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Friday, 30 April 1915

Senator GUTHRIE (South Australia) . - I wish to call the attention of the Minister representing the Minister of Trade and Customs to the fact that the coastal steam-ship trade of Australia is being largely augmented by black labour.

Senator Russell - Does the honorable senator say that coloured labour is being employed on vessels trading along the Australian coast?

Senator GUTHRIE - Yes ; on steamships that are carrying passengers at cut rates. I know that there is some difficulty in the way of proclaiming the whole of the Navigation Act, owing to the fact that all the regulations necessary under it have not yet been prepared. But will the Minister inquire from his colleague whether there is any insuperable difficulty in the way of proclaiming that part of the Act which deals with the coastal trade? If there is, I should like to be informed whether it cannot be removed by legislation before this evil becomes so pronounced as to make it almost impossible to deal with it. I feel sure that the Senate is anxious to see some part of the Navigation Act brought into force without further delay. Therefore, I again ask the Minister to consult his colleagues, with a view to bringing into operation the part relating to the coastal trade.

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