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Thursday, 28 November 1912

Senator PEARCE (Western AustraliaMinister of Defence) - I move -

That the amendment be agreed to.

Events of the past few years, and particularly the disappearance of three fine vessels, with all hands - the Waratah, the Yongala, and the Koombana-have given cause for an uncomfortable suspicion that modern ship-building - with its tendency to provide on upper decks for as much passenger accommodation as possible, thereby entailing a great increase in top hamper - is to some extent sacrificing safety. There is no doubt that unless some of the modern passenger liners are carefully stowed, so as to provide a substantial margin of stability in ordinary weather, they are likely to be overturned by any beamwind of hurricane force that they may encounter. No navigation laws, in the British Dominions, at all events, have undertaken to compel the stowage of cargo with a due regard to the scientific principles governing stability. It is considered, however, that the time is now ripe for the enforcement of such a requirement. In view of the highly technical nature of the subject, it could not well be dealt with in detail by Statute. We, therefore, propose to give power to deal with it by regulation. This will permit, not only of adjustment from time to time in conformity with alterations in ship design, &c, but also of some discrimination in regard to particular voyages and seasons of the year, e.g., voyages in tropical waters during the hurricane season of the year.

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