4th Parliament · 3rd Session
The President took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– I beg to move, by leave -
That the Senate places upon recordits appreciation of the great public services of the late Justice of the High Court of Australia, the Honorable R. E. O’Connor, who was formerly a distinguished member of this Chamber, and tenders its sincere sympathy to the bereaved wife and family of an eminent citizen whose decease is a great loss to the Commonw ealth.
I am surethat honorable senators, especially those who had experience in connexion with the early history of the Commonwealth, must admit that great praise was due to the late Honorable Mr. Justice R. E. O’Connor for the admirable work he did so far as Federation was concerned. He was a Federalist from the beginning. He was also a member of the Federal Convention, and took a prominent part in the framing of the Constitution. He was a member of the first Federal Parliament, and a distinguished member of the first Federal Government. We all realize that the country has suffered agreat loss by the death of Mr. JusticeO’Connor, and although no man or woman in the Commonwealth may have the same feelings of grief as the wife, the family, and the intimate “friends of the deceased gentleman yet every man and woman in Australia must regret the passing away of so eminent a citizen. The influence of his work “in connexion with the framing of the Constitution has been, and will continue “to be, felt, and every one who was associated with him here in the early days of -this Parliament could not but recognise his gentleness, his ability, and his greatness as a statesman. Therefore, we all deeply deplore the great loss which the Commonwealth has sustained, and sympathize sincerely with those who feel the bereavement most.
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales) X3.5]. - By the motion which the VicePresident of the Executive Council has submitted, and which I desire to second, the Senate will place on record its great appreciation of the public work and the personal worth of a distinguished citizen, rand also mark its sense of the national loss ^occasioned by his untimely death. The late Mr. O’Connor was one whose per.sonal acquaintance most of us here could Claim, and in claiming it, I think that we laid claim to that which we regarded as a privilege indeed. We can look back to the time when Mr. O’Connor served his country in very many capacities, but no -matter how varied were the demands which were made upon him1, his work was always marked by unselfish loyalty and unostentatious singleness of purpose. These qualities were particularly manifested in the early days of the Federal movement. Before it stirred anything more than the most languid interest in the public mind, Mr O’Connor was devoting himself with more than missionary zeal “towards the consummation of Australian Union, and he continued his magnificent record in season and out of season until he was able, as he was rightly en- - titled to do, to share in the rich harvest which he had done so much to promote. We in this Chamber will probably remember him more closely, and I venture to say more affectionately, by reason of the intercourse which many of us were able to enjoy when he was called upon to lead -it, and to lead it at a time of particular -difficulty and trial. It is, I venture to say, quite enough on that point if I mention that his leadership, though never .=pen was, as occasion required it, always :felt. Perhaps no greater tribute could be -desired or tendered than the fact which was admitted then, and which I re-state to-day, that his departure from this Chamber stirred as much regret both on public and personal grounds in the hearts and minds of his political opponents as it did in the hearts and minds of his political friends. His great ability, his high character, his lofty sense of public duty, his sensitive regard for the best traditions of public life - these qualities, added to the personal charm of a manly and generous disposition, enabled the late Mr. O’Connor to win a high place in the roll of Australian public men, as I feel sure he has won an enduring place in the hearts and the memories of his countrymen.
.- As one who, during the term of Senator O’Connor’s office, was perhaps brought more closely into association with him politically than any member of the Senate today, I may be permitted to add a few words.
When I first entered political life, as the youngest member of this Parliament, from the very outset it was my unique privilege and honour to be brought into an association of political intimacy and confidence with that honorable gentleman that endured until the day he departed from the Senate. To all those who knew him, it must be evident that such an association as that would beget, and must have engendered in me, apart altogether from any political relationships, a personal feeling of affection, esteem, loyalty, and confidence that has deepened, if possible, with every day that has since passed.
Mr. O’Connor was the first leader of the Senate, and those who were members of the Chamber then realized, as perhaps no others do, how difficult was the task intrusted to him. The Senate was then, as it were, feeling its feet as an integral part of the Government under our new Constitution. Honorable senators were just becoming personally known one to the other. The States themselves, through their representatives, were beginning to become acquainted in the new work on which they were entering in a cooperative spirit, and it required tact, ability, wide experience, profound knowledge, thoughtfulness, courtesy, and many other qualities to enable anybody to successfully lead a Chamber constituted as this then was. But, throughout, I think on all occasions, to all persons, and in all circumstances, the then leader of the Senate ever manifested gentleness, courtesy, tactfulness, firmness, and purposefulness, and he was able, through the manifestation and exercise of these qualities on all occasions, to achieve very much of the programme that had been laid down for him by himself and his colleagues in connexion with the development of Australia.
It is quite true, as Senator Millen said, that Mr. O’Connor left the Senate with the regret of, not only his political friends, but also those who, in the circumstances of politics, had been thrown into conflict with him. He left these halls, I venture to say, with the regret of many outside the Senate, and even outside the other Chamber - of many under this roof with whom he came into daily contact - and it is not too much to say that, when he did leave, there were many in whose breasts was surging the sentiment, if it were not expressed, that he was a man who, take him for all in all, we should not look upon his like again. So far as concerns his qualities, as manifested in the Senate, those who knew him best well know that he brought those qualities to play, and manifested those attributes in every relation of his life. And knowing that, we realize what a severe blow his removal must have been to his wife and his family, with whom we are now sympathizing. The Senate he left a distinct loser by his departure ; the High Court he ornamented, and he was an acquisition to Australia in his capacity as a Judge in that high and important tribunal. We personally were the losers; the Commonwealth itself was not the loser when he was transferred from this to another sphere of activity ; but, as we were the losers then, the Commonwealth, as a whole, is .a loser now by his departure; and it is not too much to say that Australia will be indeed fortunate if Providence in its wisdom sends her many sons of the stamp of R. E. O’Connor, who will serve as dutifully, as faithfully, as single-mindedly, and as unselfishly as he did the country of his birth.
– With every word that has been uttered by previous speakers I thoroughly coincide. I may mention that, in the absence of Senators Symon and Fraser, I am the only representative here of the Federal Convention which met in Sydney, Adelaide, and Melbourne It may, perhaps, not be known to many honorable senators that Mr. O’Connor, in conjunction with Sir Edmund Barton and Sir John Downer, was one of the three gentlemen who drafted the proposals in the Convention which led to the opening debate. That was a compliment deservedly paid to their legal knowledge. But, irrespective of that, those who had the privilege of enjoying a close intimacy with Mr. O’Connor know that he was one of the most perfect’ examples of a gentleman that the world has seen. I join with others in expressing deep sympathy with the widow and the family of my old friend.
– I should not like this motion to pass without saying a fewwords to express my personal sympathy.; There were several, especially on this side of the Chamber, who entered Parliament when the first Senate of the Commonwealth’ assembled. They will remember that, although we did not all agree with the deceased’ gentleman politically, he was one of those who took a keen interest in the young members of Parliament. My honorable friends will remember how frequently he invited us to meet him in the Ministerial room, at the back of the chamber, and how, without any ostentation or assumption of superiority, he would give us the benefit of his ripe experience and his advice. I know that I felt the benefit of that experience and that advice, and I venture tosay that there are other of the younger senators, who entered their first Parliament on that occasion, who, like myself, benefited. It was an instance of Mr. O’Connor’s generous nature and wide sympathy that he was, amidst all the stirring party conflicts of those days, able to give that advice and experience to those of us who were younger and in need of guidance. It is because of that that I have somewhat broken the rule usually observed where another Minister has submitted a motion, to place on record my appreciation of the personal assistance and benefit which. I derived from the gentleman who is now gone from us.
Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable senators standing in their places.
– I desire to ask theVicePresident of the Executive Council the following questions -
– In reply to the first question, I may state that it is impossible for me to indicate, or even to know, or have any suspicion as to, what may take place in another branch of the Legislature in future. I should like the honorable senator to give notice of the other questions, and I shall have inquiries made.
Cadet Parades : Prosecutions : Complaints re Drill.
– I desire to ask the Minister of Defence the following questions : -
– Parades, similar to that which was held in Melbourne on Saturday last, have been held in Sydney, Brisbane, and Adelaide, and arrangements are in train to hold similar parades in Perth and Hobart whenever the GovernorGeneral visits those centres, which it is expected will be shortly. In regard to the second question, if any specific instances are brought under my notice, they will be dealt with on their merits.
– Can the Minister inform the Senate whether the reason for holding the recent parades of cadets was. the receipt of certain suggestions from the Imperial authorities?
– No suggestion of any kind has come from the Imperial authorities with respect to parades of cadets. The idea of having a parade originated in a suggestion made by the Governor-General that he would like to have an opportunity of reviewing the whole of the cadets on the occasion of his visits to the capital cities.
– Did the suggestion to the Governor-General come from the Imperial authorities?
– Not to my knowledge.
– I desire to ask the Minister of Defence whether it is true that Charles Melville MacNaughten, adjutant of the 25th Battalion, appeared as a solicitor at the Central Police Court, Sydney, on Friday, 15th November, and conducted the prosecution of a number of cadets, who were fined various amounts, with 21s. professional costs? Did this officer who was appearing as a solicitor receive those costs, and, if so, was he justified in so doing?
– This matter has already come under my notice, and I have given instructions that an inquiry shall be made. Some time ago I issued an instruction, which was circulated throughout the Commonwealth, that no solicitors were to be employed without Ministerial authority in any cases of prosecutions against cadets. As I have said, I am causing inquiries to be made as to how it was in these cases that a solicitor was engaged, and why costs’ were debited against the cadets. I will let the honorable senator know the result of the inquiries as soon as information is to hand. I will also inform him as to the action I propose to take.
– Arising out of the Minister’s answer, I desire to know whether, if he is satisfied that somebody has misrepresented himself as being a solicitor, he will take the necessary action to inform the Court of the circumstance?
– On receipt of the information for which I am asking, I shall take all necessary action both to safeguard the cadets and their parents, and to deal with the officer responsible.
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are : -
– I wish to ask the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral whether he has obtained the information which he promised to furnish with regard to telegraphic facilities on the west coast of Tasmania in connexion with the recent Mount Lyell disaster?
– The questions asked by Senator Keating on a recent occasion are as follow : -
– Arising out of the Minister’s reply to a portion of my question, I desire to ask whether the Government will consider the advisableness of amending section 95 of the Post and Telegraph Act in order to make special provision for the transmission of telegrams in cases of extreme public anxiety ?
– The matter mentioned by Senator Keating was some time ago brought under my notice by a deputation when I was acting for the Postmaster-General, Mr. Frazer, during his recent illness. A press conference was at that time sitting in Melbourne. A deputation waited upon another Minister with respect to electoral matters, and they also saw me with regard to press messages. Honorable senators are awarethat press messages are transmitted at special rates. The desire of this deputation representing the press of each State was. that urgent press messages should be transmitted at double the ordinary press rates. The matter mentioned by Senator Keating; just now is in a measure similar to the request made by the press deputation. I cannot here and now give a definite reply, but I will bring the subject under the notice of the Postmaster-General, and, if an. amendment of the Act is needed, it will receive consideration.
– I wish to ask the Minister representing the Minister of Trade and Customs, who has control of lighthouses and buoys, whether, in the ordinary course of events, an official report will be received in connexion with an accident to a lighthouse in South Australia;: and, if not, whether steps will be taken to obtain a special report with reference to that ocurrence?
– I will have inquiries made as speedily as possible with reference to the matter, and obtain a reportfrom the Department of Trade and Customs.
– Can the Minister representing the Postmaster-General inform me whether . any reply has been received to a question that I asked sometime ago with reference to an officer who had been refused his ordinary leave of absence on full pay because he had not reached thestatutory age ?
– I do not remember the question being asked of me, but, at, the honorable senator’srequest, I havemade inquiries, and I understand that the matter is still under consideration. A report with reference to it is expected to be: received within a week or two.
Senator McGREGOR laid upon the table the following paper -
Public Service Act 1902-1911. - Promotion of T. C. Leece and C. C. McGarry to position of Inspector, Third Class, Inspection Branch, New South Wales, Postmaster-General’s Department.
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are : - 1 and 2. The Deputy Postmaster-General, Hobart, has furnished the following information : - “(1) £235per annum. (2)£7310s. per annum.”
Will probably be a substantial increase.
asked the Minister representing the Minister of Home Affairs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are : - 1 to 3. The Commonwealth does not carry out any powellising, but has merely arranged to purchase the treated sleepers. The powellising is carried out by the Western Australian Government, which, being a Government having Australian sympathies, uses, I am informed, only Queensland molasses in the treatment of the sleepers.
– Can the Minister say whether there is any truth in the statement furnished to the Senate two years ago, that over 4,000 cwt. of Java molasses were used by the Western Australian Government for treating sleepers?
– I am not able to answer that question. I suggest that the honorable senator should give notice of it for to-morrow.
In Committee (Consideration of House of Representatives’ message resumed from 13th November, vide page 5389) :
Clause 193 (Definition of surveyor).
House of Representatives’ Amendment. - Omit the clause.
– I move -
That the amendment be agreed to.
Clause 193 defines the surveyors referred to in clauses 191 and 192. It relates to surveyors who carry out any surveys for any business or commercial purposes ; that is to say, marine surveyors in private practice for insurance purposes as distinct from official surveyors. The clause has evidently crept into the Bill by inadvertence. There is no desire on the part of the Government to interfere with these particular surveyors. We therefore propose to eliminate the clause.
– Is it the intention of the Government, by this Bill, to take away the rights that are at present enjoyed by marine and engineer surveyors ? At the present time, these men are licensed by the various State Governments. As far as I can make out, the omission of the clause means taking away their livelihood ; or, at all events, it leaves it absolutely open for the insurance companies to engage any person they choose to give a certificate. Take such a case as has arisen at the Wonga Shoal. That is not a matter for a Government inspector. It does not become a matter for Government inspection until the ship in question is prepared to go to sea. But for the purposes of the survey of the ship to furnish information to the Court, an inspection would, in the ordinary course of things, be made by a private surveyor, whose certificate would be accepted by the Court. I take it that the purpose of omitting this clause is to abolish the certificates of these private surveyors.
– I distinctly stated that that was not the object.
– I admit that certain clauses dealing with surveyors have been postponed. Under one of the postponed clauses, any man who has held a surveyor’s certificate for three years is entitled to a certificate under this measure. But those clauses having been postponed, we do not know what will happen to them when they come up for consideration again. I am rather inclined to think that the Minister would be well advised if he postponed this clause along with the others, because it is connected with them. To abolish the certificates of these surveyors would be an injustice. We do not want to take away rights which any one has previously enjoyed.; and if we omit this clause, I take it that the effect will be to take away rights which at present exist.
– If I were to agree to the postponement of this clause I should be creating in the minds of honorable senators the very impression that Senator Guthrie seems to think that we intend to create by omitting the clause. We do not propose to deal with licensed surveyors at all. We propose to eliminate everything in the Bill that affects them. These surveyors are licensed to-day under various State Acts, just as are dentists, land surveyors, and other people. Questions of insurance, purchase, compensation, and other matters will be dealt with by State Courts and under State laws. These surveyors are recognised by the laws of the States under which they are called in to assess damages or to give opinions. It is entirely unnecessary that we should deal with them. The only surveyors with whom this Bill is concerned are surveyors for the purposes of the measure, and they are dealt with under clauses which have been postponed. This clause does not deal with them. It deals with an entirely different class. Licensed surveyors have no duties whatever imposed upon them under the Bill. As I said in my opening remarks, the clause evidently crept into the Bill inadvertently. Possibly it was copied from some State Act, together with other clauses dealing with surveyors. It ought not to have been here, and there is no object in retaining it. There is no ground for its postponement. To postpone it would be to admit that there is some connexion between these licensed surveyors and surveyors for the purposes of the Bill, which are dealt with in the postponed clauses. The Bill does not affect the licensed surveyors in any way. The State legislation dealing with them remains, their powers and usefulness will remain as before, and as there is no object to be served by postponing the clause, I ask the Committee to accept the amendment.
– Clause 191, which is dealt with by the postponed amendment No. 83 of the House of Representatives, dealt with the surveyors, and provided that -
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 hull surveyor, or engineer surveyor, or as a surveyor in any equivalent capacity under any State Act relating to navigation- might be admitted under this Act without passing the prescribed examination. Amendment No. 83 proposes to omit a part of that clause, and to substitute another for it, but the substituted clause contains no saving provision of that character.
– The clause as it left the Senate contained certain restrictionswhich are not contained in the clause as amended in another place. It was because of those restrictions that it was necessary in the clause as passed by the Senate to include the provision referred to safeguarding the interests of State surveyors. As the new clause submitted by the House of Representatives does not contain the restrictions referred to, the provision safeguarding the interests of State surveyors has become unnecessary.
– Are we to understand that this provision is surplusage in the Bill, and was so when it left the Senate ?
– Yes, that is so.
Motion agreed to.
Clause 196 -
Subject to the power of the Minister to extend the time for re-survey, every steam-ship more than five years old, reckoning from the date of her first registration, shall be surveyed once at least in every six months, and every other steamship once at least in every twelve months, by the prescribed surveyor.
House of Representatives’ Amendment. - Omit the clause, and insert the following new clause : - “ Subject to the power of the Minister to extend the time for re-survey, every steam-ship shall be surveyed once at least in every twelve months by the prescribed surveyor.”
– - I move -
That the amendment be agreed to, and the following consequential amendment made in the Bill, viz., in clause 208, after (6) insert “ in the case of steam-ships carrying not more than twelve passengers.”
Clause 196 required steam-ships over five years old to be surveyed once every six months. As no Imperial certificates are issued half-yearly provision was made in clause 208 for the acceptance of certain certificates issued by approved associations as equivalent to our official survey. The House of ‘ Representatives has amended clause 196, so that surveys are required only every twelve months. There is consequently now no necessity for part of the special exemption provided for in clause 208. It is considered desirable to limit its exemption to cargo ships only as Imperial official certificates are issued annually for passenger vessels. If the Committee agree to the amendment of the House of Representatives, as made in clause 196, it will become imperative as consequential upon that, and as really part of it, that clause 208 should be amended by the insertion of the words referred to in my motion, because it is desired to limit the exemption in clause 208 to cargo ships only, since Imperial official certificates are issued annually in the case of passenger vessels. This is a consequential amendment which was overlooked by the House of Representatives when clause 196 was amended. As the two clauses deal practically with the one subject, I think it is competent for the Committee to make the consequential amendment in clause 208 in the way I propose. If there is any question as to the competency of the Committee to deal with the matter in this way, I prefer that it should be raised now, before I deal with the merits of the amendment made by the House of Representatives.
– I see no difficulty in accepting the motion submitted by the Minister. Standing order 219 provides that-
No amendment shall be proposed to an amendment of the House of Representatives that is not relevant thereto; nor can an amendment be moved to the Bill unless the same be relevant to or consequent upon, either the acceptance, amendment, or the rejection of a House of Representatives’ amendment.
It seems to me that this is consequent upon the acceptance by the Senate of the amendment made by the House of Representatives. I therefore accept the motion as proposed by the Minister of Defence.
– I have to deal now with the House of Representatives’ amendment. If honorable senators agree to it, they will not be likely to object to the consequential amendment I have proposed in clause 208.
-They are two different things.
– This clause has been the subject of much discussion in the Senate, in the press, and in correspondence with the Board of Trade. The latter body raised strong objections to the requirement that a vessel over five years old should be surveyed once every six months. Upon careful inquiry, the Government have been convinced that in ordinary circumstances there is no necessity for more than an annual survey thoroughly carried out A good overhaul once a year is better than a perfunctory survey once every six months. It does not follow that every ship surveyed under the clause will get a certificate for twelve months. The duration of the certificate will depend upon what the survey discloses, the trade in which the vessel is engaged, and the cargo she carries. For instance, if a ship has frequently to pass over a sandy bar, or is trading in rough waters, or carrying cumbersome cargo likely to move about in her hold, the certificate may be granted for any period less than twelve months before a re-survey. Again, if any circumstance arises which indicates the necessity for an additional survey, even though a ship is given a certificate for twelve months, the Minister may, before the expiry of that time, order a fresh survey. Clause 208 provides inter alia that a steam-ship in respect of which a prescribed classification certificate granted by any corporation or association for the survey and registry of ships, approved by the GovernorGeneral, has been issued, shall, whilst that certificate remains in force, butsubject to the provisions of sub-sections 3 to 5 of clause 208, be exempt from survey under the Act. The effect of this provision is practically to provide that ships surveyed annually at Lloyd’s and other ap proved associations shall not be subject to the Government survey. This will exempt probably from 80 to 90 per cent, of British and Australian shipping trading to our ports. To give an idea of the proportion of shipping, British and foreign, classified under Lloyd’s, the British Association and the Bureau Veritas, two associations of practically equal merit, it may be mentioned that, in 1911, 772 vessels of an aggregate tonnage of 1,883,884 tons were built in the United Kingdom for British and foreign owners, and of these no fewer than 547, of an aggregate tonnage of I,250,753 tons, were built under the inspection of Lloyd’s surveyors with a view to classification and registry.
– So was the Titanic.
– There was no question of survey in connexion with the loss of the Titanic. If that vessel had been surveyed the day before she left port, that would not have prevented her running against the iceberg which was the cause of the disaster. If we insisted upon a survey every six months of unclassified ships over five years old, all that respective owners would have to do would be to take out a Lloyd’s certificate and so obtain exemption. The reason for the amendment I have proposed is that there is no necessity for the whole of the special exemption provided for in clause 208. It is proposed to limit it to cargo ships only, as Imperial certificates are issued annually for passenger vessels. I trust the Committee will accept the amendment made by the House of Representatives, as, in the opinion of the Government, it meets all requirements and fully safeguards the interests of those who go down to the sea in ships.
Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD (New South Wales) [3.53].- I point out that the motion submitted by the Minister of Defence will preclude the Committee from dealing fully with the amendment made by the House of Representatives. Honorable senators may be prepared to agree to the amendment of the House of Representatives, and at the. same time think it desirable to reject the consequential amendment which the Minister has submitted in clause 208.
– Clause 208 could only be brought up in this way. I hold that the amendment proposed in that clause is consequential upon amendment No. 86 made by the House of Representatives.
– I was raising the point that honorable senators might be prepared to accept the amendment of the House of Representatives, and not the consequential amendment submitted by the Minister of Defence. It might be better, in the circumstances, to submit the two separately.
– The honorable senator’s view might be met by moving an amendment upon my motion.
– That might be done; but I am not prepared to submit any amendment upon the motion.
– It is competent for any honorable senator to move that the mo tion submitted by the Minister be amended by omitting the words dealing with the proposed consequential amendment in clause
– I intend to oppose the amendment of the other House on the same ground as I opposed their alterationof the clause relating to surveyors. The Senate, in its wisdom, placed this restriction upon unseaworthy ships going to sea. I hold the opinion that every ship should be surveyed every six months, but I am willing: that vessels under five years old should be made subject to a twelve months’ survey.
– And inspection when necessary ?
– Yes. For the safety of the travelling public, vessels should be surveyed every six months. Such a provision has been in operationin New South Wales for many years, and it has: not caused that anxiety, trouble, and inconvenience to ship-owners which we wereled to believe it would. It has beenproved there, on inquiry, that six monthswas much too long for a great number of the vessels’ trading on the coast of that. State to go without a survey. I have knownvessels travelling over the bar harbors tohave their bottoms worn out in less thansix months. Even while a vessel was lyings in dock awaiting inspection the donkeyboiler blew out, and a man was scalded todeath ; and I proved to the satisfaction of a coroner’s jury that laxity of survey wasthe cause of the accident which led tohis death, so much so that the companywhich owned the vessel immediatelysought to make terms with the widowrather than allow her to take a case intoCourt. Evidence taken by the NavigationCommission shows that there were vesselsin Sydney Harbor undergoing a six months’ survey which were absolutely unfit to* carry passengers. There was a timet when I thought it was unsafe to travel in that harbor on a number of these vessels. Perhaps it may be useful to quote some, evidence given by Mr. Williams -
I visited Mort’s Dock on 14th July,1890, with Mr. Smith. Saw the Brighton on the slip. Oneplate taken off in his presence, in forward part- low down, was very much corroded, and had several small holes in it as large as peas. Hetook his umbrella, put it down without force, and it broke a hole completely through, about the middle of the vessel. A man who was chipping gave one blow, not a severe one. and sent his chisel flying through the plate. There was a number of places equally bad ; one in particular had a hole in it as big as an ordinary- hen egg ; that was somewhere about the middle 0/ the vessel. At another place aft, where there was a coating of fresh paint, he could dig his knife through the iron. He would imagine that a floating log striking her would be sufficient to put a hole in her. He broke a piece off one plate and took it to the office. That plate, he thought, was lying on the ground. He was given to understand in a general way that all the plates lying down were from the Brighton.
The Minister has stated that the Government have made careful inquiries as to why these certificates should be extended from six to twelve months. They could not have made many inquiries or considered the evidence given before the Navigation Commission or they would not have thought of recommending the adoption of this amendment. This is one of the clauses which the Senate put in the Bill to safeguard the lives of passengers and crew, who might not know the risk they were running by going to sea in a vessel with weak parts, both above and below water. Now that we are getting steel vessels of a much lighter build this clause is much more necessary than ever it was, and I trust that the Committee, in its good sense, will adhere to it.
.-!-No question occupied the attention of the Navigation Commission more closely than did this survey question, and it has occupied the close attention of the Government since their report was submitted. In Australia, for the last thirty years, we have had a half-yearly survey of ships, both passenger and cargo.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. -In Victoria ?
– In Australia generally.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - Not in New South Wales.
– It was only in 1908 that New South Wales extended the period for a survey from six to twelve months for the reason that the ship-builders and repairers in that State found that the work was going to Victoria. Great Britain has legislated for an inspection, but not for a survey of a ship carrying less than twelve passengers. Do not “honorable senators think that the lives of the- two men who were lost by the destruction of the lighthouse near Adelaide were not just as valuable as the lives of any passengers who ever sailed salt water ? ls not the life of Jimmy Ducks on board a ship of as much value to the community as that of a lord or a duke who is travelling as a passenger ?
– Did the loss of those two men depend upon an inspection of the vessel?
– The question of the stability of that lighthouse has yet to be decided. In Great Britain, under the charge of the Board of Trade, there is no provision for a Government survey of ships carrying less than twelve passengers. What is the result of the absence of such legislation. By the last English mail I received a copy of a return containing the reports of official inquiries held in the United Kingdom into the causes of the loss of the Carnedd Llewelyn, Oxus, Cadoxton, Idlewild, Kingswell, G linford, George, Ouse, Selworthy, Cardiff Hall, Hasland, Everest, British Standard, and Dunsley, the judgments of the Admiralty Court in the cases of the appeals of the owners of the Idlewild, and of the master of the British Standard, and the judgment of the House of Lords in the case of the Gunford. Let me show by a quotation what has happened -
Over-insurance of vessels-
These are vessels that will not be surveyed under this measure. British ships which leave England, and are not entitled to be surveyed there, will come here, and we shall give them an exemption against ships -
– We are going to give these vessels an exemption under the Bill, and the Board of Trade has asked for it.
– Not for any vessel without a survey.
– I shall come to that directly.
– But you are dealing with it now.
– The quotation reads -
The Court directs the attention of the Board of Trade to the following findings of this Court at inquiries held here within the last twelve months, and also to the appended observations : -
The Dunsley was twenty-two years old, trading at a loss, deeply in debt, over-insured to the extent of more than double her value, went to sea on her last voyage undermanned, and in an unseaworthy condition as to her hull. She foundered in consequence of her undermanning and unseaworthiness, and owing to the culpable defaults of three members of the ship’s company.
The Hasland was thirty years old, trading at a loss, over-insured, unseaworthy as regards one equipment, and on the voyage she foundered, went to sea insufficiently ballasted.
The Everest was twenty-nine years old, trading at a loss, over-insured, and was lost through the gross negligence of the master, who was a shareholder in the company owning the vessel.
– That does not seem to throw much light on the survey business.
– These vessels were not surveyed ; they were not carrying twelve passengers.
– That would not have mattered, because the master was interested in the loss of the ship.
– If the vessel had been surveyed she would not have been in an unseaworthy condition. We were asked by the Minister to dispense with our Government survey, and take the certificate of an insurance company, which is prepared to take these risks, and sacrifice the lives of men -
The George was over-insured, not supplied with proper charts, and was lost through negligent navigation. The lives of the crew were seriously endangered.
The Ouse was forty-two years old, unseaworthy, over-insured, and lost through going to sea in an unseaworthy condition. In foundering, fourteen lives were in imminent danger of loss.
The above cases serve as further illustrations of observations that have been repeatedly made by this Court - observations it is the duty of the Court, if there be occasion, to continue to repeat, although the repetition be in vain.
Over-insurance of vessels is not exclusively .1 private matter between insurers and insured. There are other parties affected whose interests are not protected, and whose lives may be endangered, viz., the members of vessels’ crews. Where a vessel is over-insured, one of the most powerful incentives for keeping her in good condition and seaworthiness is removed, and overinsurance also offers a dangerous temptation to persons and the agents of persons who may gain by the loss of vessels. Whether lost through negligence, unseaworthiness, or foul play, the lives of the crews are imperilled. The effectual prevention of an unnecessary peril to seafaring men calls for the attention of the Legislature, as well as vigilance and vigorous action by the Board of Trade.
I have had the advantage in this inquiry of the invaluable assistance of assessors of long experience and great ability. They fully concur in the above observations.
W. Lewis, Judge.
These are just a few cases taken from a report which arrived here by the last mail from England. I do not wish to jeopardize the passage of the Bill. I recognise that we are up against a stone wall when we are up against the Board of Trade. We ought to fall in as far as possible with the view of the Board of Trade, but we ought to take the earliest opportunity of amending the measure, and there is great need for amendment. Even on the Australian coast there are vessels running “today which are not fit to go outside a port, yet they can go.
– They have gone - the Papanui, for instance.
– The Marine Board of Victoria refused to pass the Paf anta, which was lying in this port, but she went in spite of them, and they were not able to enforce their decree. She made the particular trip she was intended to go, but she came to grief shortly afterwards. If we had had the recommendation of the Navigation Commission embodied in the Act, the Papanui could never have left this port.
– Could she have left under this Bill?
– We have not got to that part of the Bill yet. Under the amendment, which is proposed by the Minister,, the Papanui could have gone, provided she did not carry twelve passengers, but she put the lives of the crew in peril. Is not a crew worth something?
– No j she could not have left under this Bill. The Minister could have stopped her even if she was carrying no passengers.
– The Minister in Victoria could not stop her.
– You ask whether we could have dealt with the Papanui under this Bill?
– We have not passed the Bill yet. Under clause 208, the Government could not have stopped the steamer.
– There are other clauses.
– Clause 208 is, I take it, under consideration in connexion with this clause. There has been considerable correspondence between the Board of Trade and the Commonwealth Government on this matter. The first communication was in November, 1907. Clause 225 of the Bill of 1907 laid down a special rule for ships loading coal, and the Board of Trade considered that-
It is desirable that it should be made clear that this does not apply to ships registered under the Imperial Act.
The Commonwealth; Department of Trade and Customs, in June, 1908, replied -
It is not considered that Australian ships should be at a disadvantage as compared with other ships, and as the provision is necessary for safety, it is considered it must be retained.
The Board of Trade, in September, 1908, replied to that communication. In April, 191 1, the Board of Trade wrote -
I would especially invite the attention of your Ministers to the objections raised by the Board to the provisions of clause 225 of the Bill. . . . His Majesty’s Government are advised that the proposed legislation, if not restricted to vessels registered in or coasting in the Commonwealth, or engaged in Australian-trade voyages, is ultra vires the Parliament of the Commonwealth, as being repugnant to the provisions of the Imperial Merchant Shipping Act 1894, and it would seem undesirable that such provisions should be formally adopted by the Parliament.
In 1907 the Board of Trade, dealing with the question of survey, suggested that words should be inserted insuring the acceptance in Australia of certificates granted under the Imperial Merchant Shipping Act as equivalent to local certificates. The Department of Trade and Customs wrote in June, 1908 -
As a matter of fact, where a vessel has a certificate granted in England, such ship would not be required, unless under very peculiar circumstances, to be re-surveyed, and the current certificate would be accepted, as a matter of course. There is not the slightest idea of ignoring a Board of Trade certificate - quite the contrary. But the case is easily conceivable where, although a ship might have a. certificate, yet from occurrences subsequent to its issue there would be good reason to suppose that her equipment or machinery was not in the same condition as when the certificate was issued. In such case power must be given to re-survey in the public interests. However, there would be no objection to meeting the wishes of the Board of Trade to this extent : -
The following words or equivalent to be inserted at the commencement of the section : - “ In every case where a certificate has been granted to any steam-ship by the Board of Trade of the United Kingdom, and remains still in force, it shall not be requisite that she shall again be surveyed under this Act; and in cases where the Minister is satisfied, in regard to any British steam-ship not registered in Australia, or any foreign steam-ship, that the requirements of this Act have been substantially complied with, he may - ” (a) Dispense with any further survey of the steam-ship ; and “ (b) givea certificate which shall have the same effect as if given upon survey under this Act. “ Provided that the Governor-General may direct that this section shall not apply in cases where it appears to him that reciprocal treatment is not given to steam-ships registered in Australia. “ (2) Any person authorized in writing by the Minister may, at any time, inspect any British or foreign steam-ship, a survey of which has been dispensed with under this section, and shall report to the Minister the result of his inspection: “ (3) The Minister may, upon such report, suspend the operation of any certificate issued or given in respect of the steamship. “ (4) Upon each suspension the ship shall become liable to survey.”
A proviso was suggested to be added at the end of the clause as follows - “ Notwithstanding anything contained in this section the Minister may, from time to time, and at all times, inspect or cause to be inspected any steam-ship hereby exempted from survey under this Act, or in respect of which a survey may have been dispensed with, and may also from time to time suspend the operation within and for Australia of any certificate aforesaid, and immediately upon, and during the time of such suspension every steam-ship in respect of which such suspended certificate has been granted, . and every owner and every master of such steam-ship shall be liable to all the obligations, liabilities, and penalties by this part of this Act provided.”
The Board of Trade also wrote -
The proposal to accept classification certificates under this clause will, it is hoped, enable a satisfactory arrangement to be made as regards the principal point at issue in connexion with the survey of steamers, but as classification certificates as such are not officially recognised by the Board of Trade, the wording of subclause (1) of the clause appeared open to objection, and the Board of Trade therefore proposed two alternative methods of amendment. One of these was to specify in the Act the names of the classification societies whose certificates might be accepted. A precedent for this will be found in section 33 of the New South Wales Navigation Act of 1901, as amended by the Act of 1908. The second alternative was to embody in the clause an amendment providing for the exemption from survey of steamers in respect of which certificates had been issued by classification societies approved by the Commonwealth Government. Power could also be taken to prescribe the conditions of exemption in such cases. If this proposal were adopted, the arrangement would be similar to that in force in the Dominion of Canada. The Board of Trade would be happy to advise the Commonwealth Government as to the classification societies which might be approved for the purpose of the clause.
In view of the urgency and importance of the matter, the foregoing suggestions were communicated to the Governor-General by cable from the Secretary of State.
A subsidiary question relating to this clause remains to be dealt with. This question is as follows : - It is observed that the exemptions allowed under sub-clause (1) of this clause are subject to the provisions of sub-clauses (2)-(5), but it is not quite clear how the provisions of sub-clause (2) can be applied to the cases dealt with under sub-clause (1).
It is understood that vessels holding certificates of the kind mentioned in sub-clause (1) will be, ipso facto, exempt from survey, subject to the power of the Minister to order an inspection under sub-clause (3) in special cases.
The purpose of sub-clause (2) seems to be to provide additional powers of exemption, exercisable in cases which cannot be dealt with under sub-clause (i). These two sub-clauses, therefore, seem to be parallel and independent, and the subordination of sub-clause (1) to sub-clause (2) expressed in the clause is possibly due to an error in drafting.
The point could be dealt with by substituting the words “ provisions of sub-sections (3) to (5) “ for the words “ succeeding provisions.”
The suggestion was accepted and embodied in the Bill of 1908 by the omission of sub-clause 2 of clause 220. The Deakin Government again on the 28th October, 1-908, recommended to Parliament a modification. The whole position regarding the matter is this: Australia in the past has been in advance of Imperial legislation. Honorable senators a few days ago, by their votes, considered that it was not necessary to improve on Imperial legislation in a matter which involved the penalizing of seamen. I ask the Committee now to improve on Imperial legislation, to provide effectively for the safety of seamen, and to adopt the legislation which has previously existed in Australia.
– It does not exist in any State to-day.
– It exists in South Australia, where a six months’ survey is required.
– I am informed that it does not.
– I know that it is so, and if necessary I can quote the Act. I agree with Senator McDougall that we can safely say that vessels under five years of age trading Inter-State may -be exempt from the half-yearly survey. It will be sufficient to survey them every year. What will happen under this Bill will be this : There will be a surveyor-general stationed at head-quarters. He will have a staff in each of the States with whom’ he will be in direct communication. When a vessel comes into the port of Melbourne he can order that part of her machinery shall be examined. When she touches at Adelaide another part of her machinery can be examined. If she then goes to Fremantle, the examination of the machinery can be finished. On the return trip, as she calls at various ports, her boilers can be examined, and so much of her hull as is above water. But it will not be possible to inspect her bottom or her tail shaft. It is unfortunate that the greatest number of accidents we have had at sea have occurred through mishaps to the tail shaft.
– Could she not be put on the slips?
– There is no dock at Fremantle or Adelaide. There is not much danger in the case of ships under five years of age, and I am prepared to agree to a twelve months’ survey for them. But for all other ships, we should require a six months’ survey. I believe that the Board of Trade will give way, as far as Australian vessels are concerned. Whether they will be prepared to give way as to ships coming from abroad I do not know.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - The honorable senator has a shrewd idea that they will not.
– Does the honorable senator think that it is a fair thing that the local ship-owner should be placed at a disadvantage in competition with a ship belonging to an owner domiciled outside Australia, which will be able to come here and compete with our vessels? I am now asking that every ship that comes into the Australian trade should be subjected to exactly the same conditions as apply to Australian ships. That is a fair proposition. I do not think that we have power to deal with a ship that merely comes here, discharges her cargo, and leaves again, unless there is something radically wrong with her to cause a survey to be necessary. I do not think that we can enter upon a ship that has a certificate from Germany, France, or any other foreign country. We have to accept such a certificate in good faith, as long as other countries accept ours. I hope honorable senators will realize that it does not matter how few may be the passengers that a ship carries. We have a right to protect them, and we also have an absolute right to protect the crew of a ship that carries no passengers at all.
– - I have been endeavouring to ascertain the merits of the proposal now before the Committee, but I am a little bit fogged as to which way the judgment of honorable senators ought to go. Senator Guthrie, I am sure, will accept my assurance that I am as desirous as he is that the safety of human life should be regarded as the primary consideration. But, whilst putting that as our starting point in this matter, there ought not to be any unnecessary attempt to interfere with shipping in respect to surveys. Senator Guthrie has made some quotations from an Imperial document which conveyed to me an entirely different impression from that which they evidently made on his mind. I presume that he made the quotations in order to show that if there had been new surveys on the vessels to which he alluded the fatalities would not have occurred. I want to show that the question of survey had nothing to do with them. In one case mentioned the vessel was not twelve months old. It was built and lost within a year.
– I did not quote that case.
– Pardon me, the honorable senator did. Take the Hasland case. That was one of the instances which Senator Guthrie put forward as showing that the absence of the survey was responsible for the loss of the ship. I have before me the official report presented to the Imperial Parliament. The summary of the case which Senator Guthrie read was evidently drawn up to direct attention to the danger of over-insurance. The same thing would have happened, no matter when the vessel was last surveyed. Here is the report of the Court in the case -
The Court, having carefully inquired into the circumstances attending the above mentioned shipping casualty, finds, for the reason stated in the annex hereto, that the loss of the vessel was caused primarily by insufficient ballasting and inefficient means of securing the fresh water tank, and proximately by an influx of water due to the fall of the tank into her No.1 hold.
It is obvious that that vessel might have obtained a certificate, and might still have been over-insured ; and if the owners had brought about the loss of the vessel in order to obtain the insurance, no survey would have frustrated that result.
– If she had been surveyed within six months it might have done so.
– The survey would not have mattered, because the approximate cause was the fall of a tank into the hold.
– The tank was not properly stayed up.
– I say, with the greatest surprise and regret, that, reading these reports, one is compelled to come to the conclusion that in these cases there were deliberate attempts made to lose the vessels referred to. There is another case mentioned of a vessel to which it is said an accident happened. The evidence as to what it was is entirely conflicting. “The suggestion of the captain was that she had struck a rock, but the Court said that it could find no evidence of that, and a suggestion was made that some explosion took place which blew a hole in the bottom of the vessel. No survey by Lloyd’s could meet a case of that kind.
– It would be possible by a survey to guard against the fall of a tank.
– I say that it would not if the master of the vessel desired that the tank should fall.
– If the tank was properly stayed it would never get loose at all.
– It might have been properly stayed when the vessel was surveyed, but it was possible for the stays to be subsequently removed. No one knows better than does Senator Guthrie that he could wreck any ship in the world if I gave him a hammer and a cold chisel.
– Does the report say why the tank fell in the case referred to?
– It does not say so in definite words, but, reading the evidence, it it quite clear that it was intended to fall. It seems to me that the casesto which Senator Guthrie referred were cases of deliberate intention to lose the vessels, the motive being the over-insurance. Let me quote another case from which even Senator Guthrie will be able to gain very little comfort. I refer to the case of the Everest. In connexion with that case, the Court said -
The Court having carefully inquired into the circumstances attending the above-mentioned shipping casualty, finds, for the reasons stated in the annex hereto, that the primary cause of the stranding and consequent loss of the vessel was a careless and inaccurate estimate by the master of the distance from the land at 5.20 p.m. on the 30th March, and the approximate causes of the stranding and consequent loss of the vessel were the master’s acts in setting a course from a carelessly and inaccurately ascertained position, and navigating the vessel at full speed on such course in the direction of dangers of which he was warned by his charts and sailing directions.
What survey would prevent that?
– I did not quote that case.
– That is one of thecases quoted in the report to which Senator Guthrie referred. In the four cases referred to the purpose on the face of the evidence was to secure over-insurance. The Judge dealing with the matter said -
Over-insurance of vessels is not exclusively a matter between insurers and insured, because there happens to be a public interest in the matter also.
If the Judge had been of opinion that the absence of survey was responsible for the loss of these vessels, he would have directed attention to it, but there is not a single word in the report to that effect. He directs attention all through to the danger liable to arise from the facilities which apparently exist for the over-insurance of vessels. I am at a loss to understand the opposition to the Government proposals. Senator Guthrie mentioned that in New South Wales there was originally a provision for a six months’ survey, and it was altered later to a twelve months’ survey.
– The reason for the alteration was to prevent ships registered in New South Wales being taken off the New South Wales register and registered in New Zealand and elsewhere where there was provision for a twelve months’ survey.
– Not a single ship went to New Zealand.
– Many were registered in Victoria, where there was provision for a twelve months’ survey.
– Senator Guthrie’s explanation of the matter is that vessels left New South Wales to be registered in another State, where there was provision for only a six months’ survey.
– No, a twelve months’ survey.
– When Senator Gould asked the question, Senator Guthrie said that there was provision for asix months’ survey in Victoria.
– No, I said South Australia.
– I shall shortly begin to think that Senator “Guthrie is as reckless as some of the navigators I have just been reading about.
– I did not make those statements ; it is the honorable senator who is making them.
– My recollection of what the honorable senator said is supported by other members of the Committee. But let me assume that all the States have provision for a twelve months’ survey, and, if Senator Guthrie asks me to believe that, after long experience, the Parliaments of the several States, with the advantage of Official reports and advice, deliberately extended the period from six months to twelve months with the knowledge that they would jeopardize human lives for the sake of saving property-owners some little expense.
I say that I am unable to believe it. I cannot avoid concluding that the alteration was made as the result of experience, and with a knowledge that it could be made with safety.
– Why not make it two years?
– Why not make it one month?
– We might as well have one absurdity as another. There is a reasonable period, and I decline to believe that the Government are not, in this matter, acting upon the best advice obtainable.
– I should like to know where the advice came from.
– It does not matter. The Minister did not pick it up at the street corner, nor did he get it from his military advisers, but from officers of the Public Service, who are best qualified to give such advice, and whose duty it is to inform him upon these matters.
– If the surveyor does not think that a vessel is entitled to a certificate for twelve months he can issue a certificate for less than that period.
– No, he cannot.
– Bearing in mind that the attitude of the Government in this matter has been extremely and rightly conservative in the interests of human life, I cannot believe that they have here gone widely astray, and I am disposed to think that in proposing a twelve-months’ survey, if they have erred at all, it is on the side of safety.
– It is a backward step.
– The best proof that it is not is that all the States have adopted it.
– Under compulsion.
– Who compelled them ?
– One State holding out.
– With due respect to South Australia, I do not believe she could compel the more important State of New South Wales to do anything which New South Wales did not want to do. If there is any real danger in the clause we are asked to accept, the onus is upon Senator Guthrie, and those who believe with him, to submit something more substantia] in opposition to it than quotations which have no bearing upon the matter now under consideration.
– The discussion has proceeded rather upon the merits of a six-months’ survey as against a twelvemonths’ survey, but, unfortunately, we are not in a position to consider the question from that point of view. In clause208 we recognise two things. A certificate of survey granted by. the Board of Trade, which is for twelve months, or a prescribed classification certificate, granted by any corporation or association for the survey and registry of ships approved by the GovernorGeneral. We provide that, in the case of a steam-ship in respect of which any of these certificates have been issued, the certificate shall remain in force for not less than twelve months, subject only to the provisions of sub-clauses 3 and 5 of clause 208, which give the Minister power to send an inspector to report as to whether it is necessary in any case to re-survey a ship. What I wish the Committee to realize is that clause 208 applied to Australian registered, British, and foreign ships. If we make provision in clause196 for a sixmonths survey, all that we shall do will be to give the owner of an Australian registered ship two options. He will be able to obtain his certificate of survey for six months under that clause, or a certificate from Lloyd’s surveyor in Australia under paragraph b of sub-clause 1 of clause 208. I suppose that it will be admitted that the Governor-General will recognise Lloyd’s certificates ?
– Why should he?
– They are recognised the world over, and it is not likely that the Commonwealth Government will refuse recognition of Lloyd’s or any other reputable association. At any rate, it is a reasonable assumption that Lloyd’s will be recognised. If we reject the amendment of the House of Representatives, a shipowner will not be compelled to have his ships surveyed every six months, as he may go to a Lloyd’s surveyor in Australia and get certificates which will exempt his vessels from survey for twelve months.
– He could always have done that under the States.
– No; the States have not the same law in force. This is not my reading of the matter, but the interpretation of the legal advisers of the Government.
– They differ very often.
– They do not differ on this point. The honorable senator may read clause 208 for himself, and he will be unable to put any other interpretation upon it. If the Governor-General in Council approves of any of these associations, their certificates will be recognised for the term for which they are issued, and that term is twelve months. We might provide for a three-months’ survey under clause 196, but, under clause 208, a shipowner would be able to secure a certificate for twelve months.
– They will form an association of their own, and survey their own ships, and the Government will accept their certificates.
– The Government would have to decide whether it would be wise to accept the certificates of such an association if it were formed. Senator Guthrie’s long speech, intended to show the advantage of a six-months’ survey as against a twelve-months’ survey, was quite beside the question, because if we provide for a six-months’ survey under clause 196, we shall only compel ship-owners to have recourse to the provisions of clause 208. So far as ships trading between New Zealand and Australia are concerned, it is obvious that they would never register in Australia at all, but in New Zealand, in order to get the advantage of the twelve-months’ survey. The consequence would be that, not only would the survey be carried out there, but all repairs recommended as the result of the survey would also be carried out there. That was what the New South WalesGovernment found out when they made provision for a six-months’ survey, and notwithstanding Senator Guthrie’s statement, Victoria had made provision for a twelve-months’ survey. Shipping companies that had registered their vessels in New South Wales registered them in Victoria, and surveys and repairs were carried out in Victoria. The result of that experience was that the New South Wales Government reverted to the twelve-months’ survey. We have agreed to clause 208, and I am asking honorable senators now only to bring it into conformity with clause 196. I should like to refer to some very rash statements which have been made by Senator Guthrie. He said that the Papanui could not have been detained under this Bill, but I point out that under clause 213, it is provided that -
The Minister may order any ship that appears to him to be unseaworthy, to be provisionally detained.
– That was in the Victorian Act, but the ship could not be detained.
– The honorable senator also said that the rule in Australia was a six-months’ survey. That statement has been exploded, and the honorable senator has admitted that it was the rule only in South Australia. The honorable senator also said that vessels would obtain certificates that were not entitled to them. Apparently the inference was that vessels that could not obtain certificates in Great Britain would come here, and obtain certificates under clause 208.
– We should be absolutely bound to accept Lloyd’s certificate.
– No; we are not bound to accept it. We are bound to accept a Board of Trade certificate under paragraph a of sub-clause 1 of clause 208; but under paragraph * power is given to the Governor-General in Council to recognise the certificates of certain associations. My statement is that one association that will be recognised is Lloyd’s. They have their surveyors in Australia. They issue certificates for twelve months, and it is reasonable to assume that the Governor-General in Council will recognise Lloyd’s certificates. There are two classes of certificates, with a twelve-months’ currency, provided for under clause 208. As regards the New Zealand trade, if the amendment be not agreed to, it is clear that vessels engaged in that trade will in future be registered, surveyed, and repaired in New Zealand. The Committee will accomplish nothing by’ rejecting the amendment, and I ask honorable senators to accept it in order to bring clause 196 into conformity with clause 208.
– What the Minister advises is that because the Committee did wrong in one case, it should do wrong in another case. He did not utter one word against the necessity for providing for a six months’ survey, but he simply said that, as we did wrong on clause 208, we should do wrong on clause 196. If he is in favour of a twelve months’ survey, we should be told his reasons for holding that view.
– I gave my reasons when I spoke first to the amendment.
– The provision* for a six months’ survey in New SouthWales was altered because vested interests, desired to have an annual survey all over. Australia. It was considered that one State or one shipping company should not get an advantage over another in the matter of survey, but that does not prove that the provision for an annual survey was right. In their report, the Navigation Commission did not say that it was right; on the contrary, they said that it was wrong. Now the registration of a ship by Lloyd’s need not be recognised. No vessel can goto sea hereafter unless she has a certificateunder our Navigation Act. I do not intendto say very much, because the decision is. a foregone conclusion, but I shall continueto raise my voice in favour of what I think, is right and proper for the benefit of pas~sengers. Twelve months is absolutely toolong to allow boats and haulage gear togo without a survey. There was evidence given before the Navigation Commission by an expert that the boats of a vessel ha ti not been shifted out of the chocks for twelve months, and that when they were put over the side, they sank. As regards; the gear which is necessary for the saving of life at sea, twelve months is, I repeat, too long a period to pass without an inspection being made. On this subject, Mr. Travers, a practical shipwright, gave, this evidence -
There is another matter which seems to be of very great importance, viz., the life-saving apparatus, which, unless it receives special attention, all the survey in the world would beutterly useless without it. Possibly a vessel would go to sea quite seaworthy, and through* bad weather spring a leak and founder ; the. only means of saving lives would be to take tothe boats. In many cases the boats them selvesare perfectly watertight and seaworthy, but theappliances for getting these boats into the water are often in a very bad and serious condition. I remember being at work here about nine years, ago on the A. U.S.N. Company’s steam-ship- Rockton. I was engaged to put a piece of belt- - ing amidships, about 30 or 40 feet long, which necessitated using the davits and tackle falls… We had to get the boat overboard. After getting. her over the side she sunk. It took about two« or three hours to get her out. I do not think she had been out for years before. The tackle falls were all swelled in the blocks; the boat.-., absolutely stuck to the chocks. Our contention , is that no matter how sound the boat may be, . unless there is a regular inspection of the gear- to get the boat out, that a serious accident may arise at any time. This is one matter which came under my own notice, although I haveheard of a good many. I must say (hat sincethe passing of this Act in I 90I the system of ‘ survey here is very much more rigid than itwas. I am not here to find fault with it. I.’ believe it has been improved fully 75 per cent, on what it was before; still, I think there is room for much improvement.
That evidence was given by a practical man concerning a vessel, which is running on the coast to-day. In my opinion, six months is a short enough period for a vessel to.be inspected by a practical and competent surveyor. I have given instances of vessels running in Sydney Harbor, which, before the end of six months, were not safe. I believe that an injustice is being done by providing for a yearly survey. I do not say that New South Wales was right in 1908 when it reverted to a twelve months’ survey, but it simply brought its law into line with that of other States. The ship-owners said, and the secretary to the Ship-owners’ Association gave evidence, that it was desirable to have a half-yearly survey. So far as clause 208 is concerned, it will not be necessary for the Minister or the Governor-General to accept a certificate from any association unless he thinks fit.
– I wish to direct the attention of Senator Guthrie to what was done at the Imperial Shipping Conference held in 1907. It was proposed there to suggest to the Board of Trade the inspection of not merely vessels carrying passengers, but steamers of every class and kind.
– Inspection, not survey.
– It was proposed to issue a survey certificate, which, of course, would include survey and inspection.
– They did not accept the suggestion.
– The Conference was held for the purpose of coming to a common understanding as to what shape the navigation laws should take for the selfgoverning Dominions as well as for the British Empire, and it unanimously suggested that the Board of Trade should issue a certificate to every steam-ship whether it carried passengers or not. If, as Senator Guthrie says, the Board of Trade has not adopted the suggestion, it leaves the ground open to serious objection. Suppose that a ship did arrive here from the Old Country carrying twelve passengers, or less, and having no certificate. There is ample power reserved to the Minister, I understand, to cause an inspection of the vessel, and if she is found to be not in a seaworthy condition, he can deal with her otherwise.
– Sub-clauses 3, 4, and1 5 of clause 208 provide for that.
– Seeing that the Bill1 fairly meets the case of British ships coming here without certificates, there needbe no ground for fear.
– The Ministry canonly act on a complaint, but with a surveyit must be done.
– Having regard to* the improvement in steam machinery generally, it seems anomalous to stand by a. practice which was in vogue when the steam; pressure on ships was no more than 60 or 80 lbs. to the square inch. To-day, thereare steamers on this coast pressed up to 80 and 100 lbs. Indeed, some steamers are pressed up to 180, some to 200 lbs., and*, some, I believe, even beyond that. It. ought to be plain enough to the ordinary understanding that a practice which wasquite good enough when steel plates were.not subject to steam pressure to the extraordinary extent to which they are to-day is altogether inadequate now. At thesame time, since the shipping companies can have their ships inspected! and surveyed by other means, whichmay only provide for annual certificates, I do not see that any good will be.served by insisting upon Australianownedor registered ships submitting to a bi-annual)-, survey. It is with much reluctance that Iagree to the clause as it stands, because I: think it is about time that we did away with a practice which was introduced whenthe knowledge of machinery was not quiteso extensive as it is to-day. Since shipowners can get their steamers classed and inspected by Lloyd’s, and need not comply with a provision for a half-yearly surveyas proposed, I accept the proposal very unwillingly.
– I intend to support the provision for the half-yearly survey of a vessel. During the discussion, I have heard* recriminations as to whether a survey means’ a survey of the hull only, or whether itincludes the block and tackle. In clause- 193 of the original Bill I find this definition of a surveyor -
For the purposes of this Division a surveyor: means any person who examines or reports orv any ship, her cargo or equipment, for any business or commercial purpose, but shall not include any prescribed surveyor under Division.. 2 of this Part of this Act or any person directedby the Minister or any Court to survey or examine any vessel or her equipment.
– If the honorable senator will look at clause 414, he will see another class of persons referred to, not surveyors at all.
– I do not want to delay the Committee. My opinion is that a survey of a vessel includes, not only a survey of the hull, the bulkhead, the deck, the engines, the boilers, but also the equipment. It may be that clause 414, which I have not turned up, may disagree entirely with clause 193, but that is not the question before the Committee. The point is, should the survey be made half-yearly or annually ?
– Unfortunately, that is not quite the question. The point is, what is the use of having a survey every six months in one case when we recognise a twelve-months’ survey in another case?
– If these clauses conflict with each other, I suggest to the Minister, in all friendliness, that he might postpone the consideration of this clause.
– Clause 208 will not come before the Committee, because the other House has made no amendment in it.
– I think that twelve months is too long for a vessel to go without a survey. Irrespective of where a vessel comes from or is registered, it -carries a crew if it does not carry a passenger. I have had some experience in connexion with the building of vessels. I contend that a survey ought to include everything on a ship, from the keel to the truck - every rope, every block and tackle, every bucket, ought to be included. I think it would be wise to restore the original provision passed by the Senate.
– Unfortunately, the Senate adopted six months in one clause and twelve months in another.
– We should endeavour to do that which will tend to make for safety at sea. I shall vote for the six months’ survey.
– I do not pretend to be an expert on navigation, but I have listened very carefully to the debate, and have come to the conclusion that the survey of a. ship would be a mere farcical thing if it did not include all the running gear and every matter of detail on board.
– So it does.
– Some of the experts say that it does not. It is necessary, for instance, that every fire-bucket should be an good order and kept filled in a handy place, so as to be available in case of emergency. Will any one say that the boats are not the most essential part of the equipment of the ship, even though she does not carry a single passenger? Are the lives of the crew to be regarded as of no consequence? . Is not life-saving apparatus to be supplied to them ? Should not every ship be compelled to carry a certain proportion of boats according to the number of souls on board? It is necessary, therefore, that the boats should be efficiently surveyed. I have heard to-day the most extraordinary argument in favour of the amendment which has ever been adduced by a .member of a progressive party - an argument which would justify any villanous legislation if heed were given to it. That argument is that, because something may be done somewhere else, we here in Australia, having the power to order our own household in our own way, should not do the right thing for fear of forcing shipowners to go elsewhere. I have heard that argument put forward by members of Tory parties in other Legislatures in favour of the most reactionary legislation. I have heard it used as an argument against antisweating legislation. It was said that if such legislation were passed, manufacturers would go to other States, where they would be able to sweat their workpeople as they liked, and to manufacture under their own conditions. That is the argument now put forward by those who are in favour of retaining the House of Representatives’ amendment.
– The cases are not analogous.
– They are. The argument is, that because something is done elsewhere we should not do the right thing here. We have not the power to regulate the households of other countries, but we have the power to regulate our own affairs. We have only to consider what is the right thing to do, and should proceed to do it, though the heavens fall. It has been contended by the Minister that because one clause in the Bill provides for a certain, thing in one way, and another clause is not consistent with it, we should make the two provisions consistent. It is held by Senator Guthrie and others, who know a great deal more about this matter than I do, that the clause under consideration, unamended, adopts the right course. Instead of altering the clause, then, as suggested, other clauses should be altered. We should refuse to do the wrong thing merely for the sake of keeping something else in countenance.
– Does the honorable senator think that the Board of Trade will accept this measure if we impose a six months’ survey on British ships?
– I was under the impression that we had full and ample power to. legislate for ourselves.
– We have limited powers.
– Either we have complete powers of self-government or we have not.
– We have not full powers.
– We have absolute and full power to legislate in all matters concerning ourselves. We do not want to interfere with British ships. We do not want to lay down the. law for them, but we do want to legislate for shipping affecting Australian interests. We have a very great interest even as regards ships that carry no passengers. We have an interest, in the enormous cargoes that leave Australia, and an interest in Australian citizens who may be on board those ships as members of the crew. Is it too much to expect that such vessels shall be surveyed once in six months? It is a well-known fact that almost every steamer trading on the Australian coast is docked at least once . in six months. She has to be put in dock for a general overhaul. Would it involve a great deal of extra expense to have an additional survey officially made?
– Oversea ships are not docked here.
– Sometimes they .are. If they are not, they are docked when they return to the other end of the world. After having listened attentively to all the arguments, I have come to the conclusion that if we adopted the amendment of the House of Representatives, we should do something which is not right, and which might have a detrimental effect upon the lives and wellbeing of people engaged . in the shipping trade. For that reason I am unable to follow the lead of the Minister.
– There seems to be some misunderstanding regarding the difference between inspection and survey. An inspection is made by an inspector, who reports to the Minister. But a survey is a compulsory examination of a ship, including every bit of her equipment. While Senator McDougall was speaking some honorable senators interjected that a survey did not include the inspection of ropes, sidelights, and everything else laid down as part of a ship’s equipment. As a matter of fact, all such things have to be surveyed, and the surveyor has to make a statutory declaration that he has examined them.
– They also have to be< inspected. Both statements are correct.
– They are not correct. An inspection and a survey are two different things. An inspection can take place at any time. An inspector can go on board a ship and say that certain things ought to be done. The master need not comply unless he likes. But when a survey takes place, every rocket, every sidelight, every fog-horn that a ship is compelled to carry has to be produced, and the surveyor has to make a statutory declaration that all the equipment is in good order. No sworn declaration is made regarding an inspection. Under the Victorian Act there was a penalty on any person who issued a certificate of survey if he was not appointed by the Marine Board. The surveyor under that measure did not receive a single penny for his work. The principal things to be looked to when a survey takes place are the ship’s bottom, her stern-bush, and her propeller, which cannot be surveyed unless she is docked. It has been said that the Victorian Act did not provide for a six months’ survey. I say that it did provide for a survey of all non-condensing engine steamers every six months.
– The ordinary steamers trading around our coast have not to be surveyed more than once .in twelve months. How many non-condensing engine steamers are there?
– There are still a large number of them.
– How many in the passenger trade?
– We are providing for both passenger and non-passenger steamers, and I say that a twelve months’ interval is too long. I know that the Board of Trade have put up a strong fight regarding this matter. Great Britain has not come up to line with Canada and Australia, but the time has arrived when an endeavour ought to be made to bring the Board of Trade up to our standard in the matter. I am not going to fight any longer about it.
– About time.
– We have a, right to express our opinion. We are not compelled to accept everything the Government like to bring down.
– If we go on in this way we shall never get through the Bill.
– Surely we have a right to discuss these amendments.
– Four days on each amendment - that means a year.
– We have 178 amendments to deal with, and some of them must be discussed fully.
Question - That the amendment be agreed to, with a consequential amendment - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 7
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Motion agreed to.
Amendment of clause 202 agreed to.
Clause 205. (Expiration of time before arrival.)
House of Representatives’ Amendment. - Omit the clause.
– I move -
That the amendment be agreed to.
This clause is redundant, as, if a vessel’s certificate has expired, she will not be permitted to leave. See clauses 200 and 415 as amended. The clause is also faulty in that it only refers to vessels which “ return” to Australia, that is to say, vessels that have been here before. It would not cover vessels arriving here for the first time. For these reasons it is best to omit the clause altogether.
Motion agreed to.
Clause 210 -
House of Representatives’ Amendments. - Omit “transverse”; after “bottoms” insert “as prescribed.”
– I move -
That the amendments be agreed’ to.
Experience has shown in the Titanic and other cases that transverse bulkheads are not in themselves always sufficient. A Committee presided over by Professor Biles, who, by the way, is, I believe, the naval authority who planned our torpedo destroyers, has been appointed by the Board of Trade to inquire into the whole question. When thereport is made available, we shall receive a copy. The first amendment will leave it open to us to prescribe either transverse or longitudinal bulkheads, or both, or watertight decks, or any other kind of partitions that may be desirable. The second amendment is to make it clear that any sort of double bottom will not do; but that they must conform to the standard which willbe laid down. It will also enable us to take into consideration the different requirements of different trades, and to prescribe accordingly.
Motion agreed to.
Clause 212. (Sending unsea worthy ships to sea.)
House of Representatives’ Amendment. - Omit the clause, and insert new clauses : - 212. 1. Every person who sends any ship to sea in an unseaworthy state so that the life of any person is likely to be thereby endangered, shall, unless he proves that he used all reasonable means to insure the seaworthiness of the ship, be guilty of an indictable offence.
– I move -
That the amendment be agreed to.
The clause, as it stands in the Bill, deals in a somewhat involved way with several distinct matters. The amendment makes provision in one clause for two distinct, but related, offences, and provides in a separate clause for the discharge of seamen from ships found to be unseaworthy. In this latter connexion the application of the provision is restricted to British ships. It is very doubtful, indeed, whether the Commonwealth has any power to release seamen on foreign ships from agreements entered into by them in accordance with the laws of their own countries, and, at any rate, it is not considered desirable to do so.
.- I move-
That the amendment be amended by leaving Out the word “ knowingly “ in sub-clause 2.
I think my amendment needs no argument, because the master of a ship should know whether she is in a seaworthy condition or not.
– I do not think the Committee should be asked to take this course. It seems to me that it should be possible to submit reasonable evidence to show whether a master knew whether his ship was unseaworthy or not. It is unreasonable to provide that a master should be guilty of an indictable offence for taking an unseaworthy ship to sea, though there may be no proof that he knew she was unseaworthy.
– I thought the Minister would accept my most reasonable amendment. What is the guarantee to the crew that a ship is seaworthy? In the signing of ship’s articles the master always signs first, and it is recognised in the history of British shipping that a master takes the risk of his ship, and is the last man to leave her. This is so, because it is assumed that a master knows his ship. Under the clause, as submitted by the House of Representatives, the onus would be thrown upon the Crown of proving that when a master took his ship to sea in an unseaworthy condition, he knew that she was unseaworthy. How could that be proved? A master ought to know the condition of his ship.
– Has the honorable senator looked at sub-clause 1 ?
– That does not refer to the master, but to the owner or agent. It is too much to ask the Crown to prove that a master knew that his ship was in an unseaworthy condition.
– It may he capable of proof. The ship’s log might afford evidence in support of such a charge.
– The ship’s log would give no proof as to the seaworthiness of the ship. A master should know the condition of his ship before he signs the ship’s articles, and thus induces his crew to sign them. I shall not labour the matter, but I ask the Committee to accept my amendment.
– Sub-clause 1 of the House of Representatives’ amendment makes ample provision in this matter. It provides that every person who sends any ship to sea in an unseaworthy condition, unless he proves that he used all reasonable meansto insure the seaworthiness of the ship, shall be guilty of an indictable offence.
– That does not include the master, because the master is. specially mentioned in sub-clause 2.
– I believe that “ every person “ would include the master. There might be very good reason for excluding the master, because a man may be asked to take charge of a ship at the last moment before she sails owing to the sudden illness of the previous master of the vessel. How could the new master know the condition of his ship? The hanging up of a ship for twenty-four hours may result in considerable expense to the owner. Ships have often to leave a port at a certain time in order to reach another at a convenient state of the tide. It would be possible under sub-clause 2 to proceed against the master.
– And his defence would be : “I did not know she was unseaworthy.”
– I think it would be quite possible under the amendment todeal with a master who deliberately took an unseaworthy ship to sea, and I see nonecessity for Senator Guthrie’s amendment..
– The first sub-clause refers toowners or agents or persons who send a ship to sea, and they are properly held tobe responsible for the seaworthiness and. proper equipment of the vessel. I think, the master is excluded from that sub-clause, but if we accept the amendment and leave out the word “ knowingly “ in sub-clause 2, the result will be that every master before he takes a ship to sea will demand that she should be surveyed. If a master does takean unseaworthy ship to sea, it should not. be difficult to prove whether he knew that, she was in an unseaworthy condition.
Amendment of the amendment negatived.
Motion agreed to.
Amendments of clause 214 agreed to.
Clause 215 -
If the master of any ship legally detained takes the ship to sea before she is duly released he shall be guilty of an indictable offence.
House of Representatives’ Amendment. - Insert after “ detained “ the words “ under this Division.”
Senator PEARCE (Western Australia -
That the amendment be agreed to.
Clause 213 provides for the detention of unseaworthy ships. To take such a ship to sea is very properly regarded as a very serious matter, and the clause accordingly makes it an indictable offence. Ships may, however, be detained for many other causes, some of them more or less matters of minor importance, as provided for in clause 416. It would be ridiculous to take a master out of his ship and detain him for trial by jury simply because his ship had been under detention for some minor difficulty, and he had, notwithstanding, taken her away to sea. Clause 415 deals with cases wherethe master of any ship detained for any of these other causes takes her to sea, and provides for such offence a penalty of £100. Cases under clause 416 can be dealt with summarily.
Motion agreed to.
Clause 216 (Taking official to sea).
House of Representatives’ Amendment. - Omit the clause.
– I move -
That the amendment be agreed to.
This clause now appears under the divisional heading, “ Unseaworthy ships,” and, in accordance with the provisions of the Acts Interpretation Act of 1901, would be construed as referring only to cases in which such ships are taken to sea with the detaining officer on board. The clause was, no doubt, intended, however, to have general application to all cases where an officer is taken to sea without his consent. To give it this effect, it is accordingly being transferred to Part XI., “ Miscellaneous,” as a new clause, namely, 415A.
Motion agreed to.
Amendment of clause 217 agreed to.
Clause 218 -
House of Representatives’ Amendment. - Omit “ two,” line 9, and insert “ three.”
– I move -
That the amendment be agreed to.
It is thought that, to guard against the lodging of frivolous and vexatious complaints as to unseaworthiness, at least three of the crew should be required to subscribe to a complaint before being relieved of the necessity to give security. This is considerably more liberal than any other British legislation on the matter. The Merchant Shipping Act 1894, section 461, provides for complaints as to unseaworthiness being made by “ one-fourth, being not less than three of the seamen belonging to the ship.” In a fair-sized passenger steamship, with a large number of stewards, &c, one-fourth of the crew might mean anything from twenty upwards. This, it is thought, is an unduly high number; but it is considered only reasonable that, unless at least three seamen concur in the complaint, the complainant shall give security for the costs of any detention. In actual practice, if the complaint was made at a reasonable time before the ship’s projected time of departure, so as to admit of the Government Surveyor making an inspection without detaining the ship, the costs would be but small, perhaps a pound or two. Of course, in any case where the complaint was found to be well-grounded!, the complainants would not be called on to pay any expenses whatever. These would, in such a case, have to be paid by the master or owner of the ship.
Motion agreed to.
Clause 223 -
Every ship shall be permanently and conspicuously marked with lines, in this Act called deck-lines and load-lines.
This provision shall not apply to -
limited coast-trade ships under fifteen tons gross registered tonnage;
ships employed solely in fishing;
pleasure yachts; or
ships employed exclusively in going from place to place in any river or inland water.
House of Representatives’ Amendments. - After 223 insert “(x.)”. Before “This” insert “(2.)”. Omit “fifteen,” insert “fifty”; Omit paragraph ” (d) “ and insert the following new paragraph : - (d) river and bay ships.
– I move -
That the amendments be agreed to.
These amendments are designed to exempt small limited coast-trade craft under 50 tons gross register, also river and bay ships, from the necessity of being marked with deck-lines and load-lines. As pointed out in connexion with an earlier amendment, a vessel of 15 tons gross would measure about 40 feet long, 12 feet wide, and 5 or 6 feet deep. One of 50 tons gross would be, roughly, 70 feet long, 17 feet wide, and from 5 to 6 feet deep. With regard to the river and bay ships, it may be pointed out that the conditions under which these run are so dissimilar to those of seagoing vessels that requirements absolutely essential in the case of the latter would be quite inapplicable to the former. River and bay ships, as a general rule, trade only in smooth, or comparatively smooth, waters, and within easy reach of land should the weather at any time become rough.
Clause 225 - (1.) The owner of every ship shall, before going to sea, mark upon each of her sides a circular disc twelve inches in diameter with a horizontal line eighteen inches in length drawn through its centre. (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 allowance 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 freeboard is measured under the said tables :
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.
House of Representatives’ Amendments. - Omit all the words after “ with the “, line 2, to “tables”, sub-clause 3, and insert “provisions of the Merchant Shipping Acts”; omit “coal or” in proviso, and after “cargo” insert “other than coal “.
– The proviso to clause 225 has been the subject of as much discussion as has possibly any other provision of the Bill. The proposal to treat coal cargoes as more dangerous than ordinary mixed cargoes, and to require for them a corresponding higher freeboard has called forth strong opposition from all quarters. It will be remembered that the fixing of the Winter load-line for coal was based very largely upon the assumption that when vessels so laden left here in the summer they would round the Horn, and run into the winter season in the Atlantic before reaching Europe. Investigation has shown, however, that no coal whatever is exported from Australia via Cape Horn. This is borne out by the official records. Expert seamen are. also fairly unanimous that coal when properly stowed and ventilated is not at all bad cargo. Clause 262 gives ample power to control the stowage and ventilation of coal cargoes. As there was a largely preponderating weight of opinion against this particular provision, so far as coal was concerned, it has been decided to limit the application of the clause to dead-weight cargoes other than coal. I move -
That the amendments be agreed to.
Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD (New South Wales) [6.3].- I notice that in the other House there was a very long debate on the question of loadline, and that the amendments which we are now asked to accept were made. I do not know that the arguments which have been adduced so far have been of such a character as to show that coal is exceptionally safe as against any other kind of dead-weight cargo. According to a circular which has been distributed, a great deal depends not so much upon the deadweight as upon the proper stowage of cargo.
– The proper ventilation of coal.
– That is, I admit, a great point in connexion with coal. I notice that at the Navigation Conference a good deal of consideration was given to the question of dead-weight cargo. It was pointed out at considerable length that the great point was first to see that the cargo was properly stowed. It was also pointed out that our ships do not get into the same class of weather as is provided for by the Winter North Atlantic load-line for sailing ships, and that in these cases we were practically losing a considerable amount of cargo carriage. I think it was stated that nearly a couple of hundred tons was lost in the case of a large ship. I believe that the difference in the load-line is 3 inches, which considerably alters the carrying capacity. That, of course, adds to the cost of carrying these freights. However, I recognise that, in view of the amendment which has been made elsewhere, it is not possible for the Committee to again get on to the other question of ordinary dead-weight cargo, or the omission of the latter portion of the proviso - or in the case of sailing ships, the Winter North Atlantic load-line, and in the case of ships so laden the provisions of this Act shall have effect as to that line or mark as if it were drawn through the centre of the disc.
Were that portion of the clause still open to consideration, I should be prepared to submit an amendment. But 1 think it is just as well, in passing, to point out that we are unduly hampering the carrying capacity of many sailing ships.
– I do not think that Senator Gould quite realizes the position. All that the clause does is to put vessels carrying deadweight cargoes that are going from Australia in exactly the same position as vessels coming from England, and we know that there is a possibility of meeting with winter weather, not only at Cape Horn, but in the Western Ocean. So far as “ coal “ is concerned, the other House has thought fit to take out the word, and, as we are not exporting coal from Australia via Cape Horn. I do not see any great danger in leaving out “ coal,” at any rate at present. The question of stowage is an important one, but no matter how a ship is stowed, if she is made too deep, she is uncomfortable and unsafe. I think that with the clause as.it stands, we are just at the margin of safety.
Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD (New South Wales)[6.10]. - I see that, at the Navigation Conference, Cap- tain Chalmers said -
With regard to sailing ships coming from Australia homeward, the Cape Horn route has always been chosen even since I can remember as the better route, the more favorable route, and the safer, because there we get what seamen call the brave west winds of the Southern Ocean - not necessarily gales - but west winds that blow with almost uniform force between the parallels of 55 and 60 south, and the only danger is from drifting icebergs. That is the reason that that route has always been chosen in preference to the Cape of Good Hope - and it is quite my own experience. I have circumnavigated that part five times; once from Fremantle I came back on a sailing ship via the Cape of Good Hope, and we wished we had gone the other way. The reason the Cape Horn (route has its bad name is from ships outwardbound going to ports of the West Coast of America, and there for a radius of about 100 miles you get what we call the “ storm area.” But even then the danger is confined to losing masts and spars. We have never had a record of any complaint from want of freeboard.
Later, Captain Chalmers said -
The Cape Horn sea is a long regular sea. The North Atlantic is like a boiling porridgepot ; you never know where the sea is coming from. You never get a true sea in the Atlantic, and south of Cape Horn there is a long regular sea which seldom or never changes.
Then Mr. Dunlop makes this remark -
The whole point is this : you are not going to handicap a trade which is of great benefit to the nation simply out of an imaginary idea? You must show proof before you do a thing of that kind.
I have made this quotation in order to show the Committee that an opinion was expressed very strongly by Captain Chalmers against the necessity of having this North Atlantic load-line adopted in our navigation law, considering where our ships have to go.
– He admitted that in going Home our ships were in the Western Ocean - in the vicinity of their own ships, which were marked.
.- I do not think he did. He pointed out that the seas with which our ships have to contend are entirely different from those with which ships have to contend in the North Atlantic in winter time. However, it appears that is not a question with which we can deal practically at present.
Motion agreed to.
Amendments of clause 227 agreed to.
Clause 231 (Regulations as to lines and marks).
House of Representatives’ Amendment. - Add the following new sub-clause : - “ (2.) Every person who without reasonable cause fails to comply with any regulation made with respect to the entry, publication, or delivery of copies of certificates or other particulars as to the draught of water and freeboard of a ship shall be guilty of an offence.
Penalty : One hundred pounds.”
– This clause gives power to make regulations as to lines and marks. The object of the amendment is to provide an additional sub-clause, in order to make the clause effective by providing a penalty of . £100 for a con-, travention of its provisions. Under the regulations, provision could have been made for a penalty of £50, but that is not considered sufficiently heavy for an offence in this connexion. I move -
That the amendment be agreed to.
Motion agreed to.
Amendments in clause 233 agreed to.
Clause 236 (Wireless telegraphy apparatus).
House of Representatives’ Amendment. - Omit the clause and insert the following new clause : - “236. - (1.) Except as prescribed, every foreign-going ship, Australian-trade ship, or ship engaged in the coasting trade, carrying fifty or more persons, including passengers and crew, shall before going to sea from any port in Australia be equipped with an efficient apparatus for wireless communication in good working order in charge of one or more persons holding prescribed certificates of skill in the use of such apparatus (2.) For the purposes of this section apparatus for wireless communication shall not be deemed to be efficient unless -
Penalty : One thousand pounds. (4.) The Regulations may prescribe the times and hours during which an operator shall be in attendance on the apparatus, ready to receive or transmit messages. (5.) Except as otherwise prescribed, the provisions of this section shall not apply to ships plying exclusively between ports in Australia less than Two hundred miles apart.”
– I want the Committee to amend the proposed new clause by leaving out sub-clause 3, and inserting a new sub-clause, and also by adding a new sub-clause. The amendments which I desire to be made to the amendment of the other House are in print, and have been circulated. The provision as to wireless telegraphy has always been regarded by this Parliament as a very important one. The original provision was first inserted by the late Government in its Bill of 1908, clause 230, ‘and was, I believe, the pioneer suggestion of compulsory wireless. In 1910 a Wireless Telegraph Installation Bill was introduced in the House of Commons, but was not proceeded with ; and in June, 1910, the United States adopted the compulsory principle in the Wireless Ships Act 1910. But I believe I am perfectly correct in saying that the honour of making the first move in this direction belongs to the “Parliament of the Commonwealth. There is at the present moment every indication that wireless in stallation on passenger ships will be made compulsory by all the leading maritime nations. The President of the Board of Trade, speaking in the House of Commons on 2 1 st May last, on the lessons of the Titanic disaster, said -
As to wireless telegraphy, it was clear the time was ripe for the extension of the system, and he was considering the expediency of some form of compulsion. (Shipping Gazette, 24th May, 1912.)
The Government have also been advised by cable that a Bill on the subject is now being drafted. This will, possibly, be considered during the next session of the Imperial Parliament. The march of events, since the matter was first dealt with in the Navigation Bill, has rendered the original proposal somewhat inadequate. The amendment made, by the House of Representatives, together with the further amendment which I intend to move, and which will be found in the printed notice of amendments, will expand the original clause in several directions. The principal alterations are as follows: - (1) Provision is made for the carrying of one or more skilled operators. (2) The times of attendance at the. instruments are to be as prescribed by regulation. (3) Accumulator batteries are to be provided so that the efficiency of the installation will not be dependent solely upon the ship’s engines, but will be maintained for at least six hours after their going out of action. (4) Power is taken by regulation to adopt the provisions of any International Convention to which the United Kingrom becomes a party, either in addition to or in substitution for the provisions of the section. (5) The exchange of messages between ships and other ships or stations must not be dependent in any way upon what particular systems are in use by these other ships or stations. In view of the somewhat strained relations at present existing between this Government and the managements of certain commercial systems, it has been deemed essential to embody this in the Bill. The same principle, it may be mentioned, exists in the American Act, and in the British Bill previously referred to.
In connexion with the loss of the Titanic, the evidence taken by the Board of Inquiry shows that at the time when the vessel was sinking, and the wireless messages for help were being sent out, the California was lying less than 20 miles away, but that, owing to the fact that her wireless apparatus was run by the main engines, and
The first recommendation is covered by clause 236 of the Bill as it stands. Suggestions embodying the last three, it may be stated, were under consideration by the Government some time ago, before even the Radio- Telegraphic Conference had met. The requirement, under the Navigation Act, of wireless on our large coasting steamers will not result in any great inconvenience to the steam-ship owners. Honorable senators and the Australian travelling public will be interested to learn that a large number of vessels trading to Australia, as also those running on our coast, are already equipped, or are being equipped, with wireless installations. The modifications which I desire in the amendment proposed by the House of Representatives are in print. In the first place, I move -
That the amendment be amended by leaving out sub-clause 3 and inserting in lieu thereof the following new sub-clause : - “ (3.) The master of a ship required by this section or the regulations to be equipped with wireless telegraphy apparatus shall not take her to sea, and the owner of a ship required to be so equipped shall not permit her to go to sea, unless the requirements of this section or the regulations have been complied with.
Penalty : One thousand pounds.”
Before resuming my seat, may I mention that among the vessels engaged in, or intended for, the Australian trade, which have been equipped lately are the Wangilla, Willochia, and Warilda, new steamers for the Adelaide Steam-ship Company; Dim- boola, belonging to the Melbourne Steamship Company; Bendigo, Geelong, Beltana, Commonwealth, Narrung, Wakool, and Wilcannia, of the Peninsular and Oriental branch service; Irishman, which recently arrived with a large contingent of immigrants, and for which Dalgety and Company are the agents. Ten of the Union Steam-ship Company’s steamers have already been fitted. The numerous vessels of the Royal Dutch Packet Company, trading in the East Indies, are all equipped with wireless, and their new steamers at present building for the Australian trade will, says the Shipping Gazette of 14th June, also be fitted with the apparatus. In addition to those I have alluded to, the steamers of the Peninsular and Oriental, Orient, NorddeutscherLloyd, Aberdeen, and Blue Funnel lines are equipped with wireless, and among others belonging to our Australianowned lines may be mentioned the Riverina, Wimmera, Vlimaroa, Victoria, and Westralia, of Messrs. Huddart, Parker, and Company ; the Grantala and Kyarra, of the Adelaide Steam-ship Company ; the Levuka and Kanowna, of the Australasian United Steam Navigation Company ; the Bombala and Cooma, of the Howard Smith Company; and Karoola, belonging to Mcllwraith, McEacham, and Company.
Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD (New South Wales) [6.20].- I should like to know what opportunities will be afforded to ship-owners to equip their ships with wireless telegraphy when this Bill becomes law. Apparently the clause will come into effect as soon as the Bill is passed. It is only reasonable that some time should’ be allowed to shipowners to enable them to comply with the law. We all recognise the great importance of having an efficient system of wireless telegraphy installed in our ships. There is a provision to exclude certain passenger ships; but we may take it that, as a general rule, nearly every ship, after this measure becomes law, will be equipped withwireless.
– The regulations may prescribe a time.
– It would be better to embody the time in a clause. At present, we do not know what time will be allowed. Unless dissented from by Parliament, regulations passed under this measure will have the force of law. I notice that subclause 5 of the new clause provides that the provisions are not to apply to ships plying exclusively between ports in Australia less than 200 miles apart. It would be within the power of the Minister to prescribe that the clause should apply to ships, although they were only plying to places quite close to one another. Again, I notice that the clause is to apply only to ships carrying a certain number of passengers. Another question is whether 100 miles radial capacity for the installation, as provided for, is sufficient in ordinary circumstances.
– One hundred miles by day is equal to 300 miles at night. Under certain conditions, at night a ship can communicate with a station 300 or 400 miles away, although only equipped with apparatus for communicating 100 miles by day.
– Again, I would like to know whether any particular system of wireless telegraphy is to be provided for? Apparently, vessels can instal any system they like. How far will other systems work in with that installed upon our coast? What is the position of the Commonwealth in regard to our own system? As far as I can understand, there is a difficulty. Experts are not altogether at one as to what is the best system.
– Any approved system may be adopted.
– Probably most ships that already have installations have adopted the Marconi system.
– There is no difficulty. Systems are interchangeable. The Telefunken and Balsillie systems are interchangeable, so that stations having the two systems can speak to each other.
– I should like to ask a question as to sub-clause 5 of the new clause. Take the case of ships plying between Melbourne and Launceston. The distance between Tamar Heads and Port Phillip Heads is 197 nautical miles. The question arises - What is a “ port “ ? In the sub-clause the term “ between ports in Australia “ is used. It may be desirable to have thepoint settled. It should also be determined whether the “ miles “ mentioned are nautical or ordinary land miles.
Senator GUTHRIE (South Australia) following recommendation with regard to wireless telegraphy -
Regard should be made to the resolution of the International Conference on Wireless Telegraphy recently held under the presidency of Sir Babbington Smith, that inhere practicable a silent room for receiving messages should form part of the installation.
I do not know what a silent room is, but the Minister might find out what is meant. It must be important, or Lord Mersey would not have put it into his report.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 8 p.m.
– I have to ask the Committee to allow me to withdraw temporarily the motion before the Chair. I wish to move an amendment with regard to silent chambers, which has been mentioned by Senator Guthrie.
Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
– I move-
That the amendment be amended by inserting after sub-clause 2 the following new subclause : - “ 2A. The equipment shall,if so prescribed, include a silent chamber for the receipt of messages.”
The reason why we propose to insert the words “if so prescribed,” is that other countries are legislating on this subject, and it is quite possible that they may prescribe for wireless installations on ships that may not include silent chambers. A silent chamber is advantageous, though it is not absolutely essential. We propose to take power, therefore, to prescribe silent chambers if thought desirable.
Motion agreed to.
– I move -
That the amendment be amended by leaving out sub-clause 3 and inserting in lieu thereof the following new sub-clause : - -“ (3) The master of a ship required by this section or the regulations to be equipped with wireless telegraphy apparatus shall not take her to sea, and the owner of a ship required to be so equipped shall not permit her to go to sea, unless the requirements of this section or the regulations have been complied with.
Penalty : One thousand pounds.”
I may say, in reply to Senator Gould as to the question of the time when this clause will come into operation, that it is well known that the Bill will have to be reserved for the Royal Assent as soon as it has been passed by both Houses of the Commonwealth Parliament. Its passage will be practically a notice to the shipping world. There will be a lapse of time before the Royal Assent is given. It is obvious that the Bill will have to be sent to Great Britain, where it will be examined by the Board of Trade officials, who will advise the Imperial Government, who, in turn, will advise His Majesty. Consequently, some time must elapse after the passing of the Bill before it comes into operation. Ship-owners will have ample time to make arrangements. In the majority of cases, arrangements for the installation of wireless telegraphy have already been made.
Senator Lt. Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD (New South Wales) [8.6].- I do not think that the statement of the Minister gets rid of the difficulty that I raised. When this Bill is passed, we shall say to the public, “ Here is a Bill which we think ought to come into operation as a law of the Commonwealth.” But shipping people may think that it contains certain defects that will cause the Royal Assent to be withheld. Of what benefit would it be to individuals holding that opinion to follow out the line of action laid down in the Bill ? Suppose that the Royal Assent is communicated to us to-day, and that to-morrow the Government intimate in the Gazette that the measure is coming into force.
– All those things will be taken into consideration in fixing the time. A proclamation bringing the Bill into effect will have to be published.
Motion agreed to.
– I should like the Minister to give the Committee some information with regard to the two matters referred to in sub-clause 5, upon which I asked a question before the dinner adjournment, as to what is understood by a “port,” and whether the word “ miles,” as used in the sub-clause, refers to nautical miles or land miles. I gave as an illustration the instance of Melbourne and Launceston. The distance between the cities is 277 miles, but the distance between Port Phillip Heads and Tamar Heads is only 197 nautical miles. It is proposed to provide that wireless apparatus shall not be necessary in the case of a steamer trading between two Australian ports less than 200 miles apart. The question is whether the ports referred to are less than 200 miles apart.
– It is not clear whether “ Heads “ mark the limitation of a port, but the word “ miles,” as used, means land miles. The honorable senator will- see that “except as otherwise prescribed,” the provision is not to apply: to steamers trading between ports less thai* 200 miles apart; but it is intended, if thisBill becomes law, to prescribe that tha. trade between Launceston and! Melbourne shall come under this provision, the reason, being that a vessel midway between Tasmania and Australia is out of the ordinary trade route, and is as much isolated as it she were in the Indian Ocean. The necessity of such a case for wireless apparatus is as great as it would be in connexion, with any other trade. 1 move -
That the amendment be further amended byadding the following new sub-clause 6 : - “ (6.) The Governor-General may make regulations in accordance with the (.provisions of any International Convention to which the United. Kingdom is a party, relating to the use of wireless telegraphy on ships, and such regulationsmay be in addition to, or in substitution either wholly or in part for, the provisions of this section.”
– Under this amendment, power istaken to make regulations to give effect tothe recommendations of International Conventions that may be held1 at any time hereafter. I am inclined to think, from the wording of the amendment, that these regulations would come into force merely because the Imperial authorities had agreed to them, and that this Parliament would’ have no voice as to their acceptance or rejection. I should like the Minister to say whether this Parliament will have the right to accept or reject such regulations?
– In the early days of Federation, it was the practice, in all Bills in which provision was made for the making of regulations, to insert aclause requiring the regulations to be laid on the table in each House if Parliament, was sitting, and if not, within fourteen days> of the meeting of Parliament, and if either House passed a resolution, notice of which was given within a certain time, disallowing any regulation, it became null and* void. Such a clause does not appear now in our Bill, because, in the Rules Publication Act which we have passed, we have laid down this law governing the making of regulations. So that any regulations madein pursuance of this sub-clause arising out’of the proceedings of an International Convention, must be tabled if Parliament is* sitting, and if Parliament is not sitting, within fourteen days after it assembles y and in either case, after notice given within a certain time, a resolution may be carried in either House which would have the effect of annulling them.
Motion agreed to.
Motion (by Senator Pearce) agreed to -
That the amendment, as amended, be agreed to.
Clause 252 -
All ships registered in Australia or engaged in the coasting trade shall be provided with an independent chain connexion to the rudder body ready for immediate adjustment in case of emergency.
Penalty : Fifty pounds.
House of Representatives’ Amendments. - Omit “ All,” insert “ The regulations may provide that any.” Omit “ Penalty : Fifty pounds.”
– I move -
That the amendments be agreed to.
This clause laid a statutory obligation upon all ships to be provided with an independent chain connexion with the rudder body ready for immediate adjustment. Under modern conditions, there is really no necessity in many cases for this independent chain connexion. In the first place, there has been great improvement in recent years in rudder construction, and it is a most unusual occurrence for a rudder’s stock to carry away. Some years ago, this was by no means an uncommon occurrence. A considerable number of steam-ships are provided to-day with multiple screws, and so are able to steer without the assistance of the rudder, if necessary. There may be cases in which the chain connexion is necessary, and the House of Representatives have made an amendment which will permit of a regulation being framed so that, in cases where it is necessary, this safeguard may be provided. The penalty is proposed to be left out because there is a general penalty provided for breaches of the Act.
– I think the amendment needs to be still further amended. It is proposed that regulations may provide that any ship shall carry these chains attached to the rudder. That is a good provision in the case of a ship with a single screw ; but power is not taken under the clause to provide that the chain shall be of sufficient strength to work the rudder. A shipowner, to show the ridiculous nature of the amendment, explained to me the other day that he could put his watch chain on board one of. his ships. The regulation should make provision for an independent and efficient chain connexion.
– That would be prescribed by the regulation.
– No. Power is taken only to prescribe that ships shall carry a chain, without saying what sort of a chain it is to be. I can inform the Committee that the same difficulty arose when the Plimsoll mark was first provided for by legislation. There was no provision made as to where the mark should be placed. The penalty was incurred if the mark was submerged, and some ship-owners put the mark on the funnels of their vessels. I notice that in this case the penalty for not carrying an independent chain is to be struck out.
– Because there is a general penalty clause covering all offences against the Act. .
– I think it is necessary to provide that the chain connexion shall be an efficient chain connexion.
– I hope the Committee will not be influenced by Senator Guthrie’s suggestion. We desire to expedite the passage of this Bill, and the fewer the amendments we make the sooner it will become law. Surely Senator Guthrie is aware that, if power is given to prescribe that a chain connexion shall be provided, that involves the power to say what sort of a chain shall be provided. By the regulation, we might prescribe the number and thickness of the links of the chain.
– I doubt very much whether we could go back to the text of clause 252 to make the amendment suggested by Senator Guthrie. The House of Representatives’ amendment adds a few words to the begining of the clause. Effect could be given to Senator Guthrie’s desire in the way the Minister has indicated. The regulation might prescribe a chain connexion, and then go on to define the chain. In that way, provision could be made for efficient chain connexion.
– I confess that I do not like the amendment made by the House of Representatives. It says that “ the regulations may provide” for a certain thing, and this means also that they may not provide for it.
– Because in certain ships there would be no need for it.
– I think we should say that “ the regulations shall provide,” and leave the regulations to be applied wherever it may be necessary.
– That would make the application of the regulation imperative in all ships.
– I think we should make the clause read in this way : The regulation shall provide that any ship registered in Australia or engaged in the coasting trade may be provided with an independent chain connexion.
– The honorable senator would make the making of the regulation imperative, and the giving of effect to it optional.
– If the regulations are not made, we shall be in a helpless position. [ think I had a little to do with the inclusion of this provision in the first instance, as the result of the teaching of that hardest of schoolmasters, personal experience. I was on a ship on one occasion that carried fifty or sixty people, and the rudder was carried away flush with the deck. There was a howling south-sea island gale blowing at the time, and we had no independent chain connexion such as I wish to sec ships provided with. I wish to prevent a similar occurrence in the future. If a hurricane is blowing, a steamer with only one screw is perfectly helpless, no matter how powerful her engines may be, if her rudder-shaft is carried away. It is true that if a ship has more than one screw it is possible to steer her safely by manipulating the screws,.
– What ship did the honorable senator refer to?
– I refer to the Birksgate. We had two small sticks across the mainmast which were dignified by the name of yards, and they helped us to keep the ship’s head fairly to the wind until men had time to carry out the perilous work under such conditions of attaching chains to the rudder body. It will be seen that my desire is to put beyond all doubt the possibility of any steamer or ship on our coast falling into a similar plight as we did on that occasion. The only thing which saved us was the use of the two spars which were on the mainmast; otherwise, I might have been playing a harp now. We should adopt the clause in its original form, not in its mutilated form. The better course, I think, would be to omit “ may,” and insert “ shall.”
– What you really want is the clause in its original form.
– Exactly. I am pre pared to stand by the original clause, because I know that some ships are already provided with these attachments.It is only requiring to be done under the Bill what has been cheerfully done in the past by the steam-ship companies.
– I think that I can meet the honorable senator.
– All right.
Motion,by leave, withdrawn.
– I move -
That the amendment be amended by leaving out the words “ may provide that any,” with a view to inserting in lieu thereof the words “ shall provide that ships of such class or classes as may be prescribed of.”
– That will do.
– The clause will then read -
The regulations shall provide that ships of such class or classes as may be prescribed of ships registered in Australia or engaged in the coasting trade shall be provided with an independent chain connexion.
Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD (New South Wales) [8.33].- I think that the proposal of the Minister is practically the same as the amendment of the other House.
– There is no difference between the two.
– It will leave the matter entirely in the hands of the Minister, who need not submit regulations at all. I think that if Senator Lynch wishes to get his view carried into effect his proper course will be to vote against the amendment of the other House.
– That would apply to all ships whether they wanted an independent chain connexion or not.
– That is not a very serious obligation to place upon ship-owners, and if an independent chain connexion would materially add to the safety of life and property, I think that the Committee might very well disagree with the amendment of the other House.
– The amended amendment will leave just as much discretion.
– I should like to have an assurance from the Minister that the classes of ship it is intended to exempt are those which can be steered by their own machinery In the event of a mishap, that is, twin or triple screw steamers. No matter how powerful the engines of a steamer may be, if the rudder body carries away, they would never save her. If the Minister can give the assurance for which I have asked, I think that the amended clause will meet the situation very well.
– I can give the assurance which Senator Lynch desires.
– Suppose that somebody else is the Minister ?
– I take it, that this Parliament cannot control future Ministers, hut only present Ministers. The amendment will be a clear direction to future Ministers as well as to present Ministers. Why do we pick out certain ships? Because it is obvious that if the rudder body carries away they are helpless. Why do we not apply the provision to other ships? Because it is known that twin or triple screw steamers have other means of steering. It is the intention of the Government, if the amendment is carried, to apply the provision to that class of ships which, in the event of the rudder body carrying away, would not be able to steer.
– It would not be a very great hardship for any ship to be compelled to put on a chain connexion.
– It is not necessary.
.- After hearing the Minister admit that a future Minister might not carry the provision into effect, I would sooner see the matter dealt with in the Bill than be left to regulations. I am entirely opposed to leaving such things to the discretion of the Minister, because Governments change. ft would be a very good thing, I think, to retain the clause in its original form. If this attachment is necessary to insure the safety of the public, it should be provided for in the Bill.
– It is unnecessary in regard to some ships.
– I do not think that it would inflict a great hardship upon any ship, because the cost of providing rudder chains would not be great. I believe that the original clause would meet the case better than will the proposed amendment. Senator Lynch has given us a very clear proof of the necessity for making a provision of this kind. We know that where a discretion is left to a Minister a loophole is left.
Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD (New South Wales) [8.40].- Suppose that we agree to the amendment of the Minister of Defence, what will be our position with regard to dealing with the amendment of the other House? Shall we be in a position to disagree with that amendment after we have amended it as proposed ?
– Or will it still be open to us to reject the amendment of the other House?
– It will have to be put as amended.
.- Very well. If the Committee believe that an independent chain connexion is necessary, let them say so, and not leave the matter to be dealt with by regulation, and even if it should apply to twin or triple screw steamers, the cost would not be very much.
– A number of people will lose a lot of sleep through the chains banging against the sides of the steamers.
Motion agreed to.
Motion (by Senator Pearce) proposed -
That the amendments, as amended, be agreed to.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 7
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Clause 256 -
Any seaman or apprentice may decline to go to sea in a ship carrying dangerous goods, and any seaman or apprentice who so declines, shall, if he so requests, be granted a discharge from the ship :
Provided that this section shall not apply where the carriage of the dangerous goods is in accordance with express stipulations in the agreement.
House of Representatives’ Amendment. - Before “ship”, line2,insert “British.”
.- The object of the first amendment is to make it clear that the clause does not apply to foreign ships. The Commonwealth may have power to make laws which will have the effect of annulling agreements between the masters and seamen of these ships. There is considerable doubt about it. At all events, it would be very unwise to attempt to do so, for it would inevitably result in considerable international friction. Under this Bill, “ dangerous goods “ mean goods which have been proclaimed to be dangerous. Under the Merchant Shipping Act, which we will probably follow, a large number of common commodities, such as matches, kerosene, &c, are classed as dangerous. Other goods so classed are, however, of a highly dangerous character, such as dynamite, gunpowder, benzine, &c. This will make it clear that we do not intend to apply these provisions to foreign ships. I move -
That the amendment be agreed to.
Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD (New South Wales) [8.49].- Do I understand that matches are dangerous goods.
– Not under the Imperial Act.
– I think that the Minister’s explanation was that matches were included in the category of “ dangerous goods.”
– I said they were dangerous under the Merchant Shipping Act.
– Are we going to allow a man, because there is a box of lucifer matches on a ship, to refuse to go to sea in her? That would be absurd.
– It refers to cargo.
– This provision has been in force for a considerable time. Section 446 of the Merchant Shipping Act of 1894 reads -
– Are seamen and apprentices allowed to refuse to go to sea in consequence of such goods being on board ?
– Yes. There is a penalty on a ship for taking dangerous goods. Lucifer matches would be dangerous.
– I do not find it provided in the Merchant Shipping Act that any seaman or apprentice may decline to go to sea in a ship carrying dangerous goods.
– The clause itself is not before us. It is merely a question of whether it shall apply to British and foreign ships.
Motion agreed to.
House of Representatives’ Amendment. - After “with,” line 8, insert “the regulations or”.
– I move -
That the amendment be agreed to.
This amendment is proposed’ in order that by regulation there may be some differentiation between the classes of dangerous goods. Take the case of matches. They are commonly carried, and with proper precautions with regard to packing and stowing there is very little danger from them. It should not be a sufficient ground for a seamen to leave a ship that is carrying a few cases of matches which are properly stowed. Under the regulations, precautions will be taken for the carrying of such goods in small quantities. That is the reason why the House of Representatives propose to insert the words “ the regulations or “. It is intended to meet the case of the carrying of small packages of matches, such as are frequently conveyed around our coasts. No honorable senator would say that the carrying of a few cases of matches should need a special stipulation in an agreement with seamen, failing which they should be able to leave the ship. We know that matches as made nowadays are fairly safe, and if properly stowed there should be no danger from them.
– If this were merely a question of the carrying of a few cases of matches there would be nothing in it. But what it means is this : Suppose that a seaman has made an express stipulation with the master of a ship with regard to the carrying of dangerous goods. She may be carrying dynamite or gelatine. Provision is made in the agreement with seamen for the carrying of such goods. Carrying them means greater risk and more pay. When an agreement has been made between the master and a seaman, there ought not to be a regulation overruling that agreement.
Once the agreement has been made, no regulation should interfere with it. The owner of the ship is perfectly at liberty to say, “I am going to carry certain goods.” He makes his agreement with his men accordingly. The men have a right to say, “ We agree to carry those goods.” Every month shiploads of explosives are brought to South Australia from the Cape. In one case, not long ago, a ship took fire in Port Adelaide. Naturally, the crew left her as soon as they could. It will be unfair to make regulations interfering with agreements made between seamen and masters of ships for these purposes I hope we shall stick to the clause as it left the Senate, and strike out the words inserted by the House of Representatives.
Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD (New South Wales) [8.57]. - Senator Guthrie wants to leave out the words “ the regulations 01 “ so as to leave matters in regard to the carrying of dangerous goods to be a matter of express stipulation between seamen and shipowners. I do not think that the clause as amended would be as objectionable as he seems to think. I take it that the regulations will not interfere with an express agreement between parties. But there may be other goods which are very dangerous, and for which the regulations should make provision. A ship may carry a general cargo of goods which is absolutely safe, and may also include a small quantity of lucifer matches, which may be classed as dangerous. Why have an express agreement with regard to the carrying of them? If the matter had to depend upon express agreements, it might be that men engaged upon ships, if they found that a small quantity of matches were being carried would turn round and say, “ This ship is carrying dangerous goods, and we claim to have our discharge.” There are many cases in which the regulations would probably be of great service, and at the same time would do the seamen no harm whatever. I shall support the insertion of the words proposed by the House of Representatives. In any case, I think the clause is a dangerous one, for many reasons; but it has been modified, and we are not now in a position to vary the text of. it except to the extent of making consequential amendments.
– I think it will be wise to adopt the amendment of the House of Re presentatives. I cannot see how a seaman would be endangered under it through the carrying of dangerous goods. There is, first of all, the provision as to an express stipulation ; and then there is the provision as to regulation. I cannot conceive any set of conditions under which a Minister would, by regulation, override an express stipulation contained in an agreement made between the master of a vessel and the seamen employed upon it. No. Minister would be foolish enough to issue a regulation overriding an industrial agreement. .
– Regulations may do anything.
– It is true that there is power to issue regulations of all kinds, but when a Minister issues a regulation he acts on the advice of his officers, who know what is required. The seaman should be well protected, but I do not think that the clause as amended could possibly do him any injury.
– The Board of Trade regulations, which, I presume, will be followed to a large extent in the regulations issued under this measure, prohibit ‘ the carrying on board passenger ships of methylated spirits, rubber solution, and rags. Suppose that seamen enter into an agreement with the master of a vessel that is about to carry cargo of that character. Why should a regulation override that agreement? Why should not these matters be left between the ship-owners and the seamen? Many honorable senators do not know anything about regulations issued under Acts of Parliament, and how can a seamen who spends his life at sea, and does not even see the daily newspapers, know what the regulations contain ?
– The President of the Seamen’s Union should be able to inform them.
– I do not think that that is a fair interjection. Such things would be better left unsaid. The Minister must know that dangerous cargo is, to a very large extent, carried on ships. The seamen know that such goods are carried, and enter into agreements accordingly. The words proposed to be inserted by the House of Representatives are .unnecessary when there is an absolute agreement made by both parties interested. I trust that the Committee will see their way clear to retain the clause. as it left the Senate.
– I think that in this matter Senator Guthrie is unduly apprehensive concerning the regulations that will be framed. If we cannot trust the Department to frame regulations, we cannot trust it to do anything. We give power to make regulations with regard to the survey and overhauling of ships before they are sent to sea. We give power to appoint officers to see that ships are in a seaworthy condition. Surely, then, we can afford to go a little further and allow the Department to make regulations as to the kind of dangerous cargo that shall be carried, and how it shall be carried.
– That is not the point at issue.
– The honorable senator wants to strike out the words regarding regulations so- as to leave the matter to be dealt with by private arrangement.
– And a man should be able to leave his ship if goods are carried contrary to the agreement.
– That is a two-edged sword, and cuts both ways. If a seaman saw that highly dangerous or explosive cargo was to be carried, and was being stowed in the wrong way, he would have a perfect right to leave the ship ; but, at the same time, we can imagine a seaman erroneously supposing dangerous material to be carried, and leaving the ship without having reasonable excuse. I think we should take into account the seamen who do not know, as well as the large body of men who do know, the risk they are running. We should insure, as far as possible, the protection of men who go to sea in blissful ignorance of the dangers they run on ships carrying explosives. There is no chance to safeguard the interests of such men unless by the regulations which the clause proposes. On the Australian coast men enter into agreements that are well-known, and these cases govern, perhaps, 90 per cent, of the carrying trade on our coast. In the other 1.0 per cent., men who have not a strong union behind them, or who are new to the country, may, through ignorance, take the risks which they should not be allowed to take. The only way in which to protect them is to set down in black and white what sort of cargo shall be carried, and how it is to be carried.
– Senator Lynch has missed the point in connexion with this clause. It does not give any power to make regulations, but it gives a ship-owner the power to say to seamen, “ You must goto sea in this ship because the regulations say so,” and, if that fails, to say, “ You must go to sea in this ship because the stipulations of your agreement say. so.” I do not see that the seaman should be burdened with regulations as well as with his agreement. I should not care which of the two courses is followed, but our position is that we can only amend by striking out the provision for regulations.
Motion agreed to.
Amendment of clause 259 agreed to.
House of Representatives’ Amendment. - After clause 263 insert new clauses 263A, 2630, 263c, and 263D.
– I move -
That the amendment be agreed to.
This and the next two amendments deal with the questions of salvage and damages. Since the Bill was last introduced into this Chamber, an International Conference has been held in Brussels for the purpose of unifying the law in regard to collisions and salvage at sea. At that time there were in existence some twenty different codes of law on the subject, many of them widely conflicting in principle. The Conference, after discussion, drew up a Convention on the subject, which has since been adhered to by practically every maritime nation. Amongst others, Great Britain has become a party to the Convention, and this Government has intimated its intention, so soon as the Navigation Bill becomes law, of also giving its adherence to the same. In pursuance of the terms of the Convention, Great Britain last year brought her legislation on the subject generally into line with the principles laid down. This was done by means of the Maritime Conventions Act of 191 1. To bring the Navigation Bill into line with this Imperial Act, and in anticipation of our adherence to the Convention, it has been decided to omit clauses 264 and 265 of the Bill, and to substitute therefor new clauses 263A, 263B, 263c, 263D, 264, 265, and 265A. These are based, without any material variation, on the provisions of the Imperial measure just referred to.
Motion agreed to.
Amendment of clause 264 agreed to.
Clause 265 (Master to render assistance).
House of Representatives’ Amendment. - Omit the clause, and insert new clauses 265 and 265A.
Motion (by Senator Pearce) proposed -
That the amendment be agreed to.
– Any person familiar with the law relating to salvage will admit that the Act passed as the result of the Convention referred to by the Minister embraces beneficial improvements of the law with regard to definitions and facilitating proceedings in Courts. Section 422 of the Merchant Shipping Act of 1894 is the section corresponding to the clause now under consideration, and I wish to say that I notice in that section a provision in case of collision that each master shall give to the other the name of his ship, the port from which it came, and its port of destination, which seems to have been omitted from this clause. I direct the attention of the Minister to the matter, for the reason that the information thus supplied is very necessary in order to start proceedings in a Court of competent jurisdiction. As the Government have taken very great care in connexion with this Bill, I anticipate that there is some reason for the omission of such a provision, if I have not overlooked it in some other part of the Bill. As one who has had some experience in these matters, I am able to say that the provision referred to was found to be of considerable convenience in facilitating Court proceedings, and protecting the interests of owners and masters of colliding ships.
– The provision which Senator St. Ledger has quoted from the Merchant Shipping Act was not in this Bill as it left the Senate, and we could not insert such a provision at this juncture. But whilst that express provision is not contained in this Bill, the Merchant Shipping Act will apply so far as British ships at sea, and not under our immediate jurisdiction, are concerned. As regards ships under our immediate jurisdiction we have power under clause 263 to make rules for the prevention of collisions at sea, and to prescribe what lights and signals are to be used by ships, and under the new clause 265A inserted by the House of Representatives, it is provided that the master or person in charge of a vessel shall, so far as he can do so, without serious danger to his own ship, her crew and passengers, render assistance to every person, even if such person be a subject of a foreign State at war with the King, who is found at sea in danger of being lost, and failure to render such assistance renders him liable to be charged with an indictable offence. There never was any provision in this Bill to compel a master to give the name of his ship or of the owners to the master of a ship with which he collided, and though such a provision is contained in the Merchant Shipping Act of 1894, my statement in submitting the motion still remains true, that these new clauses are based, without any material variation, on the provisions of the Maritime Conventions Act to which I have referred.
– I notice that before a master of a ship can be charged with failing to give aid to a ship or a person at sea it is necessary to prove that the person or the ship was in danger of being lost. I think it is necessary to go further than is proposed. A case came under notice recently, which in,dicates, to say the least of it, a very glaring disregard for human life on the part of those in charge of some steamer or steamers. It occurred on our western coast in connexion with the steamer Polynesian only a few weeks ago. I quote the following from the Age of 24th October. of this year. The statement was telegraphed from Albany -
The French mail steamer Polynesien, which was towed into port last evening by the Federal liner Essex, was brought into the harbor this morning. It is the vessel’s intermediate pressure crank shaft that is broken. She left Fremantle for the eastern States on Friday afternoon, and ran into bad weather. She was 155 miles east of Albany late on Saturday night, and a heavy southerly sea was running when the accident happened. All the passengers were in bed at the time.
The vessel was hove to, and as she was in the track of steamers no anxiety was felt. The next day passed without a ship being sighted, but at 9 o’clock the lights of a steamer were seen approaching.
The Polynesien is without wireless apparatus, and she had to speak to the other steamer by means of signals. The attention of the newcomer was attracted, but, to use the expression of one of the French officers, “ they were unable to come to terms,” and the vessel passed on without making her name known. Later the lights of what evidently was a small steamer were made out in the distance, but the signals put out by the Frenchman failed to elicit any response.
The telegram concludes with the following paragraph -
The disabled mail steamer has 216 passengers on board, and arrangements are in progress for these to be taken on by other vessels. The Dimboola will call to-morrow for as many as she can accommodate. A White Star liner is due on Saturday, and the Kanowna on Sunday.
Here was a disabled steamer on the high seas, with a complement of 300 souls on board, which signalled to another steamer in the distance to come to her assistance; but because satisfactory terms could not be arranged, the latter cast away and did not even make her name known. These clauses apply exactly to a situation of that kind. But we should go a little farther than merely insist upon proof of a ship being in danger of getting lost at sea before we allow the clause to pass out of our hands. 1 suggest to the Minister the insertion of “ helpless “ before the words “ or in danger of being lost “. Unless such an amendment is made, a loophole will be left to the master of a steamer to clear out and leave another vessel in the lurch as the Polynesien was left on that- occasion.
– It. was only a matter of terms.
– A failure to come to terms should not be an excuse, in any circumstances, to the master of any steamer to leave another vessel in the lurch. His first duty should be to save the vessel and the lives on board, and afterwards, if there were any damages or compensation to be secured, let it be sought in the law Courts, where the amount could be properly assessed. I think I am right in saying - and Senator St. Ledger will correct me if I am wrong - that if a person on land in ordinary circumstances failed to save human life, although he was not an accomplice to the act or the design, he would be an accomplice before the fact.
– There are cases on the point.
– It is our duty to see that a person who is so situated as the master of the Polynesien was in the case I referred to, shalT be helped at any cost, and that a person who refuses to render assistance shall be placed in the dock and charged with murder, or manslaughter, as the case may be. It is the darkest and most criminal offence of which a person can be guilty, and the clause ought to be made wider so as to minimize the risk of a person who is on board a. stout, wellequipped ship, failing to go to the assistance of a ship unfortunately situated like the Polynesien was only a few weeks ago. I ask the Minister to consider the advisability of putting in some words to obviate the danger of such a person escaping the penalty of his refusal to bear down and render whatever assistance lay in his power to bring the castaway or derelict into har bor. I think that the word “ helpless “ would be a very good one to insert, because any ship which would be cast away and have machinery thrown out of action, could well be described as helpless.
– Is she not in danger of being lost?
– She may or may not be.
– Senator Lynch will see, if he reads clause 265, that his suggested amendment would not come in there, because it deals only with collisions.
– It is in proposed new clause 265A that I propose to insert anamendment.
– Paragraph b of proposed new clause 265 imposes upon the person in charge of a vessel the obligation to stay by the other until he has ascertained that she has no need of further assistance. So that the case of a collision is met. As regards proposed new clause 265A, it seems to me that if a ship is helpless she is, by reason of that fact, in danger of being lost.
– She may or may not be.
– I think it is obvious.
– Oh, no.
– Suppose that a ship is helpless, even if the,re be a calm at the time, there is no guarantee that withintwelve hours a storm may not arise, and in that case she would be in grave danger of being lost. The case, I think, is covered by the provision. Furthermore, this question has to be dealt with somewhat carefully, because in the circumstances which Senator Lynch indicated, a ship may be in the position that the captain may refuse to give reasonable terms. Surely, if a ship is disabled, and calls upon another ship to tow her into harbor, the latter is entitled to reasonable compensation? That has always been recognised. The master of a vessel is not entitled to force his assistance upon a disabled vessel. Suppose that, in the case of the Polynesien, the other ship asked for terms which the French captain thought unreasonable. If he had acceptedtowage, he could still have asked the Court to adjudicate as to whether the termsimposed upon him were reasonable. I believe that there is such a thing as equity in bargains of this kind. Senator Lynch. knows that in Western Australia recently a. promissory note for a very large amount was signed by a person under threat of personal violence. The person who got the promissory note proceeded to recover the amount, and the Court held that as it had been proved that the note had been signed under threat of personal violence, it had no force in law. Whilst we want to safeguard human life and property, at the same time we know that in many cases the charge for towage is a matter of adjustment between the parties ; and we should not enable one party to extort from the other unfair terms. If, on the one hand, the captain of a vessel which was asked to render assistance were under a penalty for refusal, the master of the disabled ship might offer some ridiculous terms for a tow, and use as a lever to obtain that tow the threat of laying an information against the master of the other ship, and get him prosecuted for an indictable offence.
– Could not the Court be invoked in that case as well as in the other ?
– Of course it would. I ask Senator Lynch not to press ail amendment on the subject.
Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD (New South Wales) [9.42] - These provisions are following closely Imperial legislation, and it is always wise in a case of this kind not to attempt to depart too far from the wording of the Imperial Act, because while we follow the wording of the Act we have the benefit of the decisions of the highest Courts in the British Empire. It is always a disadvantage, therefore, to insert other or additional words unless there are strong reasons for doing so. In confirmation of what the Minister has said, I may mention that in Abbott’s Law of Merchant Ships and Seamen there are some cases cited on the very point which has been referred to. In one case, there was an attempt made to have an agreement set aside, but the attempt was not successful -
Dr. Lushington decided that those who were attempting to set aside the agreement had failed to prove either that it was improperly obtained or that it was grossly exorbitant. And, in another case, the same learned Judge declared, on setting an agreement aside as against the salvors on the ground of exorbitancy, that, although indisposed to set aside the bargains which had been made, the Court would, where they are proved to be inequitable, be just as ready to protect the rights’ of salvors as of those -whose property has been salved. In that case an agreement made Between a master of the salved ship and the salvors was set aside, on» the ground,- apparently, that their master bad recklessly consented to pay a sum wholly unreasonable for the services rendered. “ I think,” said Lord Esher, “ the old rule of Admiralty ought not to be lightly encroached upon, viz., that where there is an agreement made by competent persons, and there is no misrepresentation of facts, the agreement ought to . be tipheld, unless there is something very strong to show that it is inequitable.”
There, are further references to the position of a person who saves a ship and of the owners, and it is shown that where an agreement is entered into, and an exorbitant demand is made, the Court will set it aside. The Court also recognises the further principle that the captain of a ship which is in danger of being lost is compelled, practically, to accept any terms which are offered to him; but if. they are exorbitant, inequitable, or .unfair, the Court will set them aside and only award what is a reasonable amount of compensation; of course, always keeping in view the danger the ship was in, the value of the cargo salved, and the number of lives which might have been lost.
– This is not a case of salvage. ‘
– I have tried to find an explanation for this provision. I have found one, but it is not very satisfactory. So far as I can find, section 422 of the Merchant Shipping Act of 1894 is not expressly repealed by this Bill.
– It is only added to.
– Possibly that is the explanation of the matter. Prima facie, when a section is not expressly repealed, it will apply. There is a section in the Imperial Act which excludes the application of the amending Act dealing with salvage and collisions’ from Canada, Australia and other Dominions. .That, of course, leaves those Dominions free to embody the provision in their legislation whenever they choose to do so. It has occurred to me that the Imperial Act, after all, followed very largely the decisions given by the various Courts of Admiralty in salvage and collision cases. Section 422 is really declaratory of the law which has been laid down from time to time, and possibly that very useful provision still holds good.
Motion agreed to.
Clause 266 (No misleading lights to be shown).
House of Representatives’ Amendment. - Omit the clause.
– This provision has been embodied in the Lighthouses Act, and therefore is no longer required in the Navigation Bill. I move -
That the amendment be agreed to.
Motion agreed to.
Clause 269 (Accidents to be reported).
House of Representatives’ Amendment. - Omit “or from.”
– - We do not require that British ships should report any accidents which may happen on their passage to England, and therefore it is proposed to leave out the words “ or from “. I move -
That the amendment be agreed to.
Motion agreed to.
House of Representatives’ Amendment. - Insert the following new clause - “271A. - (1.) Every -
– This is rather an important amendment. It provides that adequate hospital accommodation shall be provided on board foreign-going ships trading regularly with the Commonwealth, and on Australian trade ships on voyages between consecutive ports which exceed a prescribed distance. It is deemed essential for the proper safeguarding of the health of passengers and crews of vessels that adequate and properly equipped accommodation for patients suffering from communicable diseases shall be provided. 1 think that some honorable senators recently had an experience in travelling round the north of Australia which will enable them to speak feelingly on the subject.
– Will this new clause lengthen the period of incarceration ?
– It will shorten the period by providing proper accommodation on board ship. I move -
That the amendment be agreed to.
Motion agreed to.
Amendment of clause 282 agreed to.
Clause 285 -
Provided that the next following section shall come into operation on the date fixed for the commencementof this Act.
House of Representatives’ Amendment. - Omit the proviso.’
– This amendment is consequential upon the transfer of the definition of ‘ ‘ engagement in the coasting trade “ to Part I. of the Bill, where it will have a general application. As part of clause 285, the proviso would apply only to Part VI. of the Bill, which is not the intention. I move -
That the amendment be agreed to.
Motion agreed to.
Amendment of clause 286 agreed to.
Senate adjourned at 9.55 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 20 November 1912, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1912/19121120_senate_4_68/>.