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Wednesday, 23 March 1966

Mr FULTON (LEICHHARDT, QUEENSLAND) - I ask the Minister for Shipping and Transport a question. By way of preface I point out that Thursday Island seamen working on Commonwealth lighthouse ships in Torres Strait are paid at the following rates - the bosun £8 a week and the crewmen £7 a week, which are much below the award rates. The ships' officers and mechanic engineers are paid award rates plus overtime. In addition, there is deducted from the small pay of crew members 2s. 6d. for each meal while they are at sea, whereas the officers and mechanics do not pay this amount. Why? Will the Minister look into the conditions operating on these ships? I also point out that the wages of the Thursday Island crew are paid at the office of the Department of Native Affairs. If the seamen are late, as they often are on Fridays, they cannot get their pay because the paying office of the Department of Native Affairs closes at approximately 4 p.m. Will the Minister see whether these men can be paid by the Customs officers who now pay the waterside workers and other Commonwealth employees on Thursday Island? Incidentally, the name of the lighthouse ship to which 1 refer is " A. H. Swingle ", not " Swindle ".

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