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Wednesday, 6 December 1911

Senator McGREGOR (South Australia) (Vice-President of the Executive Council) . - I wish to offer only a few remarks in regard to the debate. Clause 4 of the Bill to which Senator Guthrie has referred is much more comprehensive than the honorable senator imagines. He has been reading one paragraph into another, but if honorable senators will look carefully at the clause, they will find that paragrapha refers to vessels belonging to the Commonwealth, and to these the laws of the Commonwealth will apply anywhere. Paragraph b refers to ships trading with Australia, or engaging in any occupation in Australian waters, and being in the territorial waters of any territory which is part of the Commonwealth.

Senator Guthrie - Only within territorial limits; that is my point.

Senator McGREGOR - We cannot gooutside our territorial limits.

Senator Guthrie - I say that, on the decision of the High Court, we can.

Senator McGREGOR - Paragraph c of clause 4 deals with foreign vessels and vessels engaged in the Inter-State trade. The High Court's interpretation of the words " among the States " is Inter-State. This paragraph covers vessels registered in Australia and trading from State to State, and vessels whose crews are signed on in Australia.

Senator de Largie - Is the honorable senator satisfied that a ship leaving Fremantle for Adelaide would be coveredby this Bill?

Senator McGREGOR - Certainly I am. In the same way there are Australian shipsgoing fromMelbourne to Queensland or in the opposite direction that would be equally so, so far as our powers under the Constitution enable us to meet such cases. As Senator Guthrie has referred to the Navigation Bill, which is still before this Parliament, I point out to him that if he looks at section 98 of the Constitution he will find there a full explanation of the attitude assumed by the High Court, not only in connexion with legislation of that description, but in connexion with a Bill of this kind also. The section reads -

The power of the Parliament to make laws with respect to trade and commerce extends to navigation and shipping, and to railways the property of any State.

That does not extend the powers contained in section 51, but it is explanatory of them. It is because the trade and commerce powers of the Parliamentare limited that the powers in section 98, with regard to navigation and shipping, are also limited to the extent of such limitation. According to the interpretation given by the High Court, we cannot, in this or any other Bill, go outside the. trade and commerce powers. That renders it necessary, in clause 4, to deal in three separate paragraphs with the different conditions which are created under those powers. We cannot do any more than we are doing in the Bill. If we attempted to do so we should contravene the Constitution, and might have the Bill thrown upon our hands again. I hope that it will be read a second time, and become law as speedily as possible.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

In Committee :

Clauses 1 to 4 agreed to.

Clause 5 - (1.) If personal injury by accident arising out of and in the course of the employment is caused to a seaman, his employer shall, subject to this Act, be liable to pay compensation in accordance with the First Schedule to this Act.

(e)   if it appears that the claimant has a claim for compensation for the injury under any law of the United Kingdom or of any other part of the King's Dominions, compensation under this Act shall only be allowed upon the claimant undertaking not to claim compensation for the injury under any such law......

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