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Friday, 30 September 1910
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Senator PEARCE (Western AustraliaMinister of Defence) . - I do not think that the clause is indefinite at all. It means that a seaman who does not exert himself to the utmost in the circumstances set out would forfeit the whole of the wages due to him. I say without hesitation that a man who would be guilty of such conduct would deserve to lose all the wages due to him. Wrecks may occur on desert islands or at places far from the reach of the law, and we must have provisions to assist in preserving strict discipline in such cases. Senator Guthrie has tried to bolster up his objection to the clause by inducing the Committee to believe that when a seaman signs a three years' agreement he does not receive any wages until the termination of the agreement. Under this Bill such a thing would be impossible.

Senator Guthrie - That may be.

Senator PEARCE - We are dealing with this Bill and not with other legislation. Clause 76 provides -

The master or owner of every foreign-going ship registered in Australia shall pay to every seaman at the prescribed times, his wages or prescribed portions thereof :

Of course, in the case of ships engaged in the coasting trade the Bill provides that the wages are to be paid every month. But in the case of foreign-going ships registered in Australia, clause 76 would apply, and the regulation would undoubtedly prescribe that payment should be made at such intervals as would enable seamen to have some cash when they reached a port. The clause is quite definite, and necessary.

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