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Thursday, 21 November 1912

Senator PEARCE (Western AustraliaMinister of Defence) . - This question of the establishment of a library for seamen came before the Minister responsible for this Bill, and he arrived at the decision that it was not a matter which should be provided for in the Bill. The amendment moved by Senator Walker meets some of the objections raised to that submitted by Senator Lynch. It overcomes the difficulty of the library being open to seamen on the same conditions as to passengers. That is a practical difficulty under Senator Lynch's amendment, and it was not raised because of any class bias. I can claim to be as free from class bias as other honorable senators.

Senator Long - Senator Walker's amendment appeals to the Minister more, coming, as it does, from the Opposition.

Senator PEARCE - Senator Long is often in the company of the Opposition, and if it be an evil, it is one to which he is more prone than I am.

Senator Long - I am beginning to feel that I am in better company there than in the honorable senator's company.

Senator PEARCE - I wish to suggest that the amendment submitted by Senator Walker should be put in such a way as to conserve the rights of members of the Committee. It might be put in two sections, as it covers two proposals. One is that there shall be a library provided for the use of the crew of a vessel, and the other that it shall be subsidized. Some honorable sena tors in favour of the establishment of such a library may not be in favour of subsidizing it. I hope the amendment will be put in two sections.

Senator Needham - And we shall knockout both.

Senator PEARCE - Personally, I shall vote against all three propositions, although I recognise that probably a majority of honorable senators are in favour of the establishment of a library for the benefit of seamen. I shall not divide the Committee on the first proposition in Senator Walker's amendment, but I shall be prepared to divide it on the amendment submitted by Senator Lynch, because, with all respect to that honorable senator, I contend that, in its present form, it would be unworkable. Even if it were accepted in another place, it would have to be amended there to make it workable.

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