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Friday, 23 October 1914

Senator GARDINER(New South

Wales - Vice-President of the Executive Council) [2.30].- I move-

That this Bill be now read asecond time.

The powers asked for in this Bill were conferred on the Commonwealth Parliament by section 76 of the Constitution Act. Although we have exercised the power to make laws and confer original jurisdiction on the High Court we have not so far conferred Admiralty or maritime jurisdiction upon it. The object of this Bill is to remedy that lack. Jurisdiction will be exercised in two ways; firstly, and at all times, with regard to salvage, towage, and such like, and secondly, in relation to Prize Courts and prizes. In regard to the second, we have now Prize Courts sitting in six different States dealing with matters in six different ways, which at once shows to hon-: orable senators the necessity for having something like uniformity in procedure and decisions. It may be that in- similar cases distinctly different judgments are given. Some of the decisions already given are considered as being almost unworkable. I do not propose to speak at any length upon the Bill. It is a small measure, and went through another place very rapidly. Honorable senators who have been in this Parliament for any considerable period will be acquainted with its purpose. I do not ask honorable senators to travel at the rate of speed that was attained in another place, and if there are reasonable grounds for an adjournment we are prepared to grant it. However, I ask that the second-reading stage be carried, and that the measure be taken into Committee. The urgency is because of the need for dealing with prize . ships.

Senator Shannon - We shall give you as much as you ask for.

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