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Tuesday, 14 November 1905

Senator GUTHRIE (South Australia) - I am surprised at the reasons given in support of Senator Macfarlane's amendment, more especially as it relates to Tasmanian apples.

Senator Dobson - It relates to all goods.

Senator GUTHRIE - Last year, when we were discussing the Sea Carriage of Goods Bill, it was proposed to throw on the ship-owner the whole onus of inspecting every case of apples.

Senator Macfarlane - Not the contents of the cases.

Senator GUTHRIE - The contents of the cases. Under that Bill, it was proposed to hold the ship-owner responsible for every case of apples for which he gave a receipt.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - Nothing of the kind ; if the apples were bad, or badly packed, the ship-owner was not to be held responsible.

Senator GUTHRIE - But the shipowner had to examine every case in order to see whether the apples were bad, or badly packed.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - The honorable senator is entirely, though unintentionally, misrepresenting the effect of that proposal.

Senator GUTHRIE - The proposal threw upon the ship-owner the entire responsibility of landing the apples at the

Other end in good order and condition.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - The shipowner was not responsible for anything of the kind.

Senator GUTHRIE - All the shipowner had to do was to take every care of the cargo. It threw upon the ship-owner the onus of not taking any apples on board in bad condition.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - Nothing of the kind.

Senator GUTHRIE - If the ship-owner took on board apples in bad condition, how could he land them in good condition? The ship-owner had to give a receipt for cargo received.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - He had to give a receipt only as to the external condition of the cases.

Senator GUTHRIE - Then he could not be held responsible for the fruit at the other end.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - Of course not; nobody ever said he was.

Senator GUTHRIE - When that Bill was before Parliament, it was argued that the ship-owner would have to take the responsibility of examining the fruit. At any rate, without any Act of the kind, from every bag of wheat exported from South Australia a sample is taken, and afterwards sent on by the mail boat.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - The honorable senator is utterly mistaken. A sample of the ship-load is taken.

Senator GUTHRIE - I have shipped thousands of tons of wheat, and I know that a sample of a couple of ounces is taken out of every bag, and that these samples are all put together, and kept as a sample of the ship's cargo. That has been the custom in South Australia for the last twenty years.

Senator Gray - Then the position is much more serious than we thought.

Senator GUTHRIE - It has never been thought a serious position in South Australia. As the bags come down to the vessel by gravitation, a boy takes a sample from each, and drops the sample into a bucket; and there should be no great difficulty in taking samples of other goods. The clause does not make it imperative that the inspector shall sample every box or case, but only the bulk of the shipment, and I see no trouble in the matter.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - Then why not make some provision in the clause for the inspection?

Senator GUTHRIE - But it is suggested that before making the inspection the officer shall have good reason to believe that there is fraud.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - Why not?

Senator GUTHRIE - Why should we not make a similar provision under the Customs Act? When a cargo arrives the Customs officer singles out cases here and there, with the examination of which he is satisfied, and nobody complains of the practice. I can only suppose that the opposition to this clause means a fear that something may happen which does not now happen in the ordinary course in shipping goods.

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