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Thursday, 27 May 1915

Mr GLYNN (Angas) .- I have read the Bill as introduced into the House of Commons in consequence of the finding of the Maritime Conference which was held after the Titanic disaster, and it has occurred to me that the war may have some effect upon the proposed legislation.

Mr Tudor - I think it has.

Mr GLYNN - I intended to tell the Minister privately one or two things which struck me in connexion with this matter when reading the Bill. It seems to me that some of our war legislation may have a bearing upon the previous Navigation Bill, and I hope, therefore, that the Minister will not be too precipitate in introducing the amending Bill, because if the war does make a difference, it will be a pity if the measure were placed on our statute-book, and had to be modified substantially six or twelve months afterwards. The original measure might have to be amended. I do not know what will be the result of bringing into operation at once that part of the Act dealing with British shipping. We do not want to impose any greater limitations upon British shipping than are absolutely necessary. Take the position with regard to our territories - the New Hebrides, the Bismarck Archipelago, the Carolines, and the Solomon Islands, which are all British now. They are all affected to some extent by the provisions of the Navigation Act, though at the time that Act was passed some of the islands were under a different allegiance, and, consequently, came under different provisions of the Bill. Then consider also the position with regard to the Northern Territory. There are, I think; three different shipping companies plying there, and making about twelve voyages a year. All these will be affected by Part 6 or 7 of the Act. It is bad enough to have the voyages altered in consequence of the war, but if we bring the technical provisions of the Act to bear on the operations of these companies, and interfere with communication, the position, so far as the Territory is concerned, will be far worse than at present. I hope the Minister will not lead the Committee to assume that nothing was done by his predecessor in, office.

Mr Tudor - I never said that.

Mr GLYNN - His predecessor went to an immense amount of trouble over the regulations, and no one knows better than the present Minister how great were the preliminary difficulties that beset the Minister. The proclamation should be postponed, I think, because practically all the nations were parties to the Convention-, and had to introduce legislation in keeping with the finding.

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