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Friday, 15 September 1911

Senator ST LEDGER (Queensland) . - Does this clause appear in the Merchant Shipping Act? Sub-clause _ 2 gives power to the Minister to compel shipowners to disclose to him their aggregate earnings on account of all ships registered in Australia. The clause also deals to some extent with freight earnings. I believe that a similar clause was contained in the Bill as introduced to the House of Commons, and was supported by Mr. Lloyd-George, but that it was rejected Yet the marginal note seems to refer us to the Merchant Shipping Act.

Senator Pearce - No; to the Merchant Shipping Bill.

Senator ST LEDGER - About 95 Per cent, tonnage of ships engaged in the Australian trade are not registered in Australia.

Senator Pearce - This clause would not apply to ships not registered in Australia.

Senator ST LEDGER - Consequently the clause would not apply to 95 per cent, of the shipping engaged in our trade. Yet it is proposed to require shipowners whose vessels are registered in Australia to disclose their earnings. To that extent we are giving a certain privilege to foreign ship-owners. I should like tha Minister to explain why he considers it necessary to retain this clause when the House of Commons rejected a similar one.

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