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Tuesday, 11 October 1910

Senator GUTHRIE (South Australia) . - I think that honorable senators are making a. mountain out of a molehill. The clause provides that only those who are connected with the engine-rooms of steamers shall be supplied with hot fresh water. How much do they require? A' gallon per man per day would be sufficient.

Senator de Largie - That would be a very small quantity.

Senator GUTHRIE - Under the Board of Trade provisions a seaman, even in the tropics, is allowed only 4 quarts per day for the purpose of cooking his food, washing, and drinking. Take the case of seamen who have left Newcastle, Sydney, Melbourne, or Adelaide, where they have been engaged in coaling operations. They are just as black as are the men who are engaged in the engine-room. To imagine that they are able to remove the dirt from their faces with the aid of salt water is ridiculous.

Senator McColl - How have they managed to remove the dirt in the past?

Senator GUTHRIE - They had to remain dirty. I have had to go without a wash for weeks at a time. Further, a seaman who is required to wash in salt water gets his eyes full of salt, so that he is unable to keep an efficient lookout. I would remind the Committee that the clause is not intended to apply to sailing ships, but only to steamers. Most of the latter vessels are fitted with ballast tanks, in which they carry fresh water, and in the great majority of them the adoption of my amendment would not involve an additional expenditure of j£i per annum. This leaves out the men connected with the boilers, those who come from the combustion chambers at the back of the boilers, covered in soot, and those who come out of the bilges covered with grease. They are expected to clean themselves with salt water. My amendment was placed upon the paper last week, and I thought that it dealt with so trifling a matter that there would be no difficulty in securing the consent of the Minister.

Senator Pearce - I will accept die amendment if the honorable senator will leave out the part requiring hot fresh water to be provided.

Senator GUTHRIE - I cannot do that, because, as I have already pointed out, hot salt water is of no use for cleansing purposes.

Senator St Ledger - Structural alterations might be required on a ship to enable hot water to be taken from the condensers to the crew.

Senator GUTHRIE - The only " structural " apparatus required is a bucket.

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