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Wednesday, 12 October 1910


Senator ST LEDGER (Queensland) . - This clause differs from the New Zealand section, and from the section in the Merchant Shipping Act, especially in regard to the proviso. In the Merchant Shipping Act, section 461, the words used are - " Provided that not less than onefourth of the crew being not less than three." This clause, however, reads - " Provided that where the complaint is made by two or more of the seamen." The meaning of the Merchant Shipping Act is that the complaint that a ship is unseaworthy has to be made by one-fourth of the crew, that proportion of the whole being not less than three. The reason of that is evident, because two seamen might mala fide bring a complaint.


Senator Givens - Could not three do the same?


Senator ST LEDGER - I admit that they could. But the greater the number included the more easy it is to detect mala fides. I should like the Minister to give some reason for the departure in this clause from the provisions appearing in the Merchant Shipping Act and in the New Zealand Act requiring that the complaint shall be made by one-fourth of the crew and not less than three before security for costs is dispensed with.


Senator Turley - What size crew would the- ship be carrying ?


Senator ST LEDGER - The honorable senator is better able to advise the Committee on that point than I am, but I should imagine that the vessels trading on the coast of New Zealand would be no larger than those trading on the coast of Australia, and the New Zealand Act follows in this matter the provision of the Merchant Shipping Act. The Minister has given no reply to my question, and I think I am entitled to the courtesy of a reply. I should like to know why the Government propose this departure from the provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act and the New Zealand Act?







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