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Thursday, 3 December 1936

Senator BRENNAN (Victoria) (Assistant Minister) . - I move -

That thebill be now reada second time.

The Commonwealth Government collects on behalf of His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom, light dues leviable tinder the provisions of section 670 of the Merchant Shipping Act, in respect of ships which, in the course of a voyage to or from Australia, pass and receive benefit from any of the lighthouses or the buoy specified in the schedule to the Colonial Light Dues Collection Act, provided, of course, that such dues have not previously been paid in another part of His Majesty's dominions. In three recent instances, it was claimed that the voyage on which the ship concerned was engaged at the time it passed the Bahamas lights was not a voyage " to or from Australia ", and that the vessel was, therefore, not liable for the payment of colonial light dues. The Board of Trade, London, and the Solicitor-General for the Commonwealth, both expressed the opinion that the most satisfactory way to overcome the difficulty was to amend the Colonial Light Dues Collection Act by the deletion therefrom of the words " to or from Australia ". The bill now submitted for the amendment of the Colonial Light Dues Collection Act 1932-34 provides accordingly.

Advantage is also being taken of the opportunity which the bill provides to delete from the first part of the schedule the names of two lighthouses in the Bahamas Islands, viz., Gun Cay and Cay Sal, which have recently been discontinued. The purpose of clause 4 is to validate payments of dues already made in connexion with which it might be claimed that they had not been levied in respect of a voyage "to or fromAustralia " of the ships concerned. As the bill is designed for the express purpose of bringing our legislation into conformity with British legislation on a matter which is the concern of His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom, I ask honorable senators to give the measure their support.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.

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