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Wednesday, 12 October 1910


Senator PEARCE (Western AustraliaMinister of Defence) . - The honorable senator will find that there is a tendency in colonial legislation to apply all provisions to ships of a lesser tonnage than those to which similar provisions are applied under the Merchant Shipping Act. For instance, under the Victorian Act this provision is applied to ships of 50 tons gross registered tonnage, and I believe that in some of the other States it is applied to ships of even lesser tonnage. The principle I laid down a little time ago in connexion with another clause applies also to this clause. The fact that only a limited trade is available because of the scattered nature of our population leads to the employment of very small vessels. Very much smaller vessels are required to carry on our limited coast-trade than are necessary . to carry on the same trade in Great Britain, where there is a very much larger population, and consequently a larger volume of trade. That is the principal reason why this provision is applied to vessels of such small tonnage. In South Australia I have seen vessels of very small tonnage loaded down to the gunwale with firewood and crossing a dangerous sea in St. Vincent's Gulf close to the ocean. In such cases a load-line is very necessary. Honorable senators are aware that along our coasts small ketches are employed in carrying limestone and various kinds of produce, and, unless a load-line in such cases is insisted upon, there will always be a tendency to load them up to the danger point. The section dealing with the matter in the New Zealand Act 1908 is section 207, and if. is applied to " every British ship except ships under 20 tons register employed in the home trade."

Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERTGOULD (New South Wales) [9.27].-I am obliged to the Minister for the information he has supplied. I admit the force of the reason given for the application of this provision to vessels of smaller tonnage than those to which it is applied in the coast trade of Great Britain. I have not sufficient information on the subject to justify me in submitting any amendment, but I should have thought it was not necessary to apply such a provision to limited coast-trade ships of such limited gross registered tonnage.







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