4th Parliament · 2nd Session
The President took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
. -I ask permission of the Senate to move a motion without notice.
– I move.-
That this House desires to express its deepest sympathy with Lady Northcote in the great loss sustained by her by the death of the late Baron, and to place onrecord its regret and grief at the untimely decease of the third GovernorGeneral of Australia, whose abilities and kindcess had endeared him to its people.
– I beg to second the motion, which I am sure the Senate will carry in no merely formal sense. The late Lord Northcote came to Australia with a wide experience gained in the Imperial serviqe, and I venture to say that the reputation which he brought here was largely enhanced by the’ success with which he discharged the duties of his important position. Australia owes a considerable debt to the late lord, inasmuch as not only did he endear himself to the people while living in our midst, but on his return to the Old Country he never ceased to stand forward as the exponent and the defender of Australian rights and interests. On more than one occasion he rendered us great service in explaining away misunderstandings and errors from which, unfortunately, Australia has too freely suffered. I feel sure that the Senate will heartily . indorse that portion . of the motion which conveys to Lady Northcote the sincere sympathy which we all feel for her in the hour of her great bereavement.
Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable senators standing in their places.
MINISTERS laid upon the table the following papers : -
Report from the Royal Commission on. Tasmanian Customs Leakage; together with Proceedings, Minutes of Evidence, and Appendices.
Land Tax Assessment Act1910. - Amendment (Provisional) of Regulation 51. - Statutory Rules 1911, No. 141.
Northern Territory Aboriginals Act 1910. - Regulations for the licensing of persons to employ Aboriginals in the Northern Territory.
Defence - Progress Report of the Naval Department.
Defence Act 1903-1910-
Regulations (Provisional) for the Military Forces of the Commonwealth -
Cancellation of Regulations 142A and 143, and substitution of new Regulationsin lieu thereof. - Statutory Rules 191 1, No.
Amendment of Regulation 1. - Statutory Rules 1911, No. 131.
Cancellation of sub-paragraphs (h) and (i) of Regulation106a. - Statutory Rules 191 1, No. 146.
Amendment of Regulation 185. - Statutory Rules 1911, No. 147.
Financial and Allowance Regulations (Provisional) for the Military Forces of the. Commonwealth -
Amendment of Regulation152. - Statutory Rules 191 1, No. 143.
Amendment of Regulation 188. - Statutory Rules 1911, No. 144.
Regulations for Universal Training. Part III. (Senior Cadets)-
Cancellation of Regulation 56, and substitution of new Regulation in lieu thereof. - Statutory Rules 191 1,No. 145.
Regulations (Provisional) for the Entrance Examination to the Royal Military College of Australia, 1911 -
Amendment of Division 1, Part III., of Syllabus.- Statutory Rules 191 1, No. 132.
Cancellation of Parts I. and III., and substitution of new Parts I. and IV. in lieu thereof. - Statutory Rules1911, No. 133.
Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta Railway : Report of the Consulting Railway Engineer, dated aoth September,1911.
The Gauges of Australia and their Unification : Report of the Consulting Railway Engineer, dated aoth September,1911.
Naval Defence Act1910 -
Financial and Allowance Regulations (Provisional) for the Naval Forces of the Commonwealth-
New Regulation 50e. - Statutory Rules 1911, No. 136.
Excise Act 1901 -
Beet Sugar Regulations (Provisional).- Statutory Rules 1 9 10,No. 138.
Amendment (Provisional) of Sugar Regulation No. 21, and cancellation of Statutory Rules 1906, No. 33, Drawback Regulation No. 50. - Statutory Rules1911, No. 59.
Amendment (Provisional) of Drawback Regulation No. 50. - Statutory Rules1911, No. 76.
Regulation (Provisional) in relation to Conveyance of Excisable Goods. - Statutory Rules 1911, No. 129.
Manufactures Encouragement Act 1908 -
Amendment (Provisional) of Iron Bounty Regulation No. a. - Statutory Rules 191 1, No. 139.
Sugar Bounty Act 1905 - “
Beet Sugar Bounty Regulations - Statutory Rules 1911, No. 13S. Customs Act 1901-1910 -
Repeal of Regulations 104, 1515 152, 153, *54? 155, and 156, and substitution of new Regulations in lieu thereof ; Repeal of Regulations 157, 158, 159, 160, 161, 162, and 163, and Forms 60, 63, 64, and 65 ; Alteration of footnote to Form 61 ; and Amendment of Regulation 126. - Statutory Rules 1911, No. 60.
Amendment of Regulation 134 (1), and Repeal of Regulation 131 and Form 54. - Statutory Rules 1911, No. 75.
Repeal of Regulation 21, and substitution of new Regulation (Provisional) in lieu thereof. - Statutory Rules 191 1, No. 84. Spirits Act 1906 -
Regulation (Provisional) in relation to the Standard for Industrial Spirits. - Statutory Rules 1911, No. 101.
Lands Acquisition Act 1906 - Bulli, New South Wales : Defence purposes - Notification of the acquisition of land. Auburn, New South Wales : Commonwealth purposes - Notification of the acquisition of - - land.
Croydon, New South Wales : Commonwealth purposes - Notification of the acquisition of land.
Cottesloe, Western Australia : Rifle range purposes - Notification of the acquisition of land.
Guildford, Western Australia : Commonwealth purposes - Notification of the acquisition of land.
Post and Telegraph Act 1901-1910 -
Amendment of Telephone Regulations. -
Statutory Rules 191 1, No. 124.
Amendment of General Postal Regulations. - Statutory Rules 1911, No. 125. ,
Regulations for securing the telegraph lines or works of the Postmaster-General from interference by house removals or other works. - Statutory Rules 191 1, No.
Amendment of Telegraphic Regulations. -
Statutory Rules 1911, No. 127.
Wireless Telegraphy Act 1905 -
Regulations in relation to Charges. - Statutory Rules 191 1, No. 128. Public Service Act 1902 -
Repeal of Regulation 198, and substitution of new Regulation in lieu thereof. - Statutory Rules 1911, No. 140.
Seventh Report on the Commonwealth Public Service, by the Public Service Commissioner.
Repeal of Regulations 114, 115, 116, and 1 1 6a, and substitution of new Regulations (Provisional) in lieu thereof. - Statutory Rules 191 1, No. 159.
Repeal of Regulations 149 and 151, and substitution bf new Regulations in lieu thereof. - Statutory Rules 1911, No. 157.
Repeal of Regulation 228, and substitution of new Regulation (Provisional) in lieu thereof. - Statutory Rules 1911, No. 158.
-laid upon the table: -
Return to Order of the Senate of 6th September, 1911 - Wireless Telegraphy - Private Stations in Australia.
Return to Order of the Senate of 13th September, 1911 - Advertising Australia - Amount spent, fta, during 1910-11 Return to Order of the Senate of .14th September, 1911 - Contract Labourers - Number and occupations of for period 1st January to 31st August, 1911
– I wish to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council, without notice, whether he can inform the Senate when the personnel and scope of the Royal Commission in connexion with the sugar industry will be made known to the public?
– I expect to be able to make an announcement on the subject in a few days.
The PRESIDENT reported the receipt of messages from the House of Representatives acquainting the Senate that, in compliance with its request, the House had agreed to resume consideration of the following Bills, transmitted by the Senate for concurrence during the last session of Parliament, and the proceedings on which were interrupted by the prorogation : -
Parliamentary Witnesses Bill.
Banking Companies Reserve Liabilities Bill.
Bill received from the House of Representatives and (on motion by .Senator
McGregor) read a first time.
asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council, upon notice -
Will the Government take into consideration, at an early date, the advisableness of introducing and passing an Act to enable the Commonwealth to engage in the business of refining and distribution of sugar, with a view to submitting such Act to the High Court to test its constitutionality in accordance wilh the terms of the Judiciary Act 1910 ?
– The answer to the honorable senator’s question is that the matter has been considered, but it is not deemed advisable that any action should be taken until the receipt of the report of the Royal Commission to be appointed in connexion with the sugar industry.
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
How many corporations or companies have paid the tax, distinguishing the number who have paid -
In the aggregate, what amount has been paid respectively -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are -
Motion (by Senator McGregor) agreed to-‘
That, leave be given to introduce a Bill for an Act to amend the Copyright Act 1905.
Bill presented and read a first time.
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 15th September, vide page 538) :
Postponed clause 347 (Liability for neglect of pilots).
– This clause and the following one deal with the question of who shall be made liable in the event of a ship which is in charge of a pilot meeting with an accident and damage being done to property. The Bill iri its present form practically makes nobody liable. That is to say, the pilot is made liable only to the extent of .£100. The Government are not made liable, and clause 348 sets out that -
The owner or master of a ship shall not be answerable, to any person whatever -for any loss or damage occasioned by the fault or want of capacity of a pilot when the employment of a pilot is compulsory.
When this clause was last under considers^ tion it was pointed out by the Leader of the Opposition that the condition of affairs was entirely unsatisfactory and that somebody ought to be made liable. Just at the time we were discussing the question the Government received f rom the Board of Trade a memorandum in which that body dealt with this very subject. It had been referred to a Committee of that body, and that .Committee has dealt with this same difficulty which arises under the Merchant Shipping Act. The consensus of opinion of the Committee was that the shipowner should be made liable. The Committee point out that, whilst the pilotage is compulsory, yet in cases where it is patent to the master of a vessel that the pilot is either negligent or in such a condition that he is not able safely to navigate the ship, the master would be justified in breaking the law by taking charge of the vessel himself. In other words, his action would be justifiable if the pilot were incapacitated, either as the result of drink or from any other cause. The question of the culpability of the master in breaking the law in respect of compulsory pilotage would be one of fact, upon which the former would be entitled to call evidence. Senator Millen. - It might be largely a question of opinion.
– It is quite obvious that in ordinary circumstances the master of a vessel would not be justified in’ taking charge .of it by simply saying, .”In my opinion this pilot is not competent.” But “there are circumstances, such as drunkenness, or. some other physical infirmity, which may render a pilot unfitted to navigate a ship. The Committee of the Board of Trade point out that it is very difficult to determine where to. lay this liability for neglect on the part of a pilot. But obviously it would hot be right to lay it upon the community. Nor would .it be right to relieve the owner or master of any liability that they may incur as common carriers. After perusing the Departmental Committee’s report, the Government have decided to lay this liability upon the shipowners. In order to accomplish that - as the Chairman has permitted us to deal with this clause and the following one together - I propose to ask the Committee to agree to. clause 347 without amendment. Senator Millen. - Did the Board of Trade Committee make a specific recommendation? . .
– They merely point out the facts ?
– Exactly. On the last occasion that we discussed this clause, I quoted a number of extracts from the Committee’s report, and the bulk of them pointed to the desirableness of making the owners of vessels liable. Then, in clause 348, I intend to ask the Committee to leave out the words “ answerable to any person whatever,” with a view to inserting in lieu thereof the words “exempt from liability,” and to ask the Committee to leave out the word “ when” with a view to inserting in lieu thereof the words “ by reason of the fact that.” I quite admit that the amendments which I have indicated seem to inflict a hardship upon shipowners. We place a pilot on board a shipowner’s vessel,, we give him absolute control over it, and yet if an accident occurs, we propose to make the owner liable for compensation.
– The Minister proposes to include the master too?
– He may not be the owner of the vessel.
– No; but we may not be able to get at the owner. The master is therefore included as the representative of his employer. Senator Walker. - What authority certifies that a pilot is properly qualified?
– This Bill authorizes the pilot to take charge of a vessel.
– Who appoints the pilot, and certifies that he possesses the requisite qualifications ?
– The Commonwealth Government. Under this Bill there are provisions by which a pilot, is subjected to supervision with a view to insuring that he is efficient. But this clause deals with cases in which pilots may suddenly become inefficient by reason of drunkenness or some other physical infirmity. There is no doubt that, in ordinary circumstances, pilots will be able effectively to discharge their duties. But there may be occasions upon which, through carelessness, negligence, or inability, they may bring about an accident. In all the circumstances, we think that the best thing to do is to maintain the liability of the owners of vessels. The Committee of the Board of Trade point out that even :if the Merchant “Shipping Act were silent upon this point of liability, it would be -open to any person who had goods carried on board a vessel to recover damages for the loss of those goods, in case of accident, under the common law. I should think that that would be the case. In the Bill as it stands, there is an express prohibition which I think would set aside the common law on the subject. As I have said, I shall ask the Committee to pass this clause as it stands, and I shall then propose the amendment of clause 348 in the way I have indicated.
-3xl- - I am verY pleased indeed that on further consideration the Minister deems it advisable to make an alteration in the next clause. One can hardly resist the feeling that whichever way we leave this matter there will be an appearance of injustice to some one.
– I think it will be more than an appearance of injustice.
– The honorable senator will agree that there will be at least the appearance of injustice. The position is this : A vessel is carrying goods, passengers, and crew. The owners are under certain responsibilities, and may be called upon to pay compensation in respect of loss of life or damage to property. The Government, under the law, steps in and passes the whole control of the vessel to a pilot. The ship-owner, whether he likes it or not, is bound, not only to take a pilot, but a particular pilot. It does appear a little hard to make the ship-owner liable for damage done by the ship to the lives or limbs of people, to another vessel, to a wharf,’ or to cargo, while the control of the vessel is in the hands of a Government appointee. Let us, however, consider the matter from the other point of view presented by the Bill as it at present stands, exempting the ship-owner from all liability for damage while the vessel is compulsorily under the control of a pilot. Whilst this would relieve the ship-owner of an apparent injustice, it would give a person who lost his life or suffered damage to property through an accident occurring whilst the vessel was in charge of a pilot no protection at all. Whichever way” we decide the matter there will, as I have said, be an apparent injustice done to some one by imposing upon him a liability for something for which, morally speaking, he cannot be held responsible. In the circumstances, it does appear to me that it is better to throw the responsibility upon the ship-owner. ‘ “ We may proceed upon the assumption that in the great majority of cases the pilot will be iri a fit state to take charge of the vessel. The Government certificate issued to him should _ be a guarantee of his fitness. That being so, we may ask why is the pilot placed on board. Surely it is in the interests of shipping. The Government say to the ship-owner, “ You need a pilot here.” The ship-owners will probably themselves agree to that, speaking of them in the aggregate. The Government then say, “We undertake to find a pilot for you.” Although he is a Government officer he is appointed to meet the requirements of our merchant shipping service. That being so, it seems to me desirable that the responsibility under these clauses should rest upon the ship-owner rather than upon the pilot, or the owners of vessels, wharfs, or cargo, or persons who may be injured by an accident to the ship. That would be better than to leave a seaman, for instance, without any rights, such as he would have under a seamen’s compensation law. Senator W. Russell has said that if the Government proposal is carried out in connexion with these clauses, it will result in more than an apparent injustice, but I ask the honorable senator whether if we relieve the ship-owner from any obligation under these clauses we should not be doing a real injustice to seamen who may lose their lives or be injured as the result of any accident occurring under the circumstances which have been referred to?
– If the Commonwealth Government employs a man and guarantees that he is competent they should be responsible if it proved that he is not competent.
– They will not issue a certificate to a man who is not competent, but I remind the honorable senator that if the ship-owners found their own pilot we should have no better guarantee of their competence or their freedom from the failings of human nature. The Government do a service to shipping when they undertake to find a pilot, to examine him, and test his competence. I ask if there is any reason why, during the time a ship is compulsorily in the charge of a pilot, the seamen on board should be denied the rights we propose to give them, and which, in. some countries, are given them, under a law providing for compensation to seamen? Do honorable senators desire to relieve ship-owners of that liability? Personally, I do not, and I do not think that shipowners require it. The liability involved would represent the smallest possible increase in their insurance rates, and I doubt whether it would affect them at all.
– Not more than at pre-, sent, because it is the law at present.
– At present the ship-owners are exempt from this liability. Under the existing law it is provided that the owner or master of a ship shall not be answerable to any person whatever for any loss or damage occasioned by the fault, or want qf capacity, of a pilot when the employment of a pilot is compulsory. I say that the extent to which we free the shipowner from liability in this connexion constitutes an injustice to the persons whose lives are lost, or whose property is damaged, by a ship whilst compulsorily in charge of a pilot. We cannot shield the owners of a vessel from this liability without denying to other people the barest rights. I am pleased, in the circumstances, that the Government have decided to take the course indicated, and I am particularly pleased that the communication from the Board of Trade referred to by the Minister arrived at such an opportune moment. I think I should add, however, that if the Minister will peruse that communication, he will find that there is another proposal referred to which is closely associated with that which he is now making. It is referred to in the quotation which the honorable senator made from the Board of Trade’s communication, and deals with the unsatisfactory position of the pilot. It would be possible, under the law in England, and under the Bill as it appears before us, for a pilot to be rendered insolvent as well as to have to lose His certificate. A proposal is made in the communication from the Board of Trade, to which I shall do no more than direct attention. A common-sense method of meeting the difficulty is presented, and that is that the pilot should be required to give a bond to cover his financial liability. It should be much’ more satisfactory to ship-owners to know that there is a substantial bond than to have to proceed against the pilot, who may not be a man of substance, and whom the proceedings may make insolvent. I hope that before we leave the Bill, the Minister will give that aspect of the case some consideration.
– Senator Millen asked me whether the Committee of the Board of Trade had made any recommendation. I think I replied that they had not. I was in error, because they did make a recommendation. When dealing with the Bill previously, I intended to have quoted the following from the report, but I; was interrupted under the new standing order -
If our recommendation as to the relative positions of master and pilot be carried into effect, one of the greatest objections to an alteration of the present law as regards the immunity from liability of a ship-owner whose ship is under compulsory pilotage will have been removed. We have pointed out how productive of hardship is the present state of the law to innocent parties, and how fruitful a source of litigation.
We are strongly of opinion that a ship-owner should not be released from liability for damage done by his vessel when a pilot is compulsorily on board.
We, therefore, recommend that section 633 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1894, and the proviso to section 74 of the Harbors, Docks, and Piers Clauses Act 1847, should be repealed, but, in addition to such repeal, it will be necessary as well to insert a provision specifically declaring that the owner shall be liable, as his immunity from liability at present does not alone depend on these sections, but has also been decided independently of any statute.
We desire to point out that the Select Committee of 1888 reported as follows : - “Your Committee are strongly of opinion, having regard te the views just expressed, that the time has arrived when the exemption of the owner from liability for damage done by his ship when the ship is placed in - charge of a pilot by compulsion of law should cease to exist. Your Committee are of opinion that such exemption is indefensible, and is inimical to the safety of life and property at sea. In their opinion, the master of a vessel, even while a pilot is on board, should continue to be responsible for the conduct and navigation of the vessel.”
– If I have followed the quotation aright, the Board stated that a mere immunity from liability will not meet the case, but this is all that the Minister proposes. His proposition does not attach liability to the owner, but merely removes an exemption.
– We say that the owner or master of a ship shall not be exempt from any liability. I do not know whether it is necessary to provide that he shall be liable for any damage.
– It is quite clear that some amendment is wanted.
– I think clauses 347 and 348 apply to foreign shipping. Four-fifths of the shipping which comes to Australia is foreign shipping. Practically, if the proposal suggested by Senator Millen be adopted, we shall be insurers of four-fifths of the foreign shipping. I do not believe that there is a single country which reciprocates in that way.
– How do we insure them? We. merely make them liable. : Senator ST. LEDGER.- I do not believe that there is a country which will. give to our shipping the same insurance of protection as the suggested amendment proposes to extend to the rest of the world’s shipping.
– It withdraws a concession which they have hitherto had.
– I think not.
– We are going to fall into line with Great Britain.
– In my opinion the Minister is getting very close to the recommendation of the Board of Trade. He suggests that we should let clause 347 pass i that will protect the Commonwealth. He then proposes to insert a negative proposition, which I think will have the effect suggested by the recommendation of the Board of Trade. I submit that the mere establishing of the negative in clause 348. that the owner or master of a ship shall not be exempt from, liability by reason of the fact that the employment of the pilot is compulsory, will be sufficient to meet the case. I take it that if there is’ gross want of care or negligence displayed by the master, he will be held to be liable. He will not be able to make this plea. “ I had a compulsory pilot on board, and that relieves’ me from everything.” The effect of the amendment must be that he will not be relieved of liability by ‘ reason of the fact that he had a compulsory pilot on board.
– I have had an opportunity to consult the legal officer who is advising me, and he says that the Crown Law officers took into consideration the point which was raised by Senator Millen, and which is raised in this report. In their opinion, the form of words in the amendments I intend to propose in clause 348 will make the owner liable. The cases referred to in the report were cases decided on the state of affairs existing ; that is, where the liability was removed from the masters by the fact that they had to accept a pilot. As we are specifically providing that the owners shall not be exempt from liability, they will be liable as common carriers.
– How do you explain the report?
– The Crown Law officers took the report into consideration, and are of the opinion that if these words be inserted the owner will be liable.
– In view of the Minister’s statement I do. not propose to press the matter any further, but after listening to the quotation I still feel that there is a danger in allowing clause 348 to pass in the form proposed. I ask the Minister not to accept as final an opinion which may have been hastily formed, perhaps on only one view or one set of circumstances, but to invite the Crown Law officers to look into the matter before the Bill leaves this Chamber.
– In Queensland this question was discussed very closely in all its bearings quite recently when a section of the Navigation Act was repealed, and a provision in very much the same direction as that the Minister proposes was substituted. The alteration of the law arose out of the wrecks of the Waitara and the Eastern in Moreton Bay. Long and costly litigation ensued, and it might be well for the Minister and the Crown Law officers to look carefully into the circumstances which called for an amendment of the law in Queensland.
– The clause undoubtedly deals with a very vexed question. The position of a master in relation to a pilot has always puzzled laymen. Hitherto, whenever a pilot was taken on board a vessel we were given to understand that all responsibility was thereby taken from the master. We were also told that no matter how the pilot might blunder the unfortunate master would be responsible. That is a position which is not supported by common sense or reason.
– It is the company which makes the master liable, not the law.
– Under the old state of affairs the public had no remedy, but if we say that the owners shall not be exempt from liability we shall affirm a principle which has been too long neglected. A pilot is supposed to have a better knowledge of local affairs than has a master from oversea, because the latter has only a general knowledge of the entrance to a port. Notwithstanding the possession of better local knowledge by a pilot, I consider that a master would act very foolishly indeed if he were to abandon all power to the pilot and allow the latter to navigate the ship where there was not a sufficient depth of water, or to run the risk of a collision. I think that where a master perceives that the pilot would make a grave mistake in taking a certain course he should refuse to allow the ship to proceed in that way, and .resume the control of her.
– Has he authority to do that ?
– The master of a ship can always get the men on board to obey him. If he gives an order from the bridge the man at the wheel will obey him in preference to the pilot, but it ought to be made clear where the liability is. Iri the case of the Australia the master felt that the pilot was doing something wrong; still he did not interfere. It ought to be made quite clear that whenever a crucial moment arises the master of a ship has the power to take her out of the hands of the pilot. The master should always be the responsible person. Why do we put a pilot on board a vessel ? It is to supply better local knowledge than the master possesses. We do not say that it is done for the benefit of the community as a whole. It is done principally for the better navigation of the vessel. We should make it clear that no division of authority exempts the ship-owner from his liability as a common carrier. I think that the amendments to be proposed by the Minister of Defence are really very necessary. I cannot understand how a section such as has previously operated should have continued in existence in a maritime country like the United Kingdom so long as it has done.
– The Minister says that the point raised by the report of the Board of Trade was under the consideration of the law officers when they drafted the proposed amendments. If so, surely the point ought to have been met before.
– The amendments have been drafted since the point was raised.
– Then the point must have been before the law officers recently. That being so, I would ask the Minister to take an opportunity of having the matter thoroughly ventilated before the Bill is finally disposed of.
– I will do that.
Clause agreed to.
Postponed clause 348 -
The owner or master of a ship shall not be answerable to any person whatever for any loss or damage occasioned by the fault or want of capacity of a pilot when the employment of the pilot is compulsory.
Amendments (by Senator Pearce) agreed to -
That the words “ answerable to any person whatever “ be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “exempt from liability”; and that the word “ when “ be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “ by reason of the fact that.”
Clause, as amended, agreed to. Schedule I.
– I move -
That division (2), “ Engine-room Manning Scale,” be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the following : - “ Engine-room Manning Scale. (2) Steam-ships shall carry engineers in accordance with the following scale.”
The principal alterations made by the new scale will be perceived by honorable senators who compare it with the schedule at present in the Bill. In the first place, there is a difference in grouping. Under the new proposal there are four groups of engineers, as compared with three under the present scale. The first group deals with engineers on river and bay steamers running under 20 miles, and going up to ships over 200 horse-power. ‘ The present scale dees not stipulate the scale for river and bay steamers, and goes up to 400 horse-power. The second group in the amended scale relates to steamers running under 100 miles, and between 55 and 200 horse-power. The third group deals with the limited coast trade; and the fourth with the Australian and foreign trade. I do not think that the alterations are vital, except that the number of engineers in certain classes has been slightly increased. The new schedule has been considered by the various interests concerned, and is believed to be more workable than the old one.
– My knowledge of the matters referred to in the schedule is much too slight to justify me attempting a criticism of them. But I should like to ask the Minister if it be correct that the formula for ascertaining the horse-power of ships is a variation from the formula previously adopted in, at any rate, some of the States? I am informed that the divisor has been altered. Will not that prejudice the position of some men who to-day hold certificates ?
– - The new scale will not prejudice any one, I think.
– Say that a man holds a certificate entitling him to work on a vessel up to 50 horse-power. By altering the method of determining what is horse-power, I am informed that this schedule brings such a vessel up to 60 horse-power, which means that such a man will be prevented from continuing in the occupation which he has been successfully following for years. We know perfectly that the term horse-power is merely arbitrary. By altering the method of ascertaining what is horse-power it can be made higher or lower. I believe that there are certain men in Sydney - and perhaps in some other States as well - who to-day are carrying on their occupations in vessels of limited capacity. By altering the method of determining the horse-power they will be shut out from earning their livelihood on those vessels.
– I have not heard of any such case.
– Some cases of the kind were, I know, brought under the notice of the Department, and they were before me when this Bill was under consideration on a previous occasion.
– We are increasing the number of engineers carried.
– But that does not affect the position of an individual engineer. Take the case of A.B., who, we will say, is entitled at present to act as engineer on a vessel up to 50 or 100 horse-power. By adopting a different method of ascertaining what is horse-power, that vessel is brought up to 60 or 120 horse-power. Then A.B’s certificate is of no use.
– Oh, yes it is, but the vessel may have to carry two engineers instead of one.
– But the man in the case I have supposed will be debarred. This matter has been brought before me by officers of the men’s union in Sydney.
– The only answer that I can make to Senator Millen is that I cannot deal with a supposititious case. No such case as he has mentioned has been reported to me. I asked the Department to furnish me with all the correspondence which has taken place on the subject of the manning scale. The amount of it is considerable, but I have not noticed any such objection in it. On the other hand it is admitted by both employers and employed that this scale is on more generous lines than the previous one, and that, therefore, it will confer advantages upon the engineers arid men. More will have to be employed.
– The proposed new scale itself shows what I mean.
– The proposed new scale shows that we have increased the determining factor in ascertaining the nominal horse-power, but it does not show that we have thereby done any harm to any person. No grievance is created by simply providing, that a. vessel, shall carry more hands than it did previously. As a matter of fact, this amending scale will necessitate the employment of a larger number of engineers.
– Take the first case set out in the scale to illustrate my meaning.
– Yes. In the case of a vessel fitted with engines of less than 55 nominal horse-power, the minimum number of engineers to be carried is one.
– And he is to possess a third-class coast engineer’s certificate. Under the new method of determining the horse-power of a vessel, the Government propose to make a vessel of 50 horsepower one of 60 horse-power, and therefore the third-class coast engineer, will be unable to continue upon her any longer.
– But the new method of determining the horse-power of steamers will also have the effect of making a vessel which is fitted with engines of 50 nominal horse-power a steamer of 55 nominal horse-power, and will thus bring the engineer which she carries into another category. Take the next line in the proposed new scale, which deals with vessels which are fitted with engines of from 55 to 85 nominal horse-power. The same result would follow there. Such a vessel would carry a man who possesses a first-class coast engineer’s certificate. I venture to say that, under the schedule of the State Navigation Act, she would be required to carry only an engineer with a second-class coast certificate.
– Could not the certificate be extended to a corresponding degree by regulation?
– It is impossible to make any schedule fit every case. What we have attempted is to frame a scale which will deal fairly as between employers and employes. The employes are satisfied with this proposed new scale, and we have received no protest against it from the steamship owners. Consequently, we regard it as a fairly satisfactory one. Senator Millen has brought forward imaginary cases, and has argued that, by altering the denominator, we shall do an injustice to some particular engineer, or class of engineers. All I can say is that I have not heard of that injustice. This part of the schedule has been under consideration for some time, and it has been going backwards and forwards between the individuals who are particularly interested. Yet nobody has complained of any injustice under it.
– I accept the Minister’s statement that he has not heard of any injustice which will be inflicted under this proposed new scale; but I say that the officials of the bodies concerned did make their representations to the Department of Trade and Customs.
– In regard to the scale now in the Bill?
– When the Minister declares that the information is not in the Department, my reply is that those representations were made to it.
– Not in regard to this scale.
– Because this scale has never been seen by them.
– It has been seen by the parties interested.
– Then they have seen it before it was submitted to Parliament. I say that this scale shows that I have not brought forward imaginary cases. The first portion of it provides that every vessel fitted with, engines of from 55 to 85 nominal horse-power shall carry one man who shall possess a first-class coast engineer’s certificate. Now, take the case of a vessel of 85 nominal horse-power. At present she is obliged to carry one firstclass engineer. But when this Bill becomes law, she will no longer be a vessel of 85 nominal horse-power, but one of 90 nominal horse-power. Consequently, that engineer will have to vacate his position upon her.
– But that is compensated for at the other end.
– Let us assume that there are one hundred steamers of the grade of which I am speaking, each carrying an engineer of a subordinate grade. Under this proposed new scale, owing to the new method which it is proposed to’ adopt in determining the horse-power, ten of those vessels may be transferred to a higher class. Consequently, ten engineersof a subordinate grade will lose their jobs. I cannot say how far this amended scale will inflict such an injustice. But it is clear that, as we raise the horsepower of vessels, we shall exclude certain men from an opportunity te* find employment. Suppose that an engineer possesses a certificate which entitles him to take charge of a vessel fitted with engines of 50 nominal horse-power. Under this new scale, that vessel will be made a vessel of 55 nominal horse-power. Thus the position of men who have been employed on the lower grade of vessels will be jeopardized. There may be compensations provided elsewhere which have escaped my notice; but I feel sure that some men will find their occupation gone if this new method of determining the horse-power of vessels is put into force.
– There is a clause in this Bill which deals with the point that has been raised by the Leader of the Opposition.
– I know the clause to which the honorable senator refers, and it does not deal with my point.
– The clause in question practically guarantees that a man who possesses an engineer’s certificate shall not have his qualifications reduced in consequence of any alteration which may take place in the law.
– That is clause 21.
– The Government do not propose to reduce his qualifications, but to raise the standard of ships.
– Cannot we insert in the Bill a provision that no man who is in possession of a certificate today shall be injured under this schedule? Personally, I know a considerable number who may be affected by it, and I would not like to vote for it and after- wards find that ari injury had been done to them. We should be quite certain that under this schedule we shall not injure any -man who is in possession of a certificate to-day.
. - Will - the Minister of Defence say that a man who is entitled to serve in a steamer of 50 nominal horse-power to-day shall still be entitled to serve in her if she be classed as a vessel’ of 55 nominal horse-power? To me it seems plain : that in the absence of such a provision the amended scale will inflict a hardship upon some” men. The Vice-President of the
Executive- Council- interjected that those -who are displaced from their positions by reason of this new scale- will be able to obtain employment in in lower grade vessels. But J would point out that the positions on such. vessels will be already filled. If only ten men are thrown out of employment because of vessels being declared to be of -a higher grade, those men will have to look for employment elsewhere. That will be a hardship. We ought to have an assurance from the Minister that if a man is entitled under his certificate to drive a vessel of 55 nominal horse-power he will still be able to drive her if she is declared to be a vessel of 60 nominal horse-power.
Senator PEARCE (Western. Australia - Minister , of Defence) T4-21]- - When Senator E. J. Russell was speaking, I referred him to clause 21, thinking that he would read that provision, which ‘constitutes a complete answer to the fears expressed by Senator Sayers. That clause provides -
All uncancelled and unexpired certificates - of competency for masters or ships’ officers issued under any Slate Act shall continue as if issued under this Act, but shall be valid only for the purposes for which, and the extent to which, they would have been valid in accordance with the provisions of the State Act under which they were issued.
That seems to me to be definite enough. If, under the State Act, they were valid for a ship of 60 nominal horse-power, they will be valid for a vessel of 60 nominal horse-power under this Act.
– But, under this proposed new scale, the Government propose to make her a vessel of 70 horse-power. “
– I venture to say that if what Senator Millen says be correct, under the concluding paragraph of that clause an officer who holds a certificate entitling him to serve in a certain vessel will still be entitled to serve on that vessel if we alter her engine power designation. That is the meaning of clause 21, if it means anything. Paragraph 3 of that provision reads - ‘ .’”
The holder of any such certificate, may, subject to any prescribed restrictions and limitations, surrender it for a certificate of ‘a’ similar or corresponding grade under this Act.
Therefore his rights are safeguarded. ,1 am of opinion that under this proposed “new scale he will occupy a better, position than he would have occupied under the scale now in the Bill. The latter provides for only first and second class engineers’ certificates, whereas, the new’ schedule makes’ provision, for first-class engineers’’ certificates, second-class engineers’’ , certificates, , firstclass coast engineers’ certificates,” .secondclass coast engineers’ certificates, and third-class coast “ engineers.’ .certificates. Honorable senators will recollect . that some time ago, when we .were discussing “ the clauses under which these certificates were granted, in accordance with the recommendations of the Navigation Commission, provision was made by which a man could rise from the position of greaser until he became possessed of a first-class engineer’s certificate. This proposed new scale gives expression to that idea, and is therefore more in harmony with the clauses of the Bill than is the present scale.
– The Minister is dealing rather with the general effect of this part of the schedule.
– The particular cases which have been dealt with by Senator Millen are covered by clause 21 It would be foolish to endeavour to amend this schedule to meet particular cases. We say to the men employed on these vessels, “ We will not give you anything worse than we offered you originally in the Bill.” Otherwise they would not occupy “ a similar or corresponding grade” under this measure. It would not be corresponding if he were entitled to drive a 60-ton ship under a State Act, and we gave him a certificate which would entitle him to drive only a smaller ship under this Bill. We may alter the means of arriving at the tonnage of a vessel, but that will not alter the size of the vessel.
– I interjected just now that the Minister appears to be confusing the general effect of this part of the schedule with its “effect in particular cases. I am not disputing its effect, as a whole, upon engineers as .a class. I wish to know whether, . if passed into law, this proposed- new scale will prejudicially affect people who to-day have certain rights. I am not asking that it should be disturbed ; but I am asking the Government to do what is usually done whenever we attempt legislation dealing with industries in which persons have for years followed a particular occupation. In such legislation it is usual to provide that those - who have hitherto been carrying on a creditable career, and have established themselves in a reputable practice, shall have their rights recognised. We may lay down whatever fresh standards we please for those who will come under the law subsequently; but we do not disturb those who have hitherto been doing useful work in the community. We should be extremely careful that, whatever standard we set up for the future, we shall not take away from any man the rights which he enjoys to-day under the law. I hope that the Minister is right in his interpretation of clause 21, but I have grave doubts on the subject. The clause provides that -
All uncancelled and unexpired certificates of competency for masters or ships’ officers issued under any State Act shall continue as if issued under this Act, but shall be valid only for the purposes for which, and to the extent to which, they would have been valid in accordance with the provisions of the State Act under which they were issued.
A man comes forward with a certificate entitling him to take charge of a vessel of 50 horse-power, and under this Bill it is proposed to suddenly read into that certificate “ 60 horse-power.”
– No; to give him a corresponding certificate. If we alter the nominal horse-power, we do not alter the actual horse-power. He will be entitled to take charge of an engine which he would have been entitled to take charge of under the State Act, no matter what its horsepower.
– That is the whole point, and I am expressing some doubt as to whether clause 21 will do what the Minister desires. I have passed the stage when I am prepared to dogmatize too freely upon the exact meaning of any clause.. We are told that these certificates are to be valid only for the purposes for which, and to the extent to which, they would have been valid under the provisions of the State Act, and we run a considerable risk, in sud- denly converting a 50 horse-power boat into* a 60 horse-power boat, of doing so to the detriment of men who, under a State law, are entitled to take charge of the enginesof a 50 horse-power boat. The Minister cannot reasonably object to a power enabling him to meet that difficulty. I am not going to make any suggestion, or propose any amendment for the purpose. Todo so would be .to revise the wholeof this part of the schedule. I am not competent to do that. I “state the difficulty, and leave the responsibility to the Minister of saying how it can safely be met. He has ample time, if not here, in another place, to reconstruct clause 21, and, if necessary, to make someamendment which will prevent us, in the name of this Parliament, doing an injury to engineers who have obtained certificates under a State law.
– - I am satisfied with the explanation of the Minister. I consider clause 21 a satisfactory clause, and one which will” serve the purpose desired. A man holding a certificate for a 50 horse-power engine under the present State law will be entitled to take charge of a 60 horse-power engine should the same vessel be considered 60 horse-power under this Bill. I think that is perfectly clear.
– It is so clear that the honorable senator arrives at one conclusion from it, and I arrive at another.
Amendment agreed to.
Schedule, as amended, agreed to.
Scale of Crew, steam-ships. Firemen and Trimmers. The number of firemen and trimmers required for steam-ships shall be in the proportion of at least one fireman or trimmer for every three and a half tons of coal consumed fer diem.
All vessels over 800 tons net register to carry a carpenter in addition to the seamen provided for in the above schedule. sailing ships.
– - Some amendments have been circulated by Senator Guthrie, whose absence I am sure we all deplore. In view of the interest that the honorable senator takes in matters of this kind, and has taken in this Bill, it would be a great mistake, in his absence, not to afford the Committee some opportunity to discuss the amendments he took so much trouble to bring before us. This schedule provides that -
The number of firemen and trimmers required for steam-ships shall be in the proportion of at least one fireman or trimmer for every three and a half tons of coal consumed per diem.
The first amendment which Senator Guthrie proposes in this connexion is to strike out the words “ and a half,” fixing the amount of coal consumption per man per day at 3 tons instead of 3J tons, as provided for in the schedule. We have just been discussing the basis of the manning scale for engineers, and it is determined by the nominal horse-power of engines. In this case, the basis proposed to be adopted to determine the manning scale for firemen and trimmers is the daily coal consumption. There are various ways in which this matter might be determined. In some cases it is determined by the grate area of the stokehold, in other cases by the nominal -.horse-power, by the steam capacity of the boilers, and so on. So far as I have been able to form an opinion, I think that the quantity of coal handled by the firemen is the best guide to adopt. There is a report on the subject by the Manning Committee, appointed by the Board of Trade, in the Old Country. I shall take the liberty of reading an extract from their report. They say -
The evidence which we have received establishes the fact that, other things being equal, the weight of the coal to be trimmed and burnt per day is the best measure of the amount of work to be done, and, therefore, of the number of men to be employed as firemen and trimmers. There are many minor causes for making the work to be done below greater or less; such, for example, as the shape and arrangement of the bunkers and their relative proximity to the stokeholds, the type of boiler (whether single or double ended), the heights of the boiler furnaces above the stokehold floor, the kind of coal employed, the ash hoists fitted, &c. It appears to us impossible, however, to provide in all ships for these, and many other minor circumstances affecting the work to be done ; and it has become obvious during the progress of our inquiry that shipowners, shipbuilders, and engine-makers are all giving increasing attention to such details, with the object of reducing the labour below decks to the lowest possible point. Some provision for exceptional cases may have to be made, but, in framing a manning scheme, we have taken as the basis the weight of coal to be consumed per day, and have dealt with firemen and trimmers, and. with the service of the boilers only, as distinct from the work of the engine-room. We are quite aware that other matters besides the consumption of coal have played a prominent part in the discussion of this subject.
I think I have read sufficient to show that the Board of Trade have approved of the consumption of coal as the best guide for the manning scale for firemen and trimmers. Because of their greater experience and wider knowledge of shipping we shall be perfectly safe in following their example. Three and a half tons of coal per day per man is not a low standard. We have to consider that the circumstances of shipping in Australian waters differ from those of shipping generally. Our Australian ships, for instance, do relatively a much greater amount of trade in tropical waters than do the ships of the Old Country. In a mild climate it may be assumed that the same quantity of coal could be handled with greater comfort than in a tropical climate. It should be more easy to handle the same quantity of coal on the comparatively mild southern coast of Australia than in the tropics in the North Queensland and Pacific Islands trade. There should be some distinction made in the manning scale to meet these differing circumstances. I find that this principle is recognised by the Manning Committee of the ‘Board of Trade. They propose that the amount of coal handled daily per man in the tropics shall be one-half ton less than in milder regions. In this Bill we make no such distinction, and, considering that we have a greater relative percentage of shipping in tropical waters, I think we should recognise that distinction. For the benefit of honorable senators I shall read the recommendation of the Manning Committee -
Adopting this principle of coal consumption as a basis for the manning of the boiler-Toom, the question arises how much coal is at present practically consumed per man per day .in the furnaces of merchant steamers? Mr. Ramsay -
Mr. Ramsay, I may explain, is the principal officer of the Board of Trade who was delegated to investigate the matter, and report his opinion to the Committee -
Mr. Ramsay, whom we have just quoted, and :who is a good authority on the point, says, “ Experience has shown that generally the proper humber of men, exclusive of the engineers and donkeymen, for . vessels trading in temperate climates, is obtained by dividing the coal consumption in 24 hours by 2^.” In other words, firemen and trimmers contribute on an average, in temperate climates, 2^ tons each per day to the ship’s consumption. But in this estimate, as in that of some other well-informed witnesses, no allowance was made for the detachment of men for service as greasers, &c, and as some allowance should be made for this, and as’ other witnesses favoured a somewhat larger consumption per man - as, moreover, we have only to fix the maximum work per man, and the minimum number of men - we have decided to report that a consumption of 3 tons of coal per day should be the allowance for this purpose in temperate climates (excluding the -home trade), and 2± tons when trading in tropical waters.
It will be seen that the quantity of coal which a British fireman is asked to work in temperate climates is half a ton less than the quantity which is fixed in this Bill. If we insist upon a fireman in the tropics handling tons, whilst a British fireman is only asked to handle 2 J tons, our law will not be so considerate as the British law. Generally speaking, our industrial laws lean more to the humane side than do British laws ; but in this instance the opposite will be the case. I think that the Minister should consider whether there is not a way of improving the state of affairs which is disclosed in the Bill. I hold that too much work is asked of a man, and that the quantity of coal per man fer diem ought to be brought into conformity with the recommendation of the Manning Committee. If we take that course our law will be more satisfactory. It will not place any great hardship on the ship-owners, because they can afford to give as much consideration to firemen as can British ship-owners. There is not the same keen competition amongst ship-owners in Australia as there is at Home, and the profits of Australian ship-owners are much greater than those obtained by the mercantile marine of the Old World. We should extend consideration to a class of men who, I daresay, .are the hardest worked in the community. I know of no work which has a more brutalizing effect than stoking in a vessel. Our aim should be to try to ease the work as much as possible, and that can be done, here without placing a hardship on the ship-owners. I ask the Minis- ter to accept the amendment which was given notice of by Senator Guthrie, and which I now move - ‘
That the words “ and a half “ be left out.
– The proposition put forward by Senator de Largie on .behalf of Senator Guthrie is not altogether a satisfactory solution of this difficulty. In some ships it would not be a hardship to provide that there should be one fireman for every 4% tons of coal used. In the case of other ships it would be a hardship to require one fireman for every 3 tons of coal consumed. A great deal depends on the construction of the part of the ship where the coal is carried, and, of course, on the mechanical appliances. I hold in my hand a table which illustrates the difficulty very well. It is a table of the coal consumption per day on a number of ships engaged in the Australian trade, and the average quantity per man. On the Kyarra, with a coal consumption of 79 tons per day, the average per fireman employed is 4.4 tons. But on the Wyandra, which is a more modern vessel, the coal consumption is 64 tons per day, and the average per fireman employed is 5.3 tons. I venture to think that the men in the Wyandra do not work any harder than the men in the Kyarra. They belong to the same union, which, no doubt, sees that the work is distributed as well in one boat as in the other. The explanation is that on the Wyandra the mechanical appliances are more- up-to-date, . and there ‘ are greater facilities- for handling coal. Taking ten well-known boats in the Australian trade, the average quantity of coal consumed per fireman employed is 4.8 tons. In the case of the
Ulimaroa the average quantity per man is 4 tons 18 cwt. The manning of that boat was fixed by a joint committee of the owners and the union. This table was presented by the ship-owners as an argument against the provision in the Bill. They state that we fixed the quantity per man too low at tons. They point out that their agreement with the union provides for 4.8 tons per man, so that the quantity named in the Bill is a considerable reduction. As I said, there are boats engaged on the coast where 4.8 tons per man is not a fair thing. If Senator de Largie will withdraw his amendment I am prepared to move -
That after the words “ fer diem “ the following words be inserted : - “ Provided that in the case of any particular ship the Minister mav, after reference to the Marine Council, specify a greater or less number of firemen or trimmers to be required.”
The Marine Council is a body on which the employers and the workers will be represented. If we provide that there shall be at least one trimmer for every tons of coal used, the quantity will be half a ton below the average quantity handled by firemen and trimmers round the coast. That will necessitate, especially in the case of the new boats, an increase in the number of firemen. In some old boats> . it will necessitate a decrease in the number of firemen. If a boat has excellent mechanical appliances, it may be necessary to increase the average per man to 4 or 4$ tons, but if a boat has bad appliances, or is. badly constructed, it may be necessary to decrease the quantity. Again, in the tropics it may be necessary to decrease the quantity to 3 or 21 tons. It seems to me that it will be more satisfactory to leave the determination of special cases to a council, representative of both sections, than to fix upon an arbitrary quantity which might inflict an injustice on the men in one case or on the owners in another case, and discourage the use of the latest appliances.
– In my opinion, the Minister’s suggestion will meet the position very happily. It is very difficult to lay down a hard-and-fast rule. There is a great difference in the construction of ships, and much difference in climatic conditions. We need an elastic provision, which may be applied according to varying conditions.
– I think that the proviso suggested by the Minister might very well be inserted after we have fixed upon 3 tons as the average quantity of coal to be worked. I cannot see why an arrangement for increasing or reducing the quantity cannot be made as successfully with an average of 3 tons as with an average of 3 J tons. - We would err on the side of the men if we provided for such an arrangement. I do not know much about firemen, but I know that on a certain boat a man was over-worked to such an extent that he jumped overboard. He was simply mad in consequence of .the strain which he had had to endure. :
– Not on our coast.
– No. It occurred on a steamer which is heavily subsidized by the Government.
– The honorable senator is referring to an Orient boat, where there is no restriction.
– It is an instance of the conditions in which firemen have to work. If the quantity of coal per man is fixed at 3 tons the Minister’s amendment can still be moved. This plan will, I think, encourage the owners of vessels to put iri better appliances. I hope that the amendment of Senator de Largie will be carried, and that the Minister will submit a proposal under which it will be possible to make arrangements suitable to the conditions under which men have to work.
– - I recognise that whether the work is hard or reasonable depends upon the conditions in which it has to be done. I have taken the trouble to visit some stoke-holds and also some engine-rooms.. I have inspected vessels in which the stoke-holes’ . are ventilated by electrical fans. I have been in stokeholds that were almost as cool- as the steerage passengers’ cabins. I quire recognise, therefore, that mechanical contrivances can be used which will improve the. conditions under which work is carried on.. If the Minister assures me that the Marine Council will be given power to alter the scale in respect of any ship, according to the nature of the stokehold, and the easiness or difficulty of work therein, I am quite prepared to withdraw my amendment. An impetus will be given to ship-owners to adopt contrivances to enable the work to be done under better conditions if they have to comply, not with an arbitrary scale, but with a scale varied according to the conditions prevailing on board.
Amendment, bv leave, withdrawn.
Amendment (by Senator Pearce) agreed to-
That after the words “ fer diem,” where first occurring, the following words be inserted : - “ Provided that in the case of any particular ship the Minister may, after reference to the Marine Council, specify a greater or less number of firemen and trimmers to be required.”
– I move -
That after the word “steam-ship,” where second occurring, the following words be inserted : - “ running more than one hundred miles shall in any case carry less than three firemen, and that no other sea-going steam-ship.”
The object of the amendment is that there shall be at least one fireman for each shift. A trip of 100 miles may possibly extend over twenty-four hours. It is considered necessary that a vessel shall have at least three firemen on such a journey ; otherwise, in case of sickness, one fireman might have to work during the whole journey. Amendment agreed to. Senator PEARCE (Western AustraliaMinister of Defence) [5.7]. - I move -
That after the sub-heading “ Seamen ‘’ the words “ [Cargo Steam-ships] ” be inserted.
Later on I intend to propose a different scale for passenger steam-ships. It is desirable to differentiate between the two scales.
– This is practically the same amendment as Senator Guthrie gave notice of.
– Practically the same.
Amendment agreed to. Senator E. J. RUSSELL (Victoria) [5.8]. - I move -
That the word “ carpenter “ under the heading “ Seamen “ be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “ shipwright.”
The object of this amendment is to insure that a shipwright, not merely a carpenter, shall be carried on every vessel. It is not proposed to increase the number of hands. The object of carrying a woodworker on board ship is to make life safer. I do not know why the word “ carpenter “ has been inserted at all, because it does not insure that the right kind of woodworker will be carried. What is required is, not a man who can mend deck chairs, or erect -pens for cattle, but a qualified shipwright.
– Is there any difference between a ship’s carpenter and a shipwright ?
– There is a great difference. Let me enumerate what the duties of a shipwright are. He must be thoroughly conversant with the construc tion of, and attend to all watertight compartments, bulkheads, tanks, and sluices. He also has the large side ports, to lead and make watertight before the ship leaves. These ports are taken apart on arrival at every port. He has to take and keep record of draft, leaving and arriving in port, sound all holds and ballast tanks, and keep record of same every watch, attend to all patent windlasses and anchors, secure and batten all hatches and tarpaulins, attend to steering gear and adjust same, have all wash ports in thorough working order. On modern passenger steam-ships numerous life-boats are carried, and want attention, patent chocks and davits connected with the same have to be swung out at short notice, and warrant the presence of a skilled man to keep them in good order. As the object of this Bill is to make seagoing as safe as possible, it is necessary to insure that competent men shall be carried. It must, be remembered that a shipwright is well able to do all the work that a carpenter can perform ; whilst, on the other hand, a carpenter may not be capable of fulfilling many of the proper functions of a shipwright. As an indication of the need which exists for having a qualified man on board, I will point to one instance with which the Minister ought to be familiar. Some time ago the steamer Boveric broke down off the coast of Western Australia. Her machinery could not be repaired even by her skilled engineers. But amongst her crew was a practical shipwright, and when the vessel was 1,000 miles from Fremantle he rigged a jury mast, and with the aid of a few tarpaulins managed to bring her a distance of 800 miles - to within zoo miles of Fremantle, where she was picked up. I may mention that, before the shipwright rigged the mast in question, the vessel had within the space of three weeks managed to make a complete circle, thus evidencing that all the efforts of the skilled engineers on board were of no avail. This incident serves to show that in the event of an accident at sea, it is wise to have a competent shipwright on board. I do not know whether, under this schedule, the term “carpenter” means ship’s carpenter; but if it dees not. it ought to do so. Otherwise, it might be possible for a carpenter who had been accustomed to building houses, to accept a position as a ship’s carpenter. In connexion with steamers especially, I think it is very necessary that we should do justice to the large class of shipwrights who are rapidly losing their employment.
– - As a carpenter, I somewhat resent the imputations which have been cast upon my craft by Senator E. J. Russell. But I am informed by the departmental officers that in this instance only a shipwright will be eligible for the position. Therefore, without admitting in any way the superiority of the carpenter to any other man on earth, I feel impelled to accept the amendment.
Amendment agreed to. Senator PEARCE (Western AustraliaMinister of Defence) [5.14]- - I move -
That, after the scale for cargo steam-ships, the following new scale be inserted : -
Seamen (Passenger Steam-ships).
Under 15 ions gross register, not less than one able seaman. 15 and under 50 tons gross register, not less than two able seamen and one boy. 50 and under 100 Ions gross register, not less than two able seamen, two ordinary senmen, and one boy. too and under 200 tons gross register, not less than four able seamen, one ordinary seaman, and one boy. 200 and under 400 tons gross register, not less than five able seamen, one ordinary seaman, and one boy. 400 and under 600 tons gross register, not less than six able seamen, one ordinary seaman, and one boy. 600 and under 1,000 tons gross register, not less than seven able seamen, one ordinary seaman, and one boy. 1,000 and under 1,500 tons gross register, not less than eight able seamen, one ordinary seaman, and one boy. 1,500 and under 2,000 tons gross register, not less than nine able seamen, one ordinary seaman, and one boy. One able seaman extra for every additional 500 tons or fraction of 500 tons above 2,000 tons.
All vessels over 800 tons gross register to carry a shipwright in addition to the seamen provided for in the above schedule.
Note. - This schedule shall not apply to steam-ships plying in harbors, rivers, or inland waters.
In the first line of the new scale it will be noted that the words “ gross register “ appear, and right through it the term “gross register” is used instead of “ net register,” as in the case of cargo steamers. That circumstance will render the amendment which Senator de Largie intended to move, unnecessary. It also means practically an increase of 50 per cent, to the manning scale of passenger steam-ships as compared with the manning scale of cargo steam-ships of the same register:
– Is not there a definition of “ passenger steam-ship “ ?
– Yes. I will give a few illustrations of vessels which trade along our coast, to show what I mean. The Karoola has a gross tonnage of 7,391 tons, and a net tonnage of 4,324 tons. The Ulimaroa is of 5,777 tons gross register, and 2,986 tons net register. The Kyarra has a gross tonnage of 6,953 tons> whilst her net tonnage is 41383 tons. As an indication of how these vessels will be affected so far as their manning is concerned, I may tell honorable senators that under the Bill in its original form, the Karoola would have been required to carry fourteen A.B’s. and two boys, whereas under this provision, she will carry twenty A.B’s. and two boys. Similarly the Ulimaroa would have been required to carry eleven A.B’s. and two boys, whereas under this proposal she will carry seventeen A.B’s. and two boys. The Kyarra would have been required to carry fourteen A.B’s. and two boys, whilst under this proposal she will carry nineteen A.B’s. and two boys. I wish to say, especially in the case of the three vessels which I have mentioned, that they are already carrying more than the complement required by the Bill in its present form. For instance, the Karoola is carrying fifteen A.B.’s and five boys, whereas under the Bill she is obliged to carry only fourteen A.B.’s and two boys. The Ulimaroa is carrying thirteen A.B’s. and two boys, whereas under the Bill she is required to carry only eleven A.B’s. and two boys. The Kyarra is carrying fifteen A.B’s. and five boys, whereas she is obliged to carry only fourteen A.B’s. and two boys. Under the Bill now before the Senate, which makes no distinction between gross tonnage and net tonnage, nearly all the latest passenger steamers would have lost from one to two AB’s., the cargo steamers being, with few exceptions, the only vessels which will benefit under the proposed net tonnage scale. Net tonnage, being only cargo space, is no indication of the size of a vessel,’ with nearly all the space taken up with passenger accommodation, as is the case in nearly all modern passenger steam-ships^ A gross tonnage scale for passenger steamers will remedy this defect. There is a very serious side to the practice of laying down for a passenger steamer the same manning scale as obtains in the case of a cargo steamer.
– The Minister said that there was a definition of “ passenger steamer.” I find that there is a definition of “ passenger,” but not of “ passenger steamer.”
– Is there not a definition of a passenger trade ship?
– A passenger is defined as “ any person.”
– Therefore, any vessel carrying a passenger will have to comply with this scale. One of the serious defects in connexion with the manning scale of our passenger ships is in connexion with the provision that a certain number of life-boats shall be carried. These boats are presumed to be able to rescue in cases of emergency, the maximum number of passengers which the vessel is permitted to. carry under her licence. But it must be remembered that these life-boats are useless unless there are men to man them. In that case the passengers would have to do the best that they could for themselves. Now, the art of lowering a life-boat is one which the ordinary sea passenger does not understand. Consequently, an endeavour is always made to provide that every life-boat’s crew shall contain at least two A.B.’s. so that if, in case of emergency, the whole of these boats had to be lowered, there would be two competent persons to perform the task, and afterwards to take charge of them. We have had inquiry made as to the position which obtains in the case of four well-known coastal steamers - I will not give their names, because ‘ I do not think it would be right to do so - and we find that although they are more than complying with the manning scale that we propose, yet in case of emergency, if they carried the maximum number of passengers which they are entitled to carry, they would be unable to provide the necessary number of A.B.’s to lower the life-boats. For instance, in No. i vessel the first man of the crew of No. 12 lifeboat would be an A.B., the second would be a fireman, the third would be a fireman, the fourth would be the seventh engineer, whilst the fifth, sixth, and seventh men would be stewards. In the case of life-boat No. it the first man of the crew would be an A.B., the second a greaser, the third a fireman, the fourth the sixth engineer, the fifth a second-saloon steward, the sixth a steward, the seventh a steward, and the eight a second-saloon steward. I come now to vessel No. 2. In her case No. 9 life-boat would be manned by a carpenter, an A.B., an ordinary seaman, two firemen, a trimmer, and four stewards. No. 8 life-boat from the same vessel would be manned by a crew comprising the third engineer, a baker, a pantryman, an A.B., a trimmer, two firemen, and three stewards. No. 8 life-boat of No. 3 ship would contain the third engineer, the fourth engineer, the donkeyman, an A.B., two firemen, the purser, a steward, and the messroom steward. The crew of No. 8 life-boat on No. 4 ship would comprise the third engineer, one A.B., two firemen, the night watchman’s steward, two bedroom stewards, the messroom steward, and a sculleryman. The crew of No. 7 life-boat would consist of the second engineer, a lamp-trimmer, an ordinary seaman, a fireman, and three forecabin stewards. In that boat there would not be one A.B. When honorable senators realize these facts, which illustrate the position of vessels that were in Melbourne during this week, they will recognise that it is not a condition of affairs which ought to be continued. It is useless to limit the number of passengers that shall be carried by a ship unless we provide that she shall also carry a sufficient number of men who understand the handling of life-boats to launch those boats and to handle them properly after they have been launched. I wish to indicate the effect of the new manning scale as compared with the existing scale. In the case of the Karoola, five more men than at present will be required. In the case of the Ulimaroa, four more men will be required. The Karoola is carrying five boys now, whereas under this scale she will only need to carry two. The Kyarra, with fifteen A.B.’s,- will have to carry nineteen, but she is carrying five boys, and will only have to carry two. These are sample cases, which are practically repeated in the other ships trading round our coast, and the instances given will show the effect of the new scale proposed. I trust that the Committee will agree to it. In the last paragraph of the amendment, I have substituted the word “ shipwright “ for the word “ carpenter.”
– I have listened carefully to what the Minister has said. One can only desire to assist in every effort to see that our vessels, and especially passenger vessels, shall be adequately and efficiently manned. The only point that occurs to me is whether the increase in the manning scale now proDosed is not somewhat excessive. I cannot answer the question, but I ask the Minister whether his statement made earlier in our proceedings with regard to the submission of a proposed schedule for the opinion of the interested parties applies also to this proposal.
– No ; I do not think so. Senator MILLEN. - Then I can only say that it is rather a pity that this proposal was not submitted to the interested parties in the same way. I think it is very desirable in dealing with a Bill of this kind that some publicity should be given to the intention of the Government to bring down an amendment of so drastic a character. The Bill has been so long before us that it is quite possible that the fact that it is still under the consideration of the Senate has been overlooked. This is certainly a material amendment, and it is desirable that the same steps should be taken with regard to it as have been taken in connexion with other alterations which have previously been dealt with. I should like to know whether the proposed scale is to apply to.every boat, irrespective of size and the trade engaged in, or the number of passengers carried. I take the case of a vessel ordinarily used as a cargo boat, but occasionally carrying from a small wayside port. to another port a single passenger. Is a vessel the moment a single passenger is taken on board to be required to conform to this scale? If so, we shall be denying to a section of the community a convenience which is of great value to them. I take, for instance, the case of timber boats trading on the north coast of New South Wales, from Sydney to a place like Coffs Harbor, a place at which regular coasting steamers do not touch, or only “at lengthy intervals. These timber boats occasionally carry one, two, or three passengers, and it seems to me that, in the absence of any definition of what is 2. passenger vessel, and bearing in mind the definition of “passenger,” they may be called upon to add 50 per cent, to their manning scale. I point out that, even if the owners were willing to do so, the -men might not be obtainable, and it certainly would not pay to do so. As a result, the great convenience at present enjoyed by intermittent travellers may have to be withdrawn. Ought not something ‘ to be done to meet cases of that kind ? I ask the Minister whether, without interfering with the object for which this schedule was introduced, some provision should not be made to meet the cases I have referred to.
– I am satisfied that the new scale as read over- by the Minister of
Defence deals with this matter more concisely and clearly than the amendment suggested by Senator Guthrie, and I have, therefore, no hesitation in supporting it.
– - The Minister of Defence has -not answered my question.
– What was the question ?
– I apologize to the Committee, on behalf of the Minister, for having to re-state the difficulty to which I directed his attention. I wish to know what the effect of this proposal will be on small coasting boats used as cargo boats, but which occasionally carry a passenger from one isolated port to another. Is there to be any exemption from the provisions of this scale in the case of such boats, or must it be complied with by such boats which supply the only convenience which persons resident at isolated ports at present have for travelling to the metropolis, or to other parts of a State? There is often an interval of two weeks or a month between the visits of the larger vessels to some of the northern ports of New South Wales ; and the small cargo boats, in the -circumstances, supply practically the only means by which people can travel from those ports to other ports of the State.
– I regret that I neglected to recognise the force of Senator Millen’s remarks. We propose to recommit several clauses .of the Bill, and I hope to give consideration to what he has said. Senator Millen will have an. opportunity to move an amendment, or I may myself submit an amendment to meet the case to which he has referred. It may be in the direction of exempting from this provision a cargo ship carrying only a limited number of passengers, say, up to twelve. I do not make any definite promise to that effect, but I shall agree to the recommittal of the schedule to permit Senator Millen to move an amendment dealing with the matter, if I am not prepared to submit such an amendment myself.
– - I am glad to have that assurance from the Minister of Defence. The honorable senator, however, will see that it is not easy for a layman, dealing with a purely technical Bill of this kind, to submit an amendment of the sort, which may be immediately assailed by the legal advisers of the Government, on the ground that it affects some other part of the Bill which we do not desire to alter. In the circumstances, I ask the Minister to give early intimation of the opportunity to be afforded for dealing with the matter.
– I can get an amendment drafted, whether I move it or not.
– Personally, I shall be satisfied with an exemption of a much smaller character than the Minister has indicated. I am not certain that a vessel carrying twelve passengers should not be regarded as a passenger boat. I was thinking of the case of small boats carrying onlyone, two, or three passengers, and these very irregularly.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendment (by Senator E. J. Russell) agreed to -
That the word “ carpenter,” under the heading “ Sailing Ships,” be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “ shipwright.”
Schedule, as amended, agreed to. Schedule III. (Scale of provisions). Amendment (by Senator Pearce) proposed -
That, after the sub-heading “Scale of Provisions,” the following words be inserted, “ in the case of British ships not registered in Australia and British ships not engaged in the coasting trade.”
– I have not compared this with the existing scale, and I am in the dark as to why the amendment is proposed. I take it that in regard to British ships not registered in Australia and not engaged in the coastal trade the intention is to lay down a scale of provisions to be complied with whilst they are trading on our coasts.
– That is so.
– Then why not apply it to foreign vessels also?
– Because we cannot do so.
– Because they are foreign vessels.
– It appears to me that we are taking advantage of the fact that England will not resent what we are doing, and applying to British ships a provision which we are not game to apply, or capable of applying, to German ships.
– We are only complying with a provision of the British law.
– Does this correspond with the schedule in the Merchant Shipping Act?
– That is all right. The effect of putting these words in the present scale will be to exclude certain ships.
– If the amendment is carried, I propose to move the other amendment of which I have given notice.
– If we insert these words, we shall cut out the vessels which are covered by the second scale.
– It is impossible to consider one scale without the other. What is it proposed to do with the vessels excluded from the first scale? As it stands, it covers all vessels.
– The second scale which I have circulated will be amended by the omission of the word “British” wherever it occurs.
– What will become of the ships excluded from the first scale?
– If this heading is adopted, I shall move the other amendment as it is printed, except that the word “ British “ will be left out wherever it occurs, so that the heading will read, “ Scale of Provisions in Case of Ships Registered in Australia and Ships Engaged in the Coasting Trade.” There will be two scales of provisions, namely, one for British vessels not registered in Australia, and not engaged in the coasting trade; and the other for ships registered in Australia and engaged in the coasting trade. That is all that we are able to deal with. In the case of British ships not registered in Australia, we simply apply the scale of provisions which is laid down in the Merchant Shipping Act, while in the case of ships engaged in the Australian trade, and registered in Australia, we apply our own scale, which, I point out, is more generous than the British scale.
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales) [S-4S]- - I nave followed the Minister’s explanation. I cannot say whether the provision is right or not ; but I should like to know if he has had any consultation with those who are concerned with this matter, or whether this proposal simply comes from the departmental officers.
– From the departmental officers, in conjunction with the Minister of Trade and Customs and myself.
– I read in the press that in the Arbitration Court this very question is coming up.
– The question of wages.
– Wages and provisions.
– Not so much the scale of provisions as the way in which they are served.
– If the newspaper reports are not misleading, the scale of provisions is before the Arbitration Court. If we lay down what is to be the law in the case, it ought to stand, and ought not to be subject to revision by any Court.
– The Arbitration Court cannot revise the scale of provisions, surely.
– I am not at all certain that it cannot. If we give to an Arbitration Court, created under an Arbitration Act, the right to lay down the terms and conditions of employment, and the employment provides for the keep of the men, I think that the Court is entitled to say what provisions shall be supplied. It will be for the Minister of Defence to see whether there is a possibility of a conflict arising between this schedule and the very wide powers which are given to the Arbitration Couri.
Amendment agreed to.
– I move -
That the following new scale be inserted : - Scale of provisions in the case of ships registered in Australia and ships engaged in the coasting trade.
This is, I may say, a little extension of the previous scale of provisions. It has been gone into closely by officers who have had a long association with the shipping trade. It has also been compared with a scale drawn up by Dr. Robertson, who gave expert evidence before the Navigation Commission as to the nutritive value of the various foods specified in the scale under consideration then. It has been drawn up after a comparison with the scale submitted by the navigation experts, with the scale submitted by Dr. Robertson, and with the scale in the Bill as introduced. I think that honorable senators will recognise that whilst it is fairly generous it is not too generous in view of the hard work which the men have to undergo.
– There is a blank under the heading of “Water.” Is no water to be supplied on coasting vessels?
– I desire to know why no provision is made as to the quantity of water fer man to be supplied.
– It was thought inadvisable to state a quantity; the only thing is that the water must be full’ and plenty.
– Where is that set out?
– The officers administering the Act will have to see that sufficient water is supplied.
– In one scale the Government have specified the minimum quantity of water to be supplied, but in this scale dealing with local ships they make no provision as to water.
– In one case we adopted the scale in the Merchant Shipping Act, and in the other case we did not think it advisable to put a limit to the quantity of water.
– I suggest to the Minister that, as is done in the Shearers’ Act in New South Wales, it ought to be provided that the water shall be sufficient in quantity and good in quality. Surely some provision of that kind should be made.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendment (by Senator Pearce) agreed to-
That the word “scale,” wherever it occurs, be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “ scales.”
Schedule, as amended, agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.
– As I understand that honorable senators offer no objection, I move -
That the Standing Orders be suspended to enable the report to be considered forthwith.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Senator McGregor) proposed -
That the report be adopted.
Amendment (by Senator Pearce) agreed to-
That the Bill be recommitted for the reconsideration of clauses 118, 128, 134, 102, 206, 223> 327, and schedules II. and III. ; and the consideration of new clauses 191A, 191B, and 191c.
In Committee: Clause 118 -
The master of every ship for which an agreement with the crew is required under this Act shall furnish provisions to every member of the crew … in accordance with the scale set out in schedule III., or as is prescribed. . . .
– I move -
That after the words “schedule III.” the words “ applicable to the ship “ be inserted.
It will be remembered that when we were dealing with schedule III. we provided for two different scales of provisions, one applicable to a particular class of ship and the other to another class. We therefore need to amend this clause as nowproposed.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 128 -
– I move -
That after the word “ any,” line 4, the word “master” be inserted.
The reason for this amendment is that in the earlier part of the clause the master is included, lt is provided that if the master receives any hurt or injury and the owner is put to expense that expense shall be defrayed by the owner without any deduction from . the wages due to the master. The amendment makes the latter part of the clause also apply to th?- roaster. The word was left out by som* accident in drafting.
Amendment agreed to. Clause consequentially amended and agreed to.
Clause 134 -
Penalty : One hundred pounds.
– I move -
That in sub-clause 1 the words “ every foreign- “ going ship “ be left out, with a view to insert in Heu thereof the words’ “ every - (a) foreign- going ship ; or (i Australian-trade ship on a -voyage between consecutive ports of call which exceeds the prescribed distance.”
The object of this amendment is to provide that where a ship travels beyond a certain distance and is out of reach of medical assistance from shore, she shall be compelled to carry a medical man, or, at all events, a person who can render first aid. We are extending the provision regarding the provision of a medical man on foreigngoing ships by providing that Australian trade ships shall also carry medical men if they go beyond a prescribed distance. For instance, it may be prescribed that a vessel going from Melbourne to Western Australia shall carry a medical officer.
– The clause as it stands would not provide for a medical officer being carried on a ship trading between Melbourne and New Zealand.
– No. The clause as it stands does not affect Australian trade ships at all. As we think it necessary to provide for medical officers being carried on foreign-going ships we also think it necessary that ships engaged in such trade as takes them away from the coast for a certain number of days should be similarly equipped.
– Would it not fulfil the desire of the Minister if after the words “ foreigngoing ship’” we simply inserted “and every other ship “ ?
– We do not want to make this, provision apply to every ship. Some ships only trade for half a day at a time. There is .no need for them to -carry a doctor.
– But we might make, the clause apply to “ every “ ship going beyond the prescribed distance.
– Surely the Minister can give us further information on this point. I do not know whether at present ships trading between Australia and New Zealand carry medical practitioners. If they do not there must be some reason why they do not. The Minister asks us to impose these burdens upon the ground of humanity; and as a recognition of the claims’ of passengers who have to undertake voyages exceeding a certain distance. But I would like him to give us some concrete illustration of the reasons which underlie the proposed change. There may be reasons why medical practitioners should be carried upon vessels which trade from Adelaide as far as Fremantle. If the new departure be a humane or necessary one, nobody will complain ; but it must be patent to every honorable senator that, in clause after clause of this Bill, we are adding to the expense of carrying on shipping to such an extent that I fear sea travelling will become a luxury which is denied to the working classes.
– It is pretty well that now.
– Surely, where it is proposed to make such an important change, the Minister will not content himself with merely saying, “ We desire that this shall be done.” Some reasons must underlie the proposed change, and I hope that the Minister will tell us what they are.
– I have nothing to add to what I have already said.
– Then the Minister is asking us to make this change upon a very broad ground, and without giving us specific reasons.
– The honorable senator’s own intelligence ought to show him the necessity which exists for it.
– If I were endowed with the gigantic intelligence of the honorable senator, no doubt I should grasp the reasons for the change. But it is quite possible that I can grip some of the elementary reasons for it, which lie at the back of the heads of Ministers.
– Give up this “ stonewall.”
– I am not “ stone-walling.” The Opposition have specially refrained from indulging in such tactics. No doubt the remark of the honorable senator was made merely with a view to provoking a retort. I regret that the Minister of Defence has not been able to assign any specific reasons for the proposed change.
– I have here a specific case, which I do not wish to quote, because it is of rather a painful character.
– I do not want the Minister to supply me with names.
– Everybody must recognise the general need which exists for the change that we propose. But here is a specific reason for it. On the last voyage of one well-known steamer from Western Australia to Adelaide, a man on board cut his throat when the vessel was two days’ steaming distance from Adelaide. There was no medical officer on board, but some of the passengers stitched up his throat as best they could, and the man lived until a few hours before the ship’s arrival in Ade laide. Had a medical officer been on board his life would probably have been saved. Everybody who has travelled by sea must recognise the advantage which would be conferred by the presence of a medical man on vessels undertaking a voyage of several days.
– There may be cases such as that cited by the Minister of Defence, but I would point out that they are exceptional. I do not know that it is wise to handicap the whole of our shipping simply because a case occasionally occurs in which the presence of a medical man would have been an advantage. If one travelled much by sea he would doubtless be able to cite instances in which no great loss of life had occurred on board, owing, perhaps, to the illness of the doctor. My experience is that doctors are absolutely useless at sea. .1 fail to recognise why we should go out of our way to help along the doctors’ union by imposing a burden upon shipping companieswhich now find it difficult enough to make ends meet, by reason of the many restrictions with which they have to contend in the organization to which most of them belong. I do not see that any very great advantage will be derived by ‘placing in this Bill a condition which will compel a vessel making a voyage of three or four days’ duration to carry a doctor, whose .services may be required only once in ten years. Of course,, we might go a step further by declaring that on such vessels passengers shall be provided with medical attendance free of charge. But in the absence of competition,, there is nothing to prevent doctors on board ship from charging their own price, so that I do not know whether, under this provision, we shall be conferring even a temporary advantage upon the seatravelling public.
– I think that Senator Gardiner, in his serious moments, will agree with the general principle which underlies this clause. What I wish specially to point- out is that it isproposed to leave the distance to which the voyage of a vessel shall extend before the presence of a medical man is necessitated on board to be prescribed. What I wish to know is whether it is intended to make this provision apply to short voyages of, say, 100 miles, or merely to journeys from Perth round to the eastern States?
– I think that what theMinister of Trade and Customs has in his- mind’ are voyages to Perth and New Zealand.
– I quite recognise the necessity for a medical officer on board any vessel voyaging to or from Western Australia. It would be deplorable if our deliberations here were hampered at any time owing to a representative of that State1 not being in his usual health on account of the absence of a doctor on board the vessel by which he had travelled. But it is possible, by applying such a provision to short voyages, to impose a serious handicap on shipping without doing any earthly good to anybody.
– I do not think that any Minister in his senses would dream of imposing the obligation embodied in this clause upon a ship trading along our coast, and touching at a port every few hours. But if it be intended to apply it only to vessels voyaging to and from Western Australia and New Zealand, I think that the provision is a good one. I am quite aware that sometimes we may better preserve our health by keeping away from doctors than by consulting them!, although it frequently happens that the services of a surgeon are necessary. Unlike Senator Gardiner, I think that shipping companies can well afford to pay for the proposed new departure. I hope that too great a distance will not be prescribed in the case of vessels which are required to carry a doctor, and I do not see why the provision should be limited to those which carry 100 passengers. However, it is beyond my power to alter that.
– I have been looking up the report of the Navigation Commission, and I find that that body gave some attention to this matter and made a recommendation in regard to it which I had overlooked. That recommendation is as follows: -
In conformity with the general practice now followed on up-to-date ships, of carrying a medical man, we recommend that, in the case of vessels carrying not less than 100 passengers, and on voyages of five days or over, a legally qualified medical man should be carried, and on those vessels not thus provided for, it is suggested that the master or some other person should be qualified to render first aid. It is also suggested that a knowledge of first aid should be necessary to obtain a master’s or officer’s certificate, ‘ and that an opportunity should be afforded to seamen and apprentices to qualify.
Seeing that we propose to make provision for the presence of a medical man on vessels carrying 100 passengers, and trading as far as Fremantle, I think that we ought not to forget the recommendation of the Commission. I admit that other portions of Australia are not five days distant from any port. The voyage from Adelaide to Fremantle is more like an ocean trip than a coastal one, not merely because of the nature of the run, but because of the weather that is frequently experienced in crossing the Great Australian Bight.
– It is often the roughest portion of the trip between here and the Old Country.
– Exactly. I do not know that this proposal will mean a very great burden to our shipping companies. They are combined in such a way that it would be an easy matter for them to engage one or two doctors for voyages between Adelaide . and Fremantle. That is the only trip of five days’ duration round our coast. I may mention that our coasting vessels are much more busy on that run than are the deep-sea vessels. During the summer months the number of women and children who travel to and from Western Australia by our coastal steamers is really surprising. Women with children apparently prefer to travel by those vessels rather than by the mail steamers, ‘because of the absence of style ion board ‘them., During ‘the summer months there is a tremendous passenger trade between Western Australia and the eastern States, and the necessity for a doctor on board vessels making that trip must be apparent to everybody. For this reason I hope that the proposal of the Minister will be accepted by the Committee. I can assure Senator Gardiner that the new departure can be worked so economically that the engagement of one or two medical men by our shipping companies would accomplish all that is necessary under this clause. Notwithstanding Senator Millen’s hostility to the proposal, the necessity for it is quite apparent, and I hope the Minister will stand by the amendment.
– I wish to allay Senator de Largie’s anxiety. I have no hostility to this proposal; on the contrary, I commend it. I only regret that apparently I have not the ability to express my mental attitude on the subject with sufficient clearness to enable the honorable senator to understand it.
Amendment agreed to.
– I move -
That in sub-clause 2 the words” every foreigngoing ship “ be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “ (a) every foreign-going ship, or (b) Australian-trade ship on a voyage between consecutive ports of call which exceeds the prescribed distance.”
The first part of the clause deals with ships carrying over 100 passengers, and the second with those carrying less than 100 passengers. The amendment is intended to require that in the case of the latter there shall be some person on board certified by a medical inspector as qualified to render first aid.
– I would ask whether in this case ten is not rather a low number to fix as a minimum to require the carrying of an additional man who will probably be idle for the greater part of his time.
– He may be one of the officers or crew.
– If that be so, I raise no objection.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
– Senator McDougall has certain new clauses to propose which should be dealt with prior to clause 1.92, the next clause, the recommittal of which I have asked for. I suggest that in accordance with the usual procedure in the Senate the new clauses to be proposed by Senator McDougall be taken before clause 192.
– I propose to follow the usual procedure, and will put the new clauses to the Committee next.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 8p.m.
– I move -
That the following new clause be inserted : - “ 191A. - (1.) The regulations shall provide for not less than three classes of surveyors, as follows : -
Class I. - Shipwright surveyors.
Class II. - Boiler and iron hull surveyors.
Class III. - Engineer surveyors. (2.) Class I. shall consist of men who are qualified to determine the general fitness of a ship, her deck, hull (where the hull is constructed of wood), rigging, stowage of cargo, fitness for the voyage, general equipment, and other prescribed matters in relation to the ship. (3.) Class II. shall consist of men who are qualified to determine the condition of a ship’s boilers and hull (where the hull is constructed of iron or steel). (4.) Class III. shall consist of men who are qualified to determine the condition of a ship’s engines and machinery. (5.) Admission to the respective classes shall be by examination conducted under and in accordance with the regulations :
Provided that any person who proves to the satisfaction of the Minister that he was at the commencement of this Act bond fide practising as a shipwright surveyor, boiler and iron hull surveyor, or engineer surveyor, or as a surveyor in an equivalent capacity, under any State Act relating to navigation, and that he -
has been so practising for at least three years prior to the commencement of this Act, or
is the holder of a certificate of competency under State law of equivalent class to a certificate under this Act, and is competent to act as a surveyor under this Act, may be admitted as a shipwright surveyor, boiler and iron hull surveyor, or engineer surveyor, as the case may be, under this Act, without passing the prescribed examination. (6.) Any examination under the preceding subsection shall be, in part at least, of a practical nature. (7.) The provisions’ of sections thirteen to eighteen inclusive shall apply, with such modifications as are prescribed, to examinations held and certificates granted under this section.
I am proposing the insertion of three new clauses to provide for the better inspection of the hull and machinery of iron and wooden vessels. As one who has graduated in this class of ship-building, I know only too well that many a good man has gone to his rest because of insufficient or inefficient inspection. I desire to divide the inspectors into three different classes - shipwright surveyors ; boiler and iron hull surveyors; and engineer surveyors. In the past it has been almost impossible for a practical man, who is able to construct a vessel or a boiler, to become a surveyor, and the surveyors of vessels have been drawn practically from one class. I do not desire to confine these positions to men following a particular trade, but if a man has to survey an iron or wooden vessel he should be skilled in the construction of such vessels. I propose that the examination to be provided for shall be in part at least of a practical nature. The object of this is that if a man wishes to act as a shipwright surveyor he must be a shipwright. It should not be necessary for him to pass the other examinations now provided for in the New South Wales Act. We have in that State a shipwright surveyor who has a captain’s certificate. He went to sea as a shipwright, and subsequently qualified as a mate and then as master on a coasting vessel. So far as boiler and iron hull surveyors are concerned, we have no one in
New South Wales at the present time acting in the position who is capable of constructing an iron vessel. It is necessary that such a surveyor should have some practical knowledge of .construction, because with that knowledge he will know the weak points, whereas an unskilled man would not be so apt to discover defects. I know of one case in which a surveyor surveyed the boilers in a vessel and gave a certificate, though he forgot to look at the doors of the toilers. They were in a very bad state, and the ship had not been at sea an hour before the packing of the defective doors blew out, and an unfortunate man was boiled to death in the stoke-hole, while his mates on deck could hear his cries for assistance, and were unable to aid him. The man who was killed was new to the ship, and turning to his left hand instead of to his right to reach the companion ladder, he lost his life in the way I have described. Another case occurred not long ago in which I. was myself concerned. I saw a man done to death in the furnace of a boiler through the bursting of a tube in a donkey boiler that had not been surveyed for twelve or eighteen months, lt is on record that at the inquest upon this man I gave evidence which led the Coroner’s jury to pass reflections upon the surveyor and the company concerned. As a result the company compensated the willow for the loss of her husband rather than go into Court to contest a claim for compensation. As I was employed by the same firm they also compensated me by conferring upon me “the order of the sack.” That turned out to be a good thing for me, because I have not worked at my trade one day since. I am very glad now to have the opportunity in the Senate to point out the necessity for some such provisions as I propose. I quote the following from one of our leading newspapers -
A meeting of the Engineering Association was held on Thursday night. Professor S. H. Barraclough delivered an interesting address on “ Boiler Explosions as Affected by Unsymmetrically Riveted Joints.” The professor made the reassuring statement that there had only been three boiler explosions on the New South Wales railways since they had been running. In the discussion which followed the lecture, stress was laid upon the need for Government inspection of boilers.
So far as the New -South Wales railways are concerned, every man holding the position of an inspector is a practical man and able to build a boiler. The authorities would never dream of appointing any one else, and that is one of the reasons why our railways have been so free from accidents of this kind. I ask the Government to consent to the amendments I propose, in order to give greater security not only to the travelling public, but to the men employed on vessels. I feel confident that they will accept the amendments, and will permit them to become part of the Bill.
.- Some little time ago Senator McDougall brought this matter under the notice of the Government, and submitted his proposals. We gave them consideration, and have had them drafted in the form in which they are now being submitted. We have decided to accept these amendments. Under the Bill power is given to prescribe by regulation the matters provided for in the proposed new clauses. It is probable, and almost certain, that were the Government drawing up regulations under the Bill, they would provide for these matters in this form. But it is contended that it is better that these provisions should be inserted in the measure where they will be a certain direction to the Minister, and in that way probably a greater safeguard for those whose lives may be concerned. Honorable senators will see that provision is being made for shipwright surveyors, boiler and iron-hull surveyors, and engineer surveyors. Care is taken to safeguard the rights of those who possess certificates of competency or have complied with the conditions of a State law.
– If a man has been practising as a surveyor for three years he will not require to have a certificate.
– That is so, but if he has been practising for less than three years he must possess a certificate under a State Act, or he will be required to obtain a certificate under this Bill. The rights of competent persons at present practising are fully safeguarded in these new clauses. The Government have no objection to including them in the Bill. We must all recognise that there is a great deal of force in what Senator McDougall has said. Men who are to be intrusted with the survey of iron ships or wooden ships should know something about the construction of such ships.
– So far as the general purport and intent of the proposed new clauses are concened, I have no intention or desire to say anything in opposition to them. But I should like to ask whether it would not be desirable for the Minister to retain some power to modify these provisions in dealing with the survey of the smaller vessels. Surely one fairly practical man should be able to conduct an efficient examination of the hull, boilers, and engines of one of these small vessels. Is it necessary to send three surveyors on to a vessel of that class, or ought not some discretion to be left to the Minister? It does appear to me that there should be a little elasticity. It is all very well to lay down a set of. rules for the larger vessels, but here we run the risk of unduly penalizing small craft which perform a very useful function on their coastal trips. I can hardly conceive that it is necessary to send three surveyors on to small craft of which Senator McDougall has probably a more intimate knowledge than I have. I should think that it would be quite sufficient to send one surveyor, but if we lay down a hard-and-fast rule that, in all circumstances, three surveyors shall be sent, it may jeopardize the interests of small craft.
– I am informed that at present the practice is to employ three surveyors, even for small ships.
– Is the cost heavy?
– No. On a small ship, of course, there is considerably less examination to be carried out. The surveyors are generally located in the centres to which the steamers have to come at some time or other,” and there they are surveyed. These men go from ship to ship, and I am told that the cost is not very great.
– If the cost is not heavy there is no objection.
– I am informed that the cost is not heavy.
– In present circumstances, if a marine surveyor is sent to test the hull of a vessel, he always employs a boilermaker, or an iron ship-builder, to do the testing for him. I do not mean to suggest that the three surveyors shall have the same authority. There will always be one head surveyor as at present. Not one of these surveyors will ever go alone to test a vessel.
Proposed new clause agreed to.
Amendment (by Senator McDougall) agreed to -
That the following new clause be inserted : - “ 191b. No person shall -
practise as a surveyor of a class to which he has not been admitted; or
give a certificate of survey of a vessel, purporting to be a certificate of a. surveyor under this Act or intended to have that effect, unless he holds a surveyor’s certificate under this Act.”
Penalty : One hundred pounds.
Amendment (by Senator McDougall) proposed -
That the following new clause be inserted : - “ 191c. For the purposes of this Division a surveyor means any person who examines or reports on any ship, her cargo or equipment, for any business or commercial purpose, but shall not include any prescribed surveyor under Division 2 of this Fart of this Act or any person directed by the Minister or any Court to survey or examine any vessel or her equipment.”
– It seems to me that this provision will cover a class of inspection which is not intended. Suppose, for instance, that a shipping firm want to purchase a vessel and send an officer of their own to report to them as to her condition. He will be engaged in making a report for a commercial purpose. Surely that is no concern of the Commonwealth?
– This provision only deals with surveys required under the Act.
– Is the Minister clear on that point ?
– I should be glad to have an assurance that it is not desired to hamper private individuals who want to have an inspection made of a vessel which they intend to purchase or sell.
– That is quite clear.
Proposed new clause agreed to.
Clause 192 consequentially amended and agreed to.
Clause 206 - (1.) A steam-ship, in respect of which a certi ficate of survey granted or recognised by the Board of Trade of the United Kingdom has been issued, shall, whilst that certificate remains in force, but subject to the succeeding provisions of this section, be exempt from survey under this Act :
– I move -
That sub-clause 1 be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the following sub-clause : - “(1.) A steam-ship in respect of which - ‘
a certificate of survey granted by the Board of Trade of the United Kingdom, or
a prescribed classification certificate granted by any corporation or association for the survey and registry of ships, approved by the GovernorGeneral, hag been issued, shall, whilst that certificate remains in force, but subject to the provisions of sub-sections (3.) to (5.) of this section, be exempt from survey under this Act.”
Sub-clause 1 provides that a steam-ship, in respect of which a. certificate of survey granted or recognised by the Board of Trade has been granted, shall, subject to the succeeding provisions of the clause, be exempt from survey under this Act. The words “ or recognised “ were intended to cover certificates issued by such private corporations as were approved by the Board of Trade. It has been pointed out to the Government that the Board of Trade does not officially recognise the certificates of any private corporations.
– Does that include Llovd’s ?
– Yes. The Board of Trade has suggested a drafting alteration in order that the sub-clause may thoroughly express what is intended, namely, the recognition, of- certificates of approved private companies. Under the proposed subclause we give the Governor-General power to approve such private corporations. The Board of Trade lias promised to advise us what corporations may safely be approved. Further, we propose to take power to recognise, if we so desire, only certain of the certificates of any approved companies. There are three companies, I understand, which are at present recognised by the Board. We also correct, by the new subclause, a slight drafting inaccuracy. Instead of the “ succeeding provisions, of this section,” we substitute “the provisions of sub-sections 3 to 5 of this section.” The exception contained in sub-clause .1 is hot intended to’ be made subject to sub- clause 2, for they deal with different matters. It is really a drafting amendment which brings the provision into conformity with the practice of the Board of Trade in dealing with recognised private companies which issue these certificates. We shall be guided in our approval of the companies by the recommendation of the Board.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause as amended agreed to.
Clause 223 - (3.) The position of the disc shall be fixed in. accordance with the tables in force in the United Kingdom under the provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act, subject to such allow ance as may be made necessary by any difference between the position of the deck-line marked under this Act and the position of the line from which free-board is measured under the said tables :
Provided that, in ships laden with coal, the position of the disc shall be, at all seasons of the year, not higher than that prescribed, by the Board of Trade Regulations, for the winter load-line.
– This clause deals with the question of the load-lines. Senator Guthrie was anxious to introduce an amendment dealing with the question of coal or dead-weight cargo. We have had his suggestion under consideration, and have prepared an amendment. I move -
That the proviso to sub-clause 3 be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the following proviso : - “ Provided that in ships laden with coal or dead-weight cargo a line or mark shall be marked or affixed on the ship in the mode and position required by the Merchant Shipping Act for the winter load-line, or, in the case of sailing ships, the winter North Atlantic loadline, and in the case of ships so laden the provisions of this Act shall have effect as to that line or mark as if it were drawn through the centre of the disc.”
We are adopting a practice which has been adopted by the Board of Trade. I hold in my hand the examples given by the Board of Trade in Lloyd’s register of shipping. Honorable senators will see that the round disc with the mark II. is left on the ship, and that the winter load-line, North Atlantic load-line, and the other load-lines referred to, are put alongside the ordinary load-line. It is not considered desirable, and is rather a hardship on ship-owners, to have to change this particular load-line every time they change the cargo. It will remain fixed, and the other load-lines will be put alongside according to the cargo which the ship is carrying. In sub-clause 3 we provide for fixing the disc in the same position as that which is recognised in the Merchant Shipping Act. The load-line which is drawn through the centre of the disc corresponds with the summer load-line in that Act. The existing proviso adds that, in the case of ships laden with coal or dead-weight cargo, the position of the disc shall be at all seasons of the year not higher than the Board of Trade’s winter load-line, which is, of course, lower than the summer load-line. The shifting of the vessel’s disc from time to time during a voyage would be burdensome in the extreme. The better way to accomplish what is aimed at is to leave the disc where it is, and to indicate various levels by separate lines. In the new proviso, we propose that a vessel laden with coal shall not be laden more deeply than the mark indicates. A master, loading his vessel beyond that mark, would be liable to the same penalties as would be the case if he were carrying ordinary cargo and exceeded the Plimsoll mark. What has led the Government to accept Senator Guthrie’s proposal as regards having a different load-line for coal and dead- weight cargo is simply the number of losses of ships laden with such commodities that have occurred between Australia and other countries. If honorable members look down the list of ships lost they will come to the conclusion that it is remarkable how many have been laden with dead-weight cargo. We propose, therefore, to arrange .for a different load-line, for ‘this class of cargo. The Board of Trade regulations provide for a similar case, only their provision is for winter and summer load-lines for the North “Atlantic trade- In this instance we propose to apply the North Atlantic winter load-line to vessels carrying .coal or deadweight cargo.
– This is another instance where one might wish for some technical knowledge to guide one as to how the Minister’s proposition should be accepted. The amendment is sprung upon us for the first-time to-night. We have had no opportunity for - ascertaining, from sources of information which are’ available ‘to ‘us,- ‘how far what is proposed meets the requirements of the merchant shipping of Australia. Personally, I know nothing about the point. If would be satisfactory if the Minister could give us some authority for the step that it is proposed to take.
– The principle of having a different load-line for dead-weight cargo was adopted by the Senate last year. What is now proposed is simply a better means of applying the mark.
– I am entirely with the Minister there, but will the line be fixed by the Bill or by regulation?.’
– It is fixed by the Bill. We adopt the winter load-line of the Merchant Shipping Act. The principle was adopted last year.”
– I had forgotten that. This Bill has been so long before us that we have forgotten more than we’remember about it. We may, however, assume that what is proposed is fairly satisfactory.
Amendment agreed to. Clause, as amended, agreed to. Clause 327 -
– I move -
That the words “at the date” be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “ immediately prior to the time.”
This clause contains a definition of “owner,” which does not .appear in the New Zealand Act, or in the Merchant Shipping Act. The Board of Trade have pointed out that the definition is not clear. A doubt might arise as to ownership in the. event of a vessel being abandoned. In order to meet that point this amendment is proposed. It makes clear that we mean the owner immediately before the wreck.’
– I take it that the purpose of de: fining “ owner “ is to have some one upon whom to rest the responsibility imposed by the clause. But does this amendment make provision against a bogus sale? Suppose that a vessel is wrecked to-day. A week or a fortnight may elapse before she is definitely abandoned. In the meantime the owner may sell her to some dummy. Is such a case met ? -
– Yes, because we can say, “ You w.ere the owner prior to the wreck.”
– There may have been a bond fide sale immediately before the wreck.
– In the case of a genuine sale the man who bought would be liable. ‘
– A vessel may have become water-logged, but she would not on that account be lost, though she would be in a parlous condition. Tn such a case the owner might say, “ I will run no risks’; I will sell.”
– In such a’ case the vessel would be lost.
– No. Would it not be wise to. insert a few words to safeguard those who will be called upon to administer this measure, and who may have to meet such cases as I have pointed out? It is extremely difficult, as we all know, to determine when a transaction is genuine and when it is bogus. Say, that there are two vessels, both of which have been partially wrecked. Suppose that one of them has been the subject of a bond fide sale, whilst the other is the subject of a- bogus sale. It will be very hard for the Minister to come in and say in the one case, “ I will proceed against the purchaser,” and in the other case, “ I will” proceed against the vendor.”
– The clause is intended to meet definite cases of wreck. It deals with any ship that may he “ wrecked, stranded, sunk, or abandoned, on or near the coast of Australia.” The Minister may require the owner to remove the wreck, and if he does not comply, the Minister may remove, or destroy, or sell it, and out of the proceeds may retain a sum sufficient to cover the expenses incurred in the removal or sale. Take the case of the Despatch, which was wrecked quite recently in the fairway at Cunninghame, Victoria. I take it that that wreck will be an obstruction to shipping, and will have .to. be removed. If this provision had . to be applied in that case the Minister would come upon the person who was the owner immediately prior to the wreck ; and if that person did not comply with the order to destroy or .remove the wreck, the Minister would proceed to remove it at the expense of the owner. Whether the ship had before the wreck been sold bond fide or not, whoever was owner at that time would be responsible. It seems perfectly clear, and I do hot see how the clause, as amended., can fail to meet every case, unless we are to assume that an owner would deliberately enter, into a bogus sale and then arrange for the wrecking of his ship. The clause would not apply in the case of every- wreck. In the case of very few wrecks will it be necessary for the Minister to call upon the owner to remove or destroy it. That course -will be adopted only when a wreck lies in the fairway. In such cases it will be easy to ascertain who was the owner of the vessel immediately prior to her loss.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
– When we were dealing with the question of the manning scale in connexion with cargo steam-ships, Senator Millen drew attention to a class of - vessels which usually carry cargo, but which occasionally carry passengers. - He pointed out that unless an exemption were made in their favour they would have to be manned in accordance with the scale which applies to passenger steamers. It is obvious that that is not desired, and accordingly I move -
That before the words “ Cargo Steamships,” and within the brackets, the words “ Passenger Steamships carrying not more than ten passengers and “ be inserted.
Then this manning scale will apply to passenger steam-ships carrying not more than ten passengers as well as to cargo steamers.
Amendment agreed to.
Schedule consequentially amended and’ agreed to.
– When the scale of provisions in the case of British’ ships registered in Australia and British ships engaged in the coasting trade was under consideration this afternoon, attention was drawn to the fact that no quantity of water was specified in the first column of that scale. Having given the matter consideration, I move -
That the following footnote to “Water” be added : (a) Full and plenty, of good quality without waste.
These are the terms ordinarily used in agreements in respect of the supply of water.
Amendment agreed to.
Schedule, as amended, agreed to.
Bill reported with further amendments.
Senate adjourned at 8.48 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 4 October 1911, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1911/19111004_senate_4_60/>.