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Thursday, 21 November 1912

Senator WALKER (New South Wales) . - I move -

That the amendment upon the amendment be amended by leaving out all the words after "That," to "passengers" second occurring, and inserting in lieu thereof the words, " a library be established for the crew in every ship carrying twenty hands and over, the same to be subsidized by the Commonwealth to an amount to be prescribed."

With all respect to several speakers, I think that there is no necessity to bring in any questions regarding class distinction. We all believe that education is a good thing, and that it is only right that the humblest in the land, whether on board ship or ashore, should have the right to improve himself in that direction. I have always held that opinion, and I hold it strongly.

Senator Lynch - I never said that Senator Walker would be guilty of holding a contrary view.

Senator WALKER - Senator Gouldis quite as liberal as I am in this regard. There may be differences of opinion as to the amount of the subsidy which should be given by the Commonwealth Government. Some honorable senators might be inclined to provide that the fines and penalties imposed under this Bill should be placed to a trust fund for the purpose of providing ships' libraries. But, in some cases, penalties run up to £1,000 and perhaps the Treasurer would not be inclined to allow heavy fines to be devoted to this purpose. I certainly think that the establishment of libraries ought to be encouraged. I wonder that Mr. Carnegie has not thought of this idea. I was often surprised that in the old days, owing to the monotony of the life, men could be induced to go to sea in sailing ships. I remind honorable senators of what Dr. Johnson said about going to sea. He said that it was " like going to prison with the chance of being drowned thrown in." I have great sympathy with the sailor, and for that reason I submit this amendment upon the amendment.

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