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Thursday, 28 November 1912

Senator PEARCE (Western Australia) (Minister of Defence) - The difference between the old and the new Schedule No. II. is not great. Apart from a few verbal alterations, the following are the only changes made : - (a) River and bay steam-ships were exempted from the original schedule, but river and bay sailing vessels were not. This was very evidently an oversight, and has been remedied by the note at the head of the new schedule, " This schedule does not apply to river andbay ships." (b) The scale for firemen and trimmers has been restricted in its application to vessels fired with coal. The number of firemen to be carried by vessels burning oil fuel, for instance, will be determined by the Minister after advice from the Marine Council. (Clause 41, also 3rd paragraph of Schedule II.). (c) In the scales for seamen (steamships), provision is first of all made that owners, instead of carrying one or more boys, as was required by the original scale, may carry an equal number of apprentices instead. That is the only difference in steam-ships up to 2,000 tons. In regard to steam-ships of over 2,000 tons, however, a new provision is inserted. For every 1,000 tons over that size an additional boy or apprentice must be carried, with a maximum, in the case of passenger steam-ships, of six, and of cargo steam-ships and steam-ships carrying not more than ten passengers, of four boys or apprentices altogether. The maintenance of an adequate supply of seamen to man our mercantile marine, and also our Navy, is considered to be of great national importance; and in view of the rapid disappearance of the sailing-ship from the British merchant service, it becomes absolutely imperative to provide for the training of boys in the steam-ships themselves. The only other alteration is to cut out vessels under 15 tons from the scale for sailing-ships. This is in conformity with a number of amendments already agreed to, whereby these small craft have been exempted from various formalities and requirements prescribed in the Bill. Before, however, asking the Senate to adopt the amended schedule, I have an amendment that I desire to move upon it, as follows : -

That the amendment be amended by inserting after the paragraph "Greasers", the following new paragraph : - "Cooks. " Steam-ships carrying 25 or more persons, including passengers and crew.

Not less than one (1) certificated cook and one (1) assistant cook for each galley in use."

This amendment gives nothing more than simple justice to a hard- worked class, viz., the cooks in cargo and collier steam-ships, and in the ship's galley in passenger steamships. Where only one cook is employed in these cases, then the necessities of his calling require him to commence work somewhere about a quarter to 6 in the morning, in order to prepare breakast for the crew, and remain on, with but short intervals of rest, until 8 o'clock at night. The seamen in our coasting ships are now entitled, under an a ward of the Arbitration Court, to an eight hours' day. So we have the anomaly of one set of men working eight hours, and another man in the same ship working fourteen hours. In some of the better class passenger ships, it may be explained, there are two galleys in use - one for the saloon passengers, and another, called the ship's galley, 'for the crew. There are always several cooks in the saloon galley, but in some cases only one man is employed in the ship's galley to cook for the whole of the -three watches of the crew. Any one who has ever looked into a .ship's galley, and has seen the cook crowded up within a few square feet, against a hot stove, must admit that under such conditions an eight hours' day is quite long enough, and I trust that the Senate will agree to the amendment, which I now move.

Motion agreed to.

Amendment of Schedule II., as amended, agreed to.

Amendment of Schedule III., agreed to with a typographical amendment.

Postponed clause 48 - (1.) An agreement may be made for a voyage, or, if the voyages of the ship average less than six months in duration, may be made to extend over two or more voyages, and agreements so made to extend over two or more voyages are in this Act referred to as " running agreements." (2.) A running agreement shall not extend beyond six months from the date thereof :

Provided that every such agreement shall, in any case, remain in force until the ship reaches a port of destination, and the crew shall be considered engaged when the agreement is first signed, and discharged when the employment ends. . . .

House of Representatives' Amendment.- Omit " ship reaches a port of destination ", lines 10 and 11, insert "ship's arrival at a port of destination and the discharge of cargo consequent on that arrival ".

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