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Thursday, 21 November 1912

Senator RAE (New South Wales) - - Whilst we are all pleased at the kindly sentiment expressed by Senator Walker, I cannot see what improvement his amendment would make upon that proposed by Senator Lynch. It appears to me that, if carried, it would afford no indication of what kind of library there should be on board ship. SenatorLynch's amendment has the advantage of providing that where a library is carried on a ship, the seamen shall have access to it. But if you prescribe that there shall be a library - and say no more - the one provided might be of the most meagre kind.

Senator Vardon - There is nothing in Senator Lynch's amendment to indicate the kind of library to be provided.

Senator RAE - But in most ships carrying a considerable number of passengers there is a library.

Senator Vardon - It generally consists of mighty poor stuff. Sailors would not get much advantage from reading such books.

Senator RAE - Senator Walker's amendment merely provides that there shall be a library, and it gives no indication as to its character. I am glad to see that Senator Walker favours the general principle of establishing ships' libraries, but I am afraid that his amendment would not effect an improvement. Again, the provision in regard to the Commonwealth subsidy is vague. To what extent does Senator Walker intend that these libraries should be subsidized? I think his amendment has been hastily drafted, and that it would, in operation, prove to be worse than Senator Lynch's proposal.

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