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Friday, 15 September 1911

Senator PEARCE (Western AustraliaMinister of Defence) . - When this clause was last under consideration, Senator Guthrie contended that it would be competent for the master of a vessel to engage men, say in Melbourne, to serve in the north-western Australian trade, the port of discharge being Melbourne. He pointed out that if the ship were employed in that trade for more than six months, the men could not claim their discharge until the master saw fit to bring them back to Melbourne. We promised to consider the point, and as the result of our consideration, it is thought that there is some force in his contention. Therefore I move -

That the following words be added to the clause : -

Provided further that when a ship the crew of which have been engaged under a running agreement which has been in force more than six months reaches a port other than a port of destination, and the ship is not then on her way back to theport of discharge mentioned in the agreement, the crew shall be entitled to claim their discharge, and the master or owner shall be liable to provide them with a passage to the port of discharge or to such other port as is mutually agreed to with the approval of the superintendent.

This amendment will, I think, meet the hardship which Senator Guthrie thought might otherwise arise under the clause. At the same time, it will impose no hardship on an employer, because if he takes a man on a voyage of that character, he will have done so with his eyes open, knowing that if called upon he will have to pay the passages of men claiming a discharge to the port of discharge.

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