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Friday, 3 November 1905

Senator MILLEN (New South Wales) - I am unable to appreciate the logic of the Minister's argument. The honorable and learned senator says that clause 15 is designed to cover a multiplicity of cases and a variety of circumstances, and that by specially providing for one set of cases we should limit the power given in. that clause to deal with other cases.

Senator Keating - In regard to these ships, I say.

Senator MILLEN - We should do nothing of the kind. If Senator Guthrie's amendment-is carried, it will in no way limit the power given to the Minister under clause 15. All that is asked is that, with regard to Commonwealth ships trading between Commonwealth ports, we shall lay it down by law, and' not by regulation, that there shall be a census taken of the people on board those ships. As to the supposed difficulty of carrying this into effect, I take the Minister's fear to be that a vessel might leave one port before the census papers are distributed, and might arrive at her port of destination only after the census night has passed. I assume that no voyage on the Australian coast, except in. the case of disaster more or less serious, will occupy more than a fortnight or three weeks.

Senator Mulcahy - It has taken forty days for a vessel to go from Hobart to Adelaide?

Senator MILLEN - What is the longest average trip?

Senator Mulcahy - Two or three weeks. Senator Guthrie. - Twenty days.

Senator MILLEN - I am prepared to> take three months for the purpose of my argument. I point out that the authoritiescharged with the administration of the Bill can have the necessary forms ready, and the shipping officers at every port, who, I assume, will be officers for the purpose of carrying out this measure, can be instructed to leave the necessary forms with vesselssailing from a port at any time previous tothe taking of the census.

Senator Givens - They might be handed to the captain of a vessel on her arrival at her port of destination after the census day.

Senator MILLEN - That also could be done.

Senator Styles - Trie vessels that will take a long time in going from port toport of the Commonwealth will be cargo vessels.

Senator MILLEN - But their crews must Le counted.

Senator Styles - There will be only a few of them, whilst vessels carrying passengers will occupy only a few days ontheir voyage.

Senator MILLEN - I ''recognise that; but I have taken the worst possible caseto show that there is no force in the Minister's contention. Nothing could be simpler than for a shipping officer, in giving the master of the vessel his clearance, to give him also the census forms to be filled up. Then, when he reached the next port, he could present the form, filled up, with his clearance. It is evident that the Minister has imagined a difficulty in this matter,, and in the circumstances I ask the Committee to accept the amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause, ns amended, agreed to.

Clause 28 (Regulations).

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