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Tuesday, 11 October 1910

Senator STEWART (Queensland) . - I agree with Senator Sayers. I think it is important that the minimum of accommodation for passengers should be laid down in the Bill. It would, in my opinion, be a mistake to leave entirely to regulation the comfort and welfare of passengers on ships. They ought to be as much objects of the care of the Legislature as the comfort and welfare of the seamen. One class should be no more to us than the other. I have suffered a great deal of inconvenience in passenger steamers on our coast, and I am sure that people travelling in the steerage of those vessels have had a very much worse time of it than I have had. I have inspected the steerage accommodation in several vessels, and in many cases I found it very inadequate. That is the reason why I think the minimum of space to be allowed to each passenger should be definitely laid down in the Bill. I do not think the minimum proposed by Senator Sayers is sufficient. It would be for those who frame the regulations under this Bill to prescribe such an increase in the accommodation the honorable senator proposes as might be considered necessary, but there should be something to guide them in the measure itself. I think that the Minister might very well accept the amendment.

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