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Tuesday, 11 October 1910

Senator SAYERS (Queensland) . - I move -

That after the word " is," line 13, the words " a British or " be inserted.

I take it that Australians are British subjects, but it would be as well to remove all doubt in the matter. I presume that honorable senators do not desire that an Englishman, an Irishman, a Scotchman, or a Welshman, should be obliged to remain on board a ship which they would not consider good enough for an Australian. Men from any part of the British Isles are signed on as Britishers.

Senator Guthrie - The seaman has to give the town of his birth.

Senator SAYERS - The honorable senator must know that many sailors who were born nowhere near London give that city as the place of their birth. I had two or three sailors' discharges before me the other day, and on them the men were described as British subjects. Men might be employed on a foreign ship under conditions so bad that no Court would say they were not justified in leaving it, and in such a case it would be most invidious to provide that while an Australian citizen could not be compelled to return to the ship after deserting it, an Englishman, an Irishman, or a Scotchman might be taken on board without his consent. I do not wish to waste time in discussing the amendment, and perhaps the Minister will say whether he is willing to accept it, as I was led to believe he would.

Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 8 p.m.

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