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Wednesday, 20 November 1912

Senator GUTHRIE -They are two different things.

Senator PEARCE - This clause has been the subject of much discussion in the Senate, in the press, and in correspondence with the Board of Trade. The latter body raised strong objections to the requirement that a vessel over five years old should be surveyed once every six months. Upon careful inquiry, the Government have been convinced that in ordinary circumstances there is no necessity for more than an annual survey thoroughly carried out A good overhaul once a year is better than a perfunctory survey once every six months. It does not follow that every ship surveyed under the clause will get a certificate for twelve months. The duration of the certificate will depend upon what the survey discloses, the trade in which the vessel is engaged, and the cargo she carries. For instance, if a ship has frequently to pass over a sandy bar, or is trading in rough waters, or carrying cumbersome cargo likely to move about in her hold, the certificate may be granted for any period less than twelve months before a re-survey. Again, if any circumstance arises which indicates the necessity for an additional survey, even though a ship is given a certificate for twelve months, the Minister may, before the expiry of that time, order a fresh survey. Clause 208 provides inter alia that a steam-ship in respect of which a prescribed classification certificate granted by any corporation or association for the survey and registry of ships, approved by the GovernorGeneral, has been issued, shall, whilst that certificate remains in force, butsubject to the provisions of sub-sections 3 to 5 of clause 208, be exempt from survey under the Act. The effect of this provision is practically to provide that ships surveyed annually at Lloyd's and other ap proved associations shall not be subject to the Government survey. This will exempt probably from 80 to 90 per cent, of British and Australian shipping trading to our ports. To give an idea of the proportion of shipping, British and foreign, classified under Lloyd's, the British Association and the Bureau Veritas, two associations of practically equal merit, it may be mentioned that, in 1911, 772 vessels of an aggregate tonnage of 1,883,884 tons were built in the United Kingdom for British and foreign owners, and of these no fewer than 547, of an aggregate tonnage of I,250,753 tons, were built under the inspection of Lloyd's surveyors with a view to classification and registry.

Senator Guthrie - So was the Titanic.

Senator PEARCE - There was no question of survey in connexion with the loss of the Titanic. If that vessel had been surveyed the day before she left port, that would not have prevented her running against the iceberg which was the cause of the disaster. If we insisted upon a survey every six months of unclassified ships over five years old, all that respective owners would have to do would be to take out a Lloyd's certificate and so obtain exemption. The reason for the amendment I have proposed is that there is no necessity for the whole of the special exemption provided for in clause 208. It is proposed to limit it to cargo ships only, as Imperial certificates are issued annually for passenger vessels. I trust the Committee will accept the amendment made by the House of Representatives, as, in the opinion of the Government, it meets all requirements and fully safeguards the interests of those who go down to the sea in ships.

Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERTGOULD (New South Wales) [3.53].- I point out that the motion submitted by the Minister of Defence will preclude the Committee from dealing fully with the amendment made by the House of Representatives. Honorable senators may be prepared to agree to the amendment of the House of Representatives, and at the. same time think it desirable to reject the consequential amendment which the Minister has submitted in clause 208.

The CHAIRMAN - Clause 208 could only be brought up in this way. I hold that the amendment proposed in that clause is consequential upon amendment No. 86 made by the House of Representatives.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - I was raising the point that honorable senators might be prepared to accept the amendment of the House of Representatives, and not the consequential amendment submitted by the Minister of Defence. It might be better, in the circumstances, to submit the two separately.

Senator Pearce - The honorable senator's view might be met by moving an amendment upon my motion.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - That might be done; but I am not prepared to submit any amendment upon the motion.

The CHAIRMAN - It is competent for any honorable senator to move that the mo tion submitted by the Minister be amended by omitting the words dealing with the proposed consequential amendment in clause


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