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Wednesday, 12 October 1910

Senator FINDLEY (Victoria) (Honorary Minister) . - The Government cannot accept the amendment. At the Victoria Dock at the present time there is an exhibit which emphasizes the necessity for such a provision.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould - What is the nature of that exhibit?

Senator FINDLEY - It is a vessel called the Papanui. She is of about 3,000 tons register. She recently engaged in a trip to Tasmania and safely negotiated the voyage. But in September last, off the northern coast of that State, she struck a rock which tore a hole in her true bottom almost the entire length of the ship.

Senator Keating - She is of more than 3,000 tons register.

Senator Guthrie - She is of about 3,000 tons net register.

Senator FINDLEY - Of course, the difference between a vessel's gross and net register is a very important one. Senator Gould has urged that this provision will have the effect of reducing the cargocarrying capacity of steamers. But I am informed that the space between the true bottom and the false bottom of the Papanui is utilized for water ballast, which adds to her stability.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould - All ballast adds to the stability of a vessel, and no ship can proceed to sea without ballast.

Senator FINDLEY - For this and for other reasons die Government cannot accept the amendment.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould - What is the distance between the false bottom and the true bottom of the Pafanui?

Senator FINDLEY - I cannot say.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould - All this space must be cleaned from time to time.

Senator Needham - There are manholes to permit of that being done.

Senator FINDLEY - Senator Gouldseems to be chiefly concerned about the cargo-carrying space which will be sacrificed if this provision remains in the Bill. But I take it that our main object should be to see how far we can insure the safety of travellers by sea. The Government can- not accept the amendment.

Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERTGOULD (New South Wales) [6. 11].- I asked the Honorary Minister a question in regard to the Papanui, because I desired to ascertain whether he was aware of the space which has to be sacrificed between the two bottoms of that vessel. If this provision is to be adopted in respect of all our ships-

Senator Guthrie - It is only to be adopted if required by regulation.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - The argument against fitting a large ship like the Papanui with two bottoms will not apply in the same way as it will apply in the case of small steamers. That vessel may carry water ballast between her true and false bottoms, and there may be sufficient space between them to permit of the interior being thoroughly cleaned from time to time. If a similar space has to be provided between the two bottoms of a small steamer, such as is required to negotiate a bar with only 5 or 7 feet of water upon it, it must materially diminish her cargo-carrying capacity. Thus, what may be a reasonable provision in the case of a large ship may be a most unreasonable one in the case of a small vessel.

Senator Findley - Is it not better to have a limited cargo-carrying space and seaworthy ships, than an unlimited cargocarrying space and unseaworthy ships?

Senator ALBERT GOULD (NEW SOUTH WALES) -.Colonel Sir ALBERTGOULD. - But these vessels have hitherto been found, in every respect, suitable for (he service in which they are engaged. The Honorary Minister must know 'that, within the past few years, we have obtained a very superior class of coastal ship, especially from the stand-point of the accommodation provided for passengers. That has necessarily led to a decrease in their cargocarrying capacity.

Senator Guthrie - But those vessels always had wooden bottoms.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - I am quite aware of that. The cargo is not loaded on to their plates. If a vessel has a watertight false bottom, the latter has to be protected by a wooden floor.

Senator Guthrie - The Inter-State ships have such bottoms.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - I cannot realize the force of the speech, I shall not say the reasons given, by the Minister in opposition tothe amendment. It seems to me that hehas an invariable reply to give to every proposal from this side, and that is, " The" Government cannot consent to the amendment." That is a very easy way to carry a Bill through the Senate, so long as honorable senators are satisfied. But I would point out to the Minister that it is advisable to give as reasonable consideration as possible to the Bill, and not to leave the other House to correct our mistakes. I feel quite satisfied that many of the amendments which have been submitted from this side will commend themselves to the members of that House, and will, of course, be ultimately accepted by the Senate. I do wish that honorable senators, especially Ministers, would give a little more consideration ;to the Reasons which are advanced from this side from time to time in favour of amendments.

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