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Wednesday, 7 July 1920

Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) . - This is a matter to which the honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Mathews) referred, and in regard to which a deputation from the executive of the Seamen's Union waited on me some days ago. A fear was expressed that this definition, applying as it does, to this part of the measure, and to this part only, would weaken the general definition of seamen. It will not have that effect at all. In regard to the complaint made by the honorable member for Melbourne Ports that the seamen had not been consulted with reference to these amendments, I might say that they were inserted as a result of representations made by the executive of the Seamen's Union in order to checkmate certain boardinghouse-keepers or crimps operating in Newcastle. The term " seaman " or " apprentice " in the principal Act has a very definite meaning. A "seaman" means a person employed or engaged in any capacity on board ship, and an " apprentice" a person bound by indenture to the sea service. Some difficulty has arisen in consequence of this definition, and in a Court case at Newcastle, where a man was charged with illegally supplying seamen, the defence raised was that the person supplied was not a seaman within the meaning of the Act because he was not at the time employed or engaged on a ship. The Court upheld the point raised, so that although the man charged wasguilty of the offence, he got off. The executive of the Seamen's Union then made representations to the

Government in connexion with the matter, and this amendment has been inserted to meet that case. Outside of sections 28 to 33 the definition will have no effect whatever. It will not affect the definition of " seaman " or the obligation thrown upon the employers of seamen in relation to any other portion of the Act. The only purpose is to safeguard the interests of seamen.

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