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Wednesday, 20 November 1912

Senator GUTHRIE (South Australia) . - I thought the Minister would accept my most reasonable amendment. What is the guarantee to the crew that a ship is seaworthy? In the signing of ship's articles the master always signs first, and it is recognised in the history of British shipping that a master takes the risk of his ship, and is the last man to leave her. This is so, because it is assumed that a master knows his ship. Under the clause, as submitted by the House of Representatives, the onus would be thrown upon the Crown of proving that when a master took his ship to sea in an unseaworthy condition, he knew that she was unseaworthy. How could that be proved? A master ought to know the condition of his ship.

Senator Vardon - Has the honorable senator looked at sub-clause 1 ?

Senator GUTHRIE - That does not refer to the master, but to the owner or agent. It is too much to ask the Crown to prove that a master knew that his ship was in an unseaworthy condition.

Senator Pearce - It may he capable of proof. The ship's log might afford evidence in support of such a charge.

Senator GUTHRIE - The ship's log would give no proof as to the seaworthiness of the ship. A master should know the condition of his ship before he signs the ship's articles, and thus induces his crew to sign them. I shall not labour the matter, but I ask the Committee to accept my amendment.

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