4th Parliament · 1st Session
The President took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
Senator VARDON presented a petition from thirty one taxpayers in the State of South Australia praying the Senate to reject the Land Tax Assessment Bill.
Petition received. .
asked the Minister representing the Minister of Trade and Customs, upon notice -
Will he lay on the table of the Library -
Correspondence between the Collector of Customs, Sydney, and Mr. A.J. Taylor, Hobart, and Mr. H. Sparks, Sydney, re seizures of contraband goods from H.M.S. Diadem and other warships, known as the “ Hurstwates Case”?
A statement showing what rewards and amounts (in detail) have been paid to officers (temporary or permanent) in the Customs Department, Sydney, for seizures of contraband goods effected during the months from1st June, 1903,to1st February, 1904?
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are -
asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council, upon notice -
If he will lay on the table of the Senate a copy of the report of the High Commissioner, Sir George H. Reid, on a scheme for advertising the Commonwealth and inducing immigration to Australia?
– The answer to the honorable senator’s question is -
It is not proposed to lay the papers on the table, but if the honorable senator desires to inspect the file he may do so at the Department of my colleague, the Minister of External Affairs.
Motion (by Senator Pearce) agreed to -
That leave be given to bring in a Bill for an Act relating to naval defence.
Bill presented, and read a first time.
– Notice of motion, No. 1.
– By leave of the Senate, I desire to withdraw the notice of motion standing in my name and relating to the census questions.
– I object ; we want to discuss the motion.
– No one can object. A motion is not the property of the Senate until it has been moved and read from the Chair. This motion has not been moved, nor has it been read from the Chair. It is the property of the honorable senator who placed it on the notice-paper, and he has the right to withdraw it.
– He simply need not move it.
– I think, sir, that you called on the motion, and asked whether it was to be taken as “ formal “ or “ not formal,” and Senator Chataway said “not formal.”
– That is so; but a motion is not the property of the Senate until it has been moved by the honorable senator who put it on the notice-paper, and it has been read from the Chair.
– We ought to have an explanation as to why the motion has not been moved.
– An explanation was given on Friday last. How many times does the honorable senator want it to be given ?
– I did not hear it.
– May I suggest, on a point of order, sir, that it was unnecessary for the Minister to ask leave to withdraw the notice of motion ? All that was necessary was for him not to move it.
– It. was only a matter of form.
– I think that the error, if there was an error, was in the intimation that the motion was to be withdrawn. No honorable senator need move a motion standing in his name.
– The Minister asked leave to withdraw the notice of motion.
– I should like to ask, sir - -
– Order ! Is the honorable senator rising to a point of order ?
– I should like to know exactly why the motion is not to be proceeded with.
– It cannot be discussed at present.
Motion (by Senator Pearce) proposed -
That this Bill be now read a third time.
– I only rise to draw attention to a fact which I mentioned in my speech on the second reading. I congratulated the Government that they are to pay interest on this advance from the Australian Notes Account. That is only fair to the fund, and I only want the public to know that the Government, as they are to pay 3 or 3½ per cent, to the Trust Fund, might as well have done what the last Government proposed to do in connexion with naval defence and other purposes, and that is to go to the banks here and elsewhere for the money. They are to pay interest on the advance, and the cost to the country will be the same.
– That is too ridiculous to reply to.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a third time.
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 7th October, vide page 4285) :
Clause 136 - (1.) The owner of every steam-ship registered in Australia, or engaged in the coasting trade, shall-
in the case of limited coast-trade steamships of less than three hundred tons gross registered tonnage - provide for each two officers a separate room, having a cubic content of not less than three hundred and fifty cubic feet, and having a separate entrance to the deck, and not opening directly into the engine-room.
Penalty : Twenty pounds, with Five pounds for every day after the first day during which such default continues.
Upon which Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir Albert Gould had moved by way of amendment -
That the word “three,” line 5, he left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “ five.”
– When this clause was under consideration on the last day of sitting, the Minister of Defence informed us that he would consider the probable effect of the amendment, which relates chiefly to coasttrade ships. I wish to ask him whether he intends to adhere to the provision as it appears in the Bill?
– The Government think that the clause should pass in its present form, and that ships of less than 300 tons gross register should supply the accommodation for which it provides.
– I am very sorry thatthe Government intend to adhere to the clause, because it has been demonstrated that, if some measure of relief be not provided, it will strike a severe blow at our limited coast-trade ships, and may possibly affect river and bay vessels as well.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 137 -
Every space in a ship registered in Aus tralia or engaged in the coasting trade, which is appropriated to the berthing accommodation of seamen or apprentices, shall -
Penalty : One hundred pounds…..
– I move -
That the word “ or,” line 4, he left out.
If this amendment is carried, I “intend to move that after the word “apprentices” the words “ or passengers “ be inserted. My object is to insure that passengers shall at least enjoy the same amount of air space as is provided for the crews and apprentices of vessels.
– What about the officers?
– They get a great deal more accommodation.
– I think that the passengers ought to have as much accommodation as have the officers.
– I have no objection to that.I have known ships to be built in the Old Country and fitted with cabins which were designed for the accommodation of two persons. They have come to Australia, and, as the trade increased, instead of fresh vessels being provided, the cabins have been so altered as to accommodate four persons: I have occupied a cabin in which, when I lay down, I was able to touch the face of the passenger opposite me.
– Is it not the passenger’s own fault if he accepts such accommodation for a sea voyage?
– Is it not the seaman’s own fault if he accepts inadequate accommodation ?
– It is not..
– Probably the honorable senator sees with only one eye, whereas I endeavour to see with both. The honorable senator has asked whether the passengers are not able to look after themselves. As a matter of fact, they are not.. They simply book their passages, and very often do not know what berth they are to occupy until they board the vessel. They then have to accept whatever accommodation may be offered them. I wish every person to be dealt with fairly. I do not favour class legislation. What is good for the seamen ought to be equally good for the passengers. In this connexion we must recollect that whilst only half the crew of a vessel simultaneously occupy quarters in the forecastle, the passengers are sometimes accommodated in quarters where there are no port holes, and it is a greater hardship upon them to be so “ cribb’d, cabin’ d and confined “ for days together, especially when others around them are afflicted with seasickness, than it would be upon the crew.
– Seasickness does them good.
– It may; but, like a good many other remedies, it is a very drastic one. I have seen people so ill at sea that they would not have objected to being thrown overboard.
– I have seen them die.
– The welfare of the thousands of passengers who travel round our coast should be safeguarded to the best of our ability. I have seen people on board ship so ill that they had to be put off at a port, being unable to proceed on their voyage. I am asking for nothing more than the Bill provides for in the case of seamen, firemen, and apprentices. Surely it is our duty to look after the interests of the travelling public. It has been said that passengers need not travel by ship if they do not like the accommodation provided. But generally people who go aboard a ship have to travel whether they like it or not, and when they engage their berths they do not know what kind of accommodation they will be provided with.
– Passengers always have better accommodation than the crew have.
– Surely the honorable senator can look at this matter from more than one point of view. I have not contended that -too much consideration has been paid to the comfort of the crew in the past. I simply say that it is our duty to look after the passengers as well. I am well aware that the vessels that have been built in recent years have been fitted with much better accommodation than was formerly the case. But, at the same time, we are not legislating solely for one class of people. We ought to do what is fair and just to all classes who may be affected by this measure. It will be said that the passenger accommodation can be provided for by regulation. But we know very well that regulations are made merely to be broken. There are regulations providing tor both fire and boat drill, but, nevertheless, on some ships the boats are not lowered into the water once in twelve months.
– What regulation provides that te boats shall be lowered into the water?
– One sees posted up on board vessels notices about the crews of boats and about fire drill, but the crews are never practised in the lowering and raising of the boats.
– There is no regulation providing that they shall be.
– I always understood that vessels were under an obligation to comply with the law in this respect. No injustice, will be done to anybody by my amendment. Parliament ought to lay it down as a rule that not less than 140 cubic feet of space shall be provided for each’ passenger.
– I ask the honorable senator not to proceed with his amendment at present, because I have a prior amendment to move.
– Very well.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment (by Senator Pearce) agreed to-
That the word “ space,” line 1, be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “ place.”
Amendment (by Senator Sayers) proposed -
That the word “ ot,” line 4, be left out.
– Clause 268 enables regulation’s to be made in regard to “ number of passengers to be carried and their accommodation.” I know of no more convenient way of dealing with this matter than by regulation. The passenger accommodation naturally varies with each ship, with the length of the voyage, the nature of the seas in which the voyage takes place, and a number of other considerations. The honorable senator will, I am sure, find that the regulations will provide for better accommodation than his amendment would secure. It is a well-known fact that as the law stands the accommodation for passengers is superior to that provided for the crew. Under this Bill we are providing for better accommodation for the crew, and it naturally follows that better accommodation will be provided for the passengers. Already on some of the boats trading on our coasts splendid accommodation is provided for passengers. I am personally acquainted with the accommodation on the vessels trading between Melbourne and Western Australia, and can speak of the improvements that have been effected in recent years. It is by no means likely that the regulations will provide for inferior accommodation to that which is already provided.
– Will the regulations have to be approved of by Parliament ?
– The regulations will have to be laid before Parliament a certain number of days, and unless disapproved of will become law. They can, of course, be amended from time to time.
– The Minister says that this matter can be provided for by regulation, but I remind him that the accommodation for seamen, firemen, and apprentices might be provided for in just the same way. This is a matter for which we should provide definitely in the Bill. If the Government thought it necessary in certain circumstances that increased accommodation, beyond that which I suggest should be provided for in the Bill, should be secured to passengers, there would be nothing to prevent that being done by regulation. We know that it is often the case that honorable senators know nothing of regulations until some difficulty in connexion with them crops up, and then, if any objection is urged, they are told that the regulations were laid on the table some time before, and that objection to them should have been urged then. The Minister has offered no argument against the amendment. He has merely contended that it would be more convenient to have the matter dealt with by regulation. The reply to that is that we have made provision for the accommodation for seamen, firemen, and apprentices in the Bill, and we should provide for passengers in the same way. I am asking nothing unreasonable. I ask that passengers should not be asked to put up with less than 140 cubic feet of space each. I am quite at a loss to understand why the Minister should offer any objection to my amendment.
– I agree with Senator Sayers. I think it is important that the minimum of accommodation for passengers should be laid down in the Bill. It would, in my opinion, be a mistake to leave entirely to regulation the comfort and welfare of passengers on ships. They ought to be as much objects of the care of the Legislature as the comfort and welfare of the seamen. One class should be no more to us than the other. I have suffered a great deal of inconvenience in passenger steamers on our coast, and I am sure that people travelling in the steerage of those vessels have had a very much worse time of it than I have had. I have inspected the steerage accommodation in several vessels, and in many cases I found it very inadequate. That is the reason why I think the minimum of space to be allowed to each passenger should be definitely laid down in the Bill. I do not think the minimum proposed by Senator Sayers is sufficient. It would be for those who frame the regulations under this Bill to prescribe such an increase in the accommodation the honorable senator proposes as might be considered necessary, but there should be something to guide them in the measure itself. I think that the Minister might very well accept the amendment.
– - I agree entirely with Senator Sayers that passengers should be properly protected in regard to ths amount’ of the accommodation provided for them on board ships. But this is not the part of the Bill in which the matter should be dealt with. We are dealing here with the accommodation required for the crew. As I have already stated, this matter of accommodation for passengers is dealt with in Part III. of the Merchant Shipping Act of 1894, which is in force not only in England, but in all British dominions.
– Does it not refer merely to emigrant ships?
– No; to all ships carrying steerage passengers. The assumption in the Imperial Act is that cabin passengers are able to look after themselves.
– We know that that is not a fact.
– That is the theory of the Imperial law on the subject; but all necessary provision is made for the proper accommodation of steerage passengers. All that we can do is to make provision in this Bill that the Governor-General may, by proclamation, lay down certain rules. The Imperial authorities have in the most careful way laid down rules governing this matter of the accommodation for passengers. If any honorable senator takes the trouble to look at schedule 10 of the Imperial Act of 1894 he will see that provision is made for the thickness of the bulkheads, the size of the bunks, the distance they must be from the deck, the number of tiers of bunks permitted, and a hundred and one other things. All those provisions are law here, and I believe we have no power to alter a single section of the Imperial Act. Under clause 268 of this Bill, full provision is made for the issue of regulations which may cover all the provisions included in the Imperial Act for the accommodation of passengers. I have here a copy of the “ Memorandum of Part III. of the Merchant Shipping Act 1894.” It is dated “ Marine Department, Board of Trade, May, 1895.” It is issued by the Board of Trade, and, so far as I know, there is nothing later dealing with the subject. I quote the following -
Effect of carrying passengers in the poopThe result of the law on this head is shown in the three following cases, supposing that the weather-deck check does not come into play.
If a ship carries in the poop or deckhouse not more than one cabin passenger to every hundred tons register, she may carry passengers on two other decks.
If she carries in the poop or deck-house more than that proportion of cabin passengers, or any steerage passengers at all, she cannot carry passengers on more than one other deck.
If she carries in the poop or deck-house more passengers (whether cabin or steerage or both) than one-third the legal complement of the deck next below, then the steerage passengers on that deck will be entitled to 18 clear superficial feet, per statute adult, otherwise only to 15 feet.
As an illustration, suppose a ship of 1,200 tons has a poop and two decks, of which the upper is carrying 200 statute adults, she can legally take in the poop as many as 12 cabin passengers (counting each child over one year of age as a passenger) and her full complement on the two other decks.
If, however, she takes in the poop more than 12 cabin passengers, or any steerage passengers, however few, then she could only take passengers on one other deck, and that the deck next beneath the poop or deck-house.
The steerage passengers on that deck would only be entitled to 15 superficial feet per statute adult, unless the ship carried in the poop more passengers (of whatever class) than 100 statute adults, in which case the steerage passengers on the deck below would be entitledto18 feet per statute adult.
In calculating the number of statute adults which a vessel can legally carry, the master, crew, and cabin passengers are not to be counted.
In ascertaining the area of the” passengers’ deck” the following rule should be followed : -
Subject to the deductions hereafter mentioned, the length of the “ passengers’ deck “ multiplied into the mean breadth is to be taken as the superficial area.
The whole length of the space appropriated to the use of the passengers should be measured in a straight line from end to end. But as passengers are occasionally carried on iron decks, sheathed for the winter months, and insulation has in some instances been introduced for the carriage of homeward refrigerated cargo, it must in all cases be clearly understood that no portion of the space should be included in the measurements, which does not give to the passenger the legal right of at least six feet.
It will be seen that the accommodation for the passengers has to measure 6 feet in height and 18 superficial feet on the deck. The Imperial Government have been very careful in making ample provision for every passenger who is carried in a passenger ship throughout the British Dominions. I agree with Senator Sayers that we ought to safeguard the accommodation for passengers as much as possible, but we cannot do any more at present.
– We can.
– The amendment, if made here, would have no effect, because this clause deals exclusively with the accommodation for the officers and the crew. If the honorable senator is prepared to move in this direction when clause 268 is reached, I shall be prepared to give fair consideration to his proposal, and if I can help him I will.
– We have been told that the Board of Trade regulates the accommodation for, passengers. So it does also for seamen and firemen.
– It deals with the Home ships, and therefore it deals with the accommodation for passengers therein.
– Oh, no.
– It deals with passengers exactly as it deals with firemen and seamen. But we on this side do not think that that is enough. This division of the Bill is headed “Accommodation,” and whilst clause 136 deals with the accommodation for officers, clause 137 deals, not only with the accommodation for seamen, but also with the accommodation for apprentices.
– Part II. of the Bill deals with “Masters and Seamen” only, and Part V. provides for “ Passengers.”
– Paragraph c of clause 268 relates to the number of passengers to be carried, and their accommodation.
– Under clause 268, regulations for the accommodation of passengers may be made, but how is the provision to be carried out? If the Government attempted to deal by regulation with the accommodation for firemen and seamen, no one would more strongly oppose the proposal than would Senator Guthrie. Yet he wants the accommodation for passengers to be left to regulation.
– No. I want the honorable senator to submit his amendment when clause 268 is reached.
– I may be told that it is a clause dealing only with regulations, and that the question of accommodation has already been dealt with. It will be too late for me to move an amendment when we get to that clause.
– I desire to ask the Minister of Defence if I shall be able to move this amendment on clause 268?
– The honorable senator had better ask the Chairman if such an amendment would be in order.
– I should certainly say, although the clause is a long way ahead, that there will be nothing to prevent the honorable senator from moving any relevant amendment, and I should think that his present amendment would be relevant.
– I hope that when the clause is reached I shall not be met with the objection which I have foreshadowed.
– I shall not raise the objection that the honorable’ senator’s amendment is out of order.
– Part V. of the Bill refers to “ Passengers, “ and the honorable senator will be perfectly in order in moving any amendment which is relevant to any clause therein.
– He can move the’ insertion of a new clause.
– With that assurance from the Chairman, I ask leave to withdraw my amendment, as there does not seem to be any likelihood of carrying it at this stage.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
– I think that Senator Guthrie has made a mistake in regard to the regulations, and the power which will be conferred upon the Minister when he does make them. He is under the impression that the provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act dealing with passengers will be applicable. But I am of opinion that, so far as the coasting trade is concerned, the Minister will have the right to make regulations, the effect of which will be to supersede those provisions. I do not think that the Minister’s power will be in any way hampered if he makes any regulations, but that question can be more appropriately discussed when Senator Sayers submits his amendment on clause 268. Notice was given by Senator Gould of his intention to move that the air space for a seaman or apprentice be reduced from 140 to 120 cubic feet. Unfortunately, he is not present to-day, and in his absence I move -
That the word “ forty,” line 7, be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “ twenty.”
As the whole question was fully debated on Friday last. I shall not re-state the reasons for submitting the amendment, but I should like to know if the Minister perseveres in his objection to an alteration of the space.
– Senator Gould gave notice of the following important amendment -
That the following words be added to paragraph a of sub-clause 1 : - “ but in estimating the space available for the proper accommodation of seamen and apprentices there may be taken into account the space occupied by any mess-rooms, bath-rooms, or washing places appropriated to the use of seamen or apprentices in which they sleep, provided, however, that the space in any place appropriated to the uses of seamen or apprentices in which they sleep is not less than seventy-two cubic feet or twelve superficial feet for each seaman or apprentice.”
This proposal was argued in the general discussion which took place on clause 136 of the Bill. It is identical in terms with section 64 of the Merchant Shipping Act of 1906. It also follows, verbatim I believe, the provision in the New Zealand
Shipping Act of 1909. A provision somewhat similar to this clause was contained in the New Zealand Act of 1906, but in 1909, for reasons which, I suppose, were sufficiently good, it was repealed and replaced with the provision of which my amendment is a copy. I would point out to the Minister that it is a slight concession to make. Although in some respects it may not be necessary to make this deduction with regard to the large ships which are engaged in the coasting trade, yet in the case of the limited coast-trade ships, as was pointed out in the discussion on clause 136, and also to some extent in the case of river and bay ships, the space for the accommodation of the seamen has to be carefully looked into, not merely from the point of view of convenience, but also from the point of view of the vessels’ carrying capacity. If the Minister can see his way to grant this concession to the limited coasttrade ships, if not to the Australian coasttrade ships, I think that it will be welcomed by the shipping trade.
– It will not be welcomed by the men.
– I was going on to say that, in my opinion, the amendment if made will not be disagreeable to the seamen of Australia, provided that the matter is left to the discretion of the Minister, at any rate with regard to a limited number of the coast-trade ships. In a matter of this kind we have to consider two things, namely, the undesirableness of hampering trade by unduly limiting the carrying capacity of vessels, and the necessity for insuring that our seamen shall be properly treated. I do not share Senator Guthrie’s fears that it would be disadvantageous to the seamen if a reduction were made in the accommodation proposed to be allocated to them.
Senator PEARCE (Western AustraliaMinister of Defence) [3-56l– 1 would direct the attention of the Committee to the fact that Senator Gould intended to follow up this amendment with a proposal to leave out clause 138, under which relief will be provided to ship-owners. Under that provision, the Minister is empowered by order in writing to exempt a ship built before the commencement of this Act from the conditions laid down in paragraphs a and b of the clause now under consideration, if he be satisfied that the accommodation provided for officers and men is not insanitary, or that all such alterations have been made as are in his opinion necessary to make that accommodation sanitary. Senator Gould desires to make an arbitrary exemption in the case of ships registered in Australia before the commencement of the Act. It is not the intention of the Government to use this clause for the purpose of crippling our maritime industry, or of injuring it in any way. But there are a number of ships on the Australian coast upon which by means of structural alterations the desired accommodation can be provided. The amendment, if carried, would not render it obligatory on the part Qf the owners of those vessels to make such alterations. Consequently, I do not think that we should adopt it. All that we provide is that where a ship can conveniently be altered so as to provide the necessary accommodation, the alteration shall be made. If structural alterations cannot conveniently be made they will not be insisted upon. In that case the only condition which will be enforced will be that the accommodation shall be sanitary.
– - I quite realize that there is a good deal to be said on both sides of this question, and I was glad to hear the announcement of the Minister that it is not intended to administer the Bill in such a way as to inflict hardship. In the circumstances, I shall not move an amendment which I had intended to submit, and which had for its object the exemption of ships registered or in course of construction before, or at the time of the passing of this Act, of less than 500 tons gross register, except as regards sleeping and sanitary accommodation.
– I move -
That in sub-clause 3 all the words after “ crew,” where second occurring, be left out.
The clause provides that steam-ships shall provide an adequate supply of hot fresh water for the use of all members of the crew employed in connexion with their engines. I maintain that if. is just as necessary that the whole of the crew shall be supplied with hot fresh water as that the members of the engine-room staff shall be so supplied. It is absolutely necessary to provide seamen who are engaged upon our colliers with hot fresh water. I do not think that the Minister of Defence will object to my amendment.
– Perhaps Senator Guthrie has not foreseen a difficulty which might arise in connexion with his amendment. The clause affirms that all steamers must provide an adequate supply of hot fresh water to all persons employed in the engine-room. Now the supply of fresh water on board these vessels is limited.
– They are condensing fresh water all the time.
– But the capacity of their condensers is limited. I should have no objection to the amendment if it provided for the supply of “ hot fresh or salt water.”
– What would be the use of salt water to men who are engaged upon colliers.
– The number of persons engaged in the engine-room of a steamer is limited, and many of this class of vessels may not have a sufficient condensing plant to enable them to conform to the terms of the amendment. I do not think that I can agree to it in its present form, at any rate, without further inquiry. The evidence tendered to the Navigation Commission was to the effect that hot fresh water should be supplied only to those who are connected with the engines of steamers. I cannot accept the amendment, seeing that it may involve structural alterations upon certain vessels.
.- The corresponding provision in the Navigation Bill of 1908 did not contain the word “fresh,” and the insertion of that word in this clause represents a concession on the part of the Government. Of course, if it’ were possible to do so, it would be most desirable to provide everybody on board with hot fresh water. Senator Guthrie has said that to do so’ would be a small matter. But it might be the very reverse.
– Let the honorable senator prove his statement.
– That is impossible. Power might be taken by means of regulation to insure the supply of hot fresh water to all the members of the crew of any vessel where it is possible to do that. We all recognise that it is much more difficult for those who are connected with the engine-room of a vessel to cleanse themselves than it is for the other members of the crew.
– I think that honorable senators are making a. mountain out of a molehill. The clause provides that only those who are connected with the engine-rooms of steamers shall be supplied with hot fresh water. How much do they require? A’ gallon per man per day would be sufficient.
– That would be a very small quantity.
– Under the Board of Trade provisions a seaman, even in the tropics, is allowed only 4 quarts per day for the purpose of cooking his food, washing, and drinking. Take the case of seamen who have left Newcastle, Sydney, Melbourne, or Adelaide, where they have been engaged in coaling operations. They are just as black as are the men who are engaged in the engine-room. To imagine that they are able to remove the dirt from their faces with the aid of salt water is ridiculous.
– How have they managed to remove the dirt in the past?
– They had to remain dirty. I have had to go without a wash for weeks at a time. Further, a seaman who is required to wash in salt water gets his eyes full of salt, so that he is unable to keep an efficient lookout. I would remind the Committee that the clause is not intended to apply to sailing ships, but only to steamers. Most of the latter vessels are fitted with ballast tanks, in which they carry fresh water, and in the great majority of them the adoption of my amendment would not involve an additional expenditure of j£i per annum. This leaves out the men connected with the boilers, those who come from the combustion chambers at the back of the boilers, covered in soot, and those who come out of the bilges covered with grease. They are expected to clean themselves with salt water. My amendment was placed upon the paper last week, and I thought that it dealt with so trifling a matter that there would be no difficulty in securing the consent of the Minister.
– I will accept die amendment if the honorable senator will leave out the part requiring hot fresh water to be provided.
– I cannot do that, because, as I have already pointed out, hot salt water is of no use for cleansing purposes.
– Structural alterations might be required on a ship to enable hot water to be taken from the condensers to the crew.
– The only “ structural “ apparatus required is a bucket.
– What Senator Guthrie asks for seems to be a small concession, and to refuse it is somewhat disagreeable. But, until we know the full effect of what is proposed, we can hardly agree to the amendment. The honorable senator treats matters of this kind rather lightly. The clause has been carefully considered by the Government, who had before them the recommendations of the Navigation Commission. If Senator Guthrie can show that the concession can be made without inconvenience to the working of ships, I am sure that the Minister of Defence would be willing to accept it, and no single member of the Senate would refuse his assent.
– The penalty for a breach of the provision is .£100.
– This is a most Draconian Bill in regard to penalties. A small offence is punished as severely as a serious one.
– This is a maximum penalty.
– I ask Senator Guthrie to withdraw the amendment for the time being. If on further inquiry it be found that the concession can be granted, it ought to be made; but, if not, it ought to be refused. The Committee is not in -a position at present to decide the point. ‘
– - The Navigation Commission recommended as follows -
Your Commission recommend that provision be made for the erection of bath-rooms, which in steam-ships should have an ample supply of water for the use of engineers, firemen, greasers, and others, together with a suitable number of urinals and privies.
I have travelled in ships in which I was not able to obtain hot fresh water. One can usually get plenty of hot salt water. Does Senator Guthrie mean to tell us that he would be satisfied with a gallon of hot fresh water per man? lt would be absolutely ridiculous to give a man coming out of the stokehold so small a. quantity. What is intended by the clause is that ships shall supply their men with baths. I understand that the representative of the Seamen’s Union who gave evidence before the Navigation Commission did not recommend that hot fresh water should be supplied, and only one witness advocated such a thing. The Bill goes further than the recommendations of the Commission, and I trust that the clause will be agreed to as it stands.
– The Bill makes suitable provision for engineers and the engine-room staff, and the Royal Commission made a recommendation in regard to engineers, firemen, trimmers, “ and others.” The only people left out of consideration in regard to the supply of hot water are the sailors.
– Passengers do not get hot fresh water in large quantities.
– It is true that hot salt water is supplied to passengers in their baths; but it has to be remembered that a first-class passenger merely wants a bath to refresh himself, and not to cleanse him after doing very dirty work. In vessels trading on the north-west coast men have to handle cattle. In clearing up after work of that kind, is it not necessary that they should be supplied with hot fresh water for a bath? Such a provision is essential in the interests of sanitation. If the Minister of Defence had ever had to clear up decks after coaling, he would have demanded hot fresh water. This concession would mean nothing to the steam-ship companies. My amendment would not mean an extra expense of ^1 a year to a ship.
– Why did not the Navigation Commission make a recommendation on the lines of the amendment?
– We made a recommendation as to the engine-room staff “ and others.”
– The Commission did not recommend that hot fresh water should be supplied.
– That was understood, because every one knows that hot salt water will not cleanse. This amendment will mean a great boon to seamen.
– Is there any precedent for what is asked for?
– On most ships men who have done dirty work are supplied with hot fresh- water now ; but it is only given as a privilege. I ask for it as a right. Senator de Largie has had con,siderable experience of cleaning coal dust from his body, and I ask him whether he thinks that it can be removed by salt water or by cold water?
– The amendment may seem to refer to a small matter, but it involves a great amount of convenience to seamen. One can easily imagine that on a long voyage it may become necessary to shift coal from one part of a vessel to another, as the coal near the furnaces becomes exhausted. That work is done by the sailors. When the day’s work is over, the engine-room staff and the trimmers would be supplied with hot fresh water for cleansing purposes, and it would create ill feeling if such conveniences were not also supplied to the seamen. It is true that the Navigation Commission did not make such a recommendation, but we have not adhered strictly to the recommendations of the Commission in all respects. This is a matter as to which we might very well make a concession. Seamen, after doing some work, become as black and begrimed, and are as much in need of fresh water, as firemen or trimmers. The proposal would involve little or no expense. The facilities available for providing hot water for the engine-room staff would be sufficient to provide hot water for the members of the crew. I emphasize the anomaly which would be created if we provided that hot water should be supplied for a particular section of the crew of a vessel, and should not be provided for another section when engaged in precisely the same work. Hitherto it has been regarded as a privilege for the members of a crew to be supplied with hot ‘water. On our coasting vessels, if a man is chummy with the cook and provides his own bucket, it is placed on the gratings of the ship near the funnel, and water warmed for him ; but no seaman has heretofore been entitled, “as a right, to a comfortable bath. We are, in this Bill, considering the wisdom of making such a provision for the comfort of a section of the crew of a vessel, but the Bill draws the line at the seamen.
– How often would hot water be required by the seamen?
– Not very often. They would not require hot water to cleanse themselves after most of the duties in which they are employed ; but when they are engaged in the work of handling coal they should be given the same treatment as the engine-room staff.
– The amendment would make it compulsory, whether the sailors were engaged in handling coal or not.
– I recognise that, while a vessel was in port, there might be some difficulty in complying with the proposed provision. The practice adopted at present is to have a tank placed at the foot of the funnel. Water is pumped into this tank from the ballast tanks, and piping is provided to carry the water, when it is heated, to any part of the ship in which it is required. So far as cost is concerned, the amendment would involve no more than the actual cost of the water required to give it effect, and water can be obtained at all the principal seaports for something like is. per 1,000 gallons, and that quantity of water would go a long way if used for this purpose. The heat required is at present going to waste.
– How would the water be heated while the vessel was in port?
– I have admitted that difficulty ; but neither sailors nor firemen, as a rule, handle coal while the vessel is in port. Sailors are often employed in handling coal on long voyages on steamers running down to the Islands, or to the far north of Queensland, when sufficient coal for the voyage cannot be “stored in the neighbourhood of the furnaces. When they are engaged in this work, they should not be treated differently from other members of the crew engaged in the same work.
.- My objection to the amendment is that it would be very difficult to supply the seamen with hot water when a vessel was in port. We know that some men are unreasonable, and a seaman might ask for hot water when he knew it was next to impossible to provide it. Senator Lynch has admitted that it would be difficult to supply hot water to the seamen if the ship were in port for two or three days, and her fires were out. This might lead to a lot of trouble if we made a special provision that members of the crew asking for hot water should be entitled to get it. We might provide that seamen should be entitled to hot water when they are employed in handling coal.
– What about painting and greasing?
– I have done some painting, and I can take paint off without hot water. I am prepared to do what is reasonable in these matters, but if we were to make the proposed provision compulsory in the case of seamen, it might lead to a lot of trouble. If, under the amendment, seamen who asked for hot water were not supplied with it, the master would be liable to a penalty. Senator Guthrie, in dealing w’ith another clause, was strong on the necessity for regulations, and surely this is a matter which might be easily provided for by regulation.
Question - That the words proposed to be left out be left out (Senator Guthrie’s amendment) - put. The Committee divided.
Question so resolved in the negative.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
The Minister may by order in writing exempt a ship built before the commencement of this Act from compliance with anyor all of the provisions of this division (except paragraphs e, d, e,f, and g of sub-section 1 of the last preceding section), if he is satisfied that the accommodation in the ship for officers and men is not insanitary, or that all such alterations have been made in the ship as are. in his opinion necessary to make the accommodation sanitary.
– I think that the exemption provided for in this clause should be extended to ships in course of construction. If this is not done ship-owners having ships under construction may be involved in very considerable expense in the alteration of plans. I think that they are entitled to fair notice under this provision. I move -
That after the word “ built,” line z, the words “ or in course of construction “ be inserted.
– There is one point which I wish to urge in favour of the amendment. It has been admitted by the Government that while they hope that the Bill will pass through the Senate this year, there is reasonable ground for assuming that it will not pass through the other House. In other words, there must be an interval of twelve months before it can be passed. I take it that the construction of a good many ships will be begun during the ensuing year, and thatj I submit, is a very good reason why the Minister ought to accept the amendment.
– I trust that the Minister will not accept the amendment, because due notice of the intended enactment of this provision has already been given. This clause, with very slight alterations, has appeared in every Navigation Bill which has Been brought before the Senate, and every ship-owner who contemplated buildinga ship has known exactly the intention of the Government regarding the accommodation to be provided. If does not take very long nowadays to build a ships and undoubtedly all ship-owners have had full notice of our intended requifemerits. I know that some men who Went Home to supervise the buildingof some steam-ships whichare running to-day were instructed to comply with the provisions contained in the Navigation Bill of 1904. I think that the Committee will be well advised in adhering to the clause.
– We cannot accept the amendment. In any case, it would not be right to exempt a ship in course of construction before the commencement Of the Act, because the introduction of the measu’re was in itself a notification of our intention in that regard. Otherwise we might find some steairi-ship owners rushing in the get vessels built in the interim. If honorable senators will refer to the Bill of 1904 they Will find that the alterations in the clause as to accommodation arenot very drastic. They will see that, instead of an air space of 120 cubic feet, we propose one of 140 cubic feet, that instead of 18 super. feet measured on the deck we propose 20 super. feet, and that instead of 4 feet between the bunks we propose not less than 5 feet. I think it will be found on examination that the necessary alterations to comply with the clause, if enacted, will not involve structural alterations of the ship. It will be just a question of the number of men accommodated in any particular portion of the ship and the arrangement of the bunks. The number of bunks put into a certain space can determine the air space. Suppose that a ship has been built in compliance with the provisions of the Bill of 1904. The alterations we have made in this Bill will not involve a structural alteration. They will simply involve the provision of further accommodation in some other part of her. That being so, I do not think that the Committee ought to make an amendment which would be a distinct encouragement to ship-owners to build according to the old lines, hoping for am exemption. And as, after all, it will rest with the Minister to grant an exemption. I trust that the honorable senator willnot press his amendment.
Senator ST. LEDGER (Queensland) [4:441.-suppose that this Bill had been brought in for the first time, the justice of the amendment would at once commend itself to the Government. In fact, I can hardly imagine ally Government supporting a Navigation. Bill without such a clause, providing that their intention to pass it into law was band fide. ‘ But, unfortunately, this measure has been used for the last four years as. a means by which the Senate might’ amuse itself. This is the first time that we have had a chance of getting to downright business.- It is quite possible that ship-owners never took seriously the Bill of 1004 or the Bill of 1906. But they have to take this measure seriously, because, so far as the Senate is concerned, it is going to be carried through this session with the generous assistance of the Opposition. I think it is only an accident, to which the Committee ought not to attach too much weight, that ship-owners have had previous notice. After all, that notice was more or less a sham. The point of view from which the amendment ought to be considered is that the measure is brought in seriously for the first time. It was introduced here on the 24th August, and if the Minister will accept a modification of my amendment to the effect that it should not apply to ships under construction after that date that concession would be appreciated. I think that the Government and their supporters are not entitled to say that because two Bills have been brought in for our consideration when we, as well as the public, knew that they were only brought in for the Senate to play with, that fact ought to be used as against the just demand of ship-owners and ship-builders in the case of a measure which is brought in for the first time.
– The amendment, if adopted, would grant the concession for fifteen or sixteen months.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 139 to 156 agreed to.
Clause 157 (Right of Minister to dispose of effects).
– This clause seems to impose a penalty of £20 against the Minister. It is a most unusual thing to make a penalty against a Minister of the Crown.
– Read sub-clause 2.
– It imposes a penalty upon a person because he does not apply for money.
– Am I to understand that a penalty is imposed on a person who does not apply for a sum of money which may be due to him?
– Otherwise the penalty must be imposed on the Minister. I ask Senator Pearce to look at the provision.
-A penalty is imposed on a man if he misapplies money.
– According to the Acts Interpretation Act the penalty at the end of a section applies to every person covered by the section. It seems to me that this, clause imposes a penalty on the Minister, and that is a provision which ought not to be made.
– If Senator Chataway will again look at sub-clause 2 he will see that it contains the phrase “shall apply it,” and not, as he seems to think, the phrase “ shall apply for it.” It reads -
Every person to whom any such residue is so paid or delivered shall apply it in due course of administration.
Penalty : £20.
In other words, if a man does not use the money as directed he is liable to a penalty of ,£20. This obligation is laid upon superintendents, shipping masters, and other officials.
– Do I understand from the Minister that the penalty does not apply to persons who do not carry out the instructions given under sub-clause 1.
– Yes, to the whole clause
– If it applies to the whole clause, and the Minister does not do the particular thing which he is instructed to do, he is to be liable to a penalty of £20.
– You cannot fine the Crown.
– Exactly, and the provision becomes a farce. As a matter of fact, it ought to appear as a separate clause. It provides for a penalty which makes a laughing stock of the clause.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 158 - (1.) Where a deceased seaman or apprentice has left a will, the Minister may refuse to pay or deliver the above-mentioned residue - (*) if the will was not made on board ship - to any person claiming under the will, and not being related to the testator by blood or marriage, unless the will is in writing and is signed or acknowledged by the testator in the presence of and is attested by two witnesses, one of whom is a superintendent, or is a minister of religion officiating in the place in which the will is made, or, where there are no such persons, a justice, British Consul, or Officer of Customs.
– I move-
That the words “ minister of religion officiating,” lines 12 and 13, be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “ justice of the peace.”
I think that a minister of religion is scarcely a legal adviser, of a seaman. It is better to provide that where a will is not signed on board it shall be witnessed by the superintendent and a justice of the ‘ peace, instead of by a minister of religion where the will is made.
– I will accept the honorable senator’s amendment as an addition.
– I am prepared to act on the Minister’s suggestion. It might be very difficult for a seaman to secure the services of a minister of religion. I ask leave to withdraw my amendment with a view to submitting a fresh proposal.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendments (by Senator Guthrie) proposed -
That in sub-clause b, after the word “ made,” line 14, the words “ or is a justice “ be inserted, and that the word “ justice,” line r5, be left out.
– I do not know why in a matter of making a will a distinction should be made between a seaman and an ordinary citizen. Why should not a British seaman who comes to the port of Melbourne seek the aid of a solicitor in getting his will drawn up and witnessed in the ordinary way, without being compelled to hunt up a minister of the Gospel, or a justice, or a superintendent ?
– -He would require two witnesses.
– And he may accept the services of two men off the street in that capacity. Why all this circumlocution ? Why not make the matter simple ?
– In answer to Senator Stewart’s remarks, I may say that there is a necessity for this provision in the case of seamen who are constantly travelling. Ordinary citizens reside in certain districts, so that they experience no difficulty in getting their wills duly witnessed. But seamen are in the habit of moving from place to place, so that if their services were requisitioned as witnesses to a will, some difficulty might subsequently arise in finding them. The clause therefore provides that the wills of seamen. shall be witnessed bypersons whose whereabouts are well known. The provision affords protection against crimping, and is in the interests of the seamen.
– I should like to know what the word “justice” would cover if - a vessel were in a foreign, port. Suppose that a ship reaches a foreign port, and that one of its seamen who has made a will dies there-
– Provision is made for that contingency. The British Consul acts in such cases.
– In many parts of the British dominions no justices are to be found. I would further point out that the term “justice” is usually associated with a Judge of the High Court. Do I understand that this’ clause applies exclusively to British dominions?
– Tn foreign ports there are British Consuls, whose services are available.
– Then the clause does not cover foreign ports?
– I would point out to the Minister that a great distinction is involved between the terms “justice of the peace” and “ justice.”
– The position is made clear by the definition clause.
– Throughout Australia, Great Britain and Ireland the term “ justice of the peace “ is well known, and, if the Minister will consent to use it in the Bill, its meaning will certainly be rendered clearer.
– In the Old Country a magistrate is called a “ justice “ in common talk.
– The word “ justice “ in the sense in which it is used in this Bill is usually taken to refer to a Judge of the High Court.
– Whenever we use the term “ justice “ in connexion with either the Supreme Court or the High Court, we usually say “ Justice of the
Supreme Court “ or “ justice of the High Court,” and we spell the word “ justice” with a capital “ J.”
Amendments agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clauses 159 to 177 agreed to.
Clause 178 - (1.) Where a case of death, or accident incapacitating from work, happens on board any foreign-going ship, the master shall report it to the superintendent at the port in Australia where the ship first arrives, and the superintendent shall inquire into the cause of the death or accident, and shall make in the official log an entry of the result of the inquiry. (2.) If it appears to the superintendent that the death or accident has been caused by violence or other improper means, he shall report the matter to the Minister, and, if the emergency of the case so requires, shall take immediate steps for bringing the offender to justice.
– I move -
That the following words be added to subclause 1, “ and a copy of such entry shall be forwarded to the Minister.”
Under this clause we propose to vest in the superintendent all the powers of a coroner, and I think, therefore, that he should be required to forward to the Minister a copy of the entry of the result of every inquiry conducted by him. Under sub-clause 2 of this provision he is merely bound to report to the Minister if, in his opinion, death has been caused by violence or accident. I think that in every case a report should be forwarded to the Minister.
.- The amendment seems- to me to be largely in the nature of surplusage, because, after all, the Minister will be guided by the report of the superintendent, and the next sub-clause provides that if it appears that death or accident has been caused by violence, the superintendent shall report the matter to the Minister.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 179 agreed to.
Clause 180 -
If any seaman is absent from his duty without leave whilst his ship is within Australia any justice upon complaint on oath may issue his warrant for the apprehension of the seaman, and thereupon may, at the request of the Consul of the country to which the ship belongs, and on proof of the absence without leave, order the seaman to be conveyed on board the ship, or delivered to the master or mate of the ship, or to the owner of the ship or his agent, to be so conveyed :
Provided that, in the case of a seaman who is an Australian citizen, no such order shall be made without his consent.
– The proviso to this clause is a most extraordinary one. It means that if an Australian engages on board a foreign ship, and chooses to desert whilst she is in Australian waters, no .action can be taken against him “ without his consent.”
– Surely the honorable senator would not place a foreigner on the same footing as an Australian.
– I would do justice to a foreigner, as well as to an Australian. If we enact that an Australian can break his articles and escape punishment, we shall be doing something which is absolutely disgraceful. I move -
That all the words after “conveyed,” line 11, be left out.
– I quite admit that the proviso to which Senator Chataway has called attention is novel in shipping legislation ; but we do not desire to see Australians taking service in foreign ships. We desire to see them serving in British ships, and especially in Australian ships.
– The Minister does not desire to see Australians deserting, does he?
– No; but we do not think that Australian law should be used to compel Australian seamen, against their will, to leave Australia. This clause would operate where it is sought to compel a man to leave Australia against his will.
– No; the clause says, “ is absent from his .duty.”
– Without such a provision an Australian seaman might be forcibly kept on board a foreign ship and taken to sea. I quite admit that there is a great deal to be said against the proviso, but, at the same time, we ought not to use the laws of Australia to compel Australian seamen to go abroad in foreign ships.
.- This seems, on the face of it, such an extraordinary provision that the Minister would be well-advised in consenting to its omission. Under it a seaman who did consent to the order being made would be doing something abhorrent to the Government of his country. It implies that if an Australian sailor chooses to say that he is above the law. he can maintain that contention. It is hard to understand why such a proviso has been inserted. It ought to be omitted, in order to save the Australian
Parliament from being the laughing-stock of the world in regard to navigation legislation.
– I will consent to leave out the words “ without his consent,” if that will satisfy the honorable senator.
– I think the whole proviso should come out. Suppose that a man makes an engagement to serve on a foreign ship. If he goes abroad, he will have the protection of the law in every civilized country in the world. If an Australian sailor on a foreign ship is illtreated, we expect that he shall have the protection of the Courts of foreign countries. Similarly foreign shipping masters should have the protection of our Courts. Does not the Minister realize that we are inviting reciprocal treatment?
– Reciprocal treatment in this case would mean that foreign seamen serving on board an Australian ship could leave.
– It might mean more than that, and very probably would. No shipping legislation in the world contains such an extraordinary proviso.
– It seems to me that the proviso to which Senator Chataway has called attention practically offers a premium for Australian sailors to desert. Surely we must provide for fair play all round. If an Australian voluntarily enters into an engagement to serve on a foreign ship, we should not offer an inducement to him to desert. I am in favour of deleting the proviso.
– I do not think that the Minister can defend the retention of the proviso. If an Australian sailor enters into an agreement to perform a certain service, it is extraordinary to provide that no order can be made against him without his consent if he chooses to desert. It would make us a laughing-stock if we retained such an extraordinary provision.
– I am afraid that some honorable senators do not fully appreciate the disadvantages of service on board some foreign ships. A man may join a foreign ship knowing very little of the law of the country from which it comes. Later on, he may realize where he has landed himself. The evidence obtained by the Navigation Commission revealed the brutality prac tised on board some foreign vessels visiting Australian waters, and even the brutal nature of the laws of some foreign countries. If an Australian sailor, after signing articles to serve on a foreign ship, realizes that he has made a mistake, we should not by our law force him to remain in that predicament. Our policy should be to retain every man Ave have in the country. If an Australian sailor is foolish enough to sign articles for service on a foreign ship, we should not force him to stay on board if he realizes that he has made a mistake. By so doing, we should do a much greater injustice than could occur under the proviso.
– I do not suppose that such a proviso was ever inserted in a navigation measure before. ‘ It is simply monstrous. Does any honorable senator think that foreign nations will not retaliate?
– Let them.
– It ought to be our policy to prevent such occurrences. The Minister cannot for a moment defend such a proviso. Suppose that an American master in the port of Melbourne having completed his crew, is just ready to sail, and that all the Australian sailors who have signed on with him suddenly determine to leave. Under this clause, they can defy the master, and the law will say to him, “ You have no remedy, and cannot obtain an order against the deserters without their own consent.” No such provision is to be found in the laws of any other country. When a man is signing on in any country, he is not asked whether he is an Australian, an Englishman, an Irishman, or a Scotchman.
– Yes, the seaman’s nationality is mentioned in the articles.
– It would be mentioned as “ British.” But, under this proviso, as soon as the vessel reached Australia, the seaman would be able to say, “ I was born in Australia; I am an Australian, and I intend to go ashore.” A British seaman who had signed on at the same time might go ashore with him; but he could be sent back to the vessel without his consent, whilst the Australian could not be sent back to the vessel if he did not wish to go.
– Would not the British seaman, in such circumstances, be an Australian?
– No, I think he would not. I speak of men signing on in a foreign port for a foreign ship carrying a mixed crew. Two men sign on as Britishers, and when the vessel reaches Australia one claims to be an Australian, and goes ashore, and, under this proviso, he could not be returned to the ship without his consent. The other might say that he was an Englishman, an Irishman, or a Scotchman, and if he went ashore he could be compelled to go back to the ship, though he might not wish to do so. Will the Minister say whether that is not so?
– That is so.
– Let the honorable senator move the insertion of the word “ British.”
– That would make it wider. Would the Government accept such an amendment?
– Let the honorable senator move it and try.
– I am prepared to do so.
– I have moved the omission of the proviso.
– I am afraid that my colleagues on this side do not fully appreciate the reason why the Government have introduced this proviso. They have a very good reason for it. It is part of their new immigration policy. The object of the proviso is to encourage desertion from vessels when they arrive in Australia. That is, possibly, the only reason which can be given for it. If agreed to, it would be a standing invitation to other nations to retaliate against Australian seamen on the same lines, or to seek for some other means of retaliation. As no benefit could arise from the proviso other than the imaginary one I have satirically suggested, and as it -might involve us in international complications, the Minister would do well to agree to its omission.
– I ask Senator Chataway to be good enough to withdraw his amendment temporarily, to enable me to move an amendment to make the proviso apply to British, as well as Australian, citizens.
– - I arn willing to withdraw my amendment on the distinct understanding that I” shall later be given an opportunity to submit it again.
– That can be done.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn. .
Amendment (by Senator Sayers) proposed -
That after the word *’ is,” line 13, the words “ a British or “ be inserted.
– Honorable senators opposite have failed to understand what is behind this proviso. Punishment for desertion from a British ship in a British port has been abolished. We have in this Bill provided that an Australian seaman deserting from an Australian ship shall not be liable to punishment, except as the result of a civil action. I am satisfied that every honorable senator opposite believes in a fair trial for every man charged with the commission of an offence.
– In equal justice to all, whether foreign or British.
– Without this proviso, an Australian citizen signing foreign articles in a foreign country might leave the vessel when it reaches Australia, and, without any trial, and merely on the oath of the master that he had deserted, might be forced to return to the ship against his consent. We should be making a distinction between an Australian citizen who signs on in an Australian ship and one who signs on in a foreign ship. A master would only have to go before a justice of the peace and make oath that the seaman had deserted his ship. The justice would issue a warrant, and the Consul for the nation to whom the ship belonged would be at liberty, if we do not adopt this provision, to have an Australian citizen arrested and put on board the ship without a trial ; although, if the man deserted from an Australian ship, he could only be proceeded against by civil action. The object of the proviso is to place an Australian citizen shipping on board a foreign ship in as good a position as an Australian shipping on board an Australian ship, or as an Englishman shipping on board a British ship in Great Britain. Suppose an Australian seaman signed on for a Portuguese ship, and, after leaving Australia, it was proposed to take the vessel to Portugal, which is just now in a very unsettled condition. The man might say, “ I am not going to a country in which there is a civil war being carried on. I shall remain in Australia, and I am prepared to abide by any civil action you care to bring against me. I decline to be delivered on board the ship.” Without this provision, the Consul representing Portugal could have that man put in irons and delivered on board the vessel. That is what would happen.
– It might mean that a man would be carried on board on a feather mattress.
– That is not the practice. If thirteen or fourteen men are to be taken on board a ship, they are handcuffed together for the purpose. Would honorable senators opposite permit a foreign Consul to treat an Australian subject in that way? I do not think they can be Australians at all if they would allow anything of the kind to be done.
– - Senator Guthrie has told us a marvellous story about a man signing on in Australia on a foreign ship to go to Portugal, where there is a bit of a “ scrap “ going on just now. But we should deal with an average case. We can assume that, before a seaman signs on, he knows where the ship is going. If, for instance, an Australian citizen, while in the United States, signs on for a round voyage, including Australia, are we going to provide that, as soon as the ship reaches Australia, the man may desert, on the ground that he is an Australian citizen ; whilst, in similar circumstances, if he were an American, he might be dealt with? I say that, in agreeing to this proviso, we shall be degrading ourselves, and inviting foreign nations to place our seamen travelling in foreign countries in a worse position than they occupy now.
– An Australian deserting from a foreign ship in certain circumstances might be fined.
– The Minister must know that there can be no excuse for this proviso. The seaman might be fined if some one belonging to the vessel remained behind in Australia to see that he was properly dealt with.
– The agent of the ship could take action.
– The Minister has admitted that this is a novel provision, and is not to be found in any other Navigation Act. It proposes what is absolutely unfair, and would disgrace us in the eyes of the world. It proposes that we should say to the nations of the world, “ We are going to regulate the shipping of Australia as we think fit. We intend to regulate your shipping in Australian waters as we think fit, and to permit Australian citizens to desert from your ships in any Australian port, if they claim to be Australian.” There is no provision requiring the men to prove that they are Australian citizens. Senator de Largie said just now that the moment a Britisher arrived here on a ship, he would be practically considered an Australian. I do not consider that a man is an Australian, even though he belongs to the British Empire, until he has been here long enough to qualify for a vote. We are putting ourselves in a false position in the eyes of the world when we provide that, if a foreign ship comes out here with a crew of fifty or sixty men, one of them can step ashore and claim immunity from the penalties which apply to a deserter, because he happens to be an Australian citizen. If a deserter is an Australian citizen, the first thing he should be made to do is to prove that he is. A citizen is a man who has civic rights. An Englishman who steps off a ship on to our soil is not an Australian until he acquires civic rights. Senator Sayers moved an amendment which, to my mind, would make the proviso even worse than it is. We are framing a Navigation Act for Australia j and, while I do not agree with the proviso, I can understand it applying to Australian citizens, but not to any one who is not an Australian citizen, whether he be a Scotchman or an Irishman, or whether he comes from Jamaica. I shall be under the painful necessity of voting against the amendment, and afterwards, unless I can find a modus vivendi with the Government, of pressing to a division an amendment to delete the proviso.
– I am inclined to vote with Senator Sayers when the amendment is put. Suppose that a “ British citizen,” whatever that term may mean, was engaged on a foreign ship, and deserted her in an Australian port, he could, under this clause, be put on board. But suppose that an Australian came to Australia on a foreign vessel for a round trip, he might desert her, and nothing could be done, except with his consent.
– He could be tried for desertion.
– Yes : he could be tried and fined. Apparently, the clause forbids the Courts being used to put an Australian on to a foreign ship whose articles he has signed : but when a British citizen comes to Australia on a foreign ships and deserts her, the Minister will be bound to see that our Courts are used to put that man on board here. How is he going to justify the distinction which is made between an “ Australian citizen “ and a “British citizen”? What is the meaning of the former phrase as compared with the latter? It may be that every Australian citizen is a British citizen ; but it is clear, from the proviso, that every British citizen is not an Australian citizen. The phrase “Australian citizen” must be taken to be used in this provision in contradistinction to every other citizen or citizenship in the world. If the intention is that no distinction shall be made between “Australian citizenship” and- “ British citizenship,” what is the objection to Senator Sayers’ amendment? What distinction is there in the mind of the Government between Australian citizenship and British citizenship? If there is no difference, on what grounds have their legal advisers come to that conclusion? But if there is a distinction between the two things, it means that, whilst the Minister will not enforce the law as against the Australian citizen who deserts a ship, he will enforce it against the British citizen who becomes a deserter. If there is an indignity or an injustice in enforcing the provision against an Australian citizen by reason of his birth, surely equal indignity and injustice will attach to its enforcement in the case of a person born in any part of the United Kingdom. The more the proviso is examined the more stupid and farcical and unjust does it appear to be. Why should Senator Ready, for example, simply because he is an Australian, be entitled to desert from a foreign ship in an Australian port, and to say, “ I shall not go back to the ship ; you can fine me ^5 or is.,” whilst Senator Sayers, simply because he happened to be born in the United Kingdom, could be put on board a foreign ship if he deserted from it in an Australian port?
– Is that a fair illustration? Is Senator Sayers an Australian citizen or not?
– That is a point about which I want to be clear. Senator Sayers is both an Australian and a British citizen. He has his ‘ Australian citizenship within the jurisdiction of Australia, but he also has his British privileges as a native of Great Britain. A person born in Australia has the protection of Great Britain, and a citizenship of that country. If every Australian citizen is also a British citizen, why is the word “ Australian “ used exclusively here? If the term “Australian citizen “ must of necessity imply a British citizen, then the shipping law will be in conflict with foreign law, because, under this measure you give to the Britisher a privilege which you do not give to the foreigner. If “ Australian “ includes a Britisher you encourage the desertion of
Australians and British citizens from foreign ships, and to that extent make a distinction against the shipping laws of foreign countries. If that contention is sound, then at once a conflict begins, and foreign countries will very probably draw the attention of the Imperial authorities to the differentiation. At first sight it seems a very proper thing for us Australians to do what we can to secure our people from possible injustice and indignity, but when I see that the distinction is not to apply . to Britishers-
– It will be unjust to the foreigner.
– Very probably it will operate unjustly all round. I shall vote with Senator Sayers in order to accentuate what I regard as -worse than a farce, and that may be characterized as an international indiscretion fraught, it may be, with very serious consequences.
– I would not use the term “ international indiscretion,” but the term “ Australian partiality.” I think that one of the glories of Britishers is that their laws treat all persons alike. An attempt is being made to bolster up the proviso to this clause by depicting the condition of affairs on a foreign ship, and the tyranny that is practised there, and so on. An Australian seaman ought to know the conditions on foreign ships before he signs on. If they are of the character which has been described, he ought not to venture upon them. We ought to insist upon Australians keeping their bargains, in the same way as any one else ; otherwise we ought not to insist upon others doing so. We are told that there will be a civil remedy, but the clause which provides a civil remedy against a deserter has been quite altered in the case of this Bill. Before a deserter can be proceeded against thereunder, proceedings must have been taken against him previous to the ship leaving port. If no action has been taken prior to a ship’s departure from Australia, then proceedings against a deserter cannot be carried on.
– Oh, yes. We give power under this Bill.
– Proceedings must be commenced prior to the departure of the ship. I think that this clause is unworthy of any Government. If we wish to free Australia from the condition of affairs that has been pictured by honorable senators opposite in the case of foreign vessels, we ought to be equally anxious to free Britishers who have deserted, from liability to be returned to those vessels.
– Clause 107 provides that proceedings for desertion may be instituted against a seaman after his ship has left Australia.
– Only in cases where the proceedings have been instituted for desertion against a seaman, and a warrant has been issued for his arrest before the departure of his ship. The clause is a very unfair one as between individuals, and is a grossly impolitic one as between nations. It will certainly invite reprisals from other Powers. At a later stage I shall move that the following words be added to the clause, “ provided that in the case of any seaman who objects no such order shall be made without his consent.” We have no more right to return to his ship a foreign seaman who is afraid that he will be treated with injustice or brutality than we have to return an Australian seaman. Let us treat all with justice.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
– In order to test the feeling of the Committee upon the proviso of the clause, I move -
That the word “Provided,” line 12, be left out.
If my amendment be defeated, it will then be open to Senators Sayers and McColl to submit any proposals that they may wish.
– I wish to point out to honorable senators opposite that the recommendations of the Navigation Commission, to which we must attach considerable weight, emphasize the necessity for a proviso of this kind. The clause has been specially inserted to prevent the continuance of the practice of “ shanghai-ing,” which, for years past, has been in vogue at Newcastle where more foreign shipping business is done than at any other port in Australia.
– I assume that we have stopped all that.
– If we leave the slightest loophole, such as the elimination of this proviso would afford, the practice will be continued. Upon page 12 of the Navigation Commission’s Report the lot of the seaman is dealt with as follows -
When these conditions are contrasted with those which the poorest worker on shore generally enjoys, it is hardly to be wondered at that a desirable class of men cannot be induced to follow the sea. One witness declared that the conditions were so bad that he “ would not send his dog to sea “ ; another, that he “ would not under any circumstances allow his son to follow such a calling.”
– Yet the honorable senator would send a poor foreigner there.
– Would Senator McColl allow advantage to be taken of an Australian citizen when he was perhaps under the influence of drink? Would he allow him to be placed on board ship and compelled to fulfil the conditions of an agreement into which he had entered under such circumstances?
– I would not allow advantage to be taken of any person.
– Do the words “ foreign ship” include a British ship?
– No, the clause deals only with foreign vessels. Upon page 15 of the Navigation Commission’s Report, I find the following -
A considerable amount of evidence was received in connexion with the supply and discharge of seamen of foreign-going ships. Some of this was so sensational that, had it not been amply corroborated, its accuracy might well have been doubted. The witnesses, it may be remarked, were not recruited from any one class, but represented, indifferently, all sections of the community. From board inghousc-keepers, shipmasters, seamen, lawyers, merchants, doctors, and police the same testimony was received. As it would be impossible to suppose that witnesses of so representative a character would mislead your Commissioners, they were forced to the conclusion that fresh legislation in this matter is most urgently needed.
– Was that the unanimous report of the Commission?
– Every member of the Commission subscribed to those statements. Let me quote the evidence of Mr. A. Wafer, of Newcastle–
– Is he a Labour member ?
– I should be very sorry if he had anything to do with the Labour movement. He is a boardinghousekeeper, and was examined by the Chairman of the Commission as follows -
Suppose I come to you and say that I want you to get me a ship, and you ask me where I want to go to, and I tell you San Francisco, and you ship me to Valparaiso or Singapore, sayI am a foreigner or an ignorant or a careless man, and I do not take the trouble to find out ; do not you call that shanghai-ing? - Yes.
Do you mean to say there is none of that done? - Yes, often. They put a man on board a ship and say she is going to ‘Frisco, when, perhaps, she is going to Valparaiso.
Has that man any remedy? - The only remedy would be to go to the police when they go off to visit the ship, but then I do not think they could stop him, because he has already signed the articles.
Does any honorable senator opposite urge that an Australian seaman in similar circumstances should be compelled to proceed to sea?
– I point out that this clause does not deal with “ shanghaied “ seamen. It deals with seamen who absent themselves from duty. We have all read with a good deal of disgust in the Commission’s report of sailors who have been ‘ ‘ hocussed ‘ ‘ in lodging-houses and, while drugged, put on board ship, knowing nothing about it until they found themselves at sea. But this clause would not touch such cases. There are ships coming to Australia having on board sailors of many nationalities. If one of them happened to be an Australian citizen, he could desert and escape punishment.
– What is the definition of “ Australian citizen”?
– One who has an Australian vote.
– One who is Australianborn, or who has been naturalized in Australia.
– We are going to lay it down that if a ship has on board sailors of mixed nationality, any one of them who is, or claims to be, an Australian citizen, may walk ashore, breaking his articles, and the master shall have against him nothing more than a vague civil remedy.
– It is not vague, but an absolute remedy.
– Even if the remedy were a good one, it would involve the master of the ship remaining in Australia to prosecute the individual for desertion. We are asking Governments in other parts of the world to recognise that, if an Australian engages, say, at San Francisco, to serve on board an American ship and to come to Melbourne, he can, when the vessel reaches Newcastle, where, perhaps, she loads up with coal to go to Valparaiso, walk off the ship with impunity. Senator Guthrie has argued as though the men would be engaged in Australia ; but the clause will apply to men who have engaged elsewhere, and who come to this country. We shall be putting ourselves in an absurdly -bad position in the eyes of the world.
– The Imperial Government will not consent to this Bill if such a clause remains in it.
– Whether the Imperial authorities will consent to the Bill I do not know ; but I am sure that we are making a mistake in providing that a man who is an Australian citizen can claim special exemption in Australia, in spite of an agreement made in some other country. I ask the Government seriously to reflect on what they are doing. The Minister admits that this is quite a novel provision, and he has not attempted to justify it. I think we are making a very great mistake.
Question- That the word “ Provided “ proposed to be left out be left out - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 10
Question so resolved in the negative.
Amendment (by Senator McColl) proposed -
That the words “ a seaman who is an Australian citizen” be left out, wilh a view to insert in lieu thereof “ any seaman who objects.”
Question - That the words proposed to be left out be left out - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 10
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I move -
That after the word “ is,” line 13, the words “ a British or “ be inserted.
I take it that Australians are British subjects, but it would be as well to remove all doubt in the matter. I presume that honorable senators do not desire that an Englishman, an Irishman, a Scotchman, or a Welshman, should be obliged to remain on board a ship which they would not consider good enough for an Australian. Men from any part of the British Isles are signed on as Britishers.
– The seaman has to give the town of his birth.
– The honorable senator must know that many sailors who were born nowhere near London give that city as the place of their birth. I had two or three sailors’ discharges before me the other day, and on them the men were described as British subjects. Men might be employed on a foreign ship under conditions so bad that no Court would say they were not justified in leaving it, and in such a case it would be most invidious to provide that while an Australian citizen could not be compelled to return to the ship after deserting it, an Englishman, an Irishman, or a Scotchman might be taken on board without his consent. I do not wish to waste time in discussing the amendment, and perhaps the Minister will say whether he is willing to accept it, as I was led to believe he would.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 8 p.m.
– I hesitate to discuss the question of Australian nationality, as I may induce Senator St. Ledger to argue for hours on the question of domicile, but, since the question has been raised by the amendment, it is necessary that I should give some reasons for op posing the extension of this proviso to a British citizen.
– I thought the honorable senator was going to accept the amendment?
– No; I said the honorable senator might move it ; I did not say I would accept it. There is no doubt that a British subject born outside of Australia is not an Australian citizen. That has been clearly laid down by the High Court in the case of Potter v. Minahan, on an appeal from a Court of Petty Sessions in Victoria.
– Minahan is an Irish name.
– Minahan, in the case quoted, was a half-caste Chinese. The question at issue was whether Minahan was or was not an immigrant within the meaning of the Immigration Restriction Act. If he was an Australian-born citizen, obviously he could not be an immigrant. The High Court held that he was not an immigrant, because he was born in Australia. Although he had left Australia for twentyfive years, he was held to be an Australian citizen. The judgment of the High Court is summed up in these words -
A person whose permanent home is in Australia and who therefore is a member of the Australian community, is not, on arriving in Australia, from abroad, an immigrant in respect of whose entry the Parliament of the Commonwealth can legislate under the power conferred by section 51 of the Constitution to make laws with respect to immigration, and therefore such a person is not an immigrant within the meaning of the Immigration Restriction Acts 1901- 1905.
The Chief Justice, in delivering judgment, said, amongst other’ things -
The doctrines of nationality and domicil are applied for specific purposes, and certain rights and consequences depend upon and follow from them. But I do not think that the present case can be determined by the mere application of the rules either of nationalities or of domicil. There is no doubt that a British subject coming to the Commonwealth from another part of the British Dominions may be an immigrant within the meaning of the Constitution.
He continued to argue in that way, and it is clear from his judgment that a British subject is not necessarily a citizen of the Commonwealth.
– What exactly is an Australian citizen?
– The half-caste Chinese referred to did not claim to be an Australian citizen.
– He was held by the Court not to be an immigrant. As Senator Vardon appears still to be uncon vinced, perhaps I had better read a little more of what the Chief Justice said, since he described what is an Australian citizen. He went on to say -
But anterior, both in older of thought and in order of time, to the concepts of nationality and domicil, is another, upon which both are founded, and which is, I think, an elementary part of the concept of human society, namely, the division of human beings into communities. From this it follows that every person becomes at birth a member of the community into which he is born, and is entitled to remain in it until excluded by some competent authority. It follows also that every human being (unless outlawed) is a member of some community, and is entitled to regard the part of the earth occupied by that community as a place to which he may resort when he thinks fit. In the case of Musgrave v. Chun Teeong Toy (1) it _ was held that an alien (though an alien friend) has no legal right to enter a country of which he is not a native. Yet, unless he is outlawed from human society, he must be entitled to enter some community. So, by process of exclusion, we are certain that there is at least one part of the world to which every human being, not an outlaw, can claim the right of entry when he thinks fit.
On that argument, an Australian citizen by birth continues to be an Australian citizen unless he loses the right, as the result of the action of some competent authority. That, I take it, would be a law of the Commonwealth dealing with citizenship, and citizenship I take to be the right to take part in the government of the country. That is conferred by the Franchise and Electoral Acts and by the Naturalization Act. We, therefore, may conclude that those who are eligible to exercise the rights of citizenship, whether born in the country, or arriving in it later, are Australian citizens. A British seaman would not be eligible to exercise the rights of citizenship in the Commonwealth until he had been here for three months. I do not think we should accept the amendment, because the British Imperial Parliament legislates for British seamen, and their legislation follows him into any of the British Dominions. It is not for us to legislate for the British seaman. It is sufficient that we should legislate for those for whom we are authorized to legislate.
.- The Minister held a different opinion the other day when he asked the Committee to legislate for British ships and British seamen. He contended then that we had the power to legislate for British ships and British seamen coming to Australia, and I wish the Committee now to legislate for British seamen who are in Australia.
– I agree that we have the power, but I do not think it would be wise to exercise it in this case.
– We have already in this Bill assumed the power to legislate for British seamen. Complications are bound to arise under this proviso. There are thousands of men who are not domiciled in Australia who have the right to vote. If British seamen or persons who have become naturalized British subjects have been six months in Australia, they are entitled to vote in this country. I take the case of a British seaman who has resided for six months in Australia, and so become entitled to a vote, and who has afterwards gone abroad. I assume that he signs on in the United States for a vessel making a round voyage. The owner or master of the vessel might know nothing of the fact that he had resided in Australia and become an Australian citizen. He comes out here, and immediately says, “I am an Australian citizen.” Where is the thing to end, and who is to decide?” Senator Pearce has given us a definition of what he calls an “ Australian citizen,” but I think that the term includes a great dealmore than he has stated. We have to recognise that if a foreigner comes here, and becomes naturalized, he is an Australian citizen. But do other countries recognise our act ? I know that Germans who have come to Australia without having served their term in the German army, and remained here for twenty years, have been arrested immediately on putting their feet on German soil, although they were Australian citizens.
– That has nothing to do with Australia.
– It has. It shows that we cannot prevent that from taking place. Suppose that such a man joins in Hamburg a ship bound to Australia, and on her arrival here, says, “ I am an Australian citizen,” although Germany claims him as its subject, what will be the position ? There is not the slightest doubt that if this proviso is enacted in its present form we shall get embroiled with foreign Powers. It is all very well for the Minister to smile at that remark, but he knows that theproviso, if enacted, is likely to bring about trouble.
– Because we will not allow a German seaman to desert?
– It is all very well’ for us to get a little swelled head, and to imagine that we are the universe, but we cannot enact a provision which is in conflict with international law, and say that we do not care what may happen. I know that, in introducing the clause, the Minister said that he knew of no similar provision, and that he did not feel very sure about its validity. I do not know whether he feels any surer now on that point than he did then. I am aware that he has a following at his back strong enough to pass the proviso, but he must not forget that if it is enacted, it may endanger the whole measure, because, so long as Australia is part of the British Empire, it is not likely that we shall be allowed to make any law which may embroil Great Britain with other countries.
– The honorable senator wants to extend the provision by his amendment.
– Not at all.
– The honorable senator wishes to apply the provision to a British or an Australian seaman.
– My contention is that an Australian seaman is a Britisher. It is immaterial to me whether my amendment is carried or not. If the proviso is legal - and the Minister ought to know better than I do whether it is or not, because he has the Crown law officers at his back - it certainly cannot be illegal to make the amendment.
– Why not use the term “ British subject”?
– An Australian seaman is a British subject, and therefore comes under the international law.
– A British subject is not always an Australian.
– Nor is a “Geordie” always a British subject. When a Britisher comes out to Australia he does not throw off his British citizenship. I landed here forty-five years ago, but I have not thrown off my British citizenship, nor have I abandoned my right to call myself a British subject. I have a vote in Australia, but I have not thrown off my allegiance to the Old Country, nor has the honorable senator done so.
– That is a weak argument.
– I am entitled in Australia to everything which an Australian is entitled to, but I am still a British subject, and so is the honorable senator. If an Australian seaman went to the Old Country, he would receive exactly the same justice and fair play as if he had been born in the United Kingdom. But this clause makes the clear distinction that liecause a man has been born in Australia, or has lived here long enough to get the franchise, he is an Australian citizen. Suppose that this clause is enacted, and that a seaman from the Old Country comes out here in a foreign ship. Another member of the crew can desert and say, “ I am an Australian citizen, and I decline to go back to the ship,” and the law of the country will permit him to walk away. Why should the other man, because he was born in England or Ireland or Scotland, be liable under our law to be taken on board in irons? Is it not invidious to draw that very wide distinction between the two men? We are not here for the purpose of enacting a provision of that character. I do not know how it ever came to pass the draftsman.
– He had to draft it.
– Perhaps he received an order to draft the provision ; but I should not like to be a member of the Ministry that forced it through Parliament, because they will be the laughingstock of the civilized world.
– Yet the honorable senator voted for it.
– I may tell the honorable senator later why I did. I said at the time that I did not believe that it was a right provision to enact. But certainly, if it is to be retained in the Bill, all British subjects should be put on one footing.
– I am inclined to think that Senator Sayers has entirely lost sight of the meaning of the provision on which he has been speaking in rather a complicated manner.
– It is a complicated provision, too.
– I would suggest to the honorable senator that a British ship belongs to the United Kingdom, and that the British Parliament reserves to itself the right at all times to legislate for its people. We are dealing at present with the question of foreign ships and foreign seamen.
– Except in the case of the proviso which deals with seamen who are Australian citizens.
– Part III. of the Bill is headed “Foreign seamen.” Clause 179 contains a- definition of “ seaman,” and the next clause reads -
If any seaman is absent from bis duly without leave whilst his ship is within Australia, any justice upon complaint on oath may issue his warrant for the apprehension of the seaman.
– But we are now dealing with an amendmentto the proviso, which relates to seamen who are Australian citizens.
– We are dealing with the provisions of the Bill relating to foreign seamen. A British ship belongs to the United Kingdom, and therefore a British seaman enjoys all the rights of British law. We are now engaged in framing a law to govern navigation in Australia. This clause provides that when an Australian seaman refuses to go on board a foreign ship-
– No, that is not the question before the Committee.
– Does it refer to an Australian ship?
– Nobody can make an Australian seaman go on board a foreign ship if he does not wish to do so.
– The clause provides that an Australian seaman shall not be compelled to go on board a foreign ship.
– He is not compelled to do so.
– If a Britisher goes on board a foreign ship - and it may be that he did not ship here-
– Nor may the Australian. The honorable senator misses the point altogether.
– It is quite possible that he may have shipped here - indeed, it is almost beyond conception that he would have shipped elsewhere.
– Nonsense. What about South Africa and other countries?
– He may have gone to Germany, for instance, and become a naturalized subject there, but, from that moment, he would cease to be an Australian, and would lose his Australian citizenship. It is of no use for Senator Sayers to laugh, because he knows that after a man has been outside Australia for a certain period he loses his Australian citizenship.
– No. The Chief Justice is wrong and the honorable senator is right.
– If a man becomes naturalized to a foreign Power he loses his Australian citizenship.
– Decidedly. The man may not necessarily have shipped in Australia. A Britisher is at all times a Britisher. Ifhe comes to Australia, he has merely to reside here for six months in order to obtain full citizenship rights. I have always contended that even that embargo should be removed, and that the moment he lands in the Commonwealth, he should be a full-fledged Australian.
– Order ! I must ask the honorable senator not to discuss the question of electoral qualifications.
– I am merely pointing out that we have already made laws prohibiting citizenship, and that we are now asked to enact laws recognising citizenship. In framing those laws we have a right to protect our citizens. The Minister is perfectly justified in adhering to the position which he has taken up.
– It seems to me that Senator Henderson has run his head against a stonewall. The clause means that an Australian who signs articles abroad to serve upon a foreign ship will be at liberty to break his agreement in Australia. He may have contracted to serve for a round voyage from Europe or America, but the moment he reaches the Commonwealth he will be at liberty to desert from his vessel and to remain here.
– He will be liable to the civil law.
– The clause will’ empower him to break his agreement, and, therefore, I shall vote against it.
– Honorable senators opposite fear that under this clause we shall become embroiled with other nations-
– That fact would not trouble the honorable senator.
– It would trouble me more than it would Senator Sayers, seeing that I have more, so to speak, under my wing. Other nations have acted in a similar fashion towards Great Britain. In this connexion I desire to quote from a despatch from the ConsulGeneral of Great Britain at Havre, to a Select Committee of the House of Lords which investigated the whole matter. The despatch says -
It is worthy of notice that a French seaman may not engage upon board a foreign vessel without the consent of the maritime officials or consular officer under penalty of imprisonment. (Law of 24th December, 1896) -
– That has reference to a country in which conscription obtains.
– And is not the Commonwealth about to enforce compulsory military service? I contend that honorable senators opposite wish to open a door by which Australians may escape from Australia in foreign vessels, and thus evade the fulfilment of their obligations to the Commonwealth. The despatch continues - and that this permission is not granted unless the master of the vessel signs an undertaking to assure the seaman’s repatriation.
– If required.
– In France no leave is granted to a seaman unless the master of the vessel enters into an agreement to return him to France at the expiration of his articles. The whole question which we have to consider is “ Are we going to make it easy for the Commonwealth to get rid of its population ?’ ‘ That is the point which honorable senators opposite are raising. Senator Sayers has challenged my knowledge of our naturalization laws. I have witnessed a great many naturalization papers both before and since the advent of Federation. Prior to Federation, a man who was naturalized in Queensland was an alien in New South Wales and Victoria.
– Only for very few purposes.
– For every purpose. He was not eligible to become a parliamentary candidate, nor was he qualified to exercise the franchise. In short, he did not possess any citizenship rights. Similarly a man who is naturalized in Australia has no rights in Great Britain ? Senator Sayers. - Does the honorable senator make that statement seriously?
– Yes, and he has no citizenship rights in Canada.
– He may bring an action for assault.
– Of course, he may. But he practically has no citizenship rights. It would be a mistake to allow a French or German Consul, in substitution of our law Courts, to order the return of an Australian seaman to a foreign vessel.
– - Senator. Guthrie has thrown an entirely new light on this proviso. When I first objected to an Australian seaman who had signed articles on a foreign vessel, being placed in a better position than the other members of the crew, I did so from a sense of justice. But I now find that this clause is intended to be a portion of an anti-emigration Act. Senator Guthrie has told us that it is intended to prevent Australians from escaping from- Australia.
– Do not twist my words.
– That is the statement which the honorable senator made. I took a note of his very words.
– The honorable senator’s pencil runs hard.
– That is what the honorable senator said. He declared that we were going to allow Australian seamen an opportunity to escape from this country if they desired to do so. He then quoted French maritime law quite forgetful of the fact that that country is under a system of conscription. No man is at liberty to leave France unless he pan prove that he has served his time in the army or unless he can be brought back at a moment’s notice to complete it. If an Australian seaman at Cape Town, Durban, or any other port outside the Commonwealth deliberately signs an agreement for a round voyage, I do say that to allow him to step ashore on reaching a Commonwealth port,, and thus to flout his agreement, whilst compelling other members of the crew to return to their vessel, is manifestly unjust. To say that only some civil penalty shall . be inflicted upon him-
– His wages and effects may be forfeited.
– The moment an Australian seaman arrives in Australia he will be at liberty to demand his wages.. If he joins a French ship at Havre, he knows the terms under which he is engaging.
– Does he? l
– I know that the President of the Seamen’s Union has beer* endeavouring to prove how awfully innocent our seamen are.
– I rise to a point of order. Is the honorable senator in order in referring to me in any capacity other than that of a senator?
– Certainly not, ex,cept by name.
– Then, I ask that. Senator Chataway be called upon to withdraw his remark.
– I am quite willing to withdraw the statement that SenatorGuthrie is President of the Seamen’s Union. But that honorable senator has, for some time, been endeavouring to explain that seamen generally are innocent lambs who are taken down wherever they may go.
I believe they understand the law just as well as Senator Guthrie himself does. I do not believe that an Australian seaman who happens to have gone to the Old Country on a ship, and who joins a foreign vessel at Havre, where he signs, for a voyage to Australia, would be such a nincompoop as to sign articles without understanding what they meant. Yet, that is the assumption underlying the argument of honorable senators opposite. I am not taking exception to the clause as far as it relates to Australians who, in Australia, sign articles to serve on board a foreign ship, and then, for some extraordinary reason, decline to proceed with her. Why such a case should occur, I do not know, except where a sailor may. have indulged too much. But that really has nothing to do with the clause, which is intended to deal with an Australian sailor who joins a ship in a foreign port, comes out with her to Australia, and then breaks his articles. I contend that there is no reason why an Australian, under such circumstances, should be placed on a different footing from an American, a Frenchman, or a German. I cannot vote for Senator Sayers’ amendment, because he seeks to make the clause apply still more widely. I do not care whether the sailors affected are Australian or British; when they come to Australian waters, they should all be treated on the same basis. As to the term “ Australian citizen,” I ventured, by interjection, to say that I did not believe that a man could claim to be an Australian citizen unless he had remained in this country sufficiently long to enable him to exercise the franchise. The Minister of Defence read portions of a judgment of the High Court in a certain case. But what he read did not deal with the question of what ‘is an Australian citizen. The passages he quoted related to what is an immigrant or a prohibited immigrant. I have consulted two or three law dictionaries in which the expression “ citizen “ is defined in a somewhat unsatisfactory manner. A citizen is said to be a man who lives in a city and has the franchise of that city. But, turning to Webster’s Dictionary, T find that a citizen is defined as - one who enjoys the freedom and privileges of a city;, a freeman as distinguished from a foreigner, or one not entitled to its franchise ; : . . . a person, native or naturalized, of either sex, who owes allegiance to a Government, and is entitled to reciprocal protection from it.
As a footnote, Webster adds -
This protection is …. national protection, recognition of the individual in the face of foreign nations, as a member of the State, and assertion of his security and rights abroad as well as at home.
We have used the phrase “ Australian citizen” in this clause without defining what it means. I do not believe that the phrase is to be found in any Federal Act.
– Except in the Naturalisation Act.
– I do not know that the phrase is used there. At any rate, it is not defined here; and it certainly is not covered by the judgment that has been quoted. I presume that an Aus-‘ tralian citizen is either a natural-born Australian or a person who has been naturalized in Australia, or, at all events, one who has; gained the franchise here. I am still impressed by the idea that we are making a great mistake in saying to foreign countries, “ When your ships arrive in Australia, any man on board who can claim that he is an Australian, may break his articles.” No provision is made to the effect that a man making this claim must prove that he is an, Australian citizen. I remind honorable’ senators of what occurred a few years ago.’ A great outcry was raised in South Africa’ about a large number of “ Australian citizens ‘ ‘ who were left stranded after the’ war. The Commonwealth Government,, and I think some State Governments also, contributed money to enable those people to be brought to Australia. A number came over. We know the very unpleasant subsequent history of a considerable percentage of them. Those who read the Police Court reports, and other reports, which appeared soon after they arrived in this country, know what sort of people they were. It was to the interests of the Governments concerned to find out who were Australian citizens then. Yet, it is doubtful whether all the persons brought over were Australian citizens in fact. In this: case, we are going to lay ourselves open,’ not only to the danger of being deceived5 by the use of this phrase, but, under ‘ Senator Sayers’ amendment, either British’ or Australian citizens would be able to claim exemption. I should be glad to see the proviso struck out; but, as that cannot be done, I enter my strongest protest against it. I have every reason to hope that when the Bill reaches another place, the proviso will be relegated to the dark-‘ ness from which it ought never to have’ emerged.
– As to the difference between anAustralian citizen and any other person who has signed articles on board a ship, the position is clear. An Australian who has signed articles to serve on board a foreign ship may, on arriving at a port in this country, break those articles and go scotfree. But a Britisher, not being an Australian citizen, who has signed articles, is liable to be brought before a Court of law in Australia at the instance of the master or owner of a ship, and may be forced to go on board and complete his articles. Thus, an Australian and a Britisher, who does not happen to be an Australian, will be treated differently in a British Court of law. It must be remembered that every one of our law Courts is British. It derives its power to administer die law, not from the Commonwealth, but from the Imperial power, which has conferred upon us the right to exercise justice under British law. Our Constitution itself, from top to bottom, derives its jurisdiction legally and politically from the Sovereign. Our power to set up tribunals for the administration of justice is British, root, branch, and stem, and especially at the roots. Yet, here we shall have the spectacle of an Australian appealing to an Australian Court, which is still a British Court, receiving one course of treatment, whilst a Britisher appealing to the same Court will have another course of treatment meted out to him, because he does not happen to be an Australian. He appeals to the very same law, at the very fountain of justice, and different treatment is accorded to him. In practice, that is what this clause will amount to. We shall have as grave a scandal as was caused when we stuck up the six hatters here.
– Who were never stuck up.
– Archbishop Whately, the great logician, succeeded in proving to his own satisfaction that no such man as Napoleon ever existed, and it is quite possible that honorable senators opposite, by a similar process of reasoning, may prove to their satisfaction that the six hatters were never stuck up.
– I ask the honorable senator not to elaborate that point.
– Say what we like, this proviso will be a reproach upon the Australian Legislature. The Minister tacitly acknowledges this, because he can produce no precedent in international relations, so far as maritime law is concerned, for a clause of the kind. There is another point that I should like to raise, and which no previous speaker has touched upon. It is an important point, and closely relevant to the clause. I ask the Minister - on whom will the onus of proof lie in the case of an assertion of Australian citizenship? Suppose a Britisher does not want to go on board a foreign ship, though he has signed articles to do so. Suppose he is brought up in a Court of law, and chooses to raise the point, “I am an Australian citizen.”
– - Civis Romanus sum.
– Neither Civis Romanus sum nor Civis Britannicus sum applies in this case, though I may remind the honorable senator that that principle in the celebrated Don Pacifico case nearly led to war between England, France, and Russia. On whom, I ask again, will the onus of proof lie? Prima facie, the onus will lie on him who asserts the principle from which he seeks to derive benefit. In that case, the man who pleads the exemption will have to prove his citizenship. How is the seaman to prove affirmatively his Australian citizenship? Take the case of a man born at Perth, who leaves Australia when four or five years of age, and, without becoming naturalized in any other country, comes back to the Commonwealth on the articles of a foreign ship when he is thirty years of age. When the ship arrives at Sydney, he wishes to take advantage of this proviso, deserts the vessel, and pleads that he is an Australian citizen. How is he to prove it? He could only obtain positive proof at Perth, thousands of miles away from Sydney.
– Has the honorable senator never heard of evidence being taken on commission?
– Is the seaman to be put to that expense to prove his Australian citizenship ?
– I have often had to use evidence taken on commission, but if the course that the Minister suggests must be adopted, this proviso will not be a very substantial protection to the seaman. In most cases he would find it impossible to prove his Australian citizenship.
– Senator Guthrie stated that I wished to force Australian citizens out of Australia. He read to the Committee a section from the French maritime law dealing with this matter, which was altogether wide of the mark. If we were passing a measure to prohibit any Australian citizen from serving on a foreign ship, the honorable senator’s argument might apply. The French have prevented Frenchmen joining any ship leaving France unless under a guarantee that they will be returned to their own country. We are here dealing with a very different matter - a provision to enable a seaman claiming Australian citizenship to break an agreement he has entered into. It is a bad thing for the law to encourage lawbreakers, and the Minister must be aware that this proviso can only operate to encourage seamen to break what may be called the maritime law of the world - that when a man signs articles he is bound to complete his agreement. There was, no doubt, a good deal of “ shanghaiing “ going on all over the world forty or fifty years ago, but the practice has been put down in these days to a very great extent. The Government are here proposing that a man who has deliberately signed articles for a particular voyage may break’ his articles and repudiate what he has done with impunity. In view of the conscription legislation we now consider it well to pass, I could understand the introduction of a clause providing that no Australian citizen should be allowed to serve upon a foreign ship, but I cannot understand why we should legislate to enable an Australian citizen who has taken service on a foreign ship to break his agreement. When Senator Guthrie talks of inducing people to leave this country, let me remind him that there is nothing in this Bill to prevent an Australian citizen joining a ship to go to any part of the world with the intention never to return to Australia. I object to the distinction which this proviso draws between our own people. Why should we provide that a man who is an Australian citizen shall be at liberty, with impunity, to desert a foreign ship on which he has signed articles, when his brother, because he happens to have been born in Great Britain, may, in similar circumstances, be taken before a foreign Consul and forcibly returned to the ship? If we have the power to deal with Australian citizens in the way proposed, we have the power to deal with all British subjects in the same way. We are not a Sovereign power, and cannot dictate to foreign nations. We are bringing two torpedo-boat destroyers out to Australia just now, and I remind honorable senators that, if they did not fly the British as well as the Australian flag, they might be captured by the vessels of any foreign nation, and treated as pirates on the high seas. This should teach us that we ought not to get “ swelled head,” but should agree to conform to the international law in this matter. I do not think that this is a proper stand for Australia to take, and before passing such a provision we ought to consult the views of other countries. It is quite possible that the Minister of Defence or the Minister of External Affairs may later have to consider protests against the passing of this provision.
– My difficulty in regard to Senator Sayers’ amendment is that, if, in principle, it is wrong to apply this provision to an Australian citizen, it is equally wrong to apply it to any British subject. The amendment would extend, and not limit, the evil of which I complain. If a man has entered into an agreement, he ought to keep it, but we are here offering seamen a premium to break their agreements and desert from ships on which they have agreed to serve. I am sure that the Minister does not personally approve of this proviso, and I wish he could see his way to agree to its deletion. I am satisfied that if we pass it, it will cause trouble in more ways than one. There is a good deal in the point raised by Senator St. Ledger, that a seaman who has to prove his Australian citizenship will, in many cases, have a very big contract in front of him. He may have been born in Australia, and have left this country at an early age. He enters into an agreement on a foreign ship abroad, and arrives here in the vessel. He is not an Australian citizen in the sense that he has the franchise and is entitled to a vote, and he cannot, therefore, turn to an electoral roll and say, “ There is my name, and that shows that I am entitled to be regarded as a citizen of the Commonwealth.” And, unless he carries his certificate of birth about with him, he may have the greatest difficulty in proving that he is entitled to take advantage of this proviso.
– He would have to carry his last discharge, and that would show the date and place of his birth.
– If he deliberately breaks his agreement, and complaint is made against him by the master of the vessel, the onus of proof that he is an Australian citizen must lie upon himself.
– A man born in any part of Australia can always get a copy of his certificate of birth.
– Suppose the seaman is in Brisbane when he desires to leave his vessel, and that he was born at Perth?
– He has only to send to the Registrar of Births at Perth to get a copy of the certificate of his birth.
– I am aware of that, but is the master of the vessel to wait at Brisbane until a copy of the certificate of birth is produced ? The more the matter is looked into, the more absurd and unrighteous is this proviso shown to be. As the amendment would only extend its operation, I must vote against it.
– In order to fix the onus of proof in this matter, I move -
That the following words be added to the clause : - “ Provided also that the onus of proving that the seaman is not an Australian citizen shall lie with the owner or master.”
To my mind, this is the only logical course which we can now take. The inequity and injustice of the provision from our point of view, and from what might be called the natural justice stand-point, will be complete if the Minister will accept the amendment..
– I should like to know whether under ordinary law the onus of proof is not on the -defendant?
– Yes, until it is taken away.
– Usually it is not the defendant, but the prosecutor who has to prove his case. I admit that sometimes we provide that the onus of proof shall be on the defendant. I do not think that the amendment is necessary.
– I do not think that the amendment ought to be made. I do not intend to argue the question, because apparently Senator St. Ledger is firing in these amendments, and waiting for me or somebody else to argue them, and then arguing them himself at great length.
– I have not argued very much on. this amendment.
– I propose to move that the proviso be omitted.
– The question before the Committee now is that the clause, as printed, stand part of the Bill, and the only course which the honorable senator can take is to vote against that question.
– But I wish to vote against the retention of the proviso, sir.
– It was thoroughly understood that the recent division was to be taken on the question of whether the proviso should be retained or omitted, and that it was to be regarded as a test vote.
Question - That the clause stand part of the Bill- put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 8
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 181 to 193 agreed to.
Clause 194 -
Subject to the power of the Minister to extend the time for resurvey, every steam-ship more than five years old, reckoning from the date of her first registration, shall be surveyed once at least in every six months, and every other steamship once at least in every twelve months, by the prescribed surveyor.
– I have given notice of my intention to move two amendments on this clause. First, I move -
That the following words be left out, “ more than five years old, reckoning from the date of her first registration.”
If that amendment is made, I propose to move the omission of the words “once at least in every six months, and every other steam-ship.” If both amendments are accepted, as I . suppose they will be by the Government, on account of their manifest justice, the clause will read -
Subject to the power of the Minister to extend the time for resurvey, every steam-ship shall be surveyed once at least in every twelve months by the prescribed surveyor.
My reason for suggesting these amendments is to bring the clause in accordance with the provision of the Merchant Shipping Act. Further, if it is so amended it will follow the precedents of the Navigation Acts existing in the States.’
– Only in one State.
– If my notes are correct, the provision existed in the law of other States. New Zealand and Victoria had it.
– New Zealand is not a State, but a Dominion.
– Is the honorable senator prepared to say that in no other State, such a provision or substantially such a provision as my amendments would make, the clause does not exist?
– Only in Victoria.
– I think that my amendments will bring the clause into conformity with what was substantially the law in most of the States in Australia prior to Federation. In the report of the Royal Commission, I can find nothing recommending a survey, as it was provided for originally in the Bill. Its recommendations on that point, as far as I read them, are only three. On page 64 of the small edition of the report, I find this passage -
In connexion with the provisions for survey, three things seem essential -
That sufficient surveyors should be appointed.
That they should have adequate powers.
That provision be made to enable these to be given effect to.
The report goes on to deal with the qualifications of the surveyors and the classes of surveyors recommended for appointment to carry out surveys. In a summary of the Commissioners’ recommendations I find a recommendation which is remarkably brief, and as clearly intelligible as it is brief -
The Commission seems to have made no specific recommendation on what is an important innovation in the Merchant Shipping Act. The clause will apply as it is intended to apply to the coast-trade vessels, and, of course, to vessels trading to the Pacific. It must be within the knowledge of the Minister that some of the voyages along the Australian’ coast take several weeks. From the time a steam-ship leaves Melbourne for Cairns until she returns to port three weeks elapse, and to connect with Western Australia, I dare say that it takes another four or five weeks. Under this clause every six months a vessel engaged in the coasting trade and working upon a time-table may be laid up by the Minister. What is the reason for this innovation? It Is an entirely new departure from the lines laid down in the New Zealand Navigation
Act and the Merchant Shipping Act. Apparently some of the expense which will be cast upon ship-owners by this clause is to be modified, inasmuch as the provision is not to apply to vessels more than five years old. But the Minister must recognise that some vessels after five years’ service are in a more defective condition than many which have seen twenty or thirty years’ service. There is such a thing as a jerry-built ship. Under my amendment the Minister would have power to exercise his discretion irrespective or whether or not a vessel had been more than five years in service. He would thus be able to take action whenever he chose in the case of a jerry-built ship. Those vessels which satisfied his surveyors. after they had been five years in service,wouldbe liable to survey only once in every twelve months. But if the surveyors found defects in a ship so great as to endanger her seaworthiness, the Minister would have power to detain her upon that ground. No other Navigation Act, so far as I am aware, provides for a survey of vessels every six months.
– I shall have something to say upon that matter.
– My statement may be incorrect.
– As per usual.
– Not as per usual. I have not misquoted a single section. I ask the Minister whether it is wise to insist upon the clause as it stands in view of the fact that it will add a good deal to the expenditure of Australian shipowners, and whether my amendment would not satisfy all reasonable requirements?
– The question of survey has been the subject of considerable correspondence between the Board of Trade and the Commonwealth Government.: The clause has been practically agreed to by the Board of Trade, though not without some demur. I do not intend to quote the whole of the correspondence - it will suffice if I quote that portion of it which brings the matter to a conclusion. On 27th November, 1908, the Secretary of State for the Colonies, in reply to a letter from the Deakin Government, cabled -
With reference to your telegram of 28th October, Navigation Bill, Board of Trade are most anxious to meet your Government as far as possible. If your Ministers consider it essential to insist on extending compulsory survey to all vessels, they earnestly trust that Act will be administered in same spirit as New South Wales and Victorian Acts, which, so far as they are aware, have not caused serious ground for complaint.
The Fisher Government, on 23rd December, 1908, replied as follows : -
On 1 2th February, 1909, the Secretary of State replied as follows: -
Section 34 of the New South Wales Act of 1 90 1 reads - (1.) The owner of every steam-ship constructed or intended to carry passengers-, shall, during the actual employment of such ship in that capacity, cause it to be surveyed twice at least in every year, at such convenient times as the superintendent directs, by a shipwright surveyor and by an engineer surveyor, appointed under this Act.
Section 138 of the Victorian Act of 1890 provides -
Every steam-ship with non-condensing engines shall be surveyed once at least in every six months, and every other steam-ship shall be surveyed once at the least in every year in the manner hereinafter mentioned, except foreigngoing steam-ships trading between any port in Victoria and any port in Europe or America not carrying passengers or carrying passengers not exceeding twelve in number.
These clauses are not identical with the clause in the Bill, but they establish the fact that in the legislation which is referred to in the Board of Trade’s circular to the Commonwealth Government a similar provision was embodied as regards the period of survey. I would further remind the Committee that the proposed survey is to apply only to steamers more than five years old, and that it will be subject to the power of the Minister to extend the term. Senator St. Ledger appears to think that the survey of ships is a very costly matter. But I find that in New Zealand the fees charged for the survey of vessels are as follow. - For ships not exceeding 20 tons register in respect of a certificate issued for six months, £110s., and in respect of a certificate issued for over six months and not exceeding twelve months, £3. They vary from these amounts up to a maximum fee in respect of a certificate issued for six months of £10, and in respect of a certificate issued for more than six months but not exceeding twelve months, of £20.
– Would not a ship require to be docked?
– I do not think so. Under the Merchant Shipping Act the fees charged for survey vary as follow : - For passenger steamers not exceeding 100 tons, £4 ; exceeding 100 tons and not exceeding 300 tons, £6 ; exceeding 300 tons and not exceeding 600 tons, £8 ; and for every additional 300 tons above 600 tons, an additional £2. The maximum fees for. survey of emigrant ships are : - For an ordinary survey of a ship, and of her equipments, accommodation, stores, light, ventilation, sanitary arrangements, and medical stores, £10; for a special survey, £15.
– The fee for survey is small; but there are docking and harbor dues to be considered.
– Under these circumstances it cannot be argued that the clause will inflict any very great hardship, and the only point which the Board of Trade had in its mind was as to whether we could apply it to British ship-owners. In reply, the Commonwealth Government has intimated that it will throw no obstacle in the way of any British ship-owner stating a test case before the High Court.
. -I can scarcely anticipate that the Government will attempt to hold up a vessel which possesses a certificate of survey from the Board of Trade for twelve months, if, during that period, she is trading in Australian waters. There would certainly be a conflict if a vessel having a survey certificate from the Board of Trade were, against the wishes of the master or owner, compulsorily docked in Australia, on the ground that she needed to be surveyed. That action would be an imputation on the seaworthiness of the vessel. If survey is made compulsorily, I can scarcely conceive a British ship-owner or master quietly acknowledging that Commonwealth law is paramount over the Merchant Shipping Act when a vessel is sailing with a Board of Trade certificate.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 195 to 197 agreed to.
Clause 198 -
The master of a steam-ship shall not take her to sea, and the owner of a steam-ship shall not knowingly or unknowingly suffer or permit her to go to sea, unless a certificate of survey has been granted in respect of her and is in force.
Penalty : One hundred pounds.
– It will be seen that, under this clause, there are two offences. One is the offence of the masterwho takes his ship out, and the other is the offence of the owner who, knowingly or unknowingly, permits her to go to sea. But there is only one penalty. In the event of an offence being committed, is the owner or the master to pay the penalty? I can see that complications may arise. The owner may be abroad at the time of the sailing, and may allege that the whole blame rests on the master. Consequently, the master may have to pay the £100 for taking the ship to sea. I move -
That the words “ on the master and owner respectively “ be added.
– Senator Guthrie need not have any fear as to who is liable under this clause. The owner will be liable every time. No matter whether the ship is sent to sea by order of the owner, or taken to sea by the master on his own responsibility, the master is the agent of the owner, and the owner is liable. If the ship has a foreign owner, she will still be in our possession, and we may distrain on the ship.
– If the master takes her to sea she will not be in Commonwealth possession.
– We shall have the agents, who will be liable. And if the owners have any property in the Commonwealth we can distrain upon it. What is more, if the ship at any time comes back to an Australian port, she will be liable to be seized.
– Is there any -precedent for the use of the term “ knowingly or unknowingly”?
– I do not know. If the master of a ship renders the owner liable by an act of disobedience, the owner does not escape his responsibility by putting in that plea. There is no necessity for Senator Guthrie’s amendment.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 199 agreed to.
Clause 200 -
The Minister may at any time, for the purpose of survey, require a steam-ship, at the expense of her owner, to be taken into dock, or to have her cargo discharged, or her boilers or machinery opened out, or her fittings removed as far as is reasonably necessary.
– This clause gives very strong powers to the Minister, which should not be exercised at his own sweet will. It would be well that he should not exercise them except on the recommendation of the superintendent or seamen’s inspector. There will be a superintendent or inspector at every port of any size in the Commonwealth. If a ship is unseaworthy, the superintendent will be able to telegraph to the Minister, making a recommendation, and the Minister will then have justification for taking action under the clause. An amendment in the direction indicated would not interfere materially with the working of the clause.
– I hope that Senator St. Ledger will not move an amendment. The officers whom he has mentioned, the superintendent and the seamen’s inspector, would be the wrong officers to deal with the question affected by Ite clause. Under clause 195, it is provided that a surveyor shall furnish a report to the Minister, and the Minister may, if the surveyor’s report justifies him in doing so, issue to the owner a certificate of survey. Then clause 200 enables the Minister, for the purpose of survey, to require certain things to be done. The person to report to the Minister is the surveyor. I know what Senator St. Ledger has in his mind. There are certain things that come under the notice of the superintendent and the seamen’s inspector, and on which it might be desirable that they should report to the Minister. But if the honorable senator turns to clause 211, he will see that it enumerates matters that come under the notice of the superintendent and seamen’s inspector. The question of unseaworthiness may be reported to these officers by the crew. The honorable senator’s amendment, if needed at all - which I do not admit - would be in order upon clause 211, but not, I think, upon clause 200, where we deal with matters that do not come under the official notice of the superintendent and seamen’s inspector.
Senator ST. LEDGER ( Queensland) £9.51]. - On the suggestion of the Minister, I shall not move an amendment; but I should like to know whether it is proposed to give the Minister in charge of the administration of this measure power to exercise discretion under clause 200. I take it that he will act on a report from the surveyor.
– What is meant by this clause is that should, for instance, a vessel have grounded in going down a harbor, the Minister may call upon a surveyor for a report, although the term of the vessel’s certificate has not expired.
– The power seems to be arbitrary, but I shall not submit an amendment.
– 1 think that there should be some authority over and above the surveyor in reference to the matters mentioned in this clause. I have known vessels to be surveyed and certificated, although they were not fit to go to sea. I have known ships to go to sea properly certificated, although the surveyor has never been down below. Only recently a vessel was pulled off from the wharf in Sydney and was0 nearly upset, although the surveyor had given his certificate that she was properly loaded. She had to be brought back to the wharf, in order that her deck cargo might bo removed. If the men working on board a vessel had some authority to whom they could report what they knew, many lives would be saved. I have had a good deal of personal experience of ships. I have known a vessel to be taken to sea with her boilers in such a condition that the men working below were scalded within two hours after sailing. I gave evidence before the Royal Commission, in which I showed that scandalous things have occurred, and men’s lives have been sacrificed through acts of carelessness. If, when T was working on a vessel of that kind, I had known that I could report to a certain authority who would take notice of what I reported, I should often have done so. As it was, ships that had not been properly surveyed were allowed to be taken to sea, and men’s lives were sacrificed. We ought always to consider the safety of the lives of the men working on board ship before anything else.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 201 agreed to.
Clause 202 -
The Minister may, if he is satisfied that the immediate resurvey of a steam-ship will 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.
– I move -
That the following words be added to the clause : - “ 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.
I hope the Minister will accept my apology for not having this amendment in print. I did not anticipate that we should have made such progress as we have made tonight. I expected to have it in print tomorrow. My object is to prevent any extension of time being granted for the currency of a certificate to enable a vessel to go to a distant port for docking and repairs, if facilities for the purpose are available at any of the ports to which she is a regular trader. There are a number of small vessels trading in the north of Queensland, and it is possible that they might be worked for the full term of their certificates in the local trade, and then apply for an extension of the currency of their certificates in order that the officers and crew might get a trip to Brisbane, Sydney, or somewhere else for the purpose of docking and repairs, to have a resurvey, and to obtain’ the new certificates. Honorable senators will agree that if that kind of thing were allowed, it would be very unfair to a number of people in the different smaller ports of the Commonwealth, who have been at the trouble and expense of establishing patent slips, and supplying facilities for repairs to vessels. It will be agreed also that it would be an advantage to Australia if docking and repairing facilities were available in every port in the Commonwealth. If the practice to which I have referred is to be allowed to continue, no encouragement will be offered to people to establish docking and repairing plants in the various ports. The amendment would inflict no hardship upon the owner of any vessel. Why should the owners of vessels trading exclusively between Queensland ports be given an extension of the currency of their certificates in order that the vessels may be taken to Sydney or somewhere else for docking and repairs, when facilities for the purpose are available at Brisbane?
Order of Business - Census Regulations.
Motion (by Senator Pearce) proposed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– I wish to ask the Minister of Defence what business the Government propose to take to-morrow. I assume that it will be the second reading of the Naval Defence Bill.
– No; the Navigation Bill.
– Might I ask if the regulations dealing with the Census will be laid on the table of the Senate tomorrow, and if not, when they will be available?
– The regulations referred to will be laid on the table as speedily as possible. A meeting of the Executive must be held before they can be laid on the table, but notime will be lost in the matter, and ample opportunity will be afforded honorable senators to discuss them.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 10 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 11 October 1910, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1910/19101011_senate_4_58/>.