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Thursday, 26 November 1936

Senator E B JOHNSTON (Western Australia) .- The sum of £4,100 is being appropriated to meet the operating expenses of the patrol vessel. What action is being taken by the Government to patrol the pearling grounds, some of which are outside the three-mile limit, where a good deal of poaching by foreigners has occurred? Pearlers in the vicinity of Darwin and Broome are keenly interested in this matter, and it is considered that additional patrol boats should be provided.

Senator SirGEORGE PEARCE (Western Australia - Minister for External Affairs) [11.29].- The Commonwealth patrol vessel operating in northern waters is used for, among other things, the purpose mentioned by the honorable senator. It is not proposed, during this financial year, to provide a. patrol boat for Broome. Certain duties devolve upon the governments of Western Australia and Queensland, as territorial waters are under the control of the State authorities. In such waters, the Commonwealth has no police powers; it is doubtful what powers it possesses outside territorial waters; it is arguable whether it has any. Most of the fishing grounds are within the three-mile limit, and the States have rigidly insisted that they should exercise authority in such waters. There is a good deal of misapprehension concerning the powers of the Commonwealth in this respect.

Senator E B Johnston - Do those remarks apply to whaling?

Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE - Yes; for that reason the Commonwealth has asked the States to pass legislation supplementing federal legislation in regard to protection of the whaling in- dustry. Western Australia has undertaken to enact such legislation; Queens- landhasalreadydoneso.

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