6 October 1910

4th Parliament · 1st Session

The President took the chair at 3.30 p.m., and read prayers.

page 4161


Senator VARDON presented a petition from fourteen taxpayers of South Australia, praying the Senate to reject the Land Tax Assessment Bill.

Petition received.

page 4161



Senator KEATING:

– I desire to ask the Minister of Defence, without notice, whether, in accordance with the promise that he made yesterday, he will lay upon the table of the Library all papers relating to a court martial held recently at Townsville respecting an officer named Widdup? I do not know his rank. Will the Minister also lay upon the table of the Library any papers that he may have in his possession containing any statement made by the officer as to the reason why he went to a certain hotel?

Senator PEARCE:
Minister for Defence · WESTERN AUSTRALIA · ALP

– Yes; I will lay all the papers that I have relating to the matter on the table of the Library.

page 4161




– I wish to ask the Minister representing the Minister of Home Affairs’, without notice, a question relating to the papers that have been distributed amongst honorable senators containing questions to be asked in connexion with the census. The documents are numbered 4, 5, and 6. Will the Minister inform us what forms1 and 2 are? 4163 Kalgoorlie to [SENATE.] Port Augusta Railway.

Senator FINDLEY:
Minister (without portfolio) · VICTORIA · ALP

– The forms in question are numbered for the convenience of the office. Forms i and 2 are for office use purely, and will in no way affect any questions to be asked in connexion with the census.

page 4162



Senator LYNCH:

– I wish to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council, without notice, whether the information which the Government are now collecting in connexion with the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta railway will be available for honorable senators before the session closes? I also desire to know, if the Government do not intend to advance the project this session, what place they intend that it shall occupy in the work of Parliament next session?

Senator McGREGOR:
Vice-President of the Executive Council · SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP

– A sum of £5,000 was appropriated in the Works and Buildings Appropriation Bill for the purposes of the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta railway. The money, as explained, was for the purpose of establishing an office, so that information might be gathered and estimates made relating to the construction of the line. The honorable senator will realize that it has been impossible within the short time available since the Bill was passed to get together such a staff as would be able to do the work. Consequently, it will not be possible before the close of the session to furnish the information to Parliament. It would hardly be fair to ask me to anticipate the policy of the Government for next session. The GovernorGeneral will announce that policy in due course, and I trust that the announcement with respect to the Kalgoorlieto Port Augusta railway will be satisfactory to the representatives of Western Australia.

page 4162


Senator KEATING:

– I desire to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council, without notice, whether it is within the contemplation of theGovernment to have the Navigation Bill dealt with by both Houses of Parliament this session ?

Senator McGREGOR:

Senator Keating could not have been in attendance yesterday when I made the statement that, although we desire to get the Navigation Bill through the Senate, it will hardly be possible to get it through the House of Representatives this session.

page 4162



Senator STEWART:

asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -

  1. What is the reason forhe reduction in the number of mail and despatching officers in Queensland, seeing that it has been found necessary to increase them in some of the other States, while Queensland has shown a large increase in every department of the Postal service ?
  2. Is it the intention of the Department to still further reduce the number of these officers in Queensland?
Senator Chataway:

– On a point of order, I should like, for my own guidance, to be informed whether Senator Stewart’s question was not on the notice-paper yesterday? If so, it was not asked. Is it the practice of the Senate, when a question is not asked, to put it on the notice-paper again on the following day?


Senator Stewart’s question was on the notice-paper yesterday, but the honorable senator was not present at question time. There is’ no practice affecting the reinstatement of questions, but there is no rule which lays it down that a question that has not been asked on one day shall not remain on the notice-paper until it has been asked and answered.

Senator Chataway:

– We may assume, then, that it” will be the practice in future that if questions are not asked they will remain on the notice-paper?


– I think that it is fair to allow a question which is not asked to stand over until the following day, unless, of course, it is asked by another honorable senator at the wish of the honorable senator who placed the question upon the paper.

Senator FINDLEY:

– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -

The Deputy Postmaster-General, Brisbane, has furnished the following information, viz. : -

Because work performed did not justify continuance of positions which have been abolished. Staffing Inquiry Board found that there are no despatching officers outside General Post Office in any other State except Victoria (one each at Ballarat and Geelong), and that Board has reported that -

The position of despatching officer is not considered necessary at any country or suburban office as the work usually allotted to such officer is more properly that of a senior sorter.

In this opinion I concur, especially in view of experience in other States.

*Case of* **Mr. Wightman.** [6 October, 1910.] *Naval Appropriation Bill.* 4163 {: type="1" start="2"} 0. Yes, if circumstances warrant and permit. Hitherto there have been more mail officers and despatching officers in Queensland than were warranted by either work or circumstances. {: .page-start } page 4163 {:#debate-6} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-6-0} #### CASE OF MR. WIGHTMAN {: #subdebate-6-0-s0 .speaker-K7D} ##### Senator STEWART: asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Was **Mr. Wightman,** a postmaster in the Queensland service, retired some time ago on account of having reached the age of 65? 1. Has he been employed as a temporary postmaster since retirement ; and, if so, where, for what periods, and at what salary ? 2. What was **Mr. Wightman's** salary at date of retirement? {: #subdebate-6-0-s1 .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY:
ALP -- The answers to the honorable senator's questions are - >The Deputy Postmaster-General, Brisbane, has . furnished the following information, viz. : - > >Yes. > > **Mr. Wightman** was temporarily employed a Gingin, when the Railway Department asked to be relieved of post and telegraph work at that station, and pending the appointment of permanent staff during the period from 22nd October, 1909, to 28th January, 1910, with remuneration of *£2* 9s. per week (7s. a day). He was also temporarily employed at Toogooloowah while an inquiry was being held respecting numerous complaints in connexion with missing letters and money at the semi-official office at that place, with remuneration of 7s. a day, from the 27th June, 1910. He is still in charge, and his services will be required until the 31st October, 1910, when the new semi-official postmaster will take up duty. > >Salary -£210perannum. {: .page-start } page 4163 {:#debate-7} ### PAPERS **Senator FINDLEY** laid upon the table the following papers : - >Lands Acquisition Act 1906- > >Fremantle, Western Australia : Defence purposes. - Notification of the Acquisition of Land > >Gulargambone, New South Wales : Post Office. - Notification of the Acquisition of Land for Site. > >Manildra, New South Wales : Post Office. - Notification of the Acquisition of Land for Site. > >Wauchope, New South Wales : Post Office. - Notification of the Acquisition of Land for Site. > >Goulburn, New South Wales : Drill Hall. - Notification of the Acquisition of Land for Site. > >Burren Junction, New South Wales : Post Office.- Notification of the Acquisition of Land for Site. > >Ganmain, New South Wales : Post Office. - Notification of the Acquisition of Land for Site. > >Geurie, New South Wales : Post Office. - Notification of the Acquisition of Land for Site. > >Koorawatha, New South Wales : Post Office. - Notification of the Acquisition of Land for Site. . > >Wallerawang, New South Wales : Post Office. - Notification of the Acquisition of Land for Site. > >Portland, New South Wales; Post Office. - Notification of the Acquisition of Land for Site. {: .page-start } page 4163 {:#debate-8} ### NAVAL APPROPRIATION BILL {:#subdebate-8-0} #### Second Reading {: #subdebate-8-0-s0 .speaker-KTF} ##### Senator McGREGOR:
Vice-President of the Executive Council · South Australia · ALP -- I move - >That this Bill be now read a second time. I may be permitted to express the hope that honorable senators are now in better temper and spirits, and are less likely to fire up at slight provocation, than we were at the close of the previous sitting. It will be remembered that the Commonwealth of Australia has launched a naval policy; that is to say, a policy for the building gradually, as our means permit and our necessities demand, a navy of our own. We have already entered into arrangements for the construction of two torpedo boats in Great Britain, and a third to be constructed in Australia. We have also entered into a contract for the construction of an armoured cruiser. That vessel is in course of building, and we have already appropriated funds, to a certain extent, for the purpose of paying for her. In addition to the vessels, the construction of which has already been commenced or completed, the programme of construction contains three more armoured cruisers, three more torpedoboat destroyers and submarines. The three armoured cruisers are to be completed before the end of 191 2, and it is necessary that provision should be made to meet the cost of their construction. That is one of the reasons for the introduction of this measure for the appropriation of *£2,590,000* for naval purposes. Although a Trust Fund is to be established, it is not proposed that the whole of this money shall be placed to the credit of the fund straight away, but only as money becomes available for the purpose, and in time to meet expenditure upon construction when it becomes necessary. Honorable senators are aware that under section 94 of the Constitution, which has not been repealed, surplus revenue from Customs and Excise must be returned to the States, and in view of this fact it was found necessary on a previous occasion to establish a similar Trust Fund in connexion with our old-age pensions system. Under this proposal, as money becomes available, it can be placed to the credit of this Trust Fund for the development of the naval polity of the Commonwealth. There are only two clauses in the Bill making provision for the contingencies to which I have referred. Honorable senators have a right to express their opinion on the measure, but as it is a small one, I hope that it will have a speedy passage through the Senate. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Senator Lt: **-Colonel Sir** Albert Gould. - Before the honorable senator resumes his seat, I should like him to say whether there is any truth in the statement which has appeared in the press that the Government propose to build one of the cruisers in Australia? {: .speaker-KTF} ##### Senator McGREGOR: -- The statement is correct. Two of the cruisers are to be built in the Old Country, and the material for the third will be purchased there, butits construction will be carried out in Australia. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Senator Lt: **-Colonel Sir ALBERT** GOULD (New South Wales) [2.47].- I am very glad that the Government have proceeded so far as to submit a Bill to provide for the construction of the Fleet that has been in the contemplation of the Commonwealth Government for some time past. It will be remembered that when we were invited to vote various sums on account of the large vessel of the Fleet the Government declined to state what their naval policy was. The Minister of Defence was invited on another occasion to make a statement on the subject. He said that at that time he was not prepared to disclose the naval proposals of the Government, but that they would be made public later on. Although the honorable senator has left the moving of the second reading of this Bill to the Vice-President of the Executive Council, that honorable senator has informed us that the construction of the vessels contemplated some twelve months ago is to be carried out exactly in the way then proposed. I am glad that the present Government have seen their way to adopt this course. In the circumstances, any comment I might make upon this proposal would be with respect to detail as to the way in which the construction of the vessels should be carried out ; but on two or three occasions I have been invited to say a word or two as to the relative advantage of constructing a navy of our own as against subsidizing the Imperial Navy to a greater extent than we have hitherto done. Hitherto we have paid a subsidy of £200,000 a year towards the maintenance of the Australian Squadron. But under the scheme now being given effect, after making allowance for £250,000 which the Imperial authorities agree to contribute towards ite cost, we shall incur an expenditure of £500,000' annually. Many people have stated that it would have been better for Australia if we had decided to contribute £500,000 annually to the Imperial authorities for our defence in common with the defence of the Empire. Personally, I have no sympathy with that view. I think we shall be doing much better, and will be rendering greater assistance to the Old Country by following the course now contemplated of building a naval unit of our own, which will form a portion of the Pacific Squadron, and will be useful, not alone for the immediate defence of Australia, but to aid in the defence of the Empire. I take it that if any part of the British Empire is attacked the whole of the Empire is affected, and the various portions of it cannot expect to continue to form the great Empire of which we are all so proud, unless they are prepared and in a position to assist each other. Our friends in New Zealand have adopted a' different course. They have thought it well to make a contribution of £100,000 a year towards the upkeep of the Imperial Squadron, and to present the Imperial authorities with a ship of the *Indomitable* type as their contribution towards the defence of New Zealand and the Empire. I think the course we are following is the better of the two. I am glad that the Vice-President of the Executive Council spoke of building up a navy for Australia as the importance of our resources and our needs from time to time demand. I recognise that this measure deals merely with the beginning of naval shipbuilding for the defence of the Commonwealth, and that as time goes on we shall add vessels to the Navy we are now creating. We must not consider that we shall have done our whole duty when we have constructed a naval unit of the Pacific Squadron and made provision for an expenditure of £500,000 annually to maintain it. I look forward to a time when our Navy will of itself be very powerful and able to make its influence felt wherever its services may be called for. As honorable senators are aware, I should have preferred if the Government had agreed to provide for the construction of these vessels out of a loan to be liquidated by annual instalments from a sinking fund within a reasonable time, and before the vessel should become obsolete. I believe that would have been the wiser course to follow in financing the undertaking. T recognise that we shall have to add to our Navy from time to time, and will have to spend money in repairs. But I think the expenditure so involved might fairly be made chargeable to revenue. By that means we would be making provision for the establishment of a navy on the easiest possible terms. Parliament in its wisdom has thought it well to adopt another course, and I feel that I should not be justified now in objecting to this measure. Our supreme duty is to construct a navy, and we should not allow difficulties of opinion as to how the money for the purpose should be raised to influence us in carrying out a project of so much importance to Australia. The VicePresident of the Executive Council, in reply to an interjection of mine, told us that the Government contemplate building the third of the armoured cruisers in Australia. I am in entire accord with the Government in this regard. I believe that we should be self-contained in providing for our own defence. Apart from the encouragement which the construction of the vessel must give to ship-building in the Commonwealth, it will assist us to become self-contained. We require to be in a position to construct our own ships, ordnance, arms, and equipment. If we were always to be dependent upon the Old Country for the construction of our vessels and implements of war, we should, at times, find ourselves in a very difficult position, because in a time of stress, when it would be necessary to construct a large number of vessels in a limited period, the needs of Great Britain herself would very properly receive first consideration. If we can construct these vessels ourselves, we shall be doing good service for Australia. I recognise that it is probable, owing to the difference in rates of wages and in the completeness of plant and equipment for the purpose, that we shall find the construction of these vessels here more costly than if they were constructed in the Old Country. But we must establish ourselves as soon as possible in a position of selfreliance, and be able to supply all our own requirements efficiently. I notice that in the debates in the Canadian House of Commons, on a similar question, a strong feeling was expressed that the vessels re quired by Canada should be constructed in Canadian waters. If I mistake not, some inducements were offered to firms to establish ship-building yards in Canada for the purpose. Whilst we have no yards in Australia which at present might be called upon to build ships of this size, our ship-building industry is progressing, and will be of great value to us in the future. For the reasons I have given, I am quite in accord with the proposal of the Government. I hope we shall find that the Navy we propose to construct and maintain will be a valuable aid in the defence of the Empire. It represents comparatively a small project. It will involve an annual expenditure of ,£500,000 by a population of about 4,500,000, and we must bear in mind that Great Britain, with a population of about 45,000,000, spends from £35,000,000 to £37,000,000 annually on naval defence. I, of course, recognise that that sum includes the cost of the vessels which are annually added to the Fleet. But these figures evidence that the British taxpayer has to provide a large sum to maintain the supremacy of the Empire. It will be seen, therefore, that although we are increasing our outlay upon defence, that outlay is very small, proportionately, to the expenditure incurred in that connexion by the Mother Country. I am sure that we are only too glad to do our share to maintain the supremacy of the Empire. The whole of the rights and privileges which we enjoy are entirely dependent upon the naval power of Great Britain, and will continue to be so dependent for many years. I cannot conceive of a country like Australia which possesses such a small population and such an enormous territory, attempting to stand alone whilst the nations of the earth are. eagerly seeking to discover fresh fields in which they may settle their surplus population. In these circumstances, it is surely necessary that the outlying portions, of the Empire should do all that they can to contribute to its defence. We owe a great deal to the Empire which has nurtured Australia for so many years, and which would be only too glad to see us able to walk alone. But when we attain to that position, I shall still be proud to belong to the British Empire, from which, I hope, we shall never be separated. {: #subdebate-8-0-s1 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
Minister of Defence · Western Australia · ALP -- I am glad to welcome **Senator Gould** to the ranks of 4166 *Naval* [SENATE.] *Appropriation Bill.* those who believe in the establishment of an Australian Navy. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Senator Lt: **-Colonel Sir** Albert Gould. - I have always believed in it. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- The honorable senator will recollect that when the Naval Agreement was under consideration in this Chamber he voted for the continuance of the naval subsidy. I am pleased to know that he now believes that the creation of an Australian Navy does not imply that its advocates are lacking in loyalty to the Empire, as was asserted on that occasion. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Senator Lt: **-Colonel Sir** Albert Gould. - But not by me. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- The statement was made by others. Upon that occasion, with the exception of **Senator Symon** and exSenator Matheson, the Labour party practically stood alone in its advocacy of the creation of an Australian Navy. Whilst the financial difficulty in this matter is a pretty acute one, it is not by any means the greatest. Not only do the Government propose to build one of these protected cruisers in Australia, but we intend that the three remaining torpedo boat destroyers shall be constructed in the Commonwealth, and we hope, top, some of the submarines. It is anticipated that, by being built locally, they will cost more than they would cost if they were constructed in England. But whilst that will be so in the first instance, it may happen that later on we shall be able to compete with English prices. A remarkable instance of this has occurred in connexion with the construction of gun waggons for our field guns. The price of the first contract which was let in Australia exceeded the English prices, but the waggons provided for in the second contract are actually being constructed at less than those prices. That is a distinctly encouraging feature in regard to the manufacture of supplies for ourDefence Forces. After we have acquired experience in the building of these warships, we hope that we shall be able to construct them at prices approximating those charged in the Old Country. It is estimated that the three protected cruisers will cost£350.000 each, the torpedo boat destroyers , £80,000 each, and the submarines£55.000 each. In connexion with the submarines, we must recollect that at the present time we spend a considerable sum annually in laying down mines and in maintaining submarine mining engineers. In the Old Country, with the advent of submarines, all this expenditure has been done away with. Consequently, when the destroyers are available, the Commonwealth will be able to save a large expenditure which it now incurs in maintaining submarine mines and engineers. A very important question which will arise in connexion with our Australian Navy relates to its status. Honorable senators will recognise that we are pursuing an unblazed track. There is no nation in the world any of whose Colonies possesses a. fleet, and, therefore, our position is unique. That fact opens up a very difficult problem in regard to the status of our Fleet in relation to foreign nations. I merely mention this matter with a view to showing that in deciding to build an Australian Navy we have by no means overcome our troubles. Indeed, they are only just beginning. {: .speaker-K5F} ##### Senator Sayers: -- What is the thickness of the armour-plate upon the protected cruisers ? {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- It is 6 inches over the vital parts. {: .speaker-KPE} ##### Senator Keating: -- Does the Minister of Defence suggest that Great Britain is dispensing with submarine officers on land? {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- Submarine mines have been entirely abolished. {: .speaker-KPE} ##### Senator Keating: -- In view of the adoption by the Admiralty of the Brennan dirigible torpedo- {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- That torpedo is used by the torpedo boats. {: .speaker-KPE} ##### Senator Keating: -- I think that the Minister's statement is incorrect. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- I am not making the statement upon my own authority. {: .speaker-KPE} ##### Senator Keating: -- The Brennan torpedo is dirigible from the land. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- It is not used in the same way as are fixed mines, which are sown in channels and passages. In the Old Country these mines have been abolished, as it is considered that the submarine takes their place, and is far more efficient, because it can follow a ship even at sea. The efficiency of these submarines has been so increased that, according to the latest report, they are now able to make a voyage of 1,000 miles, and some of them are able to develop a speed of 10 miles an hour whilst they are submerged. {: .speaker-KPE} ##### Senator Keating: -- The Minister has not answered my question. In view of the *Naval* [6 October, 1910.] Appropriation *Bill.* 4167 adoption of the Brennan dirigible torpedo by the Admiralty, is it not a fact that the Imperial authorities are keeping a special staff on land for that work? {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- I cannot say. My statement was that we are now expending a considerable sum annually in keeping up our submarine mines, and that that expenditure will be obviated in the future. {: .speaker-K5F} ##### Senator Sayers: -- What will be the complement of these ships, and can the Commonwealth man the two torpedo-boat destroyers which are now on their way to Australia ? {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- Of course, we have not the complement with which to man these vessels, or even to man one of them. They will be manned in the first instance by men from the Royal Navy, who, as they are gradually displaced by Australians, will return to the British Navy. {: #subdebate-8-0-s2 .speaker-KTF} ##### Senator McGREGOR:
Vice-President of the Executive Council · South Australia · ALP -- I have very little to say in reply. 1 heartily echo the hope which has been expressed by the Leader of the Opposition and the Minister of Defence that the day will soon arrive when Australia, in the matter of its naval and military defence, will be self-contained. If we were about to build armoured cruisers, it would be very awkward if we had to send to Great Britain for the material used in their construction, and it would be particularly awkward if, as the result of a blockade by a foreign Power, we found ourselves isolated when the construction of those ships was urgently necessary. Australia will never occupy a 'safe position until it is able to produce everything that it requires for its own defence. We have in this country all the materials that are necessary for the manufacture of armoured cruisers and battleships. As a matter of fact, many foreign countries obtain some of those materials from us. For instance, we have wolfram and other metals which are used to harden steel plates, and for other purposes, in abundance. There is really nothing that we need to import when once we have established our manufactories. As the Minister of Defence has already pointed out, when we have acquired the necessary experience, I have no doubt that we shall be able to construct ships as economically as they can be built in any part of the world. Question resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time, and reported without amendment ; report adopted. {: .page-start } page 4167 {:#debate-9} ### TRUST FUND ADVANCES BILL (No. 2). {:#subdebate-9-0} #### Second Reading {: #subdebate-9-0-s0 .speaker-KTF} ##### Senator McGREGOR:
Vice-President of the Executive Council · South Australia · ALP -- I move - >That this Bill be now read a second time. This is another of the small Bills dealing with the financial responsibilities of the Commonwealth. It arises out of the peculiar position in which it has been placed in connexion with its relationship with the States. Honorable senators are aware that up to the 31st December, it will be necessary for the Commonwealth to pay to the States three-fourths of the Customs and Excise revenue. Owing to the increasing expenditure on the Naval and Military Forces, old-age pensions, and other matters, the demands on the Treasury have increased very considerably within the last year or two. To enable the Commonwealth to pay to the States three-fourths of the Customs and Excise revenue up to the 31st December, it will be necessary to increase the revenue to some extent. But it has been enacted by this Parliament under the Constitution that after that date we may recoup the Treasury the extra expenditure incurred in the first half of the financial year, and on the 30th June balance the accounts in accordance with the revenue at our disposal. The proposition is to borrow from the Trust Accounts a sum of£1,500,000 for revenue purposes, and to repay it before the 30th June of next year, thus making everything square at the end of the financial year. The Bill consists of only four clauses. Clause 3 provides for the repayment of the advance. When the measure was before the other House, an amendment was accepted which, if enacted, would really subject the Treasury to very considerable inconvenience, because the interest on the advance would be payable to the Trust Accounts. It was never the intention of the other House, or of those who supported the amendment, that such a complication should arise. Their idea was that the money should be principally borrowed from the amount which would be deposited in the Treasury in connexion with the Australian note issue. When the Government found from the Treasury officers that a difficulty was likely to arise, they decided to propose at the end of clause 3 a short amendment to the effect that the interest should be paid to the Australian Notes Issue Account. That will do away with any complication as to interest going to any other Trust Account. Another amendment was made in the other House, and that was to make doubly sure that if the money was borrowed from that particular Trust Account, every care would be taken that it should be repaid before the end of the financial year. Honorable senators are aware that in the first half of this financial year, we are under a certain amount of difficulty which can be got over in the next half, and the succeeding years will be in a position to stand on their own bottom. This is only a temporary measure, which has been found to be absolutely necessary to balance the accounts. **Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT** GOULD (New South Wales) [3.17]-- This is not a Bill which, like the previous one, I can see my way to support cordially. {: .speaker-KTF} ##### Senator McGregor: -- So long as we get the honorable senator's reluctant support, we shall be content. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: -- I do not want to give even a reluctant support to the Bill. This is a novel departure which the Government are attempting to make with regard to the finances. They have entered upon a system by means of which they have determined as far as possible - and I use that phrase because I think there is a little hope for them in that respect - not to borrow money at all. {: .speaker-KTF} ##### Senator McGregor: -- Not for defence purposes. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: -- The Government now want to borrow money for the purpose of' carrying on the ordinary annual services of the country. It is perfectly true, as the honorable senator says, that the Treasurer will take the amount required from the Trust Fund, and that it is the intention of the Government to repay it within a very limited period. I would remind honorable senators that the intention of many a man who has had trust funds under his control has been to borrow moneys for a limited period and to repay them with interest and without any doubt or difficulty. We have to consider how these trust funds come into the hands of the Government. They are moneys which have been appropriated for certain public purposes and placed in their hands in order that such purposes may be effected. That is the ordinary routine with regard to trust funds. From the Budget papers which have been laid upon the table, I find that the balance Df trust moneys carried forward on the ist July, 1910, amounted to ^911,582. As regards the London liabilities, the expenditure amounted to £543,000, and the receipts to £1,187,000; so that £644,000 was held in trust to meet certain London obligations. The moneys in the various Trust Accounts have been allocated for different purposes, such as, for instance, harbor and coastal defence and invalid and old-age pensions. I have no doubt that since the ist July, 1910, there have been considerable disbursements as well as a certain amount of receipts. When we find that the moneys in our Trust Accounts at the present moment amount to less than £1,000,000, we should make quite sure that the Minister will be able to meet promptly the liabilities which have been approved of by Parliament when the demand arises. We are venturing upon very dangerous ground, indeed, when we attempt to devote trust funds to purposes other than those specified by Parliament. The onlyopportunity which the Government have of obtaining money is provided by the Australian Note Issue Act. Every member of this Parliament knows quite well that when that measure was originally introduced into the other House it provided that after the 25 per cent, gold reserve had been put on one side, the balance of the money received should be at the disposal of Parliament. But what was done there? The idea was so strongly opposed that the Government consented to alter the Bill so as to provide that the whole of the money received should form a Trust Account and be held as a guarantee for the due repayment of the notes issued. Now the Government come along and seek to get behind that provision. They say, " These will still be trust funds, but we are going to borrow them for a purpose which was never contemplated by Parliament, whatever may have been contemplated by Ministers when the account was authorized.It cannot be too strongly impressed upon honorable senators that the Government care so little about the Trust Accounts that they are prepared to borrow money, if they choose to call it borrowing, and to divert it to objects entirely different from those determined by Parliament. I believe that it is legally possible for Parliament to do that, but it is legislating in such' a way as to encourage persons to believe that our financial legislation is not of any value. It only goes to prove how absolutely untrustworthy people should regard our financial administration. I speak in this way because I feel that the case ought to be put very plainly and straightforwardly, not only before the Parliament, but before the people. They cannot know too soon or too well the tricks that can be played with moneys placed in the hands of a Government as trust funds for a specific purpose. We know quite well that the Government will have this money available in the course of a few months, although they have no funds in hand at present. The circumstances are such that it will be necessary that a large note issue shall be taken from the Treasury in order to enable the business of the country to be carried on. That money will be paid with the assurance standing before the people that it is to be held in trust, so that when those who hold notes wish to redeem them in gold they may do so. So careful was Parliament to make the people of the country believe that, this fund was to be a very strong one that they made special provision for the Government to issue Treasurybills in a time of crisis in order that the fund might be absolutely solvent. {: .speaker-KTF} ##### Senator McGregor: -- The honorable senator knows that it is not contemplated to take any portion of the proposed reserve. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: -- I know that it is not contemplated to take any part of the 25 per cent, reserve. But provision was made that the remaining 75 per cent, paid on account of the notes issued should be held in trust for the protection of the note-holders. {: .speaker-KTF} ##### Senator McGregor: -- And invested. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: .- How? {: .speaker-KTF} ##### Senator McGregor: -- This is an investment. {: .speaker-K7V} ##### Senator Sir Josiah Symon: -- By raiding the trust and putting the money into the pockets of the trustees - by law, of course. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: -- Provision was made in the Australian Notes Act that, apart from the 25 per cent, which was to be held by the Treasurer as a coin reserve, the balance of the coin paid for notes should be invested in Government securities, that is, in consols, or in securities in the various States, or should be placed in the banks on fixed deposit. That provision was similar to one in connexion with the note issue in Queensland, where large sums of money were invested on fixed deposit at a fixed rate of interest. But the position is entirely dif ferent when the Government say, " We are going to take three-fourths of the £2,000,000 " - if £2,000,000 worth of notes are issued - " for the purpose of doing something other than was originally intended." The Minister says that the Government are going to keep intact the reserve of 25 per cent. Yes, but the moment a note comes in for payment in gold, how is the money to be provided, if £1,500.000 is to be mopped up by a loan to the Government? The 25 per cent, gold reserve is supposed to be an irreducible minimum. The moment that minimum is reduced by a single sovereign the Government go beyond the powers given to them by Parliament. Suppose there is a demand for £1,000,000 to be paid in redemption of notes, and that, in addition, the Government had still to hold one-fourth the amount of the other notes still in circulation.' They are taking advantage of their position to put their hands in the till and take money out with the intention of repaying it within a limited time. An individual trustee who did such a thing would be liable to be sent to gaol, no matter how good his intentions were. But a Government can, by law, if they see fit, mop up a fund established for a specific purpose, although the public have accepted notes under a solemn promise contained in an Act of Parliament, that a reserve would be kept intact for the purpose of redeeming them in gold. What would be the position if there were a run on the notes? The Government say that they would issue Treasurybills, and so recoup the amount borrowed. But if there were to be a run, Treasury-bills would not be taken up very readily, or on such favorable terms as Parliament would desire. It would have been far better if the Government in this case, instead of availing themselves of the Trust Fund, had seen fit to issue Treasurybills for the purpose of carrying them over a financial difficulty. {: .speaker-KTF} ##### Senator McGregor: -- This money is required only for six months. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: -- It would have been better to issue short-dated Treasury-bills, so that the public would have had the assurance that the Trust Fund would be intact, and that the Government were running absolutely straight. In America, similar difficulties have been experienced. There the reserve held against notes has, from time to time, been depleted below the amount required by law, rendering it necessary to issue Treasury-bills in order to get the amount of the reserve back to the safe limit. There have been interminable troubles in regard to this matter, and the public Treasury has been almost threatened with bankruptcy. If honorable senators opposite will read a little book to be found in the Library, called *Presidential Problems,* they will find therein a record of speeches made by a former President of the United States with reference to the depletion of reserves, and showing the devices to which the Government of the United States were compelled to resort in order to get a sufficient sum of money to replenish these reserve funds, which had been depleted. In that case there was not, as there is in this, a promise made by a Government only a few weeks previously that the reserve fund would be kept intact in order to meet liabilities. The Government tell us that they want this money to tide them over a temporary difficulty, and that the amount will easily be refunded. But we are entering upon a risky business. Would it not have been much safer and better, in the interests of the community at large, to have gone to one or other of the banks and have said, " We want this accommodation, and wish you to give it to us ; we think we can repay you at the end of six months"? There would have been no difficulty in obtaining the money at a little more than 3 per cent, interest. The Government would then have been able to say to the people of the country, " Our Trust Fund is intact, and we shall never be at a loss to keep our promise to redeem your notes in gold." Of course, I recognise that the Government have a majority behind them, and can carry this Bill as they carried it in another place. I do not know whether much attention was called to the matter there. But we are certainly entering upon a dangerous system of finance. Once the people of the country lose confidence in the financial integrity of their Government - I do not care what party the Government represent ; my remarks would have been equally applicable to any other Government- {: .speaker-JXJ} ##### Senator Needham: -- The honorable senator would not have made these remarks if he had been sitting on this side of the Chamber. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: -- I should condemn this practice wherever I sat. The Government, I say again, ought to be particularly careful that the people of the country have no reason to doubt the political integrity of their rulers in regard to matters of finance. The Government may be able at the end of twelve months to say that they have re-deposited the money in the Trust Fund. The Bill requires them to do so before the 30th June, 1911. But, nevertheless, I object to this practice as a matter of principle. We cannot be too careful as to how we conduct our finances. A Government in this respect is very much like an individual. An individual can lose his good name through neglecting to meet his obligations as he ought to do. A Government also can lose its good name by playing pranks with the finances. If an individual who has trust moneys in his hands utilizes them for his own purposes, the public have not much confidence in him afterwards. Honorable senators can read the records of the Law Courts affecting men in the profession to which I have the honour to belong who have foolishly and mistakenly utilized trust funds with the view of returning them within a certain time. {: .speaker-KTF} ##### Senator McGregor: -- But without the consent of the trustors. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: -- For whom are we acting in this matter ? We are acting for the people of the country. They are to take up our Commonwealth notes. Is it honest for this Parliament to say, " We will allow the Government to mop up the fund established to meet those notes " ? Conduct of this kind may be regarded as amounting to a breach of faith, and I do not think that any special pleading can make it appear that we are taking a right and proper course. {: .speaker-KRZ} ##### Senator Lynch: -- The trustors are satisfied that the money shall be invested as proposed in this Bill. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: .- Who are the trustors? {: .speaker-KRZ} ##### Senator Lynch: -- The people who take up Commonwealth notes. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: -- The people have sent us here to look after their interests and to see that nothing is done that is inimical to their welfare, and to see that nothing is done which will cause the public to doubt the integrity of the Government in their management of the finances of the country. The proper control of the public finances is one of the most important functions of government. If I have trust funds in hand, and require to spend ia certain sum of money beyond what I have. I do not use those funds, but borrow the money I require from a bank. That is the way in which the Government should act in managing the finances of the country. They should deal with them in the ordinary way of business, and not in the way now proposed. When this measure was first introduced in another place it was not contemplated that interest should be paid on the money borrowed from this Trust Fund, and when the Government discovered that it would be right to pay interest on moneys borrowed from the fund they should have been able to see that it would have been more straightforward to borrow the money, as they might do at a reasonable rate of interest, and hold the Trust Fund intact for the specific purpose for which it is established. While I do not doubt that the Government have fully considered the matter, and have come to the conclusion that they will be able to repay with interest the money they propose to borrow from this fund, the unexpected might happen, and they might find themselves unable to do what they desire. Tn any rase, it is infinitely better that trust funds should be regarded as such, and that no attempt should be made to divert- them from the specific objects for which they have been created. This is an attempt, which, so far as I can judge, will be successful, to evade the provisions of an Act of this Parliament which was assented to so recently as the 16th of last month. Under that Act we made provision for a gold reserve of 25 per cent, of the note issue, and that the other 75 per cent, be held in fixed deposits in the banks, in consols, or in the Government securities of the States. We did not then contemplate that the moneys of the fund would be borrowed by the Government for financing the ordinary affairs of the country. I say this is dishonest finance, and unfair and unjust, and that it is prejudicial to the interests of the country. {: .speaker-KTF} ##### Senator McGregor: -- To whom would it be unfair? {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: .- To the people of the country. {: .speaker-KTF} ##### Senator McGregor: -- In what way? {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: -- The money placed to the credit of this Trust Fund should be regarded as placed there for a specific purpose, and it should not be used for any other purpose. The same principle should be followed in connexion with all Trust Fund Accounts, though, if money is available after the object for which they have been created has been fulfilled, it might, of course, be utilized in the public interest. {: .speaker-KTF} ##### Senator McGregor: -- But who is to be injured by this proposal, except moneylenders and bankers? {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: -- I am not concerned with either money lenders or bankers. {: .speaker-KTF} ##### Senator McGregor: -- Yet the honorable senator contends that we should borrow the money Ave require from the banks and pay the banks interest on it. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: .- Why not? If I want to borrow money I must pay interest on it, and if I have trust funds in my hand I am not entitled to make use of them. {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator de Largie: -- It would only be the bankers who would receive any injury under this proposal. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: .- I have not said that. {: .speaker-JU7} ##### Senator de Largie: -- No, but that is the. logical conclusion of the honorable senator's argument. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator Findley: -- There would be nothing wrong in using these trust funds in the interests of the public. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: .- If I held trust funds on behalf of the honorable senator I should be acting dishonestly if I. made use of them. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator Findley: -- But this money is to be used in the people's interest. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: -- To carry that argument to its logical conclusion the Government would be justified in taking possession of all the moneys to the credit of Trust Funds and applying them to purposes other" than those for which the fund has been created. I say that that would be absolutely wrong. This is but the beginning of a practice which may lead us into financial difficulties. And ultimately the public will be unable to trust the Government of the country. Whoever the Government may be, it is of the utmost importance that the people shall have absolute confidence in their management of the public finances. The present Government, with a majority behind them, are entitled to give effect to their political view, but when they come to deal with the finances of the country they should observe rigidly the rules of using Trust Funds only for the purposes for which they have been created. {: #subdebate-9-0-s1 .speaker-KQ4} ##### Senator McCOLL:
Victoria -- While it is somewhat unfortunate that in the course of a few months we should have had io make two inroads on the Trust Fund, this is a very different case from the last we considered. The last inroad upon trie Trust Fund with which we dealt was made without the consent of Parliament, but in this case the Government are acting in a straightforward manner, and Parliament is given the opportunity to approve or disapprove of the proposal made. I do not agree with **Senator Gould-** that there is any analogy between this proposal and- the action of a lawyer in using funds intrusted to him by his clients for his own purposes. The Government are proposing in this case to use these funds for the benefit of the people who contribute them. We should remember that at the present time we are faced with very exceptional circumstances. This money *is* required but it is not otherwise available, and I see nothing objectionable in the proposal which is made. If the Government went to a bank for this money, or if the Treasury-bills for the amount required were issued, they would be obliged to pay interest to private persons, whilst under this proposal the interest will bi» paid into a fund belonging to the people themselves. The Bill as it appears before the Senate is a great improvement upon the measure as at first introduced in another place. It then specified no fund, and made no provision for the payment of interest. Those defects have been remedied elsewhere, and an amendment has been circulated to-day to provide that the interest payable on the money borrowed shall go to the credit of the Australian Notes Issue Account. While I am not prepared to object to the Bill, I hope that it will not be regarded as a precedent. I find its justification in the exceptional circumstances connected with the expiry of the operation of the Braddon section and the necessity for fulfilling our obligations to the States. When those obligations have been satisfied I trust that the Government of the Commonwealth, whoever they may be, will hold all trust funds sacred. In the peculiar circumstances of the .case I do not blame the Government for the introduction of this Bill, and I shall be prepared to support it. {: #subdebate-9-0-s2 .speaker-KTF} ##### Senator McGREGOR:
Vice-President of the Executive Council · South Australia · ALP -- - I must express a certain amount of gratitude to honorable senators, because to some extent a principle is involved in this small measure. But I entirely dis agree with the remarks of **Senator Gould** that there is anything dishonest in this proposal, or that any fair analogy can be drawn between it and the action of a person who diverts to his own purposes and for his own benefit funds intrusted to him by other persons. This is not a question of the Government trusting the people, but of the people trusting Parliament and the Government. They give the Parliament and the Government power to act in their interests, and we are acting in their interests in doing what we now propose. The Trust Fund referred to in this Bill is not to be regarded, as a Trust Fund established for any particular purpose. We have passed legislation in connexion with an Australian notes issue which, in a very short time, will place a large amount of money at the disposal of the people. While that money would be available for Government purposes such as are in contemplation in this Bill, would the Government not be very foolish to go to the trouble of issuing Treasury-bills or getting a loan from a. bank or any other financial institution? When the Australian notes are issued, 25 per cent, of the issue must be held in reserve in gold, and none of that money can be touched. But does **Senator Gould** contemplate for a moment that the other 75 per cent, of backing for the notes is also to be kept intact and produce nothing in the interests of the people of Australia ? I am sure that he does not imagine anything of the kind. When he was telling us that cock-and-bull story about a run for £1,000,000, did the honorable senator contemplate that besides the 25 per cent, of the note issue held in gold we should also keep a reserve of £1,000,000? If there is a note issue of £10,000,000, does the honorable senator contend that, in addition to £2,500,000 -in gold, all the rest of the money represented by the note issue will be kept in the Treasury safes or behind those grilles which the UnderTreasurer has fixed up for the protection of the gold reserve? That money is intended to be used, and under this Bill it will be used and 3 per cent, interest paid upon it will be added to the Australian Notes Issue Account. I hope that if there are large amounts of gold deposited for the paper currency we intend to issue, almost every penny above 25 or 30 per cent, of the value of the note issue will be profitably invested, and will bring in interest which may be used ultimately in the redemption of the notes and in payment of the cost of the administration *Navigation* [6 October, 1910.] *Bill.* 4173 of the currency. I see nothing dishonest in this proposal. We are asking the people to whom this money belongs if they are prepared in certain contingencies to advance a certain amount of it for a particular purpose. I know that a majority of the representatives of the people in this Parliament will say that they are, and if the question were put to the whole of the people of Australia they would indorse the action of the Government when they thoroughly understood the position. Question resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time. *In Committee :* Clauses 1 and 2 agreed to. Clause 3 (Repayment of Advance). Amendment (by **Senator McGregor)** proposed - >That the following sub-clause be added : - " The interest payable in pursuance of this section shall be paid to and form part of the Australian Notes Account." {: #subdebate-9-0-s3 .speaker-K78} ##### Senator ST LEDGER:
Queensland -- I am exceedingly glad that the Government have recognised in such a tangible fashion the reasonableness of the claim which has been urged for the payment of interest upon money borrowed from the Trust Funds constituted under the Australian Notes Bill. Amendment agreed to. Clause, as amended, agreed to. Clause 4 agreed to. Title agreed to. Bill reported with an amendment. {: .page-start } page 4173 {:#debate-10} ### N AVI GAT TON BILL *In Committee* (Consideration resumed from 20th September, *vide* page 4015) : Clause 85 - (2.) Where a seaman, whose service terminates by reason of the wreck or loss of the ship, has been engaged by the run, he shall be entitled to a proportionate part of the wages to which he would have been entitled on the termination of the run, subject to all just deductions, and that proportion shall be calculated up to the termination of his service. Upon which **Senator Guthrie** had moved - >That the words " a proportionate part of," line 4, be left out. {: #debate-10-s0 .speaker-K78} ##### Senator ST LEDGER:
Queensland -- I should like **Senator Guthrie** to assign reasons why these words should be struck out. It seems to me that if a seaman has been engaged by the run, and if for some reason for which he is not responsible, that run is not completed, it is only just that he should be paid the proportionate part of it which is due to him. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- What is " a proportionate part " ? {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator ST LEDGER: -- A part in proportion to the length of the run up to where it terminates. I understand that the clause largely follows the lines of the New Zealand Act. Upon its face it appears to be a very just provision. When a ship is lost by wreck neither the owner nor the seaman is responsible, and the clause provides that in such circumstances the seaman shall be paid for " a proportionate part " of the run. If the service of a seaman terminates by reason of the loss of his ship - by " an act of God or the King's enemies," to use a legal phrase- {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- Or owing to the negligence of the master or the owner. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator ST LEDGER: -- The negligence of the master or owner is amply provided for in the Bill again and again. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- Not so far as the seaman's wages are concerned. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator ST LEDGER: -- It is idle to argue that the seaman is not sufficiently protected. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- What is " a proportionate part " of the wages which may be due to a seaman? {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator ST LEDGER: -- A proportionate part of the run. As a matter of fact, the principle that fie is to be paid " a proportionate part " of the run has been determined in the Law Courts. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- No. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator ST LEDGER: -- I am aware that about a century ago, when a seaman had engaged for a certain run, the Courts held that, unless that run were completed, he had not fulfilled his contract. But recent decisions have been in accord with a more equitable view. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- It has always been laid down in law that the payment of a seaman's wages does not impose upon him any obligation in the matter of earning freight. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator ST LEDGER: -- I shall not quarrel with the honorable senator. The clause appears to be so equitable that I hope he will assign reasons why the words of which he complains should be deleted. {: #debate-10-s1 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
Western AustraliaMinister of Defence · ALP -- This is a very difficult question to arbitrarily determine. The difficulty arises from the fact that it is almost impossible to decide what would be " a proportionate amount " of the wages due to a seaman in case of shipwreck. Take the case of the *Waratah* as an example. If any seaman had escaped from that vessel, and had made a claim upon the owners, what Court in the world could have determined the proportionate amount of the run which had been completed? In view of this difficulty, I intend to accept the amendment. I admit that it will inflict a certain amount of injustice. -The difficulty, however, seems to be insurmountable, and a larger measure of injustice would be inflicted if we adopted the clause in its present form'. I frankly confess that in accepting the amendment I am not easy in my mind, but it appears to me that it contains a less germ of injustice than does the clause in its original form. After all, the contract entered into between the seaman and the owner is for the run, and if a ship be lost, it would be rather hard that the seaman should be called upon to bear the whole of that loss. He would not be to blame for the catastrophe. With some doubt, I freely admit, I intend to accept the amendment. {: #debate-10-s2 .speaker-KQ4} ##### Senator McCOLL:
Victoria -- I was not present when the amendment was explained by **Senator Guthrie,** who, no doubt, dealt very fully with it. But I occupy a similar position to that occupied by the Minister of Defence. I can see the possibility of a great injustice being done on either side. If a man ships for a six months' run- {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- This would not apply to a run for six months, but only to a run from port to port. {: .speaker-KQ4} ##### Senator McCOLL: -- That is one point on which I desire to get information. I have not heard the matter explained, and I was wondering whether it were a question of a run for three or six months. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- No, it is" a contract to go from one port to another. {: .speaker-KQ4} ##### Senator McCOLL: -- I can see that a great injustice would be done to a shipowner if his ship were wrecked at the Heads, and the crew had to be paid for a service of three or six months. But in the case of a run from Melbourne to Brisbane, I do not think there would be any injustice done to the ship-owner under a provision of that kind. I should like the Minister to explain what is really involved. {: #debate-10-s3 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
Western AustraliaMinister of Defence · ALP -- I understand that this provision is most frequently availed of in the case of tramp steamers which discharge cargo at Melbourne, and then, perhaps, receive orders to take on cargo at Newcastle. They ship crews here for the run from Melbourne to Newcastle, and pay them so much for it. « {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould: - These are very exceptional cases. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- Yes. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- No, they are common cases. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- They will not be so common after this Bill has been passed, because it will place a heavy embargo on tramp steamers. The Shipping Master here has informed me that they constitute a very small proportion of the whole. **Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT** GOULD (New South Wales) [4.17].- I think that the tramp steamers from Melbourne to Newcastle may be regarded as a negligible quantity, for whilst the clause might affect engagements of that kind, it would also affect an engagement of a far different character. Take the case of a man who ships for the run from Great Britain to Australia, or for any long distance. If the ship is wrecked he will be entitled under our law, as distinct from the law of all other British communities, to be paid his wages, although the shipowner has had the misfortune to lose his ship. As the law now stands in Great Britain and New Zealand, and, I undertake to say, in every other British country, and, I dare say, in the Continental countries too, a seaman, in such circumstances, is at best only entitled to receive a proportionate part of his wages, but under **Senator Guthrie's** proposal he will be entitled to obtain a much greater benefit than now. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- The honorable senator has been wrongly informed. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: -- I have no desire that there should be any misunderstanding on this point, because I am equally anxious with the honorable senator to secure justice for seamen. Section 79 of the Merchant Shipping Act of New Zealand reads - >Where a seaman (wherever engaged) is discharged in the colony before completing the full term of his engagement, he shall be paid and may recover the full amount of wages due up to the date of such discharge, notwithstanding the fact that he has not completed such full term. That applies to a case where a seaman is discharged in ordinary circumstances. Then sub-section 2 says - >Where the service of a seaman terminates before the date contemplated in the agreement by reason of the wreck or loss of the ship, or of his being left on shore at any place abroad under a certificate granted as provided by this Act of his unfitness or inability to proceed on the voyage, he shall be entitled to wages up to the time of such termination - That is a termination before the date contemplated - but not for any longer period. So that when a man, in consequence of the wreck of his ship- . {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- No, his unfitness to proceed. Do not misrepresent the case. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: -- The honorable senator has no right to make that remark, especially after I have said I do not want to misrepresent the position. A seaman is entitled to his wages up to the time of the termination of the run in consequence of the wreck or the loss of his ship or of being left on shore owing to his unfitness or inability to proceed. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- What more does the section provide? Read it all? {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: -- The section contains the very words which the honorable senator desires to eliminate from this clause - > Where a seaman whose services terminate by reason of any of the matters specified in this section has been engaged by the run, he shall be entitled to a proportionate part of the wages he would have been entitled to on the termination of the run, subject to all just deductions, and such proportion shall be calculated up to the termination of his services. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- That is the provision in the New Zealand Act. What is the provision in the Imperial Act? {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: -- Section 158 of the Imperial Merchant Shipping Act reads - >Where the service of a seaman terminates before the date contemplated in the agreement, bv reason of the wreck or loss of the ship, or of his being left on shore at any place abroad under a certificate granted as provided by this Act of his unfitness or inability to proceed on the voyage, he shall be entitled to wages up to the time of such termination, but not for any longer period. I'hat is word for word with the provision in the New Zealand Act. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- So far. Where is the run referred to in the Imperial Act? {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: -- I understand that one is by the run, and the other by an agreement, which terminates at a particular date. I also recognise the distinction which the honorable senator is seeking to draw between the two. *But* I have a very strong recollection of a legal maxim, that whatever can be rendered as a certainty has to be so regarded. If you fix the date as the termination of the run, anr! a man ships from London to Sydney, the run may last two or three, or four months. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- It may last for twelve months. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: -- At any rate, the run is fixed from the time the man leaves one port until he reaches another port. In one case, he gets an agreement to serve on a ship for six or twelve months," and there is a termination by effluxion of time. But in the other case there is a termination by the effluxion of the time which will be occupied in making the run. The principle is exactly the same, because you can reduce to a certainty the time when the termination is to come about. If you enact that a man who is engaged by the run shall be paid for the whole period which it would have occupied if the ship had not been lost, you should by a parity of reasoning, and an act of justice, extend to the man who is engaged for a fixed period the same amount of consideration if his ship is lost. In other words, if a man got a six months' engagement, and his ship was lost at the end of three months, he ought to be similarly treated as the man whose ship was lost during the run. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- He is entitled to a passage back to the port from which he shipped, but a man who ships for the run is not. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: -- If that is the case, I am quite willing to support an amendment to give like consideration to the latter man. This amendment is unfair. It is supported by no precedent. I have read every section which bears on the point. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- All the precedent in the Imperial Act is against the honorable senator. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: -- No; it is with me, because it is word for word the same as the Government propose in the clause. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- No; only the New Zealand Act contains that provision. It cannot be found in the Imperial Act. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: -- I submit that it is not desirable that advantage should be taken of the unfortunate position in which a ship-owner may be placed in regard to his ship. It must be realized that if a man is engaged with a shipmaster for the purpose of assisting and navigating a ship to a particular port, or for a particular period, and she is lost, the former is suffering in consequence of that loss>. - He is engaged in a joint adventure with the seaman, and surely the latter is entitled to put up with the same loss as the shipmaster. If we adopt the amendment, we shall not be acting fairly as between man and man. It may be a very hard case indeed for the seaman, but it is also a very hard case for the master. Although the latter may be in a position to bear the loss, that su'rely is no reason why we should make another man, who cannot afford to stand the loss, pay a large amount in wages which otherwise he would be saved from paying? According to a technical interpretation of the law, if a man enters into a contract to be paid a fixed sum for a particular service - for instance, for a run - and the money is not payable until it is completed, no money is recoverable until that event; but in order to protect men in certain cases, provision is now made that although men are not legally entitled to the money still they are equitably entitled to it, and no man with a feeling of fair play in his breast refuses to admit that men are entitled to be paid for the time which they have served. It must be remembered that the wreck of a ship is not always occasioned by the act of the master, but presumably by the act of God. In this case, the act of God has terminated a man's engagement, and as no person is liable to suffer for an act over which he had no control, he is not made to pay a penalty to an individual because his ship has been wrecked. The provision in the Bill is in accordance with the law of Great Britain, so far as we can find it applicable, and also with the law of New Zealand. I have pointed out that many men regard the New Zealand Act as the most advanced law of this kind in the British Empire. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- That is, talking very generally ; it contains some very bad provisions. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: -- So there are in every Act, but taking it by and large, the honorable senator will see that it is a good law. Of course, it has defects. We are simply proposing to accept the law as it stands both in New Zealand and in Great Britain. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- The honorable senator has not proved the case as to Great Britain. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: .- The only section of the Merchant Shipping Act dealing with this point is 158. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- That section relates to time agreements, not to contracts. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: -- The section reads- » Where the service of a seaman terminates before the dale contemplated by the agreement by reason of the wreck or loss of the ship or by his being left on shore .... he shall be entitled to the wages up to the time of such termination, but not for any longer period. I do not see how we can justly give anything more than that. The New Zealand Act is exactly in accord with the clause with which we are dealing. The marginal note refers us to section 79 of the New Zealand Act of 1903, and I find on reference to that piece of legislation that the note is perfectly correct. {: #debate-10-s4 .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE:
South Australia -- **Senator Gould** seems to be imbued with the erroneous idea that under this clause ah agreement entered into by a seaman is for a specific time. That is not so. Men do not often ship by the run. Such agreements are not made every day. But I will give a case within my own experience to show what sometimes happens. Some years ago I was in Melbourne looking for a ship. I had recently arrived from China. A master came to the Shipping Office wanting to engage a man to go to Newcastle by the run. Wages were very high in Melbourne at that time - amounting to something like £13 a month - and he did not want to engage a man at that rate when he could get one cheaper at Newcastle. He offered £5 for the run. I entered into a contract with him and boarded the ship at Port Melbourne in the evening. As soon as I got on board I was told that the ship was not going to New-: castle at all, but to Port Pirie. The arrangement had been altered since I signed the contract. I said at once that I had signed articles to go to Newcastle. In those days I did not know where Port Pirie was any more than I knew where Guiana was, and certainly did not want to go there. Under the Merchant Shipping Act I was entitled to the amount due to me for the whole run, £5, and that was what I got. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould: - That is not a case in point, because under this clause the service of the seaman must terminate " by reason of the wreck or loss of the ship." {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- Suppose I had remained on the ship and that she had run on to the rocks at Gellibrand and went down. To what proportion of the run money should I have been entitled? {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould: -- A very small proportion. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- But how much? Suppose that that ship, meeting with contrary winds, had taken a month to get to the Nobbies, and had been wrecked. To how much of the run money should I have been entitled then? {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould: -Pretty well the full amount. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- Who is going to decide what the due proportion is? The proposal is absolutely ridiculous. A man who enters into a contract by the run makes a sporting wager with the master of the ship, and if the run is not completed he is entitled to the amount for which he contracted. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- Does not the honorable senator think that he has argued the matter sufficiently? {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- The Minister has, taken the proposal very lightly. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- I admitted that there was a good deal to be said on both sides. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- Suppose the Minister of Defence was a contractor and entered into a contract. {: .speaker-KTF} ##### Senator McGregor: -- The honorable senator is protesting loo much. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- Then I will stop at once.' **Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT** GOULD (New South Wales) [4.40].- The instance which **Senator Guthrie** has given from his own experience would not have been affected by this clause at all. In such a case he would have been entitled to sue the ship-owner for the amount for which he contracted. But this clause contemplates the termination of a ship's voyage by reason of a wreck. Admittedly a man who becomes a seaman has to take certain risks. {: .speaker-KTF} ##### Senator McGregor: -- The ship-owner insures his vessel and loses nothing in the event of a wreck, whilst the poor sailor loses everything. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: -- But the ship-owner has to pay for the insurance and the sailor can if he likes insure against accident. {: .speaker-KTF} ##### Senator McGregor: -- The ship-owner sits at home on land and takes no per.sonal risk. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: -- Every occupation in which a man can engage has its risks, though some occupations are more risky than others. {: .speaker-JXJ} ##### Senator Needham: -- Who is better able to bear the loss, the ship-owner or the sailor ? {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: -- In nine cases out of ten, the ship-owner. I admit that at once. But, after all, we are here to do justice between man and man ; and I say that if in consequence of the wreck of a ship through the act of God an agreement is terminated, it is only fair that a man who is shipped for the run shall simply be paid the wages due to him up to date. {: #debate-10-s5 .speaker-K5F} ##### Senator SAYERS:
Queensland .: - I have listened carefully to the arguments on both sides and quite agree with the Minister of Defence that there is much1 to be said from both points of view. I take it that the clause applies only to ships registered in Australia. But engagements by the run are entered into not merely for the Australian trade. I know that occasionally men engage by the run from here to London, 'and similarly men engage by the run to come from London to Australia. If a British ship, instead of engaging a man for the usual period of three years, engaged him for a run to England, she would probably pay him £15, £20 or *£25.* If the ship were lost on the way Home, could the seaman's claim be enforced ? {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- Not if she were a foreign ship. {: .speaker-K5F} ##### Senator SAYERS: -- I take the case of a British ship coming out here with cargo to Newcastle, and taking a cargo of coal from that port to South America. An Australian seaman engages for the run Home on that vessel. The ship is lost after being at sea for a month ; and I ask whether the seaman could recover moneys due to him in the Australian Courts? {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- Yes. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould: -- He could, because the law of the place where the agreement was made would prevail. The difficulty would be to enforce it. {: .speaker-K5F} ##### Senator SAYERS: -- Does it not appear very hard that, by our legislation, we should create two classes. It appears that we could enforce the law in the case of a British ship, but not in the case of a foreign ship. Most of the ships engaged in this kind of trade are foreign ships; but Australian seamen ship in them for the run;, and I understand that they would have no remedy under this clause if the vessel in which they shipped were lost. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould: -- That is so. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- The honorable senator means that it is unfortunate that we cannot legislate for the whole world. {: .speaker-K5F} ##### Senator SAYERS: -- No; but an invidious distinction is made, and, so far as I can see, this legislation will have the effect of protecting foreign ships on which low wages are paid. Foreign ships coming here with cargo and loading timber in Australia pay their seamen only £1 per month, and use them to work cargo and load timber. How are British and Australian ships paying men £5 or £6 a month to compete with such vessels? {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- That is a question which does not arise under this clause. {: .speaker-K5F} ##### Senator SAYERS: -- It does, indirectly, because we are dealing with the case of Australian seamen who make agreements for a run in these foreign ships ; and if the owners of these ships are to be free of responsibility under this clause, a very great hardship may be imposed upon our seamen. I am disposed to support the amendment ; but I wish to let the Committee and the country know that I think we are here proposing to deal harshly with our own people, lt seems that we are quite unable to protect Australian citizens who agree to make a run in a foreign ship. I should be glad to hear the authority which **Senator Guthrie** proposed to quote from the Merchant Shipping Act. {: #debate-10-s6 .speaker-K9T} ##### Senator VARDON:
South Australia -- My difficulty in this matter is to understand how the proportion due to the seamen is going to be settled. **Senator Guthrie** says that it is somewhat like a man making a wager ; but no man has a right to make a wager on the condition "heads I win, tails you lose." A man engages for a run from one port to another at a certain fixed price, and without a time limit. On the way, the vessel is wrecked, and how is the proportion due to the seaman to be fixed - by time, by distance, or in what other way ? A sailing ship, for instance, might be becalmed, or meet with head winds, and so might take a month to do a run which, with a fair wind, she could do in a week. I think there will be great difficulty in deciding the proportion to be paid to the seamen. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- It will be impossible to decide it. {: .speaker-K9T} ##### Senator VARDON: -- If we say that the distance covered by the run is 2,000 miles, and when the vessel has gone 250 miles she is wrecked, is one-eighth of the amount for which he contracted to be the proportion paid to the seaman? {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- The vessel might do 250 miles in one day, and might take ten days to do the next 250 miles. {: .speaker-K9T} ##### Senator VARDON: -- Exactly. I take it that a risk is run both by the sailor and ship-owner ; but, so far as I am able to see, justice would be done if the seamen were paid for the run whether it was completed or not. I suppose that a shipowner can insure himself against any risk; but it may be questionable whether this is a risk against which he should be asked to insure himself. I am inclined to think that if a man engages for a run, and some accident occurs which prevents the ship getting to its destination, he should be paid for the run. I should like to hear **Senator Guthrie's** opinion on another point. If a. man engages on a vessel by the run, and she is wrecked half-way to her destination, has he the right to claim that he shall be returned to the port of engagement? {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- Not if he engages by the run; but if by agreement, he has. {: .speaker-K9T} ##### Senator VARDON: -- If he engages by the run, he is left stranded in the case of a wreck, and must get home the best way he can. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- Yes; he takes that risk. {: .speaker-K9T} ##### Senator VARDON: -- If that be so, justice could only be done by paying him for the run. {: #debate-10-s7 .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE:
South Australia -- The issue in this case is very clear. **Senator Gould** has quoted from the Imperial law, showing that where a man is on a time agreement he is entitled only to his wages up to the date of the loss or wreck of the vessel ; but, in addition, the ship-owner is responsible for his return to any port in the United Kingdom, or a port in a British Possession. There is no provision in the Merchant Shipping Act for men signing on by the run. If this were carried, it would mean that a man going from Adelaide to Newcastle by the run, if wrecked on King Island, would get only the proportion due to him for the run from Adelaide to King Island, and would be left on the island to get away from it as best he could. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- I am informed by Captain Parsons, the Shipping Master of Victoria, that it is the practice here, in the case of a run, to return men to the port of shipment. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- It may be the practice ; but it is not the law. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- There is no law dealing with it; but that is the interpretation placed upon the law by the Courts. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- I do not think that such a case has ever been before a Court in Victoria. I quote the following from *Abbott,* 14th edition, page 254 - >In the event of the voyage being prematurely terminated by the aTrest of the ship for illegal trading, or where the agreed voyage is so altered in character as to expose the seaman to greater risks than he had contracted for, and he leaves the ship, he is entitled to his wages in accordance with the term of the agreement under which he contracted to serve. Under ordinary circumstances it would seem that there is an implied warranty that the voyage shall not be illegal or the ship- be liable to seizure. > >Where an English subject contracted to serve on board a torpedo boat built for the Japanese Government for a voyage from the Tyne to Japan, and while in the course of the voyage war broke out between China and Japan, it was held by the Court of Appeal that as the employers of the seaman had converted a harmless voyage into a dangerous one to him, he was entitled to quit the ship, and to recover all his wages. > >Formerly, if a seaman was discharged after he had signed articles, but before the commencement of the voyage, he was entitled to wages for the full voyage, subject to the deduction of such sum as he had earned in the meantime. Now, by the Merchant Shipping Act 1894, if a seaman, having signed an agreement, is discharged before the commencement of the voyage, or before one month's wages are earned, without fault on his part, he is entitled in addition to the wages he may have earned, to due compensation for the damage caused to him, not exceeding one month's wages. A seaman may enter into an agreement to serve upon a ship during a voyage from one port to another for a certain sum. Through no fault of his own, he may not be able to complete that voyage. {: .speaker-KKL} ##### Senator Fraser: -- Through no fault of anybody, perhaps. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- It may be the fault of somebody. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould: - Presumably, a_ wreck is "an act of God," though, of course, we know that sometimes it is due to negligence. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- We cannot assume that all wrecks are " acts of God," otherwise we should have no marine inquiries into shipping catastrophes. If a seaman has entered into a contract to make a voyage from one port to another for a fixed sum, and if, owing to some occurrence for which he is not responsible, he is unable to complete that voyage, ' he is entitled to the full amount for which he contracted. In its present form the clause would inflict gross injustice upon the seamen. It is impossible to determine what is "a proportionate part" of the wages due to a seaman. Take the case of a sailing vessel which is proceeding from Adelaide to Newcastle. She may be off Cape Jervis in five days, but, owing to adverse winds, a month may elapse before she reaches her destination. In such circumstances, what would be a proportionate part of the voyage if she were wrecked at Cape Jervis? **Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT** GOULD (New South Wales) [5.3]. - I recognise that there is a great deal of force in the contention of **Senator Guthrie.** If a seaman enters into an agreement with the master or owner of a ship and, through no fault of his own, is unable to complete that agreement, he is entitled to reasonable compensation. But **Senator Guthrie** views the length of the run as an entirely unknown quantity, and then inquires how the porportionate part of a run could be determined. I say that it could be determined only but by agreement between the two parties interested, or by reference to a Court. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- Reference to a Court when a sum of £5 or less is concerned? {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: -- It would then be for the jury to consider the whole of the circumstances, and to return a verdict based upon commonsense considerations. I do not wish the Committee to imagine that I am opposed to reasonable compensation being granted to a seaman who, through no fault of his own, is unable to complete his agreement. But where the loss of a vessel is "an act of God," the condition is entirely different. I am content to take the voice of the Committee upon the question. {: #debate-10-s8 .speaker-KKL} ##### Senator FRASER:
Victoria .- Where a seaman is unfairly treated by a ship-owner, I believe that he should be fully compensated. But if he engages to serve on a vessel for a run from Melbourne to New York, and the ship sinks in Port Phillip Bay- {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- Ship-owners do not engage seamen on the run for such voyages. {: .speaker-KKL} ##### Senator FRASER: -- They do. I have made inquiries into this matter by telephone, and I am assured that what I am stating is correct. Occasionally seamen are shipped by the run to any port in the world. If a seaman engaged to serve on a vessel for a run from Melbourne to New York, and the ship foundered in Port Phillip Bay, would it not be grossly unfair that he should be entitled to the whole of the wages which would have accrued to him if he had completed the voyage ? In every 4180 *Navigation* [SENATE.] *Bill.* respect this Bill seeks to penalize the British ship-owner, whilst leaving the foreign shipowner untouched. {: #debate-10-s9 .speaker-K78} ##### Senator ST LEDGER:
Queensland -- I agree with the closing remark of **Senator Fraser** that the Bill penalizes British shipping. Let us suppose that a vessel in a foreign register is wrecked on her way to Australia, and that the master and crew land in this country. They are not subject to our laws, and the compensation which the foreign ship-owner pays to his crew is either settled between themselves or in accordance with the law which is operative in their own country. But if a British ship which is registered in the United Kingdom be wrecked on the way to Australia, the ship-owner will be called upon to pay his crew for the whole voyage if the contract was for the run from London to Melbourne. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- The foreign shipowner does the same thing, and takes his crew back to England. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator ST LEDGER: -- He may do that. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- I know that he does it. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator ST LEDGER: -- The honorable senator would have us believe that he is familiar with the shipping law of every country in the world. There is not a member of this Parliament who possesses that qualification. I agree with the Minister of Defence that this is a difficult matter, and that the clause will apply chiefly to short voyages on the Australian coast. The amendment will impose a liability on the British ship-owner which will not attach to the foreign ship-owner. {: #debate-10-s10 .speaker-KQ4} ##### Senator McCOLL:
Victoria .- lt seems to me that the ship-owner has the option of engaging seamen under either the first or second sub-clause of this clause. If the amendment be adopted, no owner will engage men for a long voyage by the run. I think, therefore, that the balance of justice is on the side of the amendment, and I shall support it. Amendment agreed to. Amendment (by **Senator Guthrie)** agreed to - >That all the words after " deductions," line 6, be left out. Clause, as amended, agreed to. Clause 86- >No seaman or apprentice shall be entitled to wages - > >for any period during which he unlawfully fails to work when required, whether before or after the time fixed by the agreement for his beginning work : or > >unless the Court hearing the case otherwise directs, for any period during which he is lawfully imprisoned ; or > >for any period during which he is, by reason of illness caused by his own wilful act or default, incapable of performing his duty. {: #debate-10-s11 .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE:
South Australia -- I move - >That in paragraph *a* the words " whether before or after " be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word " from." I cannot understand how a man can unlawfully fail to work before he has entered into an agreement to do so. I do not think that the Government can object to my amendment. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator St Ledger: -- A seaman may be on board ship a day or two before he signs his agreement. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- But if there be no agreement there can be no prosecution. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Senator Lt: **-Colonel Sir** Albert Gould. - lt is always an advantage to retain the words of an Act which has been operative tor some time, because of the legal decisions which have been given in respect of it. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- I contend that a seaman ought to be responsible for his actions only from the time that he enters into his agreement. To declare that he shall be responsible for them prior to that time is ridiculous. {: .speaker-K9T} ##### Senator Vardon: -- Would he be working on board a ship before he entered into an agreement ? {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- Possibly the master of a ship might have said to a man, " Be on board to-morrow, and I will sign you on on Friday " ; but he has not entered into an agreement on that day. Why should honorable senators seek to make the man liable before an agreement has been signed, when the master could have entered into one on the Monday? They propose to make the man liable because the master has merely said, "Go on board and turn to work, and I will sign you on at the end of the week." The Government might well accept the amendment, and not make a seaman liable for something which takes place outside an agreement. {: #debate-10-s12 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
Western AustraliaMinister of Defence · ALP -- The amendment is unnecessary ; and **Senator Guthrie** is mistaken in thinking that the clause imposes a penalty on a seaman. It does nothing of the kind. All it says is that if, in any circumstances, a seaman has been performing work, and under orders, before the agreement was entered into, he shall be *Navigation* [6 October, 1910.] *Bill.* 4181 entitled to wages for that work; but if, whilst under orders, he refuses to work, he shall not be entitled to sue for wages. I am informed that sometimes, when certain men are wanted on board a ship, they are not all obtained at the same time, but singly, and sent on board. They go to the ship, and their wages start from that moment. When the master has obtained all the men he requires, he takes them down in a body to the office of the superintendent, or brings the superintendent on board, and signs them all on together. This clause must be read in conjunction with clause 82, which defines when a seaman's right to wages and provisions shall be taken to begin, and which clearly contemplates that men may be under orders and put on board to do work before the agreement is signed. The clause is eminently fair and just, and should be agreed to. {: #debate-10-s13 .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE:
South Australia -- The Minister of Defence has given one side of the question. The clause makes it legal for a man to claim wages from the time he goes on board a ship. It also makes it legal for the master of a ship to prosecute a seaman who has not entered into an agreement, but has merely gone on board and refused to work; and the seaman will be liable to thirteen weeks' imprisonment. I do not propose to argue the point any further, but to allow honorable senators to vote as they think fit. Question - That the words proposed to be left out be left out (Senator Guthrie's amendment) - put. The Committee divided. AYES: 7 NOES: 17 Majority ... ... 10 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the negative. Amendment negatived. Clause agreed to. Clause 87 agreed to. Clause 88- (1.) If a seaman is discharged, otherwise than in accordance with the terms of his agreement, without fault on his part justifying that discharge, and without his consent, he shall be entitled to receive from the master or owner, in addition to any wages he has earned, compensation not exceeding one month's wages, and may recover that compensation as if it were wages duly earned. {: #debate-10-s14 .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE:
South Australia -- I move - >That the words " not exceeding " be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words " not being less than." This clause raises the point on which we were engaged just now. If a man has entered into an agreement, and the owner is not prepared to fulfil his obligations under the clause, the former will be entitled to a sum not exceeding one month's wages. That amount of compensation is absolutely inadequate. Suppose that a man has been prepared to sign on to go to any part of the world in a ship, but the owner has not been prepared to carry out his obligation to take him, the man is thrown out of work, and may have to wait four or five or six weeks, and in some cases two or three months, before he can get a ship. Yet this clause provides that he shall not receive more than one month's wages by way of compensation. In my opinion, it would be far better not to mention any amount in the clause, but to leave its determination to the Court. The phrase " not exceeding one month " may mean one day or two days, and the amount of compensation is to be decided by the Shipping Master, who may be only a Customs officer in a very small port. I contend that once an agreement has been entered into, it ought to be carried out, or adequate compensation should be given to a man, and nothing less than a month's pay would be sufficient. I think that the Government might fairly agree to the amendment. {: #debate-10-s15 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
Western AustraliaMinister of Defence · ALP -- I do not think that the Committee ought to make the amendment. The clause practically says that if an owner breaks a contract, he may be fined in any sum up to one month's wages. If honorable senators will look at sub-clause 2, they will find that one of the obligations laid upon the owner is that if he should break a contract in any other port than the home port, he will have to bring the seaman back to that port. It is only in the port where a man signs on that the owner can break the agreement, and in that event the Court can award the seaman any sum not exceeding one month's wages. The seaman is free to take on another engagement. We ought to be satisfied with the penalty which is imposed. The provision in the Merchant Shipping Act is almost in the same words as the clause. It contains these words - >He shall be entitled to receive from the master or owner, in addition to any wages he may have earned, due compensation for the damage caused to him by the discharge not exceeding one month's wages, and may recover that compensation as if it were wages duly earned. I trust that the Committee will not accept the .amendment. {: #debate-10-s16 .speaker-K7D} ##### Senator STEWART:
Queensland -- It certainly is no recommendation to me that the clause is the same as a provision in the Merchant Shipping Act, because we know that the framers of the latter Act were not so much in sympathy with seamen, or, indeed, with fair play, as the members of this. Senate may fairly be presumed to be. I do not claim, to have much knowledge in connexion with this matter, but it appears to me to be a very fair proposition which **Senator Guthrie** has put forward. T want to direct the attention of honorable senators to the clause. Suppose that a man enters into an agreement for six. months, and bases all his arrangements on the carrying out of the agreement, and. the master says to him, " I do not want you.,." and discharges him. At the utmost he can only get a month's wages in compensation. I do not think that that is quite fair. If the master breaks the agreement without some reason being shown, he ought to pay compensation to the seaman to the fullest possible amount consistent with justice. I am not sure that **Senator Guthrie's** amendment goes as far as it ought to go, but it would effect a great improvement upon the clause as it stands. The. Minister of Defence has referred us to the Merchant Shipping Act of 1894. That Act ought to be on the scrap-heap by now. Opinions with regard to the position of seamen have very much altered since that date, and we ought to bring our legislation into relation with the newer ideas as to the treatment of labour. {: #debate-10-s17 .speaker-JXJ} ##### Senator NEEDHAM:
Western Australia -- I intend to support **Senator Guthrie's** amendment. Under the clause as if stands a seaman may be discharged from a ship without any fault of his own, whilst the compensation to be paid to him in that event is not to exceed one month's wages. That is not fair treatment. Sena?tor Guthrie's proposal that the compensation shall be " not less than " one month's wages is more equitable. Any honorable senator who had a servant in Ks employment would pay him at least one month's wages if he were discharged without notice-. **Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT** GOULD (New South Wales) [5.33].- Any servant who is dismissed without cause being shown is entitled to compensation. The question is simply what the amount of that compensation should be. Personally, I do not think that it is fair to limit the amount of compensation to one month's wages. I am in accord with **Senator Guthrie's** amendment, notwithstanding the provision of sub-clause 2, that a seaman who is discharged elsewhere than at the port mentioned in the agreement shall be provided with a passage to that port, or to some other port to be agreed upon mutually. In the ordinary walks of life, if a man is engaged for a year and is dismissed at the end of one month he is entitled to receive reasonable compensation, the amount of which must be judged by the period during which he is likely to be out of employment. **Senator Guthrie** has made out a good case, and I hope that his amendment will be carried. {: #debate-10-s18 .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE:
South Australia -- I should like to show how equitable my amendment is. Under this Bill, if a ship-owner breaks his agreement with a seaman the compensation he has to pay is an amount " not exceeding one month's wages." But under clause 100, if a seaman deserts - in other words, if he breaks his agreement - he has to forfeit all accrued wages up to £20. In view of the fact that the highest wage paid for a seaman sailing out of Australia would not amount to more than £20 in three months, it is evident the Bill does not treat the two parties equally. Amendment agreed to. Clause, as amended, agreed to. Clauses 89 to 92 agreed to. Clause 93 - {: type="1" start="2"} 0. If a seaman on his return to Australia proves that the master 01 owner has been guilty of any conduct or default which, but for this section, would have entitled the seaman to sue for wages before the termination of the voyage or engagement, he shall be entitled to recover, in addition to his wages, such compensation, not exceeding Twenty pounds, as the Court hearing the case thinks reasonable. {: #debate-10-s19 .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE:
South Australia -- I think that the words ' not exceeding Twenty pounds" ought, to be left *Navigation* [6 October, 1910.] *Bill.* 4183 out. We may fairly leave to a Court constituted under this Bill to say what compensation shall be paid. I move - >That the words" not exceeding Twenty pounds " be left out. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- I have no objection to the amendment. Amendment agreed to. Clause, as amended, agreed to. Clauses 94 to 97 agreed to. Clause 98 (Facilities to seamen for remitting wages). {: #debate-10-s20 .speaker-K78} ##### Senator ST LEDGER:
Queensland -- Is this clause intended to apply to foreign-going ships? If the Minister will turn to clause 77 of the Bill he will find that the seaman is pretty well protected as far as Australian coast-trade ships are concerned. That clause provides that the wages earned shall be paid monthly not later than the second day of each month, or within fortyeight hours after the ship first arrives at any port in Australia at which there is a bank. Clause 98, therefore, seems to me to be more or less surplusage. I think it was intended that it should apply only to foreign-going ships, and should like to hear the Minister's explanation as to whether it is necessary to retain it in addition to clause 77. I am unable to reconcile the two clauses, which seem to me to apply to two entirely different things. It would seem that clause 98 is intended to apply to foreign-going ships. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- It says so. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator ST LEDGER: -- If that be so, my anxiety on the subject is relieved. But I think it might be made more clear. {: #debate-10-s21 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
Western AustraliaMinister of Defence · ALP -- This clause applies to foreign-going as well as Australiantrade ships. The honorable senator will see that according to the definition clause an " Australian-trade ship " includes - every ship (other than a limited coast-trade ship or river and bay ship) employed in trad ing or going between places in Australia, and every ship employed in trading between *to)* Australian and (i) territories under the authority of the Commonwealth, New Zealand, or the islands of the Pacific. It is clear from this that even in the case of Australian-trade ships this clause may become very necessary. Clause 77 applies to Australian or limited coast-trade ships, and contemplates the paying of wages at a port where there is a bank. This clause provides that seamen shall be given reasonable facilities for banking their money or sending their money away. I think' the clause is necessary, not only as applied to foreign-going, but also as applied to Australian-trade ships. Clause agreed to. Clause 99 - >Any master, seaman, or apprentice who by wilful breach of duty or by neglect of duty, or by reason of drunkenness - > >does any act tending to the immediate loss, destruction, or serious damage of the ship, or tending immediately to endanger the life or limb of a person belonging to or on board the ship ; or > >fails to do any lawful act proper and requisite to be done by him for preserving the ship from immediate loss, destruction, or serious damage, or for preserving any person belonging to or on board the ship from immediate danger to life or limb, shall be guilty of an indictable offence. {: #debate-10-s22 .speaker-K78} ##### Senator ST LEDGER:
Queensland -- I suggest that in this clause the words ' ' or cargo ' ' should be inserted after the word " ship." It is just possible that in this connexion the word "ship" may include the cargo; but if that be not so, I think that in order to protect the cargo these words should be inserted. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- I have no objection. Amendment (by **Senator St.** Ledger) agreed to - >That after the word "ship," lines 6 and 12, the words "or cargo" be inserted. Clause, as amended, agreed to. Clause 100 - The acts specified in ColumnI hereunder shall be offences against discipline, and a seaman or apprentice committing any one of them shall be liable to a punishment not exceeding the punishment set opposite to the offence in Column 2 hereunder : - >Column 1. > > *Offences.* > >Desertion. > >Continued wilful disobedience to lawful commands,or continued wilful failure in duty. > >Assaulting master or ship's officer. .... > >Secreting a stowaway or deserter. > >Column 2. > > *Punishments.* > >Forfeiture of all accrued wages not exceeding Twenty pounds, or a penalty of Twenty pounds..... > >Forfeiture of two days' wages for each day during which the offence continues. > >Three months' imprisonment, or a penally of Twenty pounds..... > >Forfeiture of two days' wages. . **Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT** GOULD (New South Wales) [5.51]. - I notice that in this clause there is a great difference between the penalties proposed and those provided for in the Merchant Shipping Act. My attention was drawn a little time ago by a person interested in the oversea trade to the penalty provided for the offence of desertion. A penalty of £20 is proposed, but there is no alternative of imprisonment in case the penalty cannot be recovered. In the Merchant Shipping Act provision is made for a penalty for desertion in the United Kingdom, and also for imprisonment in certain circumstances. That Act makes provision that, in addition to a penalty, a man shall also, except in the United Kingdom, be liable to imprisonment for any period not exceeding twelve weeks, with or without hard labour. The question is how far the penalty provided in this clause will operate to prevent desertion. Looking through the Bill, I see no provision dealing with the recovery of penalties. There is a provision as to the time in which action may be taken, and to permit of the distress and sale of a ship to secure the payment of any sum of money due. I find no provision with regard to an alternative of imprisonment in the event of a penalty inflicted under this clause not being paid. I looked at the Acts Interpretation Act, and found that penalties may be recovered in a Court of summary jurisdiction. Under this clause, for the offence of desertion, a seaman may be called upon to forfeit all his accrued wages, not exceeding £20, or to pay a fine of *£20.* But if he has no means, and no wages are due to him, it will not be possible under this clause to punish him for the offence. I think we should provide that, in the event of the non-payment of the money penalty within such time as may be laid down, the offender shall be liable to a certain term of imprisonment, which should be regulated by the amount of the penalty imposed. Under the Merchant Shipping Act, the alternative is twelve weeks' imprisonment in the case of a penalty of .£20. It might be regarded as the maximum, and if the money penalty imposed were only £5 or £2, the alternative period of imprisonment should be shortened in proportion. In one of the States there is a very wise and humane provision enacted, under which, if a man is imprisoned for having failed to pay a fine, and while in prison arranges to pay any portion, the period of his imprisonment is reduced accordingly. If a seaman engaged on a ship that is going to the other end of the world from Australia deserts here, a penalty may be imposed upon him, but if he has no means, there is no provision in this Bill by which he can be punished for an offence. This may become an incentive to desertion. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- All the seaman's future earnings might be attached. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: -- What future earnings would there be where a man has deserted? {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- Anything he earns in another ship might be attached. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: -- The honorable senator must see that it would be impossible to follow a man up in that way in order to enforce a penalty. I think it would be very much better to provide an alternative of imprisonment on a sliding scale. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- And keep the man in gaol at the expense of the taxpayers ? {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: -- That objection might be urged against imprisonment for any offence. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- But desertion is not a criminal offence. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: -- Every breach of the law punishable by penalty, as in this case," is technically a criminal act. The honorable senator would not justify desertion. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- Every British owner would help his men to desert if he found that wages were lower here than in England. He would chase them out of his ship. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: .- If he did that, he would be liable under a provision to which we have already agreed. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- He could overcome that difficulty by making things so hot for the men that they would be glad to get out of the ship. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: -- The penalty provided for insubordination at sea, or wilful disobedience to any lawful command at sea, is one month's imprisonment, or the forfeiture of ten days' wages. This might be a very simple, or a very grave, offence, and it is strange that no alternative of imprisonment is provided for in the case of desertion. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- Desertion is a civil matter between the owner and the seamen. The honorable senator cannot make it a criminal 'offence. *Navigation* [6 October, 1910.] *Bill.* 4185 {: .speaker-10000} ##### Senator Lt: **-Colonel Sir ALBERT** GOULD. - It may be a very serious matter for the ship. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- We do not make it a criminal offence for a ship-owner to break his agreement. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: -- But the same results do not follow that follow from desertion. Take the case of a ship from which the whole of the crew desert. Is not that a very serious offence, seeing that they have engaged for the. round voyage? {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- The owner has his remedy. What about a ship-owner who chases all the seamen out of his ship ? {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: .- Clause 387 provides - >Upon complaint on oath by the master of a ship in port that any person belonging to or employed on or being about or upon the ship - > >is insubordinate; or > >refuses to work; or > >is inciting any other person to commit an offence against this Act, any police, stipendiary, or special magistrate of the Commonwealth, or of a State, may Cause such person to be apprehended by any police officer and brought before him, and on proof of the complaint he may commit the offender to prison for a term not exceeding three months with or without hard labour. It will be seen, therefore, that if a seaman refuses to work when his vessel is in port he is liable to three months' imprisonment, whereas, if he is insubordinate at sea, he is liable to only one month's imprisonment, or to the forfeiture of ten days' wages. That is a palpable absurdity. We all recognise that insubordination or the wilful disobedience of orders at sea is a much more serious offence than is insubordination or wilful disobedience of orders in port. {: .speaker-KRX} ##### Senator Long: -- The words, "not exceeding three months," in the clause quoted by the honorable senator, will leave the presiding magistrate a very wide discretion. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: -- Exactly. In all cases where a penalty is provided for. provision should be made under which it can be enforced. {: #debate-10-s23 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
Western AustraliaMinister of Defence · ALP -- This is a matter which was exhaustively considered by the Navigation Commission, and which has been carefully considered by the Government. Whilst it is true that the penalties for which provision is made in this Bill are very much lower than are those provided either in the New Zealand Act or in the Merchant Shipping Act- {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- Under this Bill, the penalties are higher. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- No. Under the Merchant Shipping Act, the penalty for desertion in the United Kingdom is " forfeiture of all or any part of the effects which a seaman may leave on board his vessel, and also of the wages which he has earned." If a seaman deserts abroad, the penalty is " forfeiture of the wages he may earn in any other ship in which he may be employed, until his next return to the United Kingdom, and to satisfy an excess of wages paid by the master or ship to any substitute engaged in his place at a higher rate of wages than the rate stipulated to be paid to him according to the agreement. Except in the United Kingdom, imprisonment, not exceeding twelve weeks." Under the New Zealand Act, the penalty for desertion is one month's imprisonment, and forfeiture of all or any part of the wages earned by a seaman. In addition, the ship-owner must deliver the deserter's effects to the superintendent. The only reason why insubordination at sea is made a more serious offence than insubordination in port is because of the possibility of the ship being placed in such a position that the master cannot work her. Desertion in port is not such a very great offence after all. This clause will have a double effect. Whilst it may lead to seamen deserting more freely, I think it will conduce to an endeavour being made by the ship-owners to make sea life more attractive. After all, that is the best way to cure desertion. Therefore, I think that we had better retain the clause in its present form. **Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT** GOULD (New South Wales) [6.7].- I agree with the remark of the Minister that the best way to prevent desertion is to make the seaman's life as comfortable as possible. But I think that the honorable gentleman takes too lenient a view of the offence of desertion. Whilst it is sometimes easy for a ship-owner to engage seamen to take the place of deserters, it is occasionally impossible to do so. No matter how attractive the lot of a seaman may be made, if his vessel touches at a port within measurable distance of a goldmining rush the temptation to desert will be almost irresistible. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- No punishment will prevent desertion in such a case. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: -- The honorable senator might just as well argue that because persons of a certain temperament in a moment of excitement would not hesitate to kill a man, 4186 *Navigation* [SENATE.] *Bill* they ought not to be punished if they committed that crime. Assuming that the crew of a foreign vessel desert in Australia, will they be liable to the punishment which is provided under this Bill, or to that which is provided under the Merchant Shipping Act? Which law will prevail? {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- If the ship be registered in Australia the Commonwealth law will prevail. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: -- But if she be registered in a foreign country what will happen? {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- The reply which the honorable senator himself has already given is that the law of the country in which the agreement was entered into will prevail. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: -- I think that is a nice little conundrum with which the Minister might wrestle during the adjournment hour for dinner. {: #debate-10-s24 .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE:
South Australia -- The statements which emanate from honorable senators opposite are truly wonderful. For breach by a seaman of a civil agreement with the master or owner of a vessel they apparently think that no punishment can be too severe. But if a lawyer gives a client wrong advice, is he punished by being sent to gaol? If he fails to carry out a contract is he imprisoned? Whilst honorable senators opposite are crying out for population they will not permit a seaman to desert a ship and to become a good Australian without first consigning him to gaol. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould: -- Would the honorable senator eliminate the punishment for desertion? {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- Yes. I am willing to entirely abolish it, and to allow every seaman to desert. Why are honorable senators opposite so anxious to punish seamen for coming to Australia ? The latter enter into an agreement in another part of the world where wages are low, and when they arrive in Australia they see a prospect of bettering themselves. Naturally they approach the captain and inform him that they wish to leave the vessel. He declines to allow them to do so, and, as a result, they pack their bags in the night and desert. They do no harm to anybody. {: .speaker-KAH} ##### Senator Walker: -- What about their agreement ? {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- I know that the masters of certain lines of ships have been instructed to get rid of their crews if their vessels are required to lie in Adelaide, Melbourne, or Sydney, for more than seven weeks awaiting a cargo. {: .speaker-K9T} ##### Senator Vardon: -- What ! Instructed to violate an agreement ? {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- They would violate anything - even the Ten Commandments. They do not actually clear the men out of the ship, nor do they pay them the wages which are due to them. But they make the vessel so hot for them that the seamen are glad enough to leave it. Shipowners are thus able to pay higher wages from Australia on the Home voyage. I am informed on the best authority that if ships lay up here for a period the owners save the wages and the cost of feeding the men, and, therefore, can afford to pay higher wages on the return trip. {: .speaker-KRZ} ##### Senator Lynch: -- How can they get rid of men when the law does not allow that to be done? SenatorGUTHRIE.- The master can always make it hot for any men he does not want by giving them belaying-pin . soup, and all that sort of thing. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould: -- What is the difference between the wages coming this way and the wages going back ? {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- About double the rate is paid on the return trip. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould: -- The savings for seven weeks would not be sufficient to allow them to pay that rate. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- The owners not only save the men's wages and the cost of their food, but also have the forfeited money. Why should desertion from a ship be made a criminal offence? {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould: -- Why should we make insubordination or wilful disobedience of commands an offence ? {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- Insubordination is quite another thing. I do not object to the forfeiture of accrued wages, because every deserter forfeits that already; but I cannot see any reason for imposing a penalty of £20. {: #debate-10-s25 .speaker-K78} ##### Senator ST LEDGER:
Queensland -- I am not aware that the Committee made any hubbub about the definition of desertion, or the penalty attached thereto. I think that in regard to the definition the Government have followed pretty closely the highest legal decision. I did not find any fault with it, but it is refreshing to hear from **Senator Guthrie** that in the case of seamen, desertion should only be treated as a civil offence, and the men should take the consequences. He belongs to a party which has enacted that in the event of a servant breaking an agreement in certain conditions, he shall be put in gaol if he cannot pay the penalty provided. From a distinguished member of the party which has been engaged in making it a penal offence for a man to exercise his civil right to say when he shall or shall not work, it is very refreshing to hear the doctrine to which we have just listened. If the honorable senator can only inculcate honorable senators on his side with the idea that, after all, it is highly repugnant to a seaman or anybody else not to be able to exercise his civil right to say when he shall or shall not work, there will be a great deal more industrial peace and stability generally. I am quite in agreement with **Senator Guthrie** in this matter, but I cannot help wondering why the Labour party have adopted this principle in the case of seamen, seeing, that every other measure has been framed in an exactly opposite direc. tion-. I wish to ask the Minister if he considers that the forfeiture of two days' wage* is a sufficient penalty for the secreting of a stowaway or a deserter. If he has a precedent, I may be inclined to accept it, because in a matter of this kind, I reverence precedent to a very great extent, but I would point out that the secreting of stowaways is a serious offence. Of course, a master has ample powers of dealing with- a stowaway, while he is on board, and probably of summarily ejecting him when he calls at a port. I place the two views before the Minister, and possibly it may be found after a little explanation that he is right in retaining the provision as it is. {: #debate-10-s26 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
Minister of Defence · Western Australia · ALP -- Neither the Merchant Shipping Act nor the New Zealand Act deals with the case of a crew secreting a stowaway, but, of course, those Acts deal with the stowaway himself, as we do. If **Senator St.** Ledger will turn to clause 105, he will see that it provides for the infliction of a penalty of £20, or imprisonment for four weeks, so that we. do not need to penalize the crew. {: #debate-10-s27 .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE:
South Australia -- In the case of a member of the crew assaulting the master or an officer the penalty provided is three months' imprisonment, or a fine of £20. Let me show how unfairly this' clause is drafted. In the case of a master or an officer who assaults a member of the crew, the words " without lawful justification " are used. Why should not the crew also get the benefit of a lawful justification? I can point to cases where, in the interests of the ship and of themselves the crew had to commit an assault, put the master in irons, and bring the ship back to port. {: .speaker-K9T} ##### Senator Vardon: -- They were not punished for doing that. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- Yes; the honorable senator will remember as well as I do the case of the *Sarah Bell,* which put back to Adelaide with the master in irons, and for that act the crew were sent to gaol for thirteen weeks. {: .speaker-K9T} ##### Senator Vardon: -- The act could not have been justified. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- That is exactly what I am putting. Under the law there was no justification for the men putting the master in irons. The point was made by **Senator Gould,** in his second-reading speech, that justice was not meted out fairly between the seamen and the officers. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould: -- Here the penalty is six months' imprisonment in. the case, of officers, and three months' imprisonment in that of seamen. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- Yes. lt must, however, be borne in mind that not only has a master absolute control of his ship, but he can put a man in irons and punish him by certain means. What right then has he to assault, a man ? Having the right to deal with a. breach of discipline, if he attacks and unlawfully assaults a man, should he not be punished more severely than, a seaman who commits an offence on board ? {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould: - I do not think so. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- If a seaman commits an offence, the master has power to put him in irons and keep him there. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould: -- That is lawful justification. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- If a master adopts other means of assaulting a seaman, if, for instance, he knocks him down, he deserves punishment more than does a seaman who knocks down a person, because he has other means of inflicting punishment. If a seaman has committed an offence on board a ship, the captain can exercise his legal right, first, of logging him, and then of putting him in irons, and virtually in prison, until a port is reached. But if he takes the law into his own hands, and uses a revolver or his fist, should he not be punished more than a seaman who has no right to put the captain in irons ? I think that the honorable senator will see the necessity of putting in some words to balance things ; and that can be done by in- "serting the words " without lawful justification " after "officer." {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould: -- Make the penalty in the same in each case - either three months' or six months' imprisonment. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- I do not care which term is adopted, but it should be the same in each case, although the master or officer has the best of things all the time, because he can take immediate action to confine a seaman on board. {: .speaker-KRX} ##### Senator Long: -- And, as a rule, he is more able to pay the fine. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- No, some masters are kept poor to enrich their owners. I do not know that, pecuniarily, they are any better off than the crew. I move - >That after the word " verbally," line 2, the " without lawful justification " be inserted. {: #debate-10-s28 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
Western AustraliaMinister of Defence · ALP -- **Senator Guthrie** was a little unfair in saying " Here is an example of how the Bill is drafted. Look at the difference between the two penalties imposed." {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- No, I did not say that. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -Then, the honorable senator proceeded to quote a part of the clause which showed some difference, but left out entirely the part which shows a difference in favour of the crew. He forgot to point out that on the officer the clause inflicts a penalty of six months' imprisonment, and on a member of the crew a penalty of three months' imprisonment. I think that, in fairness, he should not be too anxious to try to make it appear that in this Bill the Government are endeavouring to be a sort of terror to the crew, and to be unduly taking the part of the officers. W7e are seeking to do justice to both parties, and, therefore, I resent these attempts on **Senator Guthrie's** part to make it appear that we are unduly siding with one party or the other. It is our duty to see that the code laid down is just. I do not see any objection to the insertion of the words " without lawful justification," but it is only fair to point out that there is a difference between the crew of a ship and the. master. At sea the master is to all intents and purposes a king, otherwise he could have no discipline on board. {: .speaker-KRX} ##### Senator Long: -- The Minister has lost sight of the point sought to be made by **Senator Guthrie,** and that is that in proportion to the sacrifice, the monetary penalty is much more severe in the case of the seaman than in the case of the officer. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- That is so. I am not objecting to **Senator Guthrie** pointing out things of that kind, but he ought not to make it appear that it has been due to any bias on the part of the Government. " Here is an instance," he exclaimed, " of the way in which the Bill has been drafted." {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- I did not say anything of the kind. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- Those are the exact words which the honorable senator used ; though I feel quite sure that he spoke without premeditation. {: .speaker-KRX} ##### Senator Long: -- The point is that under the clause the master of a ship would never go to gaol, and the seamen would often do so, because they could not find the money. *Sifting suspended from 6.31 to 8 p.m.* **Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT** GOULD (New South Wales) [8.0].- **Senator Guthrie** seems to be under the impression that a distinction is drawn in this Bill between the position of a seaman and that of a master or officer. Of course, an illegal assault is punishable, even without the use of the words " without lawful justification." The difficulty is to see how a lawful excuse can be given by a seaman who assaults the master or officer of a ship. The master may be justified in committing a technical assault on a seaman, or on a passenger, if it be necessary to do so in order to maintain discipline. But I cannot conceive of a seaman having a lawful excuse for assaulting the master or mate. Personally, I have no objection to the amendment; though I doubt whether a person would ever be punished for a technical assault if it were justified. But there ought to be no distinction between the punishment inflicted on a master who assaults a sailor, and that inflicted on a sailor who assaults an officer. A master who assaulted a man or passenger unjustifiably, would, of course, render himself liable to a penalty. It would be better if the offences were dealt with in the same way - that is, by a fine of ^20, or imprisonment for three months. I think that honorable senators will regard an officer as being in a very different position from a seaman. The master, for instance, is responsible for the lives of the passengers, the safety of the ship, and for the cargo, whilst the seaman has no such responsibility. {: #debate-10-s29 .speaker-K78} ##### Senator ST LEDGER:
Queensland -- I consider that the penalties for assault should be equalized. I remind the Committee that what is commonly called an assault, if justified, is always held in law to be no assault. If a seaman lays an officer out, and incapacitates him for duty, inconvenience, and possibly damage, may result in the working of the ship. An officer occupies a highly responsible position, and an aggravated assault upon him is damaging, not merely to the individual, but to the well-being of the ship, its passengers, and crew. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- The same consideration applies in the case of the seaman. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator ST LEDGER: -- Then make the penalty the same. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- The officer has other remedies. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator ST LEDGER: -- So has the seaman. He is not deprived of his civil or common-law rights. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- The seaman has no civil or common-law rights while he is at sea. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator ST LEDGER: -- His remedy does not cease because he is not able to prosecute it immediately. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- The master has a remedy at once. He can put the seaman in irons. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator ST LEDGER: -- He has that right under maritime law, by reason of the responsibility of his position. In just the same way, a man is master in his own house, and can turn an intruder 01 an offender out-of-doors. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- He cannot put the offender in irons. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator ST LEDGER: -- For the same reason that a householder has the power to turn a person out of his house without being guilty of an assault in common law, the master of a ship can take steps to maintain discipline. On board ship, putting in irons is equivalent to the householder's action in kicking an offender out-of-doors. The alternative would, I suppose, be to throw him into the sea. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- That is sometimes done. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator ST LEDGER: -- . **Senator Guthrie** must have experienced the worst kind of officers on the worst kind of ships. One is inclined to wonder what kind of man he must have been when he was at sea, as he has had so much experience of the worst kind. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- I had experience of the average ship and the average master. They are all " worst." Amendment agreed to. "Clause, as amended, agreed to. Clause 101 agreed to. Clause 102 - >The master or an officer of a ship who, without lawful justification, assaults any person belonging to the ship, shall be guilty of an offence. > >Penalty : Twenty pounds, or imprisonment for six months. Amendment (by **Senator Pearce)** proposed - >That the word " six," line 5, be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word " three." {: #debate-10-s30 .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE:
South Australia -- It is proposed to reduce the period of imprisonment of a master or officer committing an assault to make it equalize with the punishment inflicted on a seaman. But I point out that an officer or master has no justification for committing an unlawful assault. The master has complete power in his own hands. He is the magistrate, the judge, the governor of a ship. The master, on making an entry in his log that a man has committed a breach of the peace or of discipline, has the right to confine that man, but he has no right to assault him by knocking him down. Under this clause, a master who commits an assault will merely incur the paltry penalty of a fine' of ,£20, or three months' imprisonment. I have known a case where a man has gone out of his course, and the master, on coming out of his cabin, instead of disrating the man or making an entry in the log as to his being a bad steersman, has used his fists on him. Is this a suitable punishment for an offence of that kind? An assault committed on the man at the wheel might put a ship in danger. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- Suppose the man at the wheel assaulted the captain and knocked him out? {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- The result would be that the chief or second officer on watch would immediately have that man arrested, and he would be confined during the whole of the trip. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- If the man knocked out the officer on watch, there would be nobody in charge of the ship. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- There is no ship that I know of that carries only one officer. A man who assaulted an officer would immediately be put in irons. His wages.. would be stopped, and, as soon as port was reached, he would be prosecuted and punished again. {: .speaker-KOS} ##### Senator Henderson: -- I think the honorable senator is fighting a very grave shadow this time. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator St Ledger: -- If a soldier assaults an officer, is he not always severely punished ? {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- Is it not just as bad for an officer to strike a seaman ? We have been invited to believe that under the proposal made officers and seamen would be treated alike in this matter, but that is not so. The officer would not be confined on board the ship, and would not lose his wages. He would be asked only to undergo his trial after the arrival of the ship in port. On the other hand, the seaman would be confined, and would lose his wages, and would then have to stand his trial when the ship arrived in port. The Bill has been drafted with the object of doing justice to both officers and seamen, and it takes into consideration the fact that the seaman may be punished on board the ship. Amendment agreed to. Clause, as amended, agreed to. Clauses 1.03 to 116 agreed to. Clause T17 - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. If three or more of a crew of a ship consider that their provisions or water are of bad quality, or deficient in quantity, they may complain thereof to a superintendent, who may examine the provisions and water or cause them to be examined. 1. If the superintendent, or person making the examination, finds that the provision or water are of bad quality or deficient in quantity, he shall, by writing, require the master to provide provisions and water of good quality, or sufficient in quantity, as the case may be, and to cease to use or supply to the crew any provisions or water found to be of bad quality, and the master shall comply with the requisition. Penalty : Twenty pounds. {: type="1" start="3"} 0. The superintendent or person making the examination shall enter the result thereof in the official log-book <4) If the superintendent or person making the examination certifies that there was no reasonable ground for the complaint, each of the complainants shall be liable to forfeit out of his wages a sum not exceeding one week's wages. Amendment, by **Senator Guthrie,** proposed - >That the word " may," line 4, be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word " shall." **Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT** GOULD (New South Wales) [8.21].- There may be a very good reason for the use of the word " may " in this case. The superintendent would certainly cause the provisions and water to be examined unless there were circumstances connected with the complaint which led him to come . to the conclusion that it was a frivolous one. It is questionable whether it would not be better to leave a discretion in the matter with the superintendent rather than to compel him to go on board a ship to examine the provisions and water, when he might have reason for believing that the complaint was not *bond fide,* and made only for a mischievous purpose. {: #debate-10-s31 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
Western AustraliaMinister of Defence · ALP -- **Senator Gould** must see that it would be impossible for the superintendent to judge whether a complaint made to him was a frivolous one; unless he examined, or caused to be examined, the provisions' and water. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould: -- Suppose a similar complaint had been made on two or three previous occasions, and the superintendent had found that there was no ground for it? {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- Even in that case he could only judge of the nature of the complaint by an examination of the provisions and- water, and it would not, I think, be right to give him discretion to arrive at a conclusion that a complaint made was frivolous on the strength of a preconceived opinion. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- Under the clause, the men making the complaint forfeit a week's wages if it is found that there is no reasonable ground for it. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould: - I had overlooked that; I am quite satisfied. Amendment agreed to. {: #debate-10-s32 .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE:
South Australia -- I move - >That after the word " pounds," line 16, the words " per day " be inserted. A ship may be short of provisions, or may supply bad provisions and bad water for a month, and yet, under this clause as it stands, the penalty provided is only *£20.* I think that must be admitted to be entirely inadequate. When a ship is setting out on a voyage the master should see that she is supplied with a sufficiency of good provisions and good water. He is, under the clause, given every .opportunity where a complaint is made to prove that the ship was supplied with a sufficiency of good provisions and good water. Honorable senators should remember that the penalty is imposed only after the superintendent has made his examination on the complaint; and I contend that there should be a penalty of *£20* for every day on which, after a report by the superintendent that the provisions are bad or insufficient, and the water is of bad quality, such conditions are allowed to continue. Under the clause, the men may have been supplied with insufficient or bad provisions, or impure water, for a month, and the maximum penalty proposed is a fine of *£20.* {: #debate-10-s33 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
Western AustraliaMinister of Defence · ALP -- I think that the penalty provided for in the clause is adequate. It should be remembered that the fine of *£20* does not represent the whole of the penalty, because, as honorable senators will see from clause 119, a seaman is entitled to receive compensation if, during a voyage, the provisions supplied to him are of bad quality, or the allowance below the prescribed scale. Again, if the superintendent reports upon a complaint under the clause, that the water or the provisions are bad, a penalty not exceeding *£20* may be imposed, and if the defective conditions are not remedied, a similar fine may be imposed next day, and every day so long as the defect continues. **Senator Guthrie** will therefore see that, as it stands, the clause would have the effect he desires. If his amendment were carried, and the superintendent found that, from a certain date during the voyage, the provisions supplied were bad, the master would be liable to a penalty of *£20* for every day from that date up to the time the decision of the superintendent was given. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- No; my amendment would have effect only after the superintendent's examination. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- If that be so, the clause as it stands carries out the honorable senator's object, because if the complaint were repeated from day to day, and it was found that the defective conditions continued, the master might be fined again and again. {: #debate-10-s34 .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE:
South Australia -- The Minister is wrongly informed in this matter. When the superintendent makes a report that the provisions supplied are bad, he has to give the master notice. He cannot fine the master, but must bring him before the Court. A week or a fortnight may elapse before the Court can hear the case, the defective conditions may continue during the whole of that time, and the maximum penalty under the clause would still be *£20.* In the last case of the kind which occurred in Melbourne, so far as I know, where a complaint was made that the provisions supplied to seamen were bad, it took over four months to settle the case. That was the case of the *Melville Island.* Honorable senators should remember that the seamen are bound to their ship, and are obliged to put up with the defective conditions they complain of until they are remedied. If a master continues to supply his crew with bad provisions or with an insufficiency of provisions after he has been warned by the superintendent, we ought to provide that he shall be liable to a penalty of so much per day. **Senator ST.** LEDGER (Queensland) [8.31]. - It seems to me that, upon the arrival of a vessel in Melbourne, if complaint be made to the superintendent that the master is serving his crew with provisions of an inferior quality, the first-named officer will inspect them. If the complaint be sustained, he will forbid the issue of any more of those provisions. If the master does not heed the superintendent's order, the latter has a very simple remedy. He may file a fresh information against the offender for every day during which he continues to disregard his order. If the superintendent is clear that there has been an obstinate refusal on the part of a master to comply with the law, he may swear two or three informations against him. I think that the clause adequately protects the seamen. {: #debate-10-s35 .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE:
South Australia -- If **Senator St.** Ledger's argument means anything, it means that for every day a master continues to supply bad provisions to his crew after he has been -warned not to do so, a fresh information must be sworn. If that he so, why not remove all ambiguity by providing a specific penalty per day ? That can be accomplished by making mv amendment. I am sure that no honorable senator, desires to see the order of the superintendent defied by the master. The latter may or may not comply with that order. The Court must determine whether he is justified in refusing to comply with it. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- Nonsense. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- The superintendent cannot fine a master. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- But he can stop his ship from going to sea. The superintendent is the judge of whether or not the provisions are of good quality. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- He has only power to say whether or not they are bad. 419 2 *Navigation* [SENATE.] *Bill.* The master may employ experts to prove that they are good, and the determination of the question must be left to the Court. {: #debate-10-s36 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
Western AustraliaMinister of Defence · ALP ; - **Senator Guthrie** has quite missed the point of this clause. He speaks as if a magistrate is to be the judge of whether or not the food supplied by a shipmaster is had. As a matter of fact, all that the magistrate has to decide is " Has the master complied with the order of the superintendent ? " The question of the quality of the food will not go before the Court at all. I am advised by a shipping master that under a similar clause he has confiscated £150 worth of food supplies. If he had not possessed the power to do that, would not the master have taken the matter into Court? Under this provision, if the master of a vessel disregards the order of the superintendent, the latter may file a fresh information against him for every day that he continues to flout the law. I am informed by a gentleman who has had to administer a similar provision that that is being done. Amendment negatived. Clause, as amended, agreed to. Clause 118 (Statutory Scale of Provisions) - {: #debate-10-s37 .speaker-KRZ} ##### Senator LYNCH:
Western Australia -- This is one of the most important clauses relating to seafaring life. I desire to make an amendment in the third schedule to the Bill, but if this clause be agreed to in its present form that schedule will have to be accepted by the Committee. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- No. {: .speaker-KRZ} ##### Senator LYNCH: -- The schedule in ques tion is so unreasonable that, like the old musket, it needs to be repaired " lock, stock, and barrel." However, I shall reserve my remarks in this connexion until that schedule is under consideration. {: #debate-10-s38 .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE:
South Australia .- I agree with **Senator Lynch** that the third schedule lays down an utterly inadequate scale of provisions, so far as the limited-coasting trade is concerned. I propose to accept that scale in the case of foreign-going ships. {: .speaker-KRZ} ##### Senator Lynch: -- If schedule 3 be struck out, we shall require to recommit this clause. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- Exactly. I think it would be well for us to accept the food scale laid down by the Board of Trade under the Act of 1906 in the case of foreign-going vessels, and to provide an other scale in the case of Australian coastal vessels. I have an amendment in that connexion, which will be on. the files of honorable senators to-morrow. Therefore, I think it would be wise for the Government to consent to the postponement of this clause. {: #debate-10-s39 .speaker-K78} ##### Senator ST LEDGER:
Queensland -- I believe that the food scale provided in the case of Australian coastal vessels is the finest in the world. There is. I understand, indorsed upon the articles of a seaman's agreement the stipulation that the food shall be " sufficient without waste. ' ' {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- In many cases it is a good deal less than sufficient. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- Cannot we deal with that question later? {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator ST LEDGER: -- Very well. Clause agreed to. Clause 119- (1.) On every ship registered in Australia or engaged in the coasting trade in either of the following cases, namely : - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. if during a voyage the allowance of any of the provisions required by the prescribed scale is reduced ; or 1. if it is shown that any of the provisions are or have during the voyage been of bad quality, the seaman shall receive, as compensation for that reduction or bad quality, according to the time of its continuance, the following sums, to be paid to him in addition to, and to be recoverable as, wages : - (i.) If his allowance is reduced by not more than one-third of the quantity required by the prescribed scale, a sum not exceeding One shilling a day; (ii.) If his allowance is reduced by more that one-third of that quantity, a sum not exceeding Two shillings a day; (iii.) In respect of bad quality, a sum not exceeding One shilling a day. (2.) Provided that if it is shown to the satisfaction of the Court - 2. that any provisions, the allowance of which has been reduced, could not be procured or supplied in proper quantities, and that proper and equivalent substitutes were supplied in their place; or 3. that, although the provisions actually required by the scale were not supplied, provisions containing on the whole the same or a greater amount of wholesome nutriment were supplied in their place, the Court shall take those circumstances into consideration, and shall modify or refuse the compensation as justice requires. {: #debate-10-s40 .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE:
South Australia -- I move - >That the word "exceeding," line 18, be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words " less than." *Navigation* [6 October, 1910.] *Bill.* 4193 I intend to move the omission of this word wherever it occurs in sub-clause 1. I appeal to honorable senators to consider the amendment seriously. Suppose that a ship goes to sea, it may be deliberately, short of provisions, and the men are reduced by a third of the scale which **Senator Lynch** has pointed out is inadequate. The clause merely provides that the owner shall give a man, after starving him, compensation not exceeding is. a day. Is that fair? Honorable senators know that to reduce them by one meal a day would cost them more than1s. {: .speaker-KTF} ##### Senator McGregor: -- Their three meals do not cost the owners 9d. a day. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator St Ledger: -- According to the scale, the cost is 8s.1d. a week. {: #debate-10-s41 .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- When a man is not in a position to buy provisions elsewhere, his food is reduced in quantity, and probably he has to starve for weeks. {: .speaker-KAH} ##### Senator Walker: -- What is the cause of the reduction? {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- It is due to the failure of the owner to put sufficient provisions on board. On one occasion I left Singapore for Melbourne with sixteen days' provisions on board, and the passage occupied ninety days. We had to virtually beg our way along. {: .speaker-KAH} ##### Senator Walker: -- If bad weather came, and the master could not help himself, what then ? {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- A ship ought to be supplied with sufficient provisions for, at any rate, an average voyage. Certainly a supply of provisions for sixteen days was not sufficient for a ship going from Singapore to Melbourne. We had to live on bonito and dolphin, and whatever we could " cadge " from other ships. This took place on a Melbourne-owned ship.if **Mr. Parsons,** who has been supplying information regarding the food, will look up the records for 1877 in the Shipping Office, he will find that the *Retriever* arrived from Singapore, and that a complaint was made by the crew of being short of provisions. It is not a question of the value of the provisions, but a question of the men being entitled to compensation for being starved. The clause provides that where the provisions are reduced by not more than one-third, the compensation shall not exceed1s. per day, and that where they are reduced by more than one-third the compensation shall not exceed 2s. a day, and that in respect of bad quality it is not to exceed1s. a day. The water, the beef, and the bread may be bad. I can assure honorable senators that very often men have been supplied with bad bread. I can remember when we could not look at the bread in daylight, and had to eat it in the dark, and we did not need butter either, because the maggots were greasy enough. The application of the provision is to be left to a superintendent, who may never have been to sea, and, therefore, would not know what it is for a man to put up with bad provisions. I think that the Committee has a right to prescribe the minimum compensation which shall be paid in these cases. I am asking that it should be fixed at is. and 2s. a day respectively. That is moderate indeed, especially when a man is absolutely starved, and has no opportunity of obtaining provisions. I would point out that if my amendment is made the money need never be paid by the owners, because under a proper system provisions of a good quality can be supplied. In years gone by, there may have been an excuse for an insufficiency of provisions. What occurred then? The men were afflicted with scurvy and other diseases. There is no excuse for that sort of thing happening to-day, because, with refrigerators, there can be a sufficiency of provisions on every ship. Any owner who sends out a ship insufficiently provisioned ought to be made to pay a penalty, and it is a moderate one that I propose. {: #debate-10-s42 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
Western AustraliaMinister of Defence · ALP -- I trust that the Committee will not accept the amendment. I intend to move an amendment to increase' the penalty in respect of bad quality to a sum not exceeding 2s. a day, being double that which is allowed in the Merchant Shipping Act. The measure will then be proportionately in conformity with that Act. Our scale is generally higher than the Imperial scale. The compensation prescribed in section 199 of the Imperial Act is as follows - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. if his allowance is reduced by not more than one-third of the quantity specified in the agreement, a sum not exceeding fourpence a day ; 1. if his allowance is reduced by more than one-third of that quantity, eightpence a day; 2. in respect of bad quality as aforesaid, a sum not exceeding one shilling a day; In the Defence Department we have a practical illustration of what it costs to keep men on a fairly generous ration. In the camps or in the forts we ration the men at an average cost of 9d. per day. 4194 *Navigation* [SENATE.] *Bill.* {: .speaker-K7D} ##### Senator Stewart: -- How is it done? {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- I thought that would appeal to the Scottish instincts of my honorable friend, and I shall give him the. information in confidence. Our ration is, I venture to say, far more generous than that which is provided in the food scale, as, I think, **Senator Guthrie** will admit. Yet the total cost' of the three meals a day is only9d. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- Yes, but that cannot be done at sea. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- The goods are bought at the ports and in quantities. It will be seen that in making an allowance not exceeding1s. a day the compensation will in most cases far exceed what it would cost the owner to feed the men per day. The provision will have a very deterrent effect; it will practically compel an owner, if he is a keen business man, to insure that the food supplies are good. The compensation is to continue so long as bad food is supplied. I think that honorable senators willsee that with the amendment I have foreshadowed the clause fairly meets the case and does justice. I ask them not to accept **Senator Guthrie's** amendment. **Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT** GOULD (New South Wales) [8.55].- I would point out to **Senator Guthrie** that the penalty is a sufficient deterrent against a master providing either bad or insufficient provisions? He must realize that it is so when he remembers that in the corresponding section of the Merchant Shipping Act the penalty is a sum not exceeding 4d. a day in one case, a sum not exceeding 8d. a day in another case, and a sum not exceeding is. a day in another case. Whilst it is perfectly reasonable that the Committee should favorably regard the question of feeding the men, at the same time it should be moderate. Of course, no one could have any sympathy with a master who would deliberately provide his men with an insufficiency of food. But very often cases arise where it has to be done owing to a misunderstanding or a mistake, and then the master will have to pay pretty heavily. Of course, a master who deliberately starves his men and treats them badly ought to be punished severely. I trust that **Senator Guthrie** will see that it is sufficient to impose a penalty such as that which has been indicated by the Minister. {: #debate-10-s43 .speaker-K7D} ##### Senator STEWART:
Queensland -- This is a clause about which we ought not to leave any doubt. It is not merely a question of giving a man1s. day if he is deprived of a third of his food ; £100 might not be sufficient recompense to him. Just look at the situation if the. men who have to do the ordinary work of a ship are deprived of a meal per day. I do not know how that would affect some honorable senators, but I know that if it were tried upon me I should very soon suffer, and1s. a day would not be any recompense to me. The Minister of Defence has stated that the Department feed their men for9d. a day. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- That does not account for the cook or fire. It merely represents the bare cost of provisions? {: .speaker-K7D} ##### Senator STEWART: -- If men can be fed for 2s. a day there is no cause for any lack of food on board a ship, and the penalty ought to be made so severe that no owner would dream of sending a ship to sea with insufficient stores. I do not think that any master or owner would wilfully do a thing of that kind, but we all know that there are careless people. It really does not matter whether it is done wilfully or by misadventure, the men have to starve all the same. It ought to be our object to so frame the law as to compel an owner to see that his ship is sufficiently provisioned. To talk about1s. a meal on the high seas is little short of an insult. If an employer is provisioning a man on shore and gives him 6d. instead of one of his meals, he can go elsewhere and get something to eat. But if there is no food on board a ship, the men cannot get it, and must starve. A money payment to them is no recompense whatever. Everybody knows that insufficient food very soon reduces a man's strength. Especially is that the case if he has to work very hard. Take the engineers, and those working in the stoke-holds. They have to work very hard indeed, and should have plenty of good food. Indeed, the men who should be able to starve with the greatest ease are those who are usually best fed - the officers. They have less mental labour to do, and the expenditure of vital energy is less than in the case of members of the crew. What we should aim at is to make the penalty so high that no ship-owner would risk sending a ship to sea insufficiently provisioned. {: #debate-10-s44 .speaker-KRZ} ##### Senator LYNCH:
Western Australia -- I think that the Committee will have no hesitation in accepting the amendment proposed by the Minister in charge of the Bill. I know of nothing that is more fruitful of irritation amongst the seafaring community upon the Australian coast than the matter which is the subject of this clause. As far as concerns quantity of provisions, there has never been any doubt ; but there certainly has been constant dissatisfaction in regard to quality. Legislation to increase the penalty with the object of improving the quality of the food supplied to seamen, should have been submitted long before this. In the case of the staple articles of food, I know, from personal experience, that in many cases, the supplies at sea are disgraceful. Bread can be obtained in any quantity, but it is hard and sour, and altogether so uninviting that a man very often prefers to go hungry than eat it. Butter is another staple article of food the quality of which at sea is often very bad. It seems to be chiefly composed of an inferior kind of fat,, disagreeable to the taste, and not at all what we are accustomed to recognise as butter. The same remark would apply to a number of articles of food. As has been stated by **Senator Stewart,** men on board ship have very hard work to do ; and it is desirable that they should be supplied with plenty of good food. Indeed, the quality should be such as would entice a person to eat it. My personal experience shows me that a man who is physically exhausted needs food that will stimulate his appetite, and requires to make something of an effort to eat food of the rougher sort. I welcome the proposal of the Minister with eagerness. There is no doubt that it has been a longstanding grievance on the Australian coast that the food supplies are poor. Indeed, the food supplied to men on vessels trading between Australia and the Old Country, is usually better than that supplied to those on our own coast; whilst there is no comparison whatever between the provisioning here and on the American coast. In America, better wages are paid, and the food is very good indeed. American shipowners seem to lay themselves out to minister to the happiness and comfort of the men who serve them. {: #debate-10-s45 .speaker-K78} ##### Senator ST LEDGER:
Queensland -- I hope the Committee will not be led away by these horrible tales from **Senator Guthrie,** to which we are getting accustomed. He seems to have suffered from a wonderful assortment of disadvantages at sea, so that he may well be called the Australian Sinbad. I doubt whether there is a seaman in all Australia who has suffered such hardships, or who has survived in so admirable a manner. I hope that his is an exceptional case. I dare say that we could find analogous provisions to this in the Shipping Acts of every State in Australia. Hitherto, the shipping has been under the control of the various States, which have legislated to insure the quality and quantity of food supplied to seamen. Surely, if these horrible tales represented every-day occurrences and systematic practices, an appeal would before now have been made to the Courts of law. But, as far as my memory serves me, cases of complaint against the provisioning of ships have been of rare occurrence. I can hardly conceive that if seamen had been so badly treated as has been represented, they would not have made complaints. Seamen know that they command the sympathies of magistrates, and they could easily have brought ship-owners before the Courts, where they would have been severely punished. I should say that it is rather exceptional for ship-owners or masters on the Australian coast to treat their men in such a way as has been described by **Senator Guthrie** and **Senator Lynch.** Moreover, the starvation of seamen would defeat its own end. The penalties here imposed are three or four times heavier than those under the Merchant Shipping Act; and when we remember that the Merchant Shipping Act has been amended three or four times between 1894 and 1906, it must be assumed that, as the penalties in this respect have remained unaltered, the general practice has been to observe the requirements of the law. If they had not been observed, we should have heard more about the matter in the Courts. Unless more definite information is supplied, I hope that the Minister will realize that, in increasing the penalty in one or two cases, we are meting out adequate justice, and providing for sufficient penalties for offences which we have reason to believe are of rare occurrence. {: #debate-10-s46 .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE:
South Australia -- **Senator St.** Ledger has asked for a concrete case. I shall give him one of many. I have before me a *History of the Ship Melville Island Case,* which occurred in 1906 - >The ship *Melville Island,* No. 89998, registered at Glasgow, tonnage 1468/1429, arrived at Port Phillip Heads, and anchored off Queenscliff on Monday, 14th May, 1906, Captain E. J. Larkin in command. The vessel had sailed in ballast from Mollendo, Peru, on 4th February, 1906, and now awaited orders. When the vessel arrived at Queenscliff, she did not enter with the Customs, but merely came for orders. The men on board refused to go out on her again. An attempt was made to take the ship away; but, the men refused duty. They were taken ashore at Queenscliff, and the following is an account of what took place at the Police Court : - >The following seamen and cook of the ship *Melville Island,-?.* G. Penfold, Duncan Henderson, A. McKenzie, John Cordiner, D. Hamill, Robert Prout, P. Quaree, Dugald Tait, John Maguire, were brought before the Police Court, at Queenscliff, this day, charged with disobedience of orders of the captain. The magistrate discharged the men for the following reasons : - >That the food supplied them on the voyage from Mollendo to Port Phillip was bad in quality and deficient in quantity. That great neglect had been shown in the exhibition of the side-lights of the ship, and that in thick weather the fog-signals had been neglected, thereby endangering the safety of the men and ship; and in the case of Dugald Tait, who was in bad health, he had been denied the opportunity of consulting a medical man at Queenscliff. The men were ordered back on board the ship where they would have to eat the same sort of provisions; but they refused to go, and came on to Melbourne, where again they were brought before the Court. In the meantime, complaints had been made by them to the shipping master. The members of the crew on the 22nd May laid the following formal complaint with the shipping master - The Shipping Master, Melbourne. **Sir, -** We, the undersigned members of the crew of the *Melville Island,* Captain Larkin, master, hereby complain that we were starved, and insufficiently fed with food and provisions and medicines, provided for under the Merchant Shipping Act, and the master refusing to allow one member of the crew, Dugald Tait, to see a doctor or permit a doctor to see him, suffering from rupture ; and we claim redress under the Merchant Shipping Act, and ask you to take the necessary proceedings accordingly. Here followed the signatures of the whole crew, and amongst them appears the signature of one woman, who was the stewardess of the vessel. The story of the case continues - >The shipping master thus became authorized to act under section 19S of the Merchant Shipping Act. He held an inquiry and examined the complainants. Their statements were to the effect that the allowance of food was short and the quality bad. But it was not suggested that these defects were due to any intentional circumstances, but were rather the misfortune of accident. They all admitted that no formal complaint had been made to the master of the ship. Maguire, the cook, stated, however, that Captain Larkin knew of the shortage, but not of the bad quality of provisions; while the men declared that they had yielded to the steward's plea not to make a row because women were on board. There were two women on board - the wife of the captain, and the wife of the cook, who was stewardess of the vessel - 1 The shipping master afterwards proceeded to the ship at Queenscliff, but was unable to report on the quality of provisions because there was practically nothing to examine. That is the trouble. A vessel leaves the port of departure short of provisions, and when she arrives at her port of destination there are no provisions left to be inspected..This vessel took three months on the trip from Peru to Melbourne, and as she was short of provisions when she started on her voyage, it is not surprising that the shipping master found that there were none to inspect. I continue the quotation - >Later on the shipping master again visited the vessel, in pursuance of section 199, Merchant Shipping Act, and having seen that provisions and water, sufficient to last sixty days, had been taken* on board, made an entry in the official log-book as follows : - " I hereby certify that I have examined the stores and water on board the ship *Melville Island,* official number 8999S, of Glasgow, and find that such are fit in quality and quantity for the intended voyage from Queenscliff, Victoria, Australia, to Port Pirie, South Australia, Australia. As a matter of fact, the vessel took two months to get to Port Pirie from Queenscliff. The matter did not end there, because a formal complaint was made to the Marine Board. I point out that the shipping master could not decide whether the food was short or of bad quality. He had to take the evidence of the men for that, because he could not examine the provisions they had eaten. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- An increase of the penalty would not have prevented that. {: #debate-10-s47 .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- I think it would, because, if the penalty were increased, a master would see that his ship was " not short of provisions when she left on a voyage. I went thoroughly into this case, and I got evidence that when the vessel left Peru she was short of provisions, even for an average trip. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould: -- Why was that not shown to the shipping master ? {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- It was shown to him, and the evidence was given afterwards in the Police Court, and later in the Supreme Court in Melbourne. A formal complaint was made to the Marine Board in these terms - >* Dear **Sir, -** We respectfully beg to draw your attention that in proceedings instituted against us as members of the crew of the *Melville Island,* on Friday last, 18th inst., by the master thereof, it was sworn by a number of the witnesses that the ship was by reason of defective equipment not in a fit state to proceed to sea." . . . > >Captain Deary, Inspector of Shipping, proceeded to the vessel and inquired into these matters. Upon his report the Marine Board resolved to take no action. Here is a statement which I sent to **Mr. Deakin,** who was then Prime Minister, after going fully into the question and getting the best evidence I could - >Dear Six, - I have been requested by the crew, including nine men and one woman, of the ship *Melville Island,* to ask you to receive a deputation forthwith, in order that you as Prime Minister may see what help can be given to the members of the crew. > >You are aware that they have been before a duly constituted Court charged by the master with refusing to perform duty. They then told their story, and the master told his story. The Bench were fully convinced of the justice of the men's complaint, and discharged them, and would not make any order for the men to return to the ship. > >Their evidence, shortly, was that they had been starved. > >Their lives had been in danger through bad navigation, and the lifeboats were in danger, as well as being a menace to other vessels. > >The master in writing (as per copy herewith) promised to discharge the men from the ship. This promise he has repudiated, and is now proceeding against the men further in the City Court, Melbourne, on Monday next. Meanwhile, the crew, including the stewardess, are penniless. In addition, the master has only to proceed against them for desertion, in order that they cannot be given shelter or food by any kindly disposed person under a penalty of *£20,* or *£200* in all. All that the master had to do was to lay an information for desertion against these people who had been starved, and then any person who succoured any one of them would have been liable to a penalty of £20, or a penalty of *£200* for succouring the whole of them. Honorable senators may think that this is an extreme case, but it is not. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- What has the question of desertion to do with this clause? {: .speaker-KTF} ##### Senator McGregor: -- The honorable senator is only wasting time. {: #debate-10-s48 .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- I ask **Senator Guthrie** to quote only such portions of the pamphlet from which he is reading as refer to the supply of bad provisions, or an insufficiency of provisions. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- I am quoting the facts connected with a case in which a crew were starved, and I am showing the action which was taken against them by the master in order to prevent them securing compensation, and also the difficulty they had in getting any justice at all. I am prepared to help the Minister to get this Bill through, but I wish to see justice done to those who go to sea. {: .speaker-KTF} ##### Senator McGregor: -- If the compensation were fixed at 6d., is., or £1 per day, it would not make any difference in such a case. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- I say that it would, because, in such circumstances, the master of the *Melville Island,* who was as keen as a razor, would have taken good care before leaving Peru that he had a sufficiency of good provisions on board for his crew. When he left Melbourne he was compelled to take sixty days' provisions to carry him from Queenscliff to Port Pirie, and he had not sixty days' provisions on board when he left Peru for Melbourne. Honorable senators may smile, but it is quite a common occurrence for sailing tramps to leave port short of provisions, hoping for a quick passage, or to be able to get provisions from some vessel they may meet on the voyage. My letter to the Prime Minister continues - >In view of the alleged reproach to Australia by the circumstances arising out of the *Petriana* and the six hatters case, the men confidently look to you to see that justice is now done them. > >Are the men to be thrown on a strange shore penniless when money is due to them by the owners of the ship, and all help withheld from them by the Australian authorities? Is red-tape to stand in the way? > >The men wish to see you to have an answer to the petition as early as possible ; as the men's necessities are urgent, I would respectfully request you to fix the earliest time possible. I need not quote the history of this case further. After the men had been acquitted at Queenscliff they were again arrested and brought before **Mr. Panton** at the City Court. The charge against the woman was dismissed. **Mr. Panton** did not go the length of sentencing her to imprisonment, but he sentenced all the men to terms of imprisonment varying from six to thirteen weeks. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- Those men were not sentenced to imprisonment because what the honorable senator seeks to provide for in this Bill was not the law. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- I say 'that these prosecutions were got up by the master to prevent the men claiming compensation because they had been starved. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- A master would be able to do the same thing again under the amendment. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- I am giving a statement of the facts in this case as I find them written. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould: - By whom? {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- I do not know, who was the author of this pamphlet. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- I think the honorable senator is quoting a good deal of irrelevant matter. I ask him to confine himself to the question of insufficient or bad provisions. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- I was asked to prove the statement that starvation does sometimes take place on board ship, and I think 1 have proved that it did take place in the case to which I have referred. I could mention many similar cases. I want some provision made which will compel the masters of ships to carry sufficient provisions to give every man on board his "' whack.". The Minister of Defence made some reference to the cost per day for the keep of the military. I have here the judgment of the Arbitration Court in the case of cooks, bakers, and butchers on board ship, and I find that 9d. a day is not considered sufficient to keep them. The President of the Court, in his summing up, said - >If the employe is married and has a home, 15s. a week in cash wouldgo further than board and lodging for the bread-winner on the ship. The respondents, it is true, have put in evidence returns of chief stewards, which seem to show that the average cost per day of provisions for the crew of a cargo steamer is1s.10½d. per head ; that is, 13s.1½d. per week. 1 do not know what soldiers are getting. The President of the Court comments upon this as rather high, but states his general opinion after hearing the whole of the evidence in the case. > >I think that the average cost of meals of the same character as stated by the Superintendent of the Sailors' Home5½d. per head is nearer ' the true mark, that is to say, 1s. 4½d. per day, or9s.7½d per week. Ten shillings per week is the maximum amount allowed by the Victorian Income Tax Commissioner as a deduction from gross income in the case of persons engaged in trade or industry, in respect of sustenance of employes engaged in the trade. That, is the average which was decided upon by the President of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Court. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- This clause makes provision for the payment of compensation to the extent of 14s. a week to a seaman if his allowance of provisions be reduced by more than one-third of the prescribed scale. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- The Minister has declared that the clause provides for the payment of compensation at the rate of1s. per day if his allowance be reduced by not more than one-third of the quantity specified in the prescribed scale. It does nothing of the kind. **Senator PEARCE** (Western Australia- ing details presented by **Senator Guthrie** are very interesting, but for the most part they are like the flowers that bloom in the spring in that they have nothing to do with the case. In the instance which he has cited the skipper of the vessel would have been able to do exactly what he did if the compensation payable to each seaman had been *£1* a day. {: .speaker-20000} ##### Senator E J Russell: -- Does not Life Minister think that a light penalty is an inducement to the master of a ship to take a risk? {: #debate-10-s49 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
ALP -- No doubt it is. But according to **Senator Guthrie** the superintendent has pointed out that cases may arise in which the master may have taken on board what he regarded as an adequate supply of provisions, and that through unforseen circumstances they may be reduced by less than one-third, in which case compensation would have to be paid. If honorable senators will turn to Schedule III. of the Bill they will find a number of articles specified which may go bad, or in respect of which a mistake may occur in the quantities to be delivered. If **Senator Guthrie's** amendment be adopted the master of a vessel will be liable to a penalty of 1s. a day for any deficiency in respect of any particular article. Those articles include soft bread, biscuits, salt beef, salt pork, preserved meat, fish, potatoes, dried or compressed vegetable, split peas, green peas, calavances or haricot beans, flour, rice, oatmeal, tea, coffee, sugar, condensed milk, butter, marmalade or jam, syrup or molasses, suet, pickles, dried fruits, fine salt, mustard, pepper, curry powder, and onions. I say that, in 99 cases out of100, the penalty which **Senator Guthrie** desires to prescribe would not fit the offence, and? we are all familiar with the old adage that hard cases make bad laws. I appeal to the Committee to allow the clause to pass in its present form on the understanding that, in respect of provisions of bad quality,I shall move to increase the penalty provided' from1s. to as. a day. Question - That the word proposed to beleft out be left out (Senator Guthrie' samendment) - put. The Committee divided. AYES: 9 NOES: 13 Majority ... ... 4 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the negative. Amendment negatived. Amendment (by **Senator Pearce)** agreed to - That in (paragraph iii) sub-clause i, the words "One shilling" be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words " Two shillings." Clause, as amended, agreed to. Clause 120 agreed to. Clause 121 - (1.) The provisions and water for the use of the crews of ships leaving any port in Australia for a place beyond Australia or New Zealand shall be inspected by, such persons and under such circumstances as the Minister directs ; (2.) If the person so inspecting finds that the provisions or water are not of good quality, the ship may be detained until provisions or water are supplied to his satisfaction. {: #debate-10-s50 .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE:
South Australia -- I move - >That in sub-clause 2, line 3, the word " may " be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word "shall." Where the superintendent finds that the provisions or water on a vessel are not of good quality it ought to be mandatory upon him to detain her until the evil is remedied. {: #debate-10-s51 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
Western AustraliaMinister of Defence · ALP **.- Senator Guthrie** has not embodied this proposal in his list of amendments, and it is somewhat difficult for me to determine what will be its effect, seeing that it has been launched without notice. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- It is only a small thing. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- But there is a very great difference between the meaning of the words "shall" and "may." It is not fair to ask me to make up my mind in two seconds whether I shall accept an amendment which may alter the entire meaning of the clause. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- I do not mind the clause being postponed. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- But we wish to make some progress. As I have now ascertained that the word " shall " is used in the Merchant Shipping Act, I am prepared to accept the amendment. But I do appeal to honorable senators who contemplate submitting amendments to give the Government timely notice of them. {: .speaker-KPE} ##### Senator Keating: -- This only applies to whips, travelling abroad. Amendment agreed to. Clause, as amended, agreed to. Clause 122 (Certificated cooks). {: #debate-10-s52 .speaker-K78} ##### Senator ST LEDGER:
Queensland -- The Minister must be well aware that, in including this clause in the Bill, he went beyond both the Merchant Shipping Act and the New Zealand Act. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- No; the Merchant Shipping Act of 1906 provides for certificated cooks. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator ST LEDGER: -- Does it provide for every British ship of 500 tons gross registered tonnage or upwards carrying a certificated cook? {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- Yes. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator ST LEDGER: -- I should like to see the authority for that statement. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Senator Lt: **-Colonel Sir Albert** Gould. - There is a provision in the Act, but I do not know what the gross tonnage is. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator ST LEDGER: -- According to my note, the provision in each Act applies to only foreign-going ships of 1,000 tons gross tonnage and upwards. That being so, I suggest that it should be followed in the case of Australia. This clause says - livery British ship of 500 tons gross regis tered tonnage or upwards, registered in Australia or engaged in the coasting trade, and going to sea from any port in Australia, shal carry a duly certificated cook, who is able tc prove one month's service at sea in some capacity. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- Cooks are more plentiful in Australia than in Great Britain. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator ST LEDGER: -- I hope that the Minister will find a better reason than that for prescribing that a certificated cook shall be carried on every British ship of 500 tons gross registered tonnage or upwards registered in Australia or engaged in the coasting trade, when both the model Acts confine the provision to foreign-going ships of over 1,000 tons gross register. Section 27 of the Merchant Shipping Act of 1906 reads - (1.) After the thiritieth day of June, nineteen hundred and eight, every British foreign-going ship of a thousand tons and upwards gross tonnage, going to sea from any place in the British Islands, or on the continent of Europe between the River Elbe and Brest inclusive, shall be provided with and carry a duly certificated cook . who is able: to prove one month's service at sea in some capacity. I suppose that the certificate must be something accepted by the Board of Trade. I expect that the employment of certificated cooks on our vessels will, to some extent, increase the cost, which, of course, must be taken out of the fares and freights. {: .speaker-KRZ} ##### Senator Lynch: -- What nonsense ! There are plenty of cooks in this country. {: .speaker-K78} ##### Senator ST LEDGER: -- That being so, I should like to hear some reason why the provision in the model Acts has been departed from. {: #debate-10-s53 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
Western AustraliaMinister of Defence · ALP -- The reason why the tonnage has been made less in the case of Australia is that the average tonnage of our coasting ships is less than that of Great Britain. {: .speaker-KRZ} ##### Senator Lynch: -- And the cooks work very much harder on our coast. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- I am not prepared to say that. I am informed that the Navigation Commission took into consideration the fact that our coasting ships - possibly it is because our seas are calmer - are, as a rule, of smaller tonnage than ships doing similar passages round the coast of Great Britain. {: .speaker-KPE} ##### Senator Keating: -- And our seatravelling population is, proportionately, very much larger. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- That is considered a reason why we should adopt a smaller tonnage than that prescribed in the Merchant Shipping Act. Clause agreed to. Clauses 123 to 132 agreed to. Clause 133 (Seamen lawfully left behind to be deemed discharged). {: #debate-10-s54 .speaker-K78} ##### Senator ST LEDGER:
Queensland -- I think that the provisions of this clause are fairly well met in clauses 128 to 131 inclusive. I saw similar sections in the New Zealand Act, and also, I think, in the Merchant Shipping Act. But, on looking into them, I could not see any reason why the provisions should be doubled in clause 133. I dare say that there is some reason, but I find it hard to distinguish what is intended to be achieved or guarded against in that clause, which does not seem to be amply covered by clause 128. I should like the Minister to give some reason for the special distinction which is made. {: #debate-10-s55 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
Western AustraliaMinister of Defence · ALP -- Sub-clause 1 of clause 130, and sub-clause 1 of clause *33> set out the reason. The former provision reads - >The master of a ship shall not leave a seaman behind at any place in Australia (except where the seaman is discharged in accordance with this Act), unless he previously obtains indorsed on the agreement a certificate from the superintendent, stating the cause of the seaman being left behind, whether the cause be unfitness or inability to go to sea, desertion, or disappearance, or otherwise. The latter provision reads - >Where a seaman or apprentice is left on shore from a ship at any place in Australia in any manner authorized by law, by reason of illness or accident in the service of the ship incapacitating him from performing his duties, he shall be deemed to be discharged from his ship. The two clauses deal with different cases, and, therefore, set out in. different forms what shall be done in each case. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- The one deals with injury on board ship, and the other with illness. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- Both provisions are necessary, as **Senator St.** Ledger will see if he reads the following clauses. Clause agreed to. Clause 134 - (1.) The owner or master of every foreigngoing ship having one hundred persons or upwards on board shall cause to be carried, as part of her complement, a duly qualified medical practitioner. Penalty : One hundred pounds. **Senator GUTHRIE** (South Australia) r°-55]- - This clause provides that a foreign-going ship carrying 100 passengers or more shall carry a duly certificated medical practitioner. I move - >That after the word "every" the words " Australian trade ship and " be inserted. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould: -- That will apply to the steamers along our coast. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE: -- Yes, in the Australian trade; but not in the limited Australian trade. According to our definition our coasting trade will extend to New Zealand and to the islands of the Pacific. On passages from Sydney, or Melbourne, or Adelaide to Fremantle, ships carry a large number of passengers, in some cases 300 or 400, but no medical man is carried. There are as many persons carried along our coast in large steamers to-day as comprise the population of a great many of our townships which are supplied with two medical men, and the number of passengersis continually changing. I think it is absolutely necessary to provide that an Australian-trade ship, as well as a foreigngoing ship, shall carry as part of her crew a legally-qualified medical practitioner. {: #debate-10-s56 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
Western AustraliaMinister of Defence · ALP -- I think that the amendment would work very harshly. As regards the greater part of the Australian trade, the ships "call in at ports practically every day. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- It is a four days'' trip between Adelaide and Fremantle, and also between Melbourne and New Zealand. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- I admit that in the case of steamers going between Adelaide and Albany there may be some justification for requiring the presence of a medical man. {: .speaker-KPE} ##### Senator Keating: -- There will be no difficulty in a company arranging for a medical officer. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- There may be some justification for carrying a medical man on a ship travelling from Australia to New Zealand, or from Fremantle to Adelaide, and also on a ship which has a large passenger list ; but in order to get at those ships, why- should we bring in ships which touch at ports from day to dav? I promise **Senator Guthrie** that I will bring the matter under- the notice of the Minister of Trade and Customs and the Attorney-General, to see whether an amendment can be framed to meet the case of trips such as he has indicated; but I do not think that we ought to have a dragnet clause to include every Australian trade ship, because that would be altogether too sweeping. I ask **Senator Guthrie** if he will agree to move the insertion of these words - " or Australian-trade ship as prescribed," so as to leave the matter to be dealt with by regulation. {: .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- I do not mind that. **Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT** GOULD (New South Wales) [9.59].- I should like the Minister to consider the matter a little more fully before he determines to accept a proposal such as he has suggested, because it would indicate that the Parliament had decided that in certain cases it is very necessary that a medical officer shall be carried. But I am by no means satisfied that such a provision is necessary, in view of the short trips which these vessels take from time to time. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- It is a five days' trip to Fremantle from Adelaide. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: -- Yes, and I am aware that occasionally we experience very rough weather in going across to New Zealand. It would be well to consider whether the experience of past years justifies us in compelling a ship-owner to employ a medical man on board a ship taking these voyages. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- In the Western Australian trade I have known cases where a doctor would have been very useful indeed. {: .speaker-KLZ} ##### Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD: -- It is very likely that in many cases a doctor might become very useful in the coasting trade, as he might be on board a train, in consequence of a person taking ill suddenly. But I do not think we are justified in insisting upon the owners of ships engaged in short voyages carrying medical men. The cases in which a doctor is required are very exceptional. Even on ships trading to the Old Country, the doctor will often go through the whole passage and have little or no work to do. It would be better to permit the clause to go as it stands, relying upon the promise of the Minister that the matter will be further considered, and that he will be prepared to recommit if at a later stage it be considered desirable to make an amendment. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- I propose to followthat course, because a difficulty in draftsmanship would arise by making the amendment suggested. {: #debate-10-s57 .speaker-KNB} ##### Senator GUTHRIE:
South Australia -- I am quite willing to accept the Minister's assurance. **Senator Gould** has observed that the services of a doctor are sometimes required on a railway train, but he forgets that a railway train passes through a station about every twenty minutes. {: #debate-10-s58 .speaker-KPE} ##### Senator KEATING:
Tasmania -- I myself have, on one or two occasions, approached steam-ship companies and suggested to them the desirableness of carrying medical men on board steamers engaged in the Australian trade. While the suggestion has been received with some sympathy, the question has been raised as to whether it should be made obligatory for a doctor to be carried. A considerable amount of travelling by sea is done by the Australian public, and some of the voyages occupy more than twenty-four hours. Some trips last several days. There is no indisposition on the part of the steam-ship companies to make provision of this character, and I do not suppose that serious opposition will be offered to an amendment. I hope that the Government will fall in with the suggestion of **Senator Guthrie,** so that vessels plying on the Australian coast shall, in future, carry medical officers, just as do ships which undertake long-distance voyages. **Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT** GOULD (New South Wales) [10.3].- My suggestion simply was that the Ministry should take a little time to consider **Senator Guthrie's** amendment, in order to ascertain what is really . necessary. That is the only reason why I suggested that it might be well to let the clause stand in its present form, with a promise that the Minister will agree to a recommittal later on if deemed necessary. Amendment, by leave, withdrawn. Clause agreed to. Clause 135 agreed to. Clause 136 (Accommodation for Officers). **Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT** GOULD (New South Wales) [10.6].- I propose to submit an amendment in this clause, with a view to reduce the amount of accommodation prescribed for steamships engaged in the Australian coasting trade. Paragraph *b* of sub-clause 1 requires that each officer shall be provided with a separate room, having a cubic content of not less than 180 feet. I propose to ask the Committee to reduce that space to 120 feet. Paragraph *c* provides that in the case of limited coasttrade ships of less than 300 tons gross registered tonnage, two officers shall have a separate room having cubic content of not less than 350 cubic feet. I propose to make that paragraph read that in the case of limited coast-trade steam-ships ' of less than 500 tons, a separate room having the cubic content df not less than 230 cubic feet shall be provided. I am desirous of bringing this clause into conformity with the provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act. Later on, I -propose to- submit' an amendment in clause 137, which deals with accommodation for seamen. I propose to provide for each seaman or apprentice a space of not less than 120 cubic feet, instead of 140, as laid down by the Bill, and also to provide for not less than 15 superficial feet, measured on the deck or floor, instead of 18 superficial feet, as provided by the Bill. I also propose to eliminate from paragraph *a* of clause 137 the words " and of not less than 5 feet, measured between bunks, clear of all encumbrances, at the forward or narrow end." I shall, later on, give reasons for these amendments. It must be remembered that the accommodation on limited coasttrade ships is of considerable value. Progress reported. Senate adjourned at io.H p.m.

Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 6 October 1910, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.