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Wednesday, 28 September 1910

Senator MILLEN (New South Wales) . - I desire to know if the Minister is prepared to tell the Committee the " other means " which, according to Senator Guthrie, can be taken in dealing with foreign vessels ?

Senator de Largie - He referred to the measure which was introduced last year by the late Government.

Senator MILLEN - I know of no measure which was introduced last year to take other means than those which were covered by the Navigation Bill. Senator Guthrie has sprung upon us the intimation that it is proposed to take some "other means" of dealing with foreign vessels.

Senator Guthrie - I said that other means could be taken.

Senator MILLEN - The honorable senator went a little further, and said, " We will take the means." I think that, in fairness, the Commonwealth ought to be told what other legislation he contemplates for the suppression of the wicked foreigner.

Senator Barker - I suppose that he intends to sink the ships.

Senator MILLEN - I do not know whether Senator Guthrie will sit quietly under an accusation of that kind.

Senator Guthrie - Make the water hot for them.

Senator MILLEN - If there is anything in the statement of the honorable senator, who apparently is familiar with this Bill, the Committee ought to know what is intended to be done before this measure passes. It is rather" desirable to ascertain what it means. As the Bill stands, it is admitted, on all hands, that it places a disability on British and Australian ships as compared with foreign ships. Does anybody want to do that? Will any one here say that if a preference is to he given, he would prefer to give it to foreign vessels?

Senator Guthrie - Certainly not.

Senator Vardon - Will a German mail steamer be in a better position than an English mail steamer?

Senator MILLEN - Under this measure, any foreign vessel trading to Australia will be in a better, position than a British ship. What the Government seek to do is to bring British ships to the level of Australian ships, but to leave foreign ships free from the obligations which the Bill imposes upon British and Australian ships.

Senator Guthrie - Foreign ships run under their own law, and we cannot say what it is. Take, for instance, the question of officers.

Senator MILLEN - Let us apply that argument to British ships.

Senator Guthrie - We know what their law is.

Senator MILLEN - The honorable senator's argument is that the laws of a foreign country may impose greater obligations on its ships than our Navigation Bill can do. Let us apply the same rule to Great Bri- tain, and say that British vessels are under the British law. At some time or other the British Parliament may place greater obligations upon them. Why not leave them outside the scope of the Bill?

Senator Guthrie - No.

Senator MILLEN - The honorable senator is not prepared to do that, but by assenting to this clause he affirms that, because we as a nation are not in a position to do what we like, we allow foreign vessels to remain outside our legislation, but, relying upon the good will and toleration of the Mother Country, we impose handicaps on British ships.

Senator Guthrie - If we exempted British ships, all Australian vessels would be registered in London.

Sitting suspended from 6.30 to8p.m.

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