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Thursday, 8 July 1920

Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) . - This is a new provision and a new departure. It very often happened that the wreck took place near the port where the service terminated. Thus a man engaged for a voyage to England, and his service terminated on his arrival in England, but he was wrecked somewhere in the Channel. The ship-owner was in that case compelled to pay his wages only for a, day or two. In this clause, we are doing two things: we are throwing on the ship-owner the liability to take the man either to the port to which he was shipped under his original agreement, or to bring him back home, or to some other port mutually agreed upon. We are throwing that obligation on the shipowner.We are also throwing on him the obligation to pay the seamen's wages for one month. As far as we have been able to ascertain, there is no similar provision in any other navigation law.

Mr Tudor - Is not the provision taken from the Merchant Seamen's Act 1894? The marginal note suggests that it is .

Mr GREENE (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Trade and Customs) - That part of the clause which provides for the payment of a month's wages is not. My information is that an examination of the navigation laws of the world shows that, as far as can be ascertained, the general practice, with one exception, is for a seaman's wages to terminate at the time of the wreck. The exception is in the case of the German Seamen's Law of. 1902, which provides that where a ship is wrecked or lost the seamen shall he entitled to reconveyance to the port of departure or to receive proportionate compensation, and, in. addition, to a continuance of their wages at one-half the original rate for the time occupied in their reconveyance. Generallyspeaking, the provision for the payment of a full month's wages will, I think, cover almost every case. At the same time, it will prevent men straying away from means of reconveyance home, and will not throw on the ship-owners a greater obligation than is necessary in the circumstances. It is a liberal provision. As it is a new departure, I suggest that the Committee agree to it, so that we may see how it works.

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