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Wednesday, 12 October 1910

Senator LYNCH (Western Australia) . - I cannot see how Senator St. Ledger can achieve the object which he has in view by means of his amendment. The clause is sufficiently elastic to enable exemptions to be granted by the Minister. But the honorable senator wishes to lay down a hard and fast rule in respect of all ships entering the Australian trade after a certain date.

Senator St Ledger - In the case of such ships, the Minister will have discretion under the regulations.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould - He will be deprived of discretion only in respect of ships which are already engaged in the trade, or which are in course of construction prior to the passing of the Act.

Senator LYNCH - Under the clause itself, the Minister will have a free hand to exempt ships trading in estuaries or rivers around our coast, provided that they have not to enter bar harbors.

Senator Chataway - But those bar harbors are already there.

Senator LYNCH - Then there exists a greater necessity for insisting that the vessels trading to such places shall be fitted with false bottoms. We know that in approaching Brisbane, there is a very nasty bar in Moreton Bay. The clause is sufficiently elastic to enable the Minister to make exemptions wherever he may deem it wise to do so.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould -We are asked to leave the matter entirely in the hands of the Minister.

Senator Sayers - When it should be left in the hands of Parliament.

Senator LYNCH - I do not think so. If the Minister thinks that the small craft to which allusion has been made will not be called upon to encounter danger, he may exempt them from the operation of this provision. Consequently, there is no need for the amendment.

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