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Tuesday, 11 October 1910


Senator HENDERSON (Western Australia) . - I am inclined to think that Senator Sayers has entirely lost sight of the meaning of the provision on which he has been speaking in rather a complicated manner.


Senator Sayers - It is a complicated provision, too.


Senator HENDERSON - I would suggest to the honorable senator that a British ship belongs to the United Kingdom, and that the British Parliament reserves to itself the right at all times to legislate for its people. We are dealing at present with the question of foreign ships and foreign seamen.


Senator Sayers - Except in the case of the proviso which deals with seamen who are Australian citizens.


Senator HENDERSON - Part III. of the Bill is headed "Foreign seamen." Clause 179 contains a- definition of " seaman," and the next clause reads -

If any seaman is absent from bis duly without leave whilst his ship is within Australia, any justice upon complaint on oath may issue his warrant for the apprehension of the seaman.


Senator Sayers - But we are now dealing with an amendmentto the proviso, which relates to seamen who are Australian citizens.


Senator HENDERSON - We are dealing with the provisions of the Bill relating to foreign seamen. A British ship belongs to the United Kingdom, and therefore a British seaman enjoys all the rights of British law. We are now engaged in framing a law to govern navigation in Australia. This clause provides that when an Australian seaman refuses to go on board a foreign ship-


Senator Sayers - No, that is not the question before the Committee.


Senator HENDERSON - Does it refer to an Australian ship?


Senator Sayers - Nobody can make an Australian seaman go on board a foreign ship if he does not wish to do so.


Senator HENDERSON - The clause provides that an Australian seaman shall not be compelled to go on board a foreign ship.


Senator Sayers - He is not compelled to do so.


Senator HENDERSON - If a Britisher goes on board a foreign ship - and it may be that he did not ship here-


Senator Sayers - Nor may the Australian. The honorable senator misses the point altogether.


Senator HENDERSON - It is quite possible that he may have shipped here - indeed, it is almost beyond conception that he would have shipped elsewhere.


Senator Chataway - Nonsense. What about South Africa and other countries?


Senator HENDERSON - He may have gone to Germany, for instance, and become a naturalized subject there, but, from that moment, he would cease to be an Australian, and would lose his Australian citizenship. It is of no use for Senator Sayers to laugh, because he knows that after a man has been outside Australia for a certain period he loses his Australian citizenship.


Senator Sayers - No. The Chief Justice is wrong and the honorable senator is right.


Senator Givens - If a man becomes naturalized to a foreign Power he loses his Australian citizenship.


Senator HENDERSON - Decidedly. The man may not necessarily have shipped in Australia. A Britisher is at all times a Britisher. Ifhe comes to Australia, he has merely to reside here for six months in order to obtain full citizenship rights. I have always contended that even that embargo should be removed, and that the moment he lands in the Commonwealth, he should be a full-fledged Australian.


The CHAIRMAN - Order ! I must ask the honorable senator not to discuss the question of electoral qualifications.


Senator HENDERSON - I am merely pointing out that we have already made laws prohibiting citizenship, and that we are now asked to enact laws recognising citizenship. In framing those laws we have a right to protect our citizens. The Minister is perfectly justified in adhering to the position which he has taken up.







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