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Wednesday, 22 August 1906

Mr TUDOR (Yarra) .- I shall support the Government proposal in order that the waters all round our Australian coast may be thoroughly tested. It is quite possible - despite the experiments which have been conducted in New South Wales and Tasmania - that there are fishing grounds upon our coasts which have not been properly tested, and which will yield an abundant supply of fish. I should even be prepared to vote for the construction and' equipment of a number of trawlers so that the Government might undertake fishing upon behalf of the entire community. In the course of his remarks the honorable member for Franklin stated that the middlemen usually absorb as much profit as the fishermen derive from their labours. That has been the case in connexion with this industry throughout Australia. In some instances the middlemen have absorbed two-thirds of the amount for which the fish have been sold. In Victoria it sometimes happened that the fishermen, after havingworked all the week, actually had to pay something in order to get their baskets returned to them. It was only when they formed themselves into an association that they were able to combat the evil influences of the middlemen.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member does not believe in private enterprise.

Mr TUDOR - The vote that I shall cast on this item will, at all events, be consistent with others I have given. An explanation will certainly be required of some honorable members opposite who are prepared to vote for an expenditure of £8,000 on a Government trawler.

Mr Page - They are anti-Socialists.

Mr TUDOR - They are when it suits them, just as they are free-traders when it suits them to support the free-trade cause. But when there is a prospect of a Government steamer being built within one of their electorates, they are ready to support local industry. If this vessel is to be built in Australia, preference should be given to a Government yard. It could be built either at the Fitzroy dock-

Mr Wilks - That is in my electorate.

Mr TUDOR - There is no dock-yard in the electorate which I represent, but the Government workshops at Newport ought to be able to build such a vessel, and to turn it out - as in the case of railway locomotives - at a price lower than would be demanded by private firms. I trust that this proposal will lead to a revision of the regulations relating to deep-sea fishing.I doubt whether, under the existing conditions, a Commonwealth trawler could fish anywhere in Bass Straits without contravening the Tasmanian fishing regulations. I believe that under one of the regulations of that State the use of a net which is more than a quarter of a milein length and 16 feet in depth is prohibited. Those in charge of a trawler of this kind would not think of using such a shallow net.

Mr McWilliams - Tasmania does not object to the operations of fishermen from other States so long as they are not conducted immediately along her coast line.

Mr TUDOR - Not long age, the Tasmanian authorities seized a Victorian fishing boat when it was fifty miles nearer the Victorian than the Tasmanian coast. I hope that as the result of this experiment

Ave shall secure uniform fishing regulations, and that it will lead to the control of the fishing industry being transferred to the Commonwealth. Islands within four miles of Victoria are held to be within Tasmanian waters, although they are something like 150 miles distant from that State.

Mr Johnson - Does Tasmania claim jurisdiction over all the waters of the Strait that are more than three miles from the Victorian coast?

Mr TUDOR - Yes. I shall support the item, and I hope that a division will be called for, so that we shall see on the division list the names of some honorable members, who, although they pose as antiSocialists, are prepared to vote for the expenditure of £8,000 of the money of the people to support this enterprise.

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