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Tuesday, 11 October 1910

Senator ST LEDGER (Queensland) .- This seems, on the face of it, such an extraordinary provision that the Minister would be well-advised in consenting to its omission. Under it a seaman who did consent to the order being made would be doing something abhorrent to the Government of his country. It implies that if an Australian sailor chooses to say that he is above the law. he can maintain that contention. It is hard to understand why such a proviso has been inserted. It ought to be omitted, in order to save the Australian

Parliament from being the laughing-stock of the world in regard to navigation legislation.

Senator Pearce - I will consent to leave out the words " without his consent," if that will satisfy the honorable senator.

Senator ST LEDGER - I think the whole proviso should come out. Suppose that a man makes an engagement to serve on a foreign ship. If he goes abroad, he will have the protection of the law in every civilized country in the world. If an Australian sailor on a foreign ship is illtreated, we expect that he shall have the protection of the Courts of foreign countries. Similarly foreign shipping masters should have the protection of our Courts. Does not the Minister realize that we are inviting reciprocal treatment?

Senator Pearce - Reciprocal treatment in this case would mean that foreign seamen serving on board an Australian ship could leave.

Senator ST LEDGER - It might mean more than that, and very probably would. No shipping legislation in the world contains such an extraordinary proviso.

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