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Thursday, 21 November 1912


Senator LONG (Tasmania) .- If- we needed a reason for supporting the amendment, it is supplied by the hearty cc operation of the Minister and Senator Gould to heap ridicule upon it. When we find a prominent member of the Opposition and a member of the Government combining to defeat a proposal which means so much to a very large section of the industrial community, we might as well ponderand ask ourselves if there is not something substantial behind Senator Lynch's amendment. The fact that it is a new proposal ought not to evoke any opposition, because the greatest reforms from which the world is deriving benefit to-day were once merely private opinions. We have gone to some trouble to lay down in the Bill that a seaman shall be entitled to a certain dietary scale. Surely we shall not exceed our duty now in making a provision to enable him to improve his mind, and relieve in some small measure the tediousness of his employment ! The Minister and Senator Gould have stated that it would be a calamity, and probably provoke a revolution, if the men who make it possible for others to travel on ships were to present themselves at the second class or first class library for the purpose of obtaining books.. There is no necessity for that anxiety on their part, because we can secure these sacred persons against the invasion of an objectionable class. We can provide that they shall be furnished with a catalogue and make written application for' a book, and therefore there will be no occasion for any members of the crew to wait for the library to be opened. Through the proper officer written applications can be submitted.


Senator Pearce - That is not what the amendment says.


Senator LONG - That is what it means, as the Minister must know. We could not hope to see the crew of a ship employ their leisure better than in improving their minds. I cannot understand the opposition of the Government to a very simple proposal, which, if carried, will mean so much to a class whose life at the very best is not all beer and skittles. I hope that a majority will support the amendment.







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