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Friday, 4 December 1914

Senator NEEDHAM (Western Australia) . - I have been waiting for the Minister's reply. Whilst up to now I have thought it wise to let the clause go down to the other place as it stands, so as to give the unions a chance to meet, on second thoughts it seems to me to be better to take time by the forelock. It is not a question of trade unionism or of trade against trade, but a question of the safety of life at sea, and incidentally of the saving of property. A bird in the hand being worth two in the bush, I am going to vote against the amendment moved by the Minister. If the conference between the bodies affected takes place, and due consideration is given to the matter in another place, with the resultthat a clause improving on the section in the principal Act is drafted, there will be a chance for further consideration by us. I stick to my previously expressed opinion that the shipwright is the man we want, and all the navigation experts or Departments in the world cannot change it, but I do not desire to inflict hardship on any carpenter at present engaged in our coastal service.

Senator Gardiner - You are doing it all the same.

Senator NEEDHAM - That is a matter for the Government to look out for by administration.

Senator Guthrie - It is a matter for the Government to put in the Bill.

Senator NEEDHAM - They need not put it in the Bill. Even if my vote does displace a carpenter or two-

Senator Gardiner - Thousands.

Senator NEEDHAM - It will do nothing of the sort; but even if it did displace a few I would rather see those carpenters go than endanger the lives of thousands of people who are travelling on our Inter-State ships. That is the important point to me. I am at home on this subject, for I have had practical experience of the whole industry. To make assurance doubly sure, I beg to inform the Minister that I shall cast my vote against his proposal.

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