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Friday, 3 November 1905

Senator CLEMONS (Tasmania) - I desire to bring under the notice of Senator Keating a condition of affairs which is very unsatisfactory, and which I hope we may be able to remedy. On the arrival in Melbourne of a boat from Tasmania, the purser is compelled by some authority, which I suspect is the State authority of Victoria, to set out in a very long and complicated form, issued, I believe, in triplicate, full particulars of every passenger on board the boat. I believe this is done for census purposes. I assure honorable senators that the purser is required to put down, not merely the name of every passenger, but also his, or her, age and sex. It is, of course, ludicrous tq ask the purser of a boat to guess the age of every passenger on board, when there may be a hundred of whom he can know nothing. To show what a farce the whole thing is, I may mention that in one case, which I do not say occurred on a Tasmanian boat, the purser's father travelled with him, and in filling up the form the purser, recognising that the whole thing was a farce, put down the age of his father at twenty-one years. There was no check, and this will show the value of these reports. I asTc Senator Keating to consider whether it is not possible, in taking census statistics of persons travelling by Inter-State boats, to prevent the continuance of such a practice.

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