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Thursday, 2 August 1906

Senator DE LARGIE - They could be distributed from Fremantle as they now are distributed from Adelaide.

Senator Trenwith - Hear, hear; by balloon.

Senator DE LARGIE - I do not care about the means adopted for their distribution.

Senator Millen - But the honorable senator would prefer trie railway.

Senator DE LARGIE - I should prefer the railway, and perhaps if the course I suggest were adopted, the consciences of Senator Stewart, and other honorable senators holding his views on the subject of the railway, might be awakened to its advantages.

Senator Guthrie - The railway would take longer to bring on the mails than the steamer would.

Senator DE LARGIE - I am afraid that Senator Guthrie in that statement has allowed his admiration for the sea to out weigh his better judgment. With reference to the honorable senator's suggestion that we should provide in this contract for maximum rates of freight, I am able to say that such a provision would suit Fremantle, because, notwithstanding the fact that Fremantle is the first port of call, and' the nearest port_ to Europe, freights from Europe to that port are actually higher than from Europe to Adelaide.

Senator Guthrie - That is due to the Fremantle combine.

Senator DE LARGIE - It is due, not to the combine alone, but to the operations of all the shipping companies. It is notorious that freights to Adelaide are higher than to Melbourne, and I believe that in the same way freights from Europe are also higher to Melbourne than to Sydney. The proposal to fix freights would probably meet the views of commercial people in all of the Australian ports, but we know very well that, at the present time, such a proposal is impracticable, and it is useless to waste time in discussing it. If all these conditions are to be dragged into this contract it will be torn up, and we must begin negotiations for a new contract. I regret that, after further light has been thrown on the subject, reference should again be made to-night to the tonnage of these boats. We have had no fresh proof from those who hold that the registered tonnage of a ship is her net tonnage. Undoubtedly it is the gross tonnage.

Senator Guthrie - Nothing of the sort.

Senator DE LARGIE - Senator Guthrie, with all his knowledge of shipping, has actually failed to grasp the proper meaning of this term. I am the more surprised that the honorable senator should not understand the meaning of the term now, because a few months ago he did understand it.

Senator Trenwith - The honorable senator is getting older.

Senator DE LARGIE - He is a few months older, and he has forgotten his own words in denning the meaning of the expression "registered tonnage." In looking over the evidence given before the Navigation Commission, I found that Mr. Paxton, of Sydney, was under examination by Senator Guthrie, in connexion with clause 421 of the Navigation Bill. That clause reads -

As to every ship registered at any port in the British dominions, the amount of tonnage specified in the certificate of register shall be the registered tonnage of such ships.

In order to clearly define what was the registered tonnage, Mr. Paxton suggested that the word "net" should be inserted before the word "registered" in the last line of this clause. He wished the clause to read "net registered tonnage," but Senator Guthrie said, in reply-

Senator Guthrie - No, I asked ques-. tia r is, [ did not give evidence.

Senator DE LARGIE - We have it here in black and white, in the minutes of evidence given before the Navigation Commission, that the honorable senator, in reply 10 Mr. Paxton, said -

The clause says that the certificate of register shall be the tonnage of the ship, and that is the gross tonnage, not the net tonnage.

The honorable senator was actually assuring Mr. Paxton that the registered tonnage was the gross tonnage.

Senator Trenwith - When making a declaration as an authority.

Senator DE LARGIE - The greatest shipping authority we have in- the Senate at that time agreed that the registered tonnage was the gross tonnage.

Senator Guthrie - No.

Senator DE LARGIE - In these matters, fortunately, I do not need to depend upon the word of the honorable senator. The authorities I have consulted bear out my view and his own contention of a few months ago.

Senator Guthrie - It was not my contention at all. How does a man generally cross-examine a witness?

Senator DE LARGIE - For the information of the honorable senator, I shall read the following extract from the Argus of the 26th July -

Yesterday a representative of the Argus sought the opinion of a gentleman prominent in shipping circles on this question, and obtained the following statement : - " What we mean by registered is gross tonnage always. * It is really the total measurement of the interior of the .hull combined with that above deck. Lloyd's Register gives, in connexion with every steamer, first the gross tonnage, then the tonnage under deck -

Senator Guthrie - Who said that?

Senator DE LARGIE - A gentleman who is prominent in shipping circles.

Senator Guthrie - What does that mean? Take the Merchant Shipping Act, which is an authority, and see what it says !

Senator DE LARGIE - The name of this gentleman has been supplied to me, and if I were at liberty to disclose it, I am satisfied that the honorable senator would agree that he does know something about this question.

Senator Guthrie - If he made that statement, he does net.

Senator DE LARGIE - The gentleman goes on to say - and, lastly, the net tonnage.

That is exactly what I contended last night.

Tonnage under deck means the total measurement under the weather deck. To arrive at the net tonnage you must deduct (1) the measurement of the houses on deck and the superstructure ; and (2) the space taken up below deck by machinery, accommodation for the crew, and the bunkers.

Let us take an example. The Moldavia is one of the new 10,000-tonners' of the P. and O. Company's fleet. Lloyd's Register gives her gross registered tonnage as 9,500 tons, her ion.nage under deck at 7,202 tons, and her net tonnage as 4,92s tons. So you see, her net tonnage is only about half of the gross tonnage. Without doubt Sir James Laing and Sons referred to the gross registered tonnage when they contracted to supply steamers of 11,000 tons registered tonnage. The tonnage is measured by a formula. When shipping people speak of registered tonnage they always mean the gross registered tonnage.

Senator Mulcahy - That is rubbish.

Senator DE LARGIE - We can stand Senator Guthrie posing as an authority on shipping questions, but I think it does not become an ex-draper to question that statement.

Senator Mulcahy - He is also an exshipwright.

Senator DE LARGIE - This gentleman goes on to say -

As a matter of fact, all three classes of tonnage are registered. A steamer to have 11,000 tons net register, and r6-knot power, would require to be at least 20,000 tons gross register - a mammoth vessel.

I have taken the trouble to look up the definition of the word " registered tonnage " in some leading dictionaries. After explaining the method of measuring ships in order to arrive at the registered tonnage, The Century Dictionary goes on to say -

These, together, give the gross register tonnage -

I may mention that the words " gross register tonnage" are underlined. each ton (called a register ton) containing 100 cubic feet.

Webster's Dictionarysays -

There are in use the following terms relating to tonnage : - (a) displacement; (i) register tonnage, gross and net, and &c.

There is another dictionary which confirms my contention -

Gross tonnage expresses the total cubical interior space of a vessel ; net tonnage, the cubical space actually available for freight carrying purposes.

Senator Mulcahy - Which is her proper registered tonnage.

Senator Macfarlane - Hear. hear.

Senator DE LARGIE - When Senator Mulcahy is backed up by Senator Macfarlane on this question, Webster and all the other authorities ought to take a back seat. I am quite prepared, however, to abideby the definitions in these dictionaries. I am satisfied that the registered tonnage referred to in the contract is the gross registered tonnage, and, as the shipping authority whom I quoted says, shipping people always refer to the gross registered tonnage. It now remains for Senator Mulcahy to disprove what I said, and to make good his contention.

Senator Mulcahy - To put up a Better man.

Senator DE LARGIE - I am afraid that it will need a better man than the honorable senator to refute these authorities.

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