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Thursday, 31 October 1912

Senator GUTHRIE - I mean unless she trades within the Commonwealth.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould - Coasting trade. '

Senator GUTHRIE - I do not know what the honorable senator calls the " coasting trade." I probably take a different view of it. Under the Merchant Shipping Act the coasting trade of England is not confined to the coast of Great Britain. If the honorable senator will look the matter up, he will come to the conclusion that we are asking for nothing more in this;

Bill than the Imperial authorities provided for when defining the coasting trade of Great Britain.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - The honorable senator might say that the trade between here and England is the coasting trade of Australia.

Senator GUTHRIE - I do not say anything of the sort, but the Merchant Shipping Act, to which honorable senators opposite pin their faith, extends the coasting trade of Great Britain to the Continent of Europe, between the River Elbe and Brest. Why should we not do exactly as the Imperial authorities have done, and in the same way extend our coasting trade beyond the limits of the Commonwealth ?

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - Because we are not the Imperial authorities.

Senator GUTHRIE - Then we ought to be ! I say that we have power to do as the Imperial authorities have done. They have defined their coasting trade as extending beyond Great Britain to the River Elbe, along the coast of Holland and France, down to Brest. What difference would it make if we extended our coasting trade in the way I suggested ? It would be in favour of the Commonwealth as against the outsider. I do not think that the reservation of the Bill for the Royal assent matters twopence. lt may mean a delay of six months in bringing it into force', but we have been considering it now for ten years, and an additional six months is a trifling matter. If, when the measure is referred to the Imperial authorities, there are objections to it, the Commonwealth will have to get up on its hind legs and fight them. Now is not the time to consider possible objections. The memorandum placed in the hands of honorable senators shows that we have dealt with all the objections raised by the Board of Trade. We should agree to this amendment now, and it will be time enough to deal with new objections by the Board of Trade when any are raised. I know that in the case of State legislation affecting outside countries it was necessary that it should be reserved for the Royal assent. I took charge of a Bill in 1892 in the South Australian Parliament, dealing with the load-line, before ever the Imperial Parliament dealt with the subject. The measure was sent Home, . and the Board of Trade advised Her Majesty to refuse the Royal assent, and so the Bill failed, but in the very next year the Imperial Parliament passed the very same provisions.

Senator Rae - The honorable senator was the pioneer of the good work.

Senator GUTHRIE - I am not sorry for it. Let us wait until the Board of Trade raise their objections to the measure, if they have any, and it will then be time for us to deal with them. I hope the amendment will be agreed to.

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