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Wednesday, 12 October 1910

Senator GUTHRIE (South Australia) . - I must object to being misrepresented by the Minister as I have been. Had he been paying attention whilst I was speaking, instead of consulting persons, he would have known that I placed the greatest reliance on the scientific measurement of' the ship to find the free-board. I mentioned that, to arrive at the free-board, the length, the depth, and all her reserve buoyancy had to be taken into consideration, and that there were tables for working it out. The only difference between the Minister and myself as to finding the free-board ;s that he starts from the load-line, when that has not yet been determined.

Senator Pearce - Yes, it has.

Senator GUTHRIE - My contention is that, after making the most use of the scientific tables, we come to the decision that a certain ship is entitled to a freeboard of, say, 3 feet. Where is it to be measured from? The Minister has told us that it is to be measured from the load-line. In the first place, we have to get a departure for measuring the load-line, that is to fix where it shall be placed. The Bill provides plainly that the free-board shall be measured from the upper part of the vessel's deck.

Senator Pearce - That is only for the purpose of indicating the position where the deck-line is to go.

Senator GUTHRIE - Exactly. But what is the line for? The line placed outside the ship is to show the position of the deck inside.

Senator Chataway - What is the honorable senator's alternative?

Senator GUTHRIE - My contention is that, under the law as it stands, that line has to be placed outside the ship at a point level with the upper part of the deck. That is, I think, a plain proposition.

Senator Pearce - Does the .honorable senator say that that determines the position of the load-line?

Senator GUTHRIE - No; I never said anything of the sort. It is the departure for measuring the load-line, that is, for measuring the free-board. The thing is as plain as can be. It is a bad departure, because it is one which can be built upon, when the free-board is reduced.

Senator Pearce - And, if that point of departure is moved, does the honorable senator say that the load-line will be moved ?

Senator GUTHRIE - Exactly.

Senator Pearce - Ridiculous.

Senator GUTHRIE - As regards the measurement of the load-line, the honorable senator said that if a certain ship required 3 ft. 6 in., it did not matter whether the deck-line was raised 6 inches or not. If he will consult some experienced person, he will find that the measurement of the free-board has to be taken from the upper side of the deck. The free-board of 3 ft. 6 in., which he has just mentioned, has to be taken, under the Bill as it stands, from the upper side of the deck. If it is in the power of a ship-owner to alter at his sweet will the starting point, it will interfere with the free-board. Let me give one case in point. The ship Era, belonging to Melbourne, was measured for her freeboard, and the point of departure taken, Her deck-line was placed at the upper part of an iron deck, and her load-line was fixed, according to the tables, at the distance necessary from that deck, giving her freeboard. A wooden deck was laid on top of the iron deck, the deck-line was lifted by 3 inches, and the load-line certainly had to come up 3 inches. Because of putting that wooden deck on part of her - she is a well-decked ship - she is to-day loaded 3 inches more than she was intended to load, and the wooden deck has added nothing to her buoyancy. The Minister has emphasized the fact that mathematical tables have been approved by Lloyd's.

Senator Chataway - Lloyd's is a gambling machine.

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