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The Legislative Council have acted with singular unwisdom—in fact they have clearly taken a false step—in throwing out the Employers' Liability Bill, and we cannot help regarding, as curiously inconsistent with the principles of Liberalism which they profess, the action of several of the Councillors —.notably Messrs Reynolds and Shrimski—in voting against the Bill. If we are to understand that the Council regarded these as the first of the batch of so-called Labor Bills, and has determined to relegate them all to the arbitrament of the ballotbox, then the refusal to pass this Bill at the first time of asking is intelligible enough, though perhaps none the more satisfactory. But this Bill is, out of the whole set, the one which stands out as enunciating no new principles whatever, but merely proposes to extend the operation of the principle already affirmed by the existing Employers' Liability Act. It extends, or rather pi"oposes to extend, the benefits of that Act to seamen as well as to other classes of workmen, clause 4 providing as follows :—" Where, after the commencement of this Act, in any navigable waters within or in the jurisdiction of New Zealand personal injury is caused to a seaman—(l) by reason of any defect or unfit ness in the condition of any spars, rigging tackle, machinery, fittings, apparel, or furniture of any ship, or by reason of the absence of any necessary spars, tackle, machinery, fittings, or other apparel or furniture ; or (2) by reason of the negligence of uny person in the service of the employer who has any superint Mulence trusted to him whilst in the exercise of such superintendence; or (3) by reason of the negligence of any person in the service of the employer to whose orders or directions the seaman or any other person was at the time of the injury bound to conform, aud did conform ; then, and in of any such cases if injury results to the seamen he, or in case of his death, his legal personal representatives and any person entitled in case of death shall have the same right of compensation and remedies against the employer as a workman, or his legal personal representatives, or such persons as aforesaid would, under the provisions of the said Act have in like cases against his employers." Another very desirable provision of the Bill was to extend the time within which an action for compensation for injuries may be brought so that a workman should not be debarred from his remedy by the very fact that those injuries were so serious as to incapacitate him from taking action within the limit of time previously prescribed by law; while other clauses of the Bill provided that the illegitimacy of a workman should, in the case of his death, not bar the claim of his relatives; that the representative of the deceased employee might be sued; that all contracts in bar of the benefits of the Acts should be void ; and made other very desirable amendments of the existing law, I{; }s, therefore more than, a pity that the Council should have thrown out the measure (which has passed the House of Representatives) by a majority of one. We are, to however, glad to learn that an effort is be made to resuscitate the measure, and we hope that it will be successful, and that the Council will avail itself of the opportunity of retrieving a serious blunder.

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Bibliographic details

A FAUX PAS., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2503, 28 August 1890

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A FAUX PAS. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2503, 28 August 1890