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Thursday, 13 October 1910
Page: 0

Senator SAYERS (Queensland) . - We have heard a lot about coal, though I have not mentioned it before, simply because it is not proclaimed as dangerous.

Senator de Largie - It may be.

Senator SAYERS - I do not look upon coal in that light. Every passenger who goes on board a steamer knows that coal is carried for the purpose of propelling her, so that there is no necessity to proclaim coal as dangerous.

Senator Vardon - So far, there are no goods proclaimed as dangerous.

Senator SAYERS - No. We really do not know what the proclamation will contain when it is issued ; but according to Senator de Largie and others, it will include coal as a dangerous commodity.

Senator Vardon - How could a ship be taken to her destination without coal?

Senator SAYERS - Exactly. The whole of the argument about coal has been absurd. I do not think that the present Government are so far gone in lunacy as to proclaim it a dangerous commodity for a steamer to carry.

Senator de Largie - It has been pointed out that far more ships have been lost through carrying coal than Rave been lost through carrying other goods. We know that, without ventilation, coal is a dangerous cargo.

Senator SAYERS - I hope that the honorable senator will induce the Government to provide that there shall be plenty of ventilation in ships. Almost without exception sailing ships have been lost because the hatches had been battened down, and no ventilation had been provided.

Senator de Largie - It is possible for spontaneous combustion to take place where there is good ventilation.

Senator SAYERS - Very rarely. If there is a means of escape for the gas which rises from the coal, there will be no spontaneous combustion.

Senator de Largie - Oh, yes, there will.

Senator SAYERS - Not until a light is brought in contact with the gas.

Senator de Largie - It is always possible.

Senator SAYERS - It is very rarely with coal, when it is properly ventilated, that spontaneous combustion occurs, or a ship is destroyed. The whole object of this argument about the coal business has been to throw ridicule on the amendment of Senator Stewart.

Senator Vardon - Or on him.

Senator SAYERS - Perhaps so. It is it fair and reasonable amendment, which the Government ought to consider. They have not yet told us what they intend to proclaim as dangerous commodities. They have made no reference to the matter, so that we are practically left in the dark. Are we going to pass the clause without the Government signifying whether they intend to accept the amendment or not? They ought to tell us why they put in clause 253, and refuse to accept this amendment in clause 252.

Silting suspended from 6-ji to 8 p.m.

Senator SAYERS - In my previous remarks I referred to dangerous goods that might be carried on board a ship. I never mentioned coal as one of the dangerous articles, and the references that have been made to that commodity do not affect my argument. I hope that the Minister will see his way to accept Senator Stewart's amendment. Otherwise we have no hope of carrying it. I shall not discuss the various goods that might be combustible, but remembering that the next clause provides that seamen and apprentices may leave a ship if there is combustible material on board, the least we can do is to give passengers an opportunity to leave if they do not think it safe to travel.

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