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Thursday, 31 October 1912

Senator GUTHRIE (South Australia) . - Senator Pearce has quoted from a copy, of a ship's articles. But the award of the Arbitration Court absolutely gives a seaman the right to leave at the home port, whether cargo has or has not been dis- charged. These conditions creep into ship's articles through the laxity of the superintendents of mercantile marine.

Senator St Ledger - What . was the document to which the honorable senator put his name?

Senator GUTHRIE - It was an award of the Court which provides that a seaman shall' be entitled, in the home port, to be discharged upon giving twenty-four hours' notice, whilst the master also can discharge a man by giving the same notice. There is not a word about cargo in the award. The form quoted is being used in shipping offices in Melbourne, and is to-day obsolete. Such a condition ought not to be put in. A seaman is entitled to his discharge, quite irrespective of whether the cargo is in the ship or not. Take the case of . a ship coming to Melbourne with a cargo of coal. Say that the owner thinks that it would be to his advantage to keep the coal in the ship for three or four weeks. Is he going to keep the crew three or four weeks before he discharges them? The award of the Court makes no reference to the discharge of cargo, but simply provides that a man shall be entitled to his discharge by giving twenty-four hours' notice.

Senator Pearce - The agreement from which I quoted also makes reference to giving twenty-four hours' notice.

Senator GUTHRIE - But the twentyfour hours' notice in the clause now under consideration would ' not have effect unless the cargo was discharged. I wish to quote from the award of the Court. It provides- that -

The master may discharge any seaman at his home port if he give him not less than 24. hours' notice on a day other than Saturday, and. if the notice be not less than '24 hours beforethe ship leaves the home port.

Senator Pearce - Read on.

Senator GUTHRIE - The award also says -

Any member of the crew may end his engagement at his home port if he give notice as aforesaid.. If the ship be -laid up in any port other thanhis home port any seaman may be discharged' on 24 hours' notice. But in that case the seaman, shall be provided by the employer with a free passage to his home port with wages up to thetime at which in due course he should arrivethereat.

Senator Pearce - That is in this agreement as well.

Senator GUTHRIE - But under this amendment the master would be able to keep the seamen until the cargo was discharged.

Senator Pearce - No; that matter is. provided for in other clauses of the Bill.

Senator GUTHRIE - I know pf no provision of the kind.

Senator Rae - Was the point about thedischarge of cargo raised before the Arbitration Court?

Senator GUTHRIE - Yes, it was raised; but the Judge's award made no allusion tothe discharge of cargo. It simply provided for the twenty-four hours' notice onreaching the home port. I hope that , theamendment will be rejected.

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