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Thursday, 13 October 1910
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Senator PEARCE (Western Australia) (Minister of Defence) . - Nothing contained in this clause would put a passenger in any worse position than he occupies under the existing law. If anything, the clause safeguards the rights of passengers. I suggest to Senator Stewart that he should let me have the Hansard proof of the remarks he has just made, and I shall bring them under the notice of the AttorneyGeneral. So far, the point raised has not been represented to me, and I do not know that it has been represented to any other member of the Government. I doubt very much whether such a contracting-out of the law as has been suggested would hold good.

Senator Long - I can supply the Minister with a written request to me from a steam-ship company to sign a contract.

Senator PEARCE - I shall be glad if the honorable senator will let me have the letter. I am of opinion that, if this provision be passed, the signing of such a contract by the honorable senator would not relieve the shipping company from their liability. I admit that the point raised is' an important one, and I shall be glad if honorable senators will make representations to me on the matter. I shall pass them on to the Attorney-General, with a view of having some provision drafted which will meet the difficulty, if it is not already met by the Bill. Obviously, we could not, on the spur of the moment, draft a clause to overcome the difficulty.

Clause agreed to.

Clauses 274 to 280 agreed to.

Clause 281 -

This part of this Act shall except where otherwise expressed, apply to all ships (whether British or foreign).

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