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Thursday, 13 October 1910
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Senator ST LEDGER (Queensland) . - The remarkswhich I intend to make will apply even though the amendment has been accepted by the Government. I think the Minister will agree that the custom in Australia has been that the summer load-line has been adopted for vessels carrying coal.

Senator Guthrie - In some States only.

Senator ST LEDGER - It is evident that it is unnecessary to have the winter load-line for vessels in those Australian waters which, in winter time, are comparatively calm.

Senator Guthrie - The clause says " shall not be higher."

Senator ST LEDGER - I presume that the load-line will be determined by the surveyors.

Senator Guthrie - They will decide according to the trade the ship is engaged in.

Senator ST LEDGER - I want to know whether that is really so. It is unnecessary to require a ship to adopt the winter load-line if she is going north. There are five or six different load-lines, and under the Board of Trade regulations the load-line is fixed according to the season and the trade in which the ship is engaged. In Australia, the winter season in certain parts of our seas is the calm season. I think that the Government are going against the weight of evidence in fixing the winter load-line for all vessels carrying coal. The evidence goes to show that the load-line should be determined, to some extent, by the season, but also by the nature of the trade.

Senator Guthrie - The Minister may prescribe anything below the winter loadline. He would not adopt the North Atlantic load-line, for instance.

Senator ST LEDGER - I do not suppose the Minister would attempt to do anything of the kind.

Senator Guthrie - If I had a chance I would try.

Senator ST LEDGER - The honorable senator is fairly drastic in some of his proposals.

Senator Guthrie - There is good reason for being so.

Senator ST LEDGER - It has been suggested to me that the Government intend by this clause to hamper the coal trade unnecessarily.

Senator Guthrie - That is nonsense. What have the Government to gain by hampering the coal trade?

Senator ST LEDGER - No one has anything to gain, but I am justified in drawing attention to the matter.

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