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Wednesday, 23 March 1927

Senator NEEDHAM (Western Australia) . - So far no argument against my amendment has been adduced. Clause 4, sub-clause 6, reads -

Each producer, whether an individual or company, shall have one vote in respect of each pearling vessel or attendant schooner owned by him.

Why should not a company be satisfied with one vote? Senator Reid said that m should not concern ourselves about the principle, " One man, one vote." Surely he has not abandoned all his democratic ideas. Senator Pearce stated that there were very few owners of single vessels; but I point out that, if there were only one such person, the position would be all the worse, because the owner, whether an individual or a company, with a fleet of vessels would bc able to crush him in the manner indicated by Senator Duncan. My amendment is in the best interests of the industry.

Senator PEARCE - Does the honorable senator not think that those engaged in the industry should know more about it than we do?

Senator NEEDHAM - That may be so; but we should have before us information as to the number of owners engaged in the industry. We do not know how many owners possess one, two, or more vessels. 'We are asked to vote blindly in this matter. I have no desire to obstruct this bill, but I submit that my amendment should appeal to the common sense of honorable senators. We should not make it possible for any one section of those engaged in this industry to swamp any other section. I know of two instances of vessels at Broome being worked by their crews on a co-operative basis. The crew of each of those vessels would, under this bill, be entitled to one vote. Engaged in this industry are, also, men who possess as many as six vessels. It would be bad enough to give thom one vote for each vessel; but, in addition, they are to have a vote for each attendant schooner.

Senator PEARCE - Every lugger has its attendant schooner.

Senator NEEDHAM - I ask the Senate to give serious consideration to my amendment, which has not been moved with any desire to embarrass the Government.

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