in any case, it will only duplicate the power of the Minister under the clause.
– - I think there is some justification for the suggestion made by the honorable member for Lang. When certain accommodation is advertised, and the passengers do not get it, there is a breach of contract; but the amendment, as worded, is certainly very drastic,- and may go further than the honorable member for Lang intends.. This matter is not a new one. As a member of the Royal Commission, the AttorneyGeneral had it brought’ under his notice; and we find that, in the existing Bill, according to clause 271, regulations may prescribe all things necessary or convenient for regulating the carriage of passengers, the conveyance of stock, and the method of stowing the cargo. I fancy that the honorable member for Lang might attain what he desires under those regulations. Will the Minister promise that in framing the regulation he will have regard to the points raised?
– We shall dp that.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 260 agreed to. “v
Clause 261 (Live stock).
. –I should like to impress on the Minister the necessity of making regulations to insure the feeding and watering of stock in transit. In many cases stock is detained on river bars, and in the absence of any care of the kind, there is much cruelty, while emaciated food reaches the people. There is too much of that sort of thing on the railways; and I hope it will not be perpetuated on the sea.
– There is power under this clause to make regulations of the kind, and anything that can be done to see that stock is fairly treated will be done.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 262 and 263 agreed to.
Clauses 264 to 266 negatived.
Clauses 267 and 268 agreed to.
Clause 269 -
The owner or master of any ship which, during her voyage to or from any port in Australia …
has sustained or caused any accident . . shall report the same . . .
Amendment (by Mr. Tudor) proposed -
That the words “or from” be left out.
– I very much doubt the validity of the clause.
– We have the right to require a vessel coming to Australia to report an accident. A vessel going from Australia would have to report to the Board of Trade, and, of course, could not report here until she came back.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 270 agreed to.
Bill returned from the Senate without amendment.
Mr. SPEAKER reported the receipt of a message from the Senate transmitting a resolution, in which it requested, the concurrence of the House of Representatives, affirming the desirability of offering a reward for the discovery of a payable gold or mineral field in the Northern Territory.
House adjourned at 10.5 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 3 October 1912, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1912/19121003_reps_4_66/>.