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Friday, 30 September 1910
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Senator GUTHRIE (South Australia) . - The Vice-President of the Executive Council has argued all round this question, but has failed to touch it. When a ship is lost, or wrecked, the seaman's agreement is at an end, and his wages cease.


Senator Millen - His agreement is not at an end.


Senator GUTHRIE - I have here the last return of Lloyd's Register of British and foreign ships which have been totally lost, or condemned. Under the heading of "Lost" appears the name of the ship Barossa, of 911 tons. She was lost whilst on a voyage from Riga to Frederickstown


Senator McGregor - What has that fact to do with the clause which is under consideration ?


Senator GUTHRIE - I desire to show that this ship, which was capsized off Cape Frederickstown, was afterwards righted, towed into harbor, and broken up. Does the Vice-President of the Executive Council think that the crew of that vessel, after she had been lost, and after their agreement had terminated, ought to have stood by her, towed her into port, and assisted to break her up?


Senator Millen - Does the honorable senator call breaking up a ship " saving a wreck " ?


Senator GUTHRIE - That is the position. I have had experience of a wreck. My wages ceased from the hour the vessel struck, and on one occasion I was four weeks before I reached another port.


Senator Millen - But the honorable senator was not struggling for four weeks to save the wreck.


Senator GUTHRIE - If, after a vessel struck, the wages of the crew did not cease, I should have no objection to the clause. The ordinary workman receives his wages every Saturday; but the sailor gets paid only once in a while, and his money is constantly in jeopardy. During the whole time that his agreement is in force, the ship-owner holds a considerable sum of money belonging to him, so that the owner is in a position to compel him to do his bidding.


Senator Vardon - Would the honorable senator offer a premium for cowardice?


Senator GUTHRIE - No. But the cowardice is on the part of the owner, who will not pay wages to a seaman after they have been earned.







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