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Thursday, 14 May 1942

Senator ERASER(Western Australia

Minister for External Territories) [3.14]. -I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

The first Commonwealth legislation deal ing with navigation was enacted in 1912. A comprehensive amending bill was passed in 1919, further amendments were made in 1925 and 1926, and in 1934 the Navigation (Maritime Conventions) Bill was passed to enable the Commonwealth to ratify important international conventions, including the Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, the Loadline Convention, and some conventions of the International Labour Office. During the past seven years, however no navigation legislation has been introduced. This Government has not had an opportunity to consider any substantial amendment of the principal act, but there is one part of it which, even under the pressure of war conditions, should be revised, and this bill is designed for that purpose.I refer to Part IX. of the act, dealing with courts of marine inquiry. Most of the amendments proposed are formal, but there is one to bring the practice in Australia into line with that of the United Kingdom. This is an amendment of section 372 of the act, and is contained in clause 6 of the bill. Under that section as it now stands, it is often necessary to hold two courts of inquiry, one to inquire into an accident and the other to deal with an officer's certificate, if, unfortunately, action in that direction' has to be taken. It is now proposed to empower the court which inquires into the happening to the ship to deal also with the certificate of an officer should such action be considered necessary.

Debate (on motion by Senator McLeay) adjourned.

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