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Thursday, 2 November 1967


Dr PATTERSON (Dawson) I refer to clause 3, which reads in part:

Section 4 of the Principal Act is amended -

(c)   by omitting the definition of 'Territory' and inserting in its stead the following definitions: "Territory" means Territory of the Commonwealth and includes the Territory of Nauru; "the declared fishing zone" means -

(a)   the waters adjacent to Australia and having as their inner limits the baselines by reference to which the territorial limits of Australia are defined for the purposes of international law and as their outer limits lines seaward from those inner limits every point on each of which is distant twelve international nautical miles from the point on one of those baselines that is nearest to the first-mentioned point; and

(b)   the waters adjacent to each Territory not forming part of the Commonwealth and having as their inner limits the baselines by reference to which the territorial limits of that Territory are defined for the purposes of international law and as their outer limits lines seaward from those inner limits every point on each of which is distant twelve international nautical miles from the point on one of those baselines that is nearest to the first-mentioned point, but does not include any waters that are not proclaimed waters;'.

I move:

In paragraph (c), after paragraph (b) of the definition of 'the declared fishing zone' insert the following paragraph:

(c)   all areas . of Australian internal waters as defined for the purposes of international law embracing those bays which have been, or are now, claimed as historic bays including the Gulf of Carpentaria, St Vincent's Gulf, Spencer Gulf, Exmoutb Gulf and Van Diemen's Gulf,'.

The remarks of honourable members tonight about the exploitation of Australia's internal waters by Japanese and other interests show how essential it is for us to have Commonwealth or State jurisdiction over our internal waters. The AttorneyGeneral (Mr Bowen) got somewhat upset at what he called my gibes at the Government. If he condones the operations of foreign ships entering the 3-mile limit and landing crews on Australian soil without complying with our health regulations it is quite obvious that the Government could not care less about the operation of foreign ships and foreign fishermen in Australian waters. Does he condone the action of Australian ships catching prawns in proclaimed Australian waters, sailing outside of those waters and transferring the prawns to a Japanese mother ship? From what the Minister for the Interior (Mr Nixon) said, it is apparent that this is happening. The Department of Primary Industry apparently has admitted or inferred that it is happening. Australian trawlers are catching prawns and transferring them to a Japanese ship manned by Japanese - and I do not care where this ship is registered. How does this activity affect the income tax position of the people concerned?

As the honourable member for Wide Bay (Mr Hansen) said, something very mysterious is going on in the Gulf of Carpentaria with respect to this South Sea Fishing Company Pty Ltd. Why is this activity being condoned by the Government? This case should be investigated. Are the claims of the honourable member for Wide Bay and that of Australian fishermen in the Gulf of Carpentaria true that the Government is winking its eye at the operations of the Japanese fishermen because, as the honourable member for Wide Bay (Mr Hansen) said a Government senator is interested in this foreign owned fishing vessel? This should be looked at, because it is a very serious allegation. It is strange that foreign shipping interests are operating quite freely in the

Gulf of Carpentaria and that nothing is being done about policing these ships which are working in conjunction with Australian ships which are in turn breaking laws by landing prawns on foreign ships. Is this a violation of our income tax laws? The Attorney-General got excited. Why? What is going on in the Gulf of Carpentaria?


Mr J R Fraser - Something fishy.


Dr PATTERSON - That is so, and it must be investigated. A foreign company operating in our waters and the Government's weak excuse is that the ship is registered in New Guinea. This is a Japanese ship manned exclusively by Japanese and that Australian trawlers, catching prawns in Australian waters, are transferring prawns to a Japanese mother ship. Quite a few Australian laws seem to be infringed, including our income tax laws. There appears to be something very wrong with the operations of this company in the Gulf of Carpentaria. Why is this not being investigated? Is it because a Government senator is mixed up in it? This must be looked at without delay. Therefore. Mr Chairman, the amendment is in these terms:

All areas of Australian internal waters as defined Cor the purposes of international law embracing those bays which have been, or are now, claimed as historic bays including the Gulf of Carpentaria, St Vincent Gulf, Spencer Gulf, Exmouth Gulf and Van Dieman Gulf.

All that means is that an Australian government, State or Federal, has exclusive rights to control fishing in these internal waters, and particularly in the northern waters of the Gulf of Carpentaria and those areas in the vicinity of the Great Barrier Reef.







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