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Thursday, 14 September 1911

Senator BARKER (Victoria) .- I cannot see any objection to the clause in its present form. It only empowers the master of a vessel to remove persons who may be regarded as objectionable characters. We all know that at every port the gangways from ships rest upon the wharfs, and those wharfs are often frequented by disreputable persons, any one of 'whom; might render himself objectionable by going on board a ship .or by getting a small boat and remaining near to it. As the Minister has very properly reminded us, a great deal of petty smuggling goes on from ships. How is it possible to prevent that in the absence of such a provision as the one under consideration? A similar law obtains in the various States, and it has not been found to inflict any injustice. If a person can offer any reasonable excuse for his presence on board a vessel, it will be accepted.

Senator Rae - But, according to this clause, he cannot go near a vessel without rendering himself liable.

Senator BARKER - Yes, he can. The master of a ship will not use his fog-horn to notify a man that he is approaching too closely. We cannot trespass upon another man's property ; if we do, we must pay the penalty. The same principle should operate here.

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