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Friday, 30 September 1910
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Senator PEARCE (Western AustraliaMinister of Defence) . - I quite appreciate the hardships imposed upon seamen which have been depicted by Senator Guthrie. But I would point out that his amendment would not in any way remedy those hardships. It merely provides that a seaman's agreement, instead of being made with the master or the owner of a vessel, shall be made with the master. Its adoption would not prevent the troubles to which the honorable senator has referred.

Senator Guthrie - Yes.

Senator PEARCE - If the owner of a vessel has power under a seaman's agreement to transfer him from one ship to another, or from one trade to another, the same agreement will allow somebody else so to transfer him. I need scarcely point out that the master is the servant of the owner, and sometimes even masters are transferred from one ship to another and from one trade to another. So that, if a seaman signed an agreement with the master of a vessel, he would have no guarantee that he would not be .so transferred. To achieve the purpose which he has in view, Senator Guthrie would require to impose some limitation on the agreement.

Senator Guthrie - This amendment will provide only a part of the remedy.

Senator PEARCE - The question of whether a seaman's agreement is made with the master or the owner of a vessel does not affect the position at all. Senator Guthrie makes some very startling statements in his advocacy of his amendments. For example, he has declared that if a seaman enters into an agreement with the master of a vessel, he will possess some remedy against transfer, but. that if his agreement be made with the owner of the vessel he will have no remedy. Yet we know that in all these cases the ship itself is liable.

Senator Millen - The ship is the guarantee all the time.

Senator Guthrie - -A seaman cannot sue the ship, and he cannot sue the owner.

Senator PEARCE - The master -is sued as the representative of the owner. I appeal to the honorable senator not to press his amendment, because its adoption will not help him one iota.

Senator McCOLL(Victoria) [10.481 - What objection is there to inserting in this Bill a provision under which a seaman will be at liberty to engage to serve in two ships belonging to the same company? If he be willing to do so, why should he not have the privilege? Every man is not married, and there may be men whom it would suit to engage to serve upon two vessels.

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