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Wednesday, 20 November 1912

Senator LYNCH (Western Australia) . - I confess that I do not like the amendment made by the House of Representatives. It says that " the regulations may provide" for a certain thing, and this means also that they may not provide for it.

Senator Guthrie - Because in certain ships there would be no need for it.

Senator LYNCH - I think we should say that " the regulations shall provide," and leave the regulations to be applied wherever it may be necessary.

Senator Pearce - That would make the application of the regulation imperative in all ships.

Senator LYNCH - I think we should make the clause read in this way : The regulation shall provide that any ship registered in Australia or engaged in the coasting trade may be provided with an independent chain connexion.

Senator Keating - The honorable senator would make the making of the regulation imperative, and the giving of effect to it optional.

Senator LYNCH - If the regulations are not made, we shall be in a helpless position. [ think I had a little to do with the inclusion of this provision in the first instance, as the result of the teaching of that hardest of schoolmasters, personal experience. I was on a ship on one occasion that carried fifty or sixty people, and the rudder was carried away flush with the deck. There was a howling south-sea island gale blowing at the time, and we had no independent chain connexion such as I wish to sec ships provided with. I wish to prevent a similar occurrence in the future. If a hurricane is blowing, a steamer with only one screw is perfectly helpless, no matter how powerful her engines may be, if her rudder-shaft is carried away. It is true that if a ship has more than one screw it is possible to steer her safely by manipulating the screws,.

Senator de Largie - What ship did the honorable senator refer to?

Senator LYNCH - I refer to the Birksgate. We had two small sticks across the mainmast which were dignified by the name of yards, and they helped us to keep the ship's head fairly to the wind until men had time to carry out the perilous work under such conditions of attaching chains to the rudder body. It will be seen that my desire is to put beyond all doubt the possibility of any steamer or ship on our coast falling into a similar plight as we did on that occasion. The only thing which saved us was the use of the two spars which were on the mainmast; otherwise, I might have been playing a harp now. We should adopt the clause in its original form, not in its mutilated form. The better course, I think, would be to omit " may," and insert " shall."

Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould - What you really want is the clause in its original form.

Senator LYNCH - Exactly. I am pre pared to stand by the original clause, because I know that some ships are already provided with these attachments.It is only requiring to be done under the Bill what has been cheerfully done in the past by the steam-ship companies.

Senator Pearce - I think that I can meet the honorable senator.

Senator LYNCH - All right.

Motion,by leave, withdrawn.

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