§ MR. CHARLES M'ARTHUR (Liverpool, Exchange)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is yet in a position to state the result of inquiry into the working of the Australian Immigration Restriction Act, 1901, especially as regards the penalty of £100 imposed by it upon the master or owner of any vessel from which any prohibited immigrant enters the Commonwealth; whether he is aware that this penalty cannot be enforced in the case of deserters from vessels belonging to the United States and other foreign countries with which this country has treaty provisions relative to the treatment of deserters; and whether, seeing that the effect of the Act is to subject British vessels in a British Colony to a liability from which foreign vessels are exempt, he will take steps to place owners of British and foreign vessels on the same footing.
§ THE UNDERSECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Lord CRANBORNE, Rochester)
I am advised that the Australian Immigration Restriction Act contains nothing which interferes with the Treaties concluded by His Majesty's Government under Section 238 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894, for the surrender of merchant seamen deserters. Deserters from foreign vessels are therefore on precisely the same footing as deserters from British vessels.