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Wednesday, 12 October 1910

Senator GUTHRIE (South Australia) . - If we pass this clause as it stands, the load-line must be level with the upper side of the deck. Take the' case quoted by the Minister. Say that it is decided that the free-board of a vessel shall be 3 ft. 6 in., and that that measurement is afterwards altered.

Senator Pearce - It would not be done if the surveyor did his duty.

Senator GUTHRIE - Under this Bill, the surveyor could make no alteration, because the length, the breadth, and the depth of the ship decide the free-board. But when it has been decided that the freeboard shall, be 3 ft. 6 in., where is that measurement to be taken from ? The whole matter in dispute between the Minister and myself is this: After you have arrived at the free-board to which a ship is entitled, the question arises as to how that is to be measured. My contention is that under this Bill, the free-board will be measured f rom the upper part of the deck.

Senator Findley - The honorable senator wants to set up an entirely new standard of measurement.

Senator GUTHRIE - I want to set up what is right and just. We are asked to re-enact a thing that we know is not right. The Minister admits that the ship ought not to be measured from the upper part of the deck, and yet we are going to re-enact what the Minister says should not be allowed. I say that the measurement should be taken from the lower part of the deck. The whole -position is absolutely easy and clear. I know that there is a prejudice against my proposal, because some honorable senators feel safer in following what has been enacted by the Imperial Parliament, and recommended by a great many marine architects, and other experts. But we have plain proof before our eyes that the load-lines of vessels have been altered, and that ships have been put in danger through that alteration. The only way to set that right is by making the measurements from the lower side of the deck instead of from the upper side.

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