4th Parliament · 3rd Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
– I desire to make a personal explanation. When the Maternity Allowance Bill was at the second reading stage, on behalf of the Opposition, I moved an amendment affirming the undesirableness of dealing piecemeal with the big question of social insurance, and favouring the introducing of a comprehensive scheme. I supported the amendment with a statement that it represented on broad lines the policy of the last Government. That statement was subsequently challenged by the honorable member for Cook, and the Minister of Trade and Customs declared that only one report on the subject had been found in his Department, that of Mr. Taylor.
– It dealt with unemployment insurance.
– I understand that the other records referred to by me have not been found, but I only heard of my statement having been doubted a few days ago. Fortunately, I have in my possession papers which place the correctness of what I said beyond doubt, and I shall read a letter addressed by Mr. Knibbs to myself and dated 24th January, 1910, which sets forth what took place between us, and covers a preliminary report of even date -
At therequest of yourself, the Prime Minister, and the Attorney-General I have looked pretty thoroughly into the question of workmen’s insurance in various countries in Europe. It is clear to me that the full benefits from the stand-point of social economics require that, if possible, it should cover (a) old age, (b) invalidity, (c) sickness, (d) accident, (e) death of breadwinner, (f) non-employment.
No solution has yet been found for (c) and (f), though the matter has been very carefully considered in various quarters.
I have all the necessary literature, and came in contact with some of the men in Europe who are personally dealing with these problems, and have in my mind the lines on which a report should be prepared.
He then goes on to deal with the advancement of this matter in Germany and other
European countries. I had made the suggestion that as it was of such importance he should devote, for a time at least, the whole of his attention to it.
– The honorable member is now going beyond a personal explanation. I do not wish to interfere, but I ask whether he intends to read all the documents he has in his hand ?
– I am going to read one letter only. Mr. Knibbs continued -
It would be a great pleasure to me to devote my whole time to the matter, but I am unable to do so through the great pressureof current duty. The literature to be looked up and verified is extensive, and it is in foreign languages.
So great is the importance of the matter for the proper guidance of the Government, especially if legislation be contemplated, that it would be well if I were authorized to employ some capable man with a thorough knowledge of at least French and German, and a reading knowledge of Italian. He could, under my guidance, and in a form to be determined by me, complete a comprehensive report on the social experiments, experience, and legislation in regard to workmen, and in respect of the features mentioned. Probably such a person could be had for15s. to £1 per day. I would draft the report, direct the research, check results, and make myself responsiblefor the whole thing.
I transmit herewith a General. Apercu: on German Workmen’s Insurance from the standpoint of social economics, and up to 1904. This is obtained from authoritative sources, and will advise you as to the movement in the direction indicated.
I have sent copies also to the Prime Minister and the Attorney-General, and I may be able to send more information at a later date, say, in fourteen days, but this is doubtful.
In. pursuance of the request made to Mr. Knibbs, the valuable general report which was laid on the table in September last, was prepared by him, and presented. I suggest that this preliminary report: also should be laid on the table.
– The honorable member must now confine himself wholly to a personal explanation.
– Ask a question on the subject.
– I listened to the honorable member for Kooyong moving his amendment, and later asking the Minister a question as to a report prepared with regard to a scheme of social insurance, and it was found that there was no scheme prepared.
– Order. !
– What the honorable gentleman refers to now is a report, and there is a vast difference between a report and a scheme.
– Has the Minister any objection to the letter and the report I referred to being laid upon the table and printed ?
– I presume that it is an official document in the possession of the Trade and Customs or Home Affairs Department. If the honorable gentleman will let me see the letter and the report, I shall consider his request, because I am always anxious to do a fair thing by every member of the House.
– I wish to ask the Minister whether the papers referred to contain any reference to the question of maternity insurance, endowment, or assistance ?
– No. I do not know that that has ever been claimed by the Opposition, but if it has been claimed, I do not think that it is a correct claim.
– It never has been claimed.
asked the Minister of Home Affairs, upon notice -
– The answers to the questions are -
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are -
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 17th October, vide page 4409).
Amendment (by Mr. Tudor) agreed to -
That the following new clause be inserted : - 202. - (1.) A Surveyor or any person authorized by the Minister to inspect or survey a ship may, in the execution of his duties, go on board any ship at all reasonable times and inspect the same or any part thereof, including her boilers, machinery, and equipment, and the certificates of the master and officers of the ship, but shall not in such inspection unnecessarily detain or delay the ship from proceeding on her voyage. (2.) The Minister may, on the report of the surveyor or person inspecting the ship, if he considers it necessary so to do, require the ship to be taken into dock or to be so dealt with that he may be able to inspect her hull, boiler, machinery, or equipment. (3.) No person shall obstruct or hinder any surveyor or authorized person from going on board any ship or shall otherwise impede him in the execution of his duties under this Act.
Penalty : One hundred pounds.
Amendment (by Mr. Tudor) proposed -
That the following new clause be inserted : - “212. - (1) Every person who sends any ship to sea in an unseaworthy state, so thatthe life of any person is likely to be thereby endangered, shall, unless he proves that he used all reasonable means to insure the seaworthiness of the ship, be guilty of an indictable offence. (2.) Every master who knowingly takes a ship to sea in an unseaworthy state, so that the life of any person is likely to be thereby endangered, shall be guilty of an indictable offence. (3.) A prosecution under this section shall not be instituted except by the consent of the AttorneyGeneral. (4.) Nothing in this section shall subject the owner or master of a ship to any liability, by reason of the ship being sent or taken to sea in an unseaworthy state, where, owing to special circumstances, the sending of the ship to sea in that state was reasonable and justifiable.”
.- This is one of the clauses which were originally omitted from the Bill, and which are contained in the Merchant Shipping Act. I have looked through them. On the whole, they seem to be copies of the provisions in the Merchant Shipping Act, but in one or two of them amendments have been introduced. In new clause 202, for instance, there is an amendment. It provides that where a ship is sent to sea in an unseaworthy state, so that life is liable to be endangered, the person sending the ship is guilty of an indictable offence unless he proves that he used all reasonable means to insure her seaworthiness. In section 457 of the Merchant Shipping Act there is an additional ground of defence, and that is that the sending of the ship in the circumstances was reasonable and justifiable. It will be recognised that there may be special circumstances justifying the sending of a vessel to sea apart altogether from the question of whether her seaworthiness has been ascertained or not.
I do not know why this additional ground of defence has been left out of the new clause. I think it is much better, unless there is substantial reason for varying the terms of the Imperial section, to adhere to the text, because then we shall have the advantage of any decision which may be given. There is no doubt that the additional ground of defence given in England is a very substantial one. The captain or the owner - this refers to the owner, I think, as well as to the captain - may not be able to test on a particular occasion the seaworthiness of a ship. An emergency may have arisen, and it may be necessary to take a risk. If it can be shown that the risk was justified in a case, that defence is open in England, but it will not be open in the Commonwealth. But whether this provision is in the Bill or not, the persons affected by a vessel being sent to sea in an unseaworthy condition have, I think, a right of action for damages. The sailors would certainly have a right of action for damages.
– Do you mean the persons sent to sea on an unseaworthy ship or the persons who are unjustly or improperly brought to book under the provision?
– I think that any one who was affected by unseaworthiness amounting to negligence would have a right of action - I speak, of course, subject to any qualification which may be necessary by a fuller consideration of the provision.
– Do you mean that any person taken to sea in an unseaworthy ship within the meaning of the Act would have a right of action?
– I do not say that absolutely, but the common law and a special provision of the Bill give a right of action.
– Do you mean to say that when the law imposes a duty, failure to perform that duty on the part of a public body or person gives a right of action to a person who has suffered because of that failure?
– Generally that is the case, but I would not say it absolutely. There are distinctions drawn between nonfeasance and malfeasance in connexion with public bodies, which prevent one generally accepting the statement impliedly made by the Attorney-General.
– In clause 57 there is the obligation.
– I knew that there was a provision somewhere in the Bill. I see that in clause 57 there is an implication that the vessel shall be seaworthy. I know that that is required by the common law apart altogether from the provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act which we have copied. I merely mention that to show that, even apart from this new clause, there is some protection given to the persons affected, and, therefore, there is no reason that I can see why we should not add the additional ground of defence. It appears, however, to be shifted to another place. I hope that, as far as possible, unless there is some ground for altering the text of the Merchant Shipping Act, when we do adopt any provisions of that Act we shall maintain them in their fulness.
Proposed new clause agreed to.
– I move -
That the following new clause be inserted : - “ 212a. If a British ship is unseaworthy a seaman or apprentice belonging to her shall not be deemed to have committed a breach of his agreement by reason of his having refused to sail in her while she is unseaworthy ; and any seaman or apprentice” so refusing may claim his discharge unless the ship is made seaworthy within a reasonable time.”
Section 462 of the Merchant Shipping Act, I understand, gives power to detain unseaworthy ships even though they are foreign ships. This matter has been considered, and it has been held that we have no power to interfere with contracts between the master and seamen of foreign ships in these cases. I am not sure that we have the power.
– Is not this provision intended to cover a case such as the Olympic case ?
– The crew refused to take the Olympic to sea, and most of the firemen deserted.
– I think it is intended to cover that case.
– That or a similar case.
– It is a very big power to take.
– I do not remember the number of the clause at present, but it is provided in the Bill that a ship is unseaworthy if she does not, for instance, carry sufficient rockets, or her medicine chest is not properly equipped.
– Clause 211 says that a ship shall not be deemed seaworthy unless she is in a fit state.
– Yes, as regards her fitness to encounter ordinary perils of the deep. The equipment is held to include a lot of minor things.
– It includes life-saving appliances.
– Yes. In the Bill we have provided that the men cannot have their discharges if a defect be remedied within a certain time. A reasonable opportunity must be given to the owners to make the ship seaworthy. It may be found that there are a few rockets short, or an insufficient number of lifebelts. They may have been left on the wharf. While these things are not on the ship the whole of the seamen can go ashore and hold her up. We provide that if a ship is made seaworthy within a reasonable time the men cannot claim their discharges.
Proposed new clause agreed to.
– I move -
That the following new clause be inserted : - “236. - (1.) Except as prescribed, every foreign-going ship, Australian-trade ship, or ship engaged in the coasting trade, carrying fifty or more persons, including passengers and crew, shall before going to sea from any port in Australia be equipped with an efficient apparatus for wireless communication in good working order in charge of one or more persons holding prescribed certificates of skill in the use of such apparatus. (2.) For the purposes of this section . apparatus for wireless communication shall not be deemed to be efficient unless -
it is capable of transmitting and receiving messages over a distance of at hundred miles, day or night;
the person controlling the operator undertakes in writing to the Minister to exchange, and does, in fact, exchange, as far as may be physically practicable (of which the master shall be the judge), messages with shore or ship stations using similar or other systems of wireless communication ; and
there is provided, in connexion with the apparatus, and ready for use whenever from any cause the ordinary supply of electrical power is not available, a battery of accumulators of such capacity as to insure for a period of at least six hours communication of the efficiency prescribed in para this sub-section. (3.) The master of a ship required by this section, to be so equipped shall not take her to sea, and the owner of a ship required to be so equipped shall not permit her to go to sea, unless the requirements of this section have been complied with.
Penalty : One thousand pounds. (4.) The Regulations may prescribe the times and hours during which an operator shall be in attendance on the apparatus, ready to receive or transmit messages. (5.) Except as otherwise prescribed, the provisions of this section shall not apply to ships plying exclusively between ports in Australia less than two hundred miles apart.”
The question of wireless telegraphy was slightly discussed when I asked the Committee to omit a certain clause. We have decided to deal with the matter of exemption by regulation rather than by a provision in the Act, so that the power to exempt any ships will exist. On account of wireless telegraphy being a system’ which is continually altered, we think that it should be dealt with by regulation, and not by a special provision. I think that sufficient power is taken in the new clause. In the previous discussion the honorable member for Fremantle said that there should be some auxiliary appliance or accumulators provided for the purpose of keeping the batteries going. In paragraph c of subclause 2 we make that provision.
– He referred to a deficiency of accumulators. He was afraid that if anything went wrong with the accumulators there would be nothing on the boat to generate an electric current.
– A vessel which did not get enough energy to supply the accumulators would ‘be in a very bad way indeed. I think it is safe to say that nine-tenths of the steam-ships - all steamships over 2,000 tons - are lit up by electricity, and carry out various operations with electric power. If there is not sufficient electric power on a boat to keep the, wireless communication going it means about the end of that boat. We have adopted the limit which was fixed up by the International Convention which sat about the time when this Bill was read a second time. Of course, if the limit is found to be insufficient it will require to be altered, but I am informed that at present it will cover practically all cases that may arise. It will be a very extraordinary case which it will not cover. We have taken sufficient power by regulations to do everything which may be necessary.
– It covers limited trade ships.
– It might.
Proposed new clause agreed to.
Amendments (by Mr. Tudor) agreed to-
That the following new clauses be inserted : - “ 263A. - (1.) Where, by fault of two or more vessels, damage or loss is caused to one or more vessels, to their cargoes or freight, or to any property on board, the liability to make good the damage or loss shall be in proportion to the degree in which each vessel was in fault :
Provided that,if, having regardto all the circumstances of the case, it is not possible to establish different degrees of fault,’ the liability shall be apportioned equally. (a.) Nothing in this section shall operate so as to render any vessel liable for any loss or damage to which her fault has not contributed. (3.) Nothing in this section shall affect the liability of any person under a contract of carriage or any contract or shall be construed as imposing anyliability upon any person from which he is exempted by any contract or by any provision of law or as affecting the right of any person to limit his liability in manner provided by law. (4.) For the purposes of this section, the expression “ freight “ includes passage money and hire, and references to damage or loss caused by the fault of a vessel shall be construed as including references to any salvage or other expenses consequent upon that fault, recoverable at law by way of damages. 263B. - (1.) Where loss of life or personal injuries are suffered by anyperson On board a vessel owing to the fault of that vessel and of any other vessel or vessels, theliability of the owners of the vessels shall be joint and several. (2.) Nothing in this section shall be construed as depriving any person of any right of defence on which, independently of this section, he might have relied in an action brought against him by the person injured or any person or persons entitled to sue in respect of such loss of life, or shall affect the right of any person to limit his liability in cases to which this section relates in the manner provided by law. 263c. - (1.) Where loss of life or personal injuries are suffered by any person on board a vessel owing to the fault of that vessel and any other vessel or vessels, and a proportion of the damages is recovered against the owner of one of the vessels which exceeds the proportion in which she was in fault; he may recover by way of contribution the amount of the ‘excess from the owners of the other vessels to the extent to which those vessels were respectively in fault :
Provided that no amount shall be so recovered which could not, by reason of any statutory or contractual limitation of, or ‘exemption from, liability, or which could not, for any other reason, have been recovered in the first instanceas damages by the persons entitledto sue therefor. (2.) In addition to any other remedy provided by law, the persons entitled to any contribution as provided by sub-section (1) of this section shall, for the purpose of recovering the contribution, have, subject to the provisions of this Act, the same rights and powers as the persons entitled to sue for damages in the first instance. 263D. - Any enactment which confers on any Court Admiralty jurisdiction in respect of damage shall have effect as though references to such damage . included references to damages for loss of life or personal injury, and accordingly proceedings in respect of such damages may be brought in rem or in personam. 264. Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (4) of section four hundred and nine teen of the Merchant Shipping Act, in case of a collision a vessel shall not be deemed to be in fault solely by reason of the fact that the vessel has -infringed any ofthe regulations for the prevention of collisions at sea.
Amendment (by Mr. Tudor) proposed -
That the following new clause be inserted - 265.- (1) In every case of collision between two vessels it shall be the duty of the person in charge of each vessel, if and so far as he can do so without danger to his own vessel, crew, and passengers (if any) -
to render to the other vessel, her master, crew, and passengers (if any) such assistance as is practicable and necessary in order to save them from danger caused by the collision; and
to stay by the other vessel until he has ascertained that she has no need of further assistance. (2.) If the master of any vessel fails without reasonable cause to comply with this section, he shall be guilty of an indictable offence. (3.) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (2) of section four hundred and twenty-two of the Merchant Shipping Act, in case of a collision between two vessels, the collision shall not be deemed to have been caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of the master or person in charge of the vessel, who failed to comply with the provisions of that section, solely by reason of the fact that he has not complied with the provisions of that section.”
.- I think that sub-clause 3 of this provision presumes to vary one of the sections of the Merchant Shipping Act by saying that it shall not apply. I think that that section does not occur in the Part of the Act which we may modify under the terms of section 735. The sub-clause reads -
Notwithstanding anything contained in subsection (2) of section four hundred and twenty-two of the Merchant Shipping Act -
– That, has been modified by section 4 of the Merchant Shipping Act of lastyear in accordance with the decision of the Maritime Convention.
– I am not talking about the policy, but about the power. Under section 735 of the Merchant Shipping Act this Parliament has power to -
Repeal, wholly or in part, any provisions of this Act (other than those of the Third Part thereof which relate to emigrant ships), relating to ships registered in that possession.
The part to which the new clause will belong applies, I think, to all British ships. It may be that the power which we have under the Merchant Shipping Act will be exceeded.
– Section 422 of the Merchant Shipping Act has been repealed by the Maritime Convention Act 1911 as far as the United Kingdom is concerned, but not as far as concerns Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. I understand that it is necessary for us to indicate the section of the Merchant Shipping Act which is indicated in this clause.
– That is in relation to vessels registered here, but I think the part of the Bill in which this clause is to be inserted relates to British ships.
Proposed new clause agreed to.
Amendments (by Mr. Tudor) agreed to -
That the following new clauses be inserted : - 265A. - (1.) The master or person in charge of a vessel shall, so far as he can do so without serious danger to his own ship, her crew and passengers (if any), render assistance to every person, even if such person be a subject of a foreign State at war with the King, who is found at sea in danger of being lost. (2.) The master or person in charge of a vessel, who fails to comply with the provisions of this section, shall be guilty of an indictable offence. (3.) Compliance by the master or person in charge of a vessel with the provisions of this section shall not affect his right or the right of any other person to salvage. “271A. - (1.) Every -
Foreign going ship trading regularly with the Commonwealth; or
Australian trade ship on a voyage between consecutive ports which exceeds a prescribed distance and having one hundred persons or more on board, shall be provided with hospital accommodation of such a character, and so placed and arranged as to afford proper means of isolation for cases of communicable disease which may arise during the voyage, and for any persons attending to such cases. (2.) The accommodation shall include the ne cessary lavatory and sanitary accommodation And such other accommodation as is prescribed. (3.) The hospital shall, wherever practicable, toe placed on the top deck aft or on the boat deck as far back as practicable. (4.) The master of a vessel who fails to comply with this section, and who suffers his vessel to enter any port or place in Australia shall be guilty of an offence.
Penalty (on master or owner) : One hundred pounds.”
Amendment (by Mr. Tudor) proposed -
That the following new clause be inserted : - “ 286A. - (1.) A ship shall not engage in the coasting trade which is receiving, or which under any arrangement is to receive, or which in the immediately preceding twelve months has been receiving, directly or indirectly, any subsidy or bonus from any Government other than thatof a part of the British Dominions.
Penalty (on master, owner, or agent) : Five hundred pounds. (2.) Any payment for services bona fide ren dered in the carriage of mails, passengers, or goods, at rates based solely on the actual commercial value of these services, shall not be taken to be a subsidy within the meaning of this section.”
– I do not know why it is provided in this new clause that a vessel that has been at any time during the preceding twelve months receiving a subsidy shall be disqualified from engaging in the coasting trade. I never could see why this limitation should be put in. It is restrictive, and will apply to vessels which are no longer receiving subsidies as long as they have Been receiving them during the preceding twelve months.
– I think the clause is perfectly fair. It is not retrospective.
.- The new clause is, in effect, retrospective, because it says that “ a ship shall not engage in the coasting trade which is receiving, or which, under any arrangement, is to receive, or which in the immediately preceding twelve months has been receiving” a subsidy. Suppose this measure were to come into force on 1st January next year. A vessel may have been in receipt of subsidies for the whole of the present year. When she received them’ this clause was not in contemplation. But theBill will operate so as to exclude her from engaging in the coastal trade. What is the reason for it? The desire is, generally speaking, of course to exclude vessels which are in receipt of subsidies from engaging in the coasting trade. We have agreed to that. But under this clause the Government are harking back twelve months before the Bill comes into force. If the measure were not to come into force for a period of twelve months, there might be some reason for it, but I presume that the Government will bring it into force as soon as they can. The clause seems to me to act unjustly in that respect, because it will involve a prohibition of vessels engaging in the coasting trade which are not in receipt of subsidies at the time, although they did receive subsidies twelve months before. The clause appears to me to go further than is needed. We only wish to keep out vessels actually in receipt of subsidies. The mere fact that a vessel received a subsidy twelve months before need not prevent her engaging in the trade. Will the Minister explain the reason for this clause?
– The object of this clause is to prevent unfair competition, which may be brought about in various ways. It has to be remembered that the British mercantile marine is an established and persistent fact. The mercantile marine of other countries has to fight for a share of trade. Other countries pay subsidies to their mercantile marine because it is comparatively small. But it is impossible for the British mercantile marine to be subsidized correspondingly. The honorable member for Angas takes exception to the fact that we are bringing under the prohibition vessels that have been receiving subsidies. I think that is very necessary. Take a case. Suppose a subsidy is paid for any twelve months at the rate of one penny per ton, or per running mile, according to the French practice, or in a lump sum. All that would have to be done to avoid this clause would be to pay double the subsidy for one year, and the subsidized ship would have the. free run of our coast for a year, at any rate. Other arrangements might be made for the next year, calculated to destroy the purpose of the clause. If the prohibition is necessary at all, it is necessary to be put in this form.
Proposed new clause agreed to.
Amendments (by Mr. Tudor) agreed to-
That the following new clauses be inserted : - “ 328A. Where any dispute arises as to the apportionment of any amount of salvage amongst the owners, master, pilot, crew, and other persons in the service of any foreign vessel, the amount shall be apportioned by the Court or person making the apportionment in accordance with the law of the country to which the vessel belongs.” “397A. - (1.) No action shall be maintainable to enforce any claim or lien against a vessel or her owners in respect of any damage or loss to another vessel, her cargo or freight, or any property on board her, or damage for loss of life or personal injuries suffered by any person on board her, caused by the fault of the former vessel, whether such vessel be wholly or partly in fault, or in respect of any salvage services, unless proceedings therein are commenced within two years from the date when the damage or loss or injury was caused or the salvage services were rendered. (2.) No action shall be maintainable under this
Act to enforce any contribution in respect of an over-paid proportion of any damages for loss of life or personal injuries unless proceedings therein are commenced within one year from the date of payment. (3.) Any Court having jurisdiction to deal with an action to which this section relates may, in accordance with the rules of court extend any period mentioned in this section to such an extent and on such conditions as it thinks fit, and shall, if satisfied that there has not during such period been any reasonable opportunity of arresting the defendant vessel within the jurisdiction of the Court, or within the territorial waters of the country to which the plaintiff’s vessel belongsor in which the plaintiff resides or has his principal place of business, extend any such period to an extent sufficient to give such reasonable opportunity. (4.) For the purposes of this section, the expression’ freight ‘ includes passage money and hire, and reference to damage or loss caused by the fault of a vessel shall be construed as including references to any salvage or other expenses, consequent upon that fault, recoverable at law by way of damages.” “ 415A. - (1.) No official performing any duty under this Act shall be taken to sea without his consent.
Penalty : One hundred pounds. (2.) The owner or master of any ship in which any official is taken to sea illegally shall, in addition to any penalty for an offence against this section, be liable to pay all expenses incidental to the official’s return to duty.” “422a. - The Governor-General may by order declare that, subject to such conditions, limitations, and restrictions as are expressed in the order, the provisions of this Act or such of them as are mentioned in the order shall not apply to fishing boats, pleasure yachts, missionary ships, or other vessels not carrying passengersor goods for hire.” “ 191. - (1.) The Minister may appoint persons to be surveyors. (2.) Persons appointed to be surveyors shall be skilled in regard to -
wooden hulls and equipment ;
metal hulls and equipment, and boilers; or
engines and machinery.” “351. - (1.) No pilot shall bepersonally liable in pecuniary damages for any damage or loss occasioned by his neglect or want of skill. (2.) The Commonwealth shall not be liable for any damage or loss occasioned by the neglect or want of skill of any pilot.”
. -I move-
That the following new clause be inserted : - 416A. - (1.) The agents in Australia of any ship not registered therein shall be deemed to be the legal representatives of the master and owner of the ship after the departure of the ship from the port at which she was discharging for the purpose of receiving and paying claims for short delivery or pillage of cargo, and the amount of any such claim may be recovered from such agents in any Federal or State Court of competent jurisdiction. (2.) Provided that it shall be lawful for such agents, by notice in writing delivered to the collector not later than twenty-four hours before the departure of any ship, to decline to accept any responsibility under this section in respect of that ship, in which case the master shall, before the ship is allowed her clearance, give security to the satisfaction of the Minister for the payment of any sum which, together with costs, may be recovered against the agents of such ship. (3.) No proceedings for the recovery of any claim under this section shall be taken unless notice thereof is given to the agents not later than seven days after the delivery of the cargo in respect of which the claim is made.
Some merchants have drawn attention to the fact that a clause ought to be inserted to meet the case of ships clearing out of Australian ports without discharging obligations incurred here. That particularly applies to tramp ships. I am aware that some honorable members on the Ministerial side think the matter ought to be considered by the Government. The honorable member for Melbourne spoke to me about it yesterday, and the honorable member for Hindmarsh has also mentioned the subject. Under the circumstances, I thought it better to draft and circulate a clause to meet the object in view. It is intended to make the agent of a ship responsible for the obligations of the owner, giving the agent power to disclaim any liability by giving twenty-four hours’ notice before the vessel clears out. That would afford persons having claims against a vessel to take proceedings to stop her if the agent disclaimed liability. The clause as drafted is practically the same as one which appeared in the Bill of 1904. I have tried to find out the reason why it was excised then. I think the reason is that the whole of the clauses dealing with bills of lading and cognate matters were omitted. Some may be covered by the Sale of Goods Act. But, in omitting the whole of the -clauses to which I have referred, the Senate dropped a provision which is necessary to be inserted in this Bill. There is some anxiety in connexion with the matter. The Adelaide Chamber of Commerce have sent me a letter on the subject, and I have also had letters from merchants.
– This clause is no doubt intended to deal with an unsatisfactory condition of affairs. I understand that merchants are frequently placed at a disadvantage owing to there being no responsible person from whom they can recover. But I am bound to say, after a perusal of the -clause, that it appears to me to create some room for complication and uncertainty. If the honorable member for Angas would be satisfied with an assurance that the subject shall be looked into, I shall be glad. If it is found necessary to protect the merchant in this way, a provision can be inserted hereafter.
– The Bill can be recommitted.
– If the honorable member will consent to the postponement of the proposed new clause, I shall consult with Mr. Garran, whom I expect to be here in a moment or two.
– I should like to know, Mr. Chairman, whether it is permissible, after the schedules have been considered, to propose a new clause.
– It can be done on the recommittal of the Bill.
– The question of pillaging has been under consideration by the ComptrollerGeneral, with whom I have had several consultations with a view to comprehensive legislation. I think, however, that a Navigation Bill is not the place for such a provision, its only connexion with navigation being that the Collector of Customs may refuse a ship permission to leave. I have no objection to the clause, because, after all, it is only carrying out a proper principle. I point out, however, that the goods which are mostly stolen are those in every-day use, quite a different class from those carried by tramp steamers.
– Beer, I suppose, is often stolen?
– We do not count that as pillage, but, rather, as has just been suggested to me, as leakage. I suggest that the consideration of the clause be postponed.
– I confess I do not know where this provision ought to be made, but it ought to be made somewhere.
Proposed new clause postponed.
– I move -
That the following new clause be inserted - “ Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in this Act or the Commonwealth Public Service Act 1902, no pilot shall be compulsorily retired before the age at which he would have been retired had he remained in the service of his State.”
The principle underlying the proposed new clause is very simple. Under this Bill, a number of pilots throughout the Commonwealth will be transferred to the Federal Service. I do not know what are the conditions of employment in the .other .States, but in South Australia the pilots are Government servants at the present time, and I am sure none of us desire to see a repetition of the misunderstanding and trouble that were experienced in connexion with the transferred postal officials. Under the Public Service Act of the Commonwealth the retiring age is sixty-five, whereas in South Australia, under the State Act, pilots, who, of course, are competent, may continue their work until the age of seventy. It appears to me only fair that, if these men are taken over under this Bill, they should retain all the rights they now enjoy under the State law. Of course, in regard to pilots engaged in the future, the retiring age may be fixed at any point we desire - it is all a matter of the contract. In the case of the transferred pilots, however, we are practically making a new agreement ; and, unless a clause of this kind is passed, they will practically have no rights at all, just as the transferred postal officers have, unfortunately, found out. The new clause cannot entail any great expenditure, and I can see no objection to it. It is not suggested that inefficient or incapable pilots should be kept on until they are seventy, or whatever may be the retiring age in the several States at the present time. The seafaring life, we know, is a hard one, and, doubtless, all the weak men are weeded out in their young days; at any rate, we know that the shipmasters and pilots, who have been navigating our coasts for the last thirty or forty years, are a robust and hardy lot. Navigation is a matter of experience, of knowledge and nerve, and nerve most of all. The difference between two navigators is much the same as that between two generals ; one, who has all the book learning possible, does nothing but lose battles, while the other, with not half the learning, is gifted with nerve and dash and sound judgment, and always wins. We ought to have men of nerve and knowledge as our pilots, and they should be retained as long as they are capable of doing their duty.
– AttorneyGeneral) [n.25]. - I hope the honorable member will not insist on this amendment. Whether the principle of compulsory retirement at the age of sixty-five is a sound one in all cases, I should not like to say ; in some cases, I think it is not. It is clear, however, that we must have uniformity. I am free to admit that there are men of sixty-five who are as well able as men of twentyfive to perform the duties of a pilot; and while an age limit is general, the principle may have to be reviewed and modified in view of our improved hygienic conditions and consequent prolongation of life. I have known men in the Public Service retired at sixty-five who were as competent to perform their duties as they ever had been. But it would be anomalous if in New South Wales, for instance, the pilots were retired at that age, while those in South Australia could continue their work until they were seventy. If there is to be any compulsory retirement ft should apply equally throughout the Commonwealth. To abolish compulsory retirement at a certain age, would throw the onus on some person or persons of saying that a public servant might go on indefinitely ; and in a large and growing service like that of the Commonwealth, this would lead to a condition of things worse than that caused by retiring, in a few cases, public servants who were physically and mentally capable of continuing their duty. Generally a pilot, when he has reached the age of sixty-five, finds his sight, hearing, and general capacity not so good as formerly ; and, beyond those faculties which are capable of test, there is that tendency to break down, which, of course, becomes more accentuated as a man grows older. Since, then, there must be, I think, a retiring age, that retiring age should be uniform. A similar argument to that used by the honorable member for Hindmarsh, was used in the case of the postal officials. Seventy may not be a great age for some pilots, but it is a great age for pilots in general ; and, therefore, while we are not by any means circumscribed by the Public Service Act in this connexion, there ought, to be uniformity.
– Is there a retiring age for Judges ?
– Judges are judges of their own fitness.
Mr. TUDOR (Yarra- Minister of Trade
States sixty-five is the retiring age for pilots. In Victoria, after the Australia disaster, the retiring age was fixed at sixty, and practically, I believe, by the pilots themselves. We know that in Victoria the pilots are really a private corporation ; and I think that, if they, in their own interests, fixed the age at sixty, we should not go beyond sixty-five.
– At the time of the Australia disaster, it was shown that the Victorian pilots had not been medically examined for ten years.
– Some had not, but, in any case, there has been a reform in that connexion. In view of the fact that steamers are getting larger, and that the pilots, whose responsibilities are becoming greater, are exempt from all responsibility for damage, I hope the amendment will not be pressed. There may be hardship in one or two cases. I have been very reluctant in some cases to retire men. who were engaged only- as temporary employes, and1 were well over the retiring age. We must, however, be very- careful- that men- occupying highly responsible positions should not be permitted to continue in them when they have ceased to be at their best. No doubt many of us think that we are just as fit to-day as we were- ten or twenty years ago, but we may at any moment be suddenly shocked to find that we are not. I hope that the honorable member will not press his amendment.
Proposed new clause negatived.
– I propose to ask the Committee to leave out schedule 1 and to substitute for it the following schedule : -
(1.) SCALE OF DECK OFFICERS.
Every British ship registered in Australia or engaged in the coasting trade (other than a limited coast trade or river and bay ship of less than fifteen tons gross registered tonnage) shall be provided with a duly certificated master, and, in addition, with other duly certificated deck officers according to the following scale : -
– Perhaps the Minister will explain the difference between schedule1 of the Bill and the schedule he proposes to substitute for it. The matter is technical, and we must rely upon the departmental officers for information as to the alterations involved.
– So far as the scale for deck officers is concerned, I do not think there is any very great alteration. It will be seen, however, that in the case of river and bay ships, provision is made in the schedule to the Bill for a mate, without any statement as to classification, while we propose now to provide that the holder of a second mate’s foreign-going certificate may ship as first mate of a limited coast trade ship, or as a mate of a river and bay ship. We are proposing to liberalize the schedule.
– The Minister does not mean by that an increase in the numbers provided for?
– No; what I mean is that under the schedule we propose to substitute for that in the Bill men who do not hold the higher certificates will be allowed to take charge of what may be called the lower class of boats, such as river and bay boats. With regard to the second part of the schedule, covering the scale of engineroom officers and greasers, the honorable member for Darling Downs, as a member of the Navigation Commission, will remember that the scale proposed was the subject of much controversy. The Amalgamated Society of Engineers, the Marine Engine Drivers Society, and third-class engineers are all interested, and with other persons vitally affected by the schedule they put their views before the Commission. Under the schedule in the Bill a third-class coast engineer could take charge of a river and bay boat under 55 nominal horse-power with a run of under 20 miles. It is proposed to liberalize that provision, and to provide that the holder of a thirdclass coast engineer’s certificate may take charge of a river and bay boat under 85 nominal horse-power with a run from the place of departure not specified. Except in the case of the limited coast trade there was only one step provided for such a man. It is now proposed to make arrangements which will enable such a man to go from third to second, and from that to first-class coast engineer, and providing he passes the necessary examination he will be able to secure the Board of Trade certificate for a secondclass engineer. In framing the proposed new schedule we have consulted the marine engine-drivers and the third-class engi neers, and the schedule as proposed will enable men, provided they pass the necessary examination, to work their way up into the higher grades.
– I suppose the Minister will require proper tests of efficiency throughout.
– Certainly. There are a good many men who hold third-class engineer’s certificates, and under the schedule of the Bill no provision was made except in one instance to enable them to work their way up. Under the new schedule proposed many more opportunities will be afforded them provided they are efficient and pass the necessary examination to progress in their profession. I am sure it is not the desire of any member of the Committee to prevent an efficient man, who shows a desire to equip himself for some better position, from working his way up. I understand that some honorable members desire to move an amendment in a particular section of the proposed schedule.
– I think that in the scale for deck officers in the proposed new schedule where a reference is made to a coast trade or river and bay ship of less than 15 tons gross tonnage the tonnage should be fixed at 100 tons.
– Throughout the Bill we have altered the 15 tons to 50 tons.
– Not in this connexion, but I shall look into that matter and see whether it is necessary to make the alteration. I prefer, if honorable members will allow me, to continue dealing with the scale of engineers and greasers. I have said that the new schedule we propose will afford opportunities of promotion that are not afforded by the schedule of the Bill. In clause 21 we have provided that all uncancelled and unexpired certificates of competency for masters or ship officers, which include engineers, issued under any State Act shall continue as if issued under this Bill, but shall be valid only for the purposes and to the extent to which they would have been valid under the State Act under which they were issued.
– That is to say, that the holder of a New South Wales certificate will be protected in his grade for that State, but it will not be good for the Commonwealth unless he complies with the provisions of our. law.
– That is so. But though we give him an opportunity to transfer his certificate, he may not be able to get a job. It must be remembered that the third-class engineer’s certificates which have been issued by the different States are not of the same relative value. Those- issued by some States are of a higher class than those issued byothers, since they involve the passing of a higher examination. In some cases, a man had only to be a deck hand and a fireman for a little time to secure a third-class engineer’s certificate upon the passing of a very simple examination. Such a man should only receive a third-class coast engineer’s certificate, which would be good only on river and bay boats, and should not take charge of a boat going outside a harbor. The thirdclass engineer’s certificate issued by some of the States requires much qualification. It may be necessary for the Marine Council we have provided for to grade these certificates according to their value. We have tried to arrange the proposed new schedule in such a way as to deal fairly with all men holding certificates at the present time, as well as those who will follow this calling in the future, giving them every opportunity, if they pass the necessary examination, to progress from one grade to another.
– Are we to understand that the holders of a third-class engineer’s certificate will not be competent to take a vessel outside a river or bay ?
– Everything will depend upon the value of the certificate he holds. Some are allowed to go outside now with vessels of a certain nominal horse-power. We have tried to unify the different systems of the six States. After the adjournment on last Friday, the Attorney-General and myself stayed here until tea-time discussing the matter with the representatives of the bodies to whom I have referred, and, as a result, I think a schedule has been framed which, though it will not give either of these bodies all that they desire, will be more just than any schedule which has previously been framed. Holders of existing certificates will be able to do what they have done before.
– No; some third-class engineers can go outside the harbors now.
– Some will lose their tickets.
– Perhaps the honorable member will be able to show me how that can be.
– I wish to say a word or two before the
Committee negatives the existing schedule. The question to be considered is one of considerable difficulty. When the schedules were originally inserted in the Bill, the idea was that provision would be made for an expert committee, to whom the technical questions involved would be referred. I do not see why we should not adhere to the schedules originally proposed. We are now dealing with a part of the Bill which is of a highly technical character,, and. so far we have had no opportunity of checking it with a view to seeing exactly what it means. In regard to the position of engineers, my own view, as a member of the Navigation Commission - after having heard the opinions expressed by all parties who are interested in the measure - is that we should recognise and preserve to every man in the different States the rights and privileges which he possesses at present. We ought not to insert in the Bill any provision which will prevent him from earning his livelihood in the way that he has earned it hitherto. We ought also to afford him an opportunity to qualify for a higher position if he chooses to do so. At the same time, the standard of efficiency which has been heretofore observed, ought not to be lowered in any way. When we come to deal with that class of engineers who do not hold Board of Trade certificates, we ought not to put them in the same position as we do engineers who are in a higher grade. But we ought to afford them an opportunity of qualifying for those higher grades, provided that they comply with the conditions which we lay down. The schedule in the Bill is a technical one, and in a matter of this kind we must rely absolutely upon expert advice and assistance. It seems to me that it would have been safer to retain the schedules which are set out in the Bill, and to allow an expert committee to deal with them.
– We cannot let the experts do everything.
– The schedule in the Bill has been there for years. It has passed the Senate, and it has been discussed both by ship-owners and men. At the very last moment it is proposed to substitute an entirely new schedule. Either we ought to adhere to the schedules which are set out in the Bill, or we ought to postpone consideration of the proposed new schedules until next week, in order that we may be afforded an opportunity of looking into them more closely. I should like to know from the Minister what effect the proposed new schedule will have upon the scale of officers which the original schedule prescribes in the case of limited coast-trade ships. I should also like to know the extent to which the proposed new schedule will alter the original schedule to the Bill in regard to the persons employed on river and bay boats. The Bill of 1907 did not contain any provision for the creation of a Marine Council. It contemplated the appointment of an expert committee to deal with each technical subject. Clause 423 provides -
The Minister may . . . for the purpose of advice upon any such questions, appoint committees including persons representative of the interests principally affected or having special knowledge of the subject-matter.
– Instead of appointing such Committees we have decided to create a Marine Council.
– The Government have taken to themselves both powers. Will the fixing of a scale, such as is proposed in the new schedule, be referred to a special select committee of those persons interested in the matter, or will it be referred to the Marine Council? To what extent will the adoption of Part II. of the proposed new schedule increase the number of men employed on the river and bay boats, the limited coast-trade vessels, and the Inter- State vessels?
– I do not think that the proposed new schedule will increase the number of men employed upon the vessels mentioned. It will merely vary the certificate which engineers will be required to hold as compared with the certificate for which the original schedule in the Bill provided. We propose that in the limited coastal trade it shall not be necessary for vessels to carry a greaser. That is to say, that in a vessel between 100 and 200 horse-power we have decreased the number of men who may be employed, because in some cases it may not be necessary to carry a greaser. The new schedule will not increase the number of engineers who will be carried. Previously a third class engineer could be employed only on river and bay vessels of less than 55 horsepower, but in the proposed new schedule he will be at liberty to engage on any such vessel up to 85 horse-power. In short, the proposed new schedule has been framed with a view to meeting the varying conditions which obtain in the different ports of Aus tralia. I think it is infinitely better than the old schedule, and that it will give greater satisfaction to all parties interested in this matter. The schedule in the Bill would not have given satisfaction to the interests affected.
– I think that the proposed new schedule is a big improvement upon that which is contained in the Bill. But there is one point upon which I amnot quite clear. To-day in New South Wales third class engineers may engage, not only on river and bay boats, but also on vessels employed in the limited coastal trade. By virtue of the certificates which they hold they are able to travel for a distance of 10c miles along the coast. I am not sure whether under the proposed new schedule they will not be debarred from doing that. I admit that clause 21 of the Bill protects all existing rights.
– Third class engineers go out now in vessels of less than 55 horsepower.
– In boats of what size?
– In boats of 55 horsepower.
– The proposed new schedule increases the size of the vessel in which those engineers may engage.
– It does not matter whether it increases the size of vessels by 100 horse-power if it debars these men from travelling along our coast as they do now. If the new schedule will preserve their existing rights I am satisfied. But it appears to me that by omitting them from the schedule, so far as the limitedcoastal trade is concerned, we shall prevent them from going out in vessels which travel 100 miles from port. The men who have third class engineers’ certificates to-day are entitled to continue running along our coast for a distance of 100 miles. 1 understand that the Minister wishes to preserve existing rights, and thinks that he has done so in clause 21. But seeing that this particular class of officers is not specifically mentioned in the schedule, I am inclined to think that some mistake may arise.
– This is one of the most important portions of the Bill. If the schedule contained in the measure will not give satisfaction to those who have to earn their living under it, it is idle for us to retain it. When we seek to bring about an altered condition of things by means of legislation, it is usual to recognise the claims of those who have been earning their living in a particular way up to that time. Take as an illustration the case of the master mariners. Many years ago, when the States were legislating upon navigation matters, they recognised that the examination which master mariners should be required to undergo ought to be the examination of the British Board of Trade. They were, however, faced with the difficulty that quite a number of old shipmasters and engineers could not pass that examination. But the shipowners were satisfied to commit the safety of their vessels into the hands of these men. Accordingly Parliament was approached, with the result that the difficulty was overcome by granting old shipmasters and engineers servitude certificates. It does not matter whether we like it or not, the fact remains that our past legislation is a jumble. At the present time, the law of one State is different from that of another. In their place we are. now to have a uniform law. In Great Britain they have very wisely recognised only the British Board of Trade tickets. So far as the small fry are concerned, the authorities have said, “ From Cape Finisterre to the Elbe you can do what you like. If people are prepared to employ you, let them do so; we shall not bother our heads about you.” We have not clone that here. The third-class engineer’s tickets issued by the States- are not recognised by the Board of Trade. As a matter of fact, they are not recognised here, and very properly so. The Board of Trade certificates must be recognised for the security of our own lads. It will never do for them to go to the Old Country with a ticket which is not equal to one that they can obtain from the Board of Trade in any English port. All that I am urging, so far as this schedule is concerned, is that we ought not to take away the existing rights of these men. I am putting before the Committee, as I promised to do, the claims of the third-class engineers, to the best of my ability, and I shall leave honorable members to decide, after hearing the facts, what course ought to be adopted. I say nothing about the younger men who hold third-class certificates. If they can pass the examination, let them do so ; but, surely, middle-aged men, who for many years have been earning their living on our rivers and harbors as holders of third-class engineer’s certificates, should not suddenly be deprived of this means of earning a livelihood. I am sure that we should all be very sorry if any action on our part had that result. The position is that New South Wales issues a third-class engineer’s certificate which entitles the holder to take a vessel of 50 nominal horse-power to any part of the New South Wales coast. The holder of a third-class engineer’s certificate is allowed to take a vessel of any nominal horse-power in rivers and bays. Tasmania issues a port engineer’s certificate, allowing the holder to take charge of a vessel of any nominal horse-power within any of the port limits of Tasmania. That is a more restricted ticket. Then, again, Victoria issues a marine engine-driver’s certificate, which entitles the holder to take charge of engines under 100 nominal horse-power, and which is applicable to all ports and harbors in Victoria. Queensland issues a third-class engineer’s certificate, which entitles the holder to take a vessel with engines up to 50 nominal horsepower to any part of the Queensland coast. There, again, we have a more extended certificate. Then I find that South Australia issues a third-class engineer’s certificate, which allows the holder to take charge of steamers of unlimited nominal horse-power on the inland waters, and up to 50 nominal horse-power on the coast. These certificates are recognised by the authorities as being practically of equal value, and holders have been allowed to work on them in any of the States, thus making them interchangeable by usage. Under this schedule, however, the holders of these certificates will have a restriction placed upon their rights. I should not object to an age limit; I am really anxious to protect the middle-aged men who hold these third-class tickets. Their certificates, I think, ought to be recognised. They should be allowed to exchange them for a second-class coast ticket, which would enable them practically to take charge of a vessel on a voyage round the Australian coast. Unless we are prepared to do that, we shall certainly restrict the value qf these third-class tickets. I suggest to the Minister that, with the assistance of the AttorneyGeneral, he should draft a clause providing that any man, say, over the age of forty years, shall be allowed to exchange his third-class engineer’s ticket for a secondclass coasting ticket.
– We could not do that, because some of those third-class tickets are not equal to a second-class coasting ticket. I said distinctly that they would have to be graded because the examination was higher in some States than in others.
– In dealing with legislation of this character, examinations do not count.
– We propose to give’ these men a ticket equal to those which they hold now.
– That is not the position under this schedule.
– It is, under clause 21, and the men are satisfied. They told me that they were.
– They are not satisfied.
– Every right they now enjoy they will continue to enjoy. Nothing that they now have is taken from them by this Bill.
– And we are giving them a better schedule than they have ever had.
– If the AttorneyGeneral will show that these men will continue to enjoy what they now have I shall be satisfied.
– They know that they will.
– They do not.
– Whatever rights the holders of third-class engineer’s certificates now enjoy they will continue to enjoy.
– That may be so under the clause to .which reference has been made, but it is not the position under this schedule.
.- I desire to be quite sure that under this schedule the men will have exactly the same rights that they enjoy by reason of the certificates they now hold. I wish to be sure that by adopting this schedule we shall not take away from these men their means of livelihood.
– Look at clause 21.
– I think it covers the point, but I do not know for what period these certificates are issued.
– Holders of tickets that have been issued for all time will receive one for all time in exchange.
– But if they were issued, say, for only three years-
– They are not.
– They are certificates of competency for all time.
– They operate for all time, or during good behaviour, and we are to understand that the certificates issued under the new schedule will carry all the privileges conferred by the existing certificates held by these men?
– That is so.
– The position in regard to the third-class engineers has been very exhaustively discussed at different times by the Senate and the Royal Commission on the Navigation Bill, and has also been the subject of very earnest consideration by the Government and by the representatives of the societies concerned. Every effort has been made to obtain information straight from the fountain head of each interest affected, and this procedure is obviously sound. It is not pretended for one moment that a member of Parliament can know as much about every industry as do those who follow them. We have therefore gone in each case direct to the ship-owners, the Masters and Officers, the Australasian Institute of Marine Engineers, the Amalgamated Society of Engineers, the third-class engineers, the seamen, and others. It is not said that we have agreed to everything put forward, but the conflicting interests by conference and by mutual concession have been so adjusted that the schedule as a whole is now as acceptable to the various parties as seems possible, having due regard to public interests. At the latest conference dealing with this schedule there were present the general secretary of the Marine, Institute and the general secretary of the Federated Masters’ and Engineers’ Association of Australia. After a lengthy discussion, certain points were brought out by the secretary of the Masters and Engineers Association, and were adjusted to his satisfaction and to that of the general secretary of the association. The principle that we desire to attain is first of all that no man’s position will be made worse by this Bill. Clause 2 absolutely safeguards that. That is to say, whatever a third class engineer can do now he will be able to do when this Bill comes into operation. No one will be any worse off by the passing of this Bill than he is now. If a man can take a boat of 65 horse-power anywhere at present, he will be able to do so under this Bill. If he can take a vessel of any horse-power to any part of the New South Wales coast, he will continue to be able to do so. Whatever he can do now he will continue to be able to do. In addition, he will have something that he had never any hope of getting before, and that is the means of obtaining a first-class Board certificate without shop experience. This will place in the hands of every greaser, marine engine-driver, or third-class engine-driver, the means of becoming a first-class engineer. Just as a private carries a marshal’s baton in his knapsack, so these men will carry with them, under this Bill, the chance of becoming first-class engineers. The schedule has been amended to remove the last objection. The man who now holds a third class coast engineer’s certificate may take service with such a boat as will enable him to qualify for a second-class coast certificate, then for a first-class coast certificate, and in turn for a second-class Board of Trade certificate. These men will be asked to undergo, not a literary, but a practical, examination. We cannot set it forth in the Bill, but the joint committee of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers and the Australian Institute of Marine Engineers have drawn up what they regard as a fair, practical test of a man’s acquaintance with marine engines. This is what they recommend as the practical test to be required from candidates for examination for first or second class Commonwealth or coastal certificates under the Bill:- ist. Mark oft and chip and file out a keyway less than 6 inches by i inch in pulley, shaft, or boss, and properly fit key thereto. 2nd. Bore a 2-in. hole in a £-in. plate; chip and file it out a true hexagon, then fit di round bar not less Ulan 6 inches long into it. 3rd. Properly bed, fit, and groove a brass on shaft or crank pin. 4th. Correctly mark off, cut the seat, fit the feather, and adjust an eccentric sheave on shaft, also fit on the strap. 5th. Chip and file up two cast-iron flat surfaces at least 12 inches square as representing a valve and cylinder face. 6th. Mark off a check valve or other boiler mounting, drill and tap the holes, put in the studs, and make a high-pressure steam joint. 7th. Turning : Bore out and bush a gland, true up and cut the thread on a bottom end bolt ; bore out a pair of brasses ; turn up a pin for any part of the surface. 8th. Smithing : Make a pair of hollow bit tongs; make a flat, round nose, and cross-cut chisel; a 12-in. drill to fit a ratchet brace; weld together two 1½-in. round or square bars.
Without committing myself to that, I put it forward as typical of an examination of a wholly practical kind. It has nothing to do with asking men questions of a highly technical nature, over which a third class engineer, perhaps not being a scholar, might find himself in difficulties. It is a practical examination, and is the only thing that stands between a third class coast engineer and a first class Board of Trade certificate. I say to the third class engineers of Australia that their interests are amply safeguarded. What they have now ‘they hold, and the intention of the Government is that they shall hold it. That is plain English, and there is no ambiguity about it. Not only that, but the schedule aims at giving them the means of qualifying successively through the various grades that separate the third class coast engineer under the Bill from a first class engineer holding a Board of Trade certificate.
.- I propose to ask the Committee to accept the schedule as put forward by the Minister. The Institute of Marine Engineers - my own society - and the Masters’ and Drivers’ Association, or, as they call themselves, the Federated Masters’ and Engineers’ Association, met a few days ago. This has been a question of great dispute amongst the contending organizations, and it has also been a matter of the utmost interest to the employers themselves. I can safely say that to-day there is some unanimity among us, but we are not agreed upon every possible point. We have attained a fair line of compromise, as expressed in the amended schedule that the Minister has put before the Committee. I think that in some aspects the Masters’ and Engineers’ Association are seeking for more than they are entitled to, and the Committee will have to be very careful in determining the nature of the tests that third class men must go through. The Attorney-General expressed himself in favour of what he is pleased to term a practical test, and that test is undoubtedly desirable. It must be passed in the interests of the life and property of the people of Australia, as a guarantee of the efficiency of any man who steps out of a river and bay ship on to a coastal vessel, and I take it that it will be placed in the regulations. But something more is wanted. There will have to be embodied in the requirements for any certificate that these men get some technical training and knowledge. It is not simply a matter of getting practical experience in a workshop or at a technical school. Practical knowledge is not enough to create efficiency such as is requisite in a second or first class engineer. Let these men get that technical knowledge or information, I do not care how. I raise no objection, because I believe every man has a right to climb to the height of his ambition, but his efficiency must be proved. No doubt many members have had placed in their hands a circular from the Federated Masters’ and Engineers’ Association. I desire to point out certain misrepresentations in it, although I do not say that they were wilfully made. Under the heading of “ unlimited nominal horse-power in rivers and bays,” the following statement appears : -
In the State of New South Wales we have had the privilege for nil time, and we think that the examination the third-class engineer has to undergo entitles him to retain the same. Ninety per cent, of the ferries running in Port Jackson are manned by third-class engineers in charge of engines, and have given every satisfaction to the different companies, who prefer this class of man (holder of a third-class certificate), as being the most suitable for their class of work
It is not a question of preferring this class of man ; it is a question of not getting the abler man for the same money. I admit that a very large percentage of those vessels is manned by them, but only for the reason that the other engineers will not serve at the rates offered on those boats. It is stated further -
At the present time there are six vessels being built for the Sydney Ferries Limited, all of which are over 55 n.h.p., which means that if the Bill as passed by the Senate becomes law, the future third class engineer will be debarred from acting as engineer on any of these steamers -
It would not be so. These are harbor vessels, and those men would not be debarred, apart from the fact that preference would be given to the more skilled men.
– That circular referred to the old schedule.
– I was not aware of it, but these statements may have some influence upon the minds of honorable members. They say further-
Whereas at the present time a number of our members are employed in some of the largest ferry steamers in Port Jackson. (The Manly steamer Brighton is 232 n.h.p.)
Let me point out how misleading a statement of that sort is. These people have not one individual in the Manly Ferries Company’s service. All the engineers in that service are members of the Institute of Marine Engineers or of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers, and the company will not accept any others. The largest vessels of the Sydney Ferries Company Limited are not manned by these gentlemen, so that in that regard there is a gross misrepresentation in the circular, misleading to the House, and most undesirable from the stand-point of the public well-being. I believe the amended schedule proposed by the Minister is the best line of compromise that we can get, and I think it will give to the members of this organization all the opportunity that they desire. If they have ability they can utilize it to go as high as they please. All that we ask in the interests of our own trade, and. of the public well-being, is that they should not be permitted to take any step forward unless they can show such competency as will justify it.
.- With other honorable members, I am pleased that the Minister has endeavoured to meet the difficulty in regard to the employment of third class engineers. The honorable member for Dalley stated that certain information supplied to honorable members is not in accordance with facts so far as the Brighton is concerned. If any society is guilty of supplying honorable members with misleading information of this kind, it is doing a very wrong thing, because members cannot be expected to be in touch with all’ the technical details of professional occupations; and must be guided by tha information supplied to them. I have no proof beyond the information supplied to me that the Association has members employed on the boats referred to, but I am told that it has five members employed on the Brighton, the Kuringgai, and the Narrabeen. Notwithstanding the opinion expressed by the AttorneyGeneral, which, of course, carries weight with every honorable member, I am not yet clear in my mind that the Bill meets the case in the way he states. Clause 21 provides -
All uncancelled and unexpired certificates of competency for masters or ship’s officers issued under any State Act shall continue as if issued under this Act, but shall be valid only for the purposes for which, and to the extent to which, they would have been valid in accordance with the provisions of the State Act under which they were issued.
It is claimed that that includes “engineer ship officers.” I do not deny that that is the true interpretation to place upon it, and therefore we may say that it makes those holding third class engineer’s positions at present safe. But the schedule- and I do not know how we can have two conflicting statements in an Act of Parliament - provides that -
Every British steam-ship registered in Australia or engaged in the coasting ‘trade (other than a limited coast trade or river and bay ship of less than fifteen tons gross registered tonnage), shall be provided with duly certificated engine-room officers and with greasers according to the following scale - and then sets out a scale which, amongst other things, provides that, in New South Wales, river and bay steam-ships under eighty-five nominal horse-power can carry one third class engineer, while on ships of over eighty-five horse-power no third class engineer can be carried. How can that be said to preserve the existing rights of third class engineers? To-day, in the harbors and rivers of New South Wales no nominal horsepower is specified with regard to the employment of third class engineers. According to the schedule the third class engineer will disappear from all the boats over eighty-five nominal horse-power.
– What is the actual practice?
– Third class engineers can be employed in any river or harbor in New South Wales, irrespective of the vessel’s horse-power. So far as I can see, if clauses 10 and 21 preserve these men’s rights, the schedule conflicts with them, and fakes those rights away. According to the schedule, a vessel of rover 85 horsepower would not be able to carry a third class engineer on any river or harbor ; and under the New South Wales law vessels of only 50 horse-power can be taken anywhere along the coast by a third class engineer. Under the schedule, limited coast-trade vessels will be prevented from carrying third class engineers, and this will lead to the dismissal of men holding third class certificates who are now employed on such vessels. It is useless to say that by clause 21 the existing rights of the engineers are preserved, if you enact in the schedule that third class engineers shall be excluded from the employment in which they are now engaged. My opinion is that under the schedule many of the men to whom I refer will lose their positions, and I want the Minister to make sure that they shall be fully protected. The AttorneyGeneral tells us that the existing rights are protected, but to my mind they are not sure of their position, in view of the requirements of the schedule. T am told that in Victoria a third class engineer can be employed on a steamer of roo horsepower. But as the schedule prohibits the employment of an engineer of that class on any vessel exceeding 85 horse-power, it will mean the loss of a job to several engineers. No doubt the Minister wishes to meet the position, but I think that he should see that it is not being met. It is useless to say to the engineers, “ Your rights are preserved,” and to the owners of certain vessels, “ You must not employ third class engineers.” With such a conflict of law the result must be that certain third class engineers now in employment will be dismissed. Men who are working on vessels trading along the coast will have to seek employment on harbor and river steamers. This being the effect of the Bill, it cannot be said that their existing rights are preserved.
– I find some difficulty regarding the position of engineers. The question appears to be, not whether the certificates of third class engineers will remain in force, but whether, although possessing those certificates, the men may not in some cases be deprived of their jobs because of the requirements of the schedule. Clause 21 says that all uncancelled and unexpired certificates of competency for masters and ships’ officers issued under State Acts shall continue to be issued under Commonwealth law. In effect, we tell the holders of certificates that they may still retain them for what they are worth. But if we impose on the owners of ships prohibitions in regard to the employment of the holders of certificates of a certain class,, the result will be that we shall deprive some of the holders of such certificates of their jobs, although they still possess their certificates. A limited coasttrade steamer of 200 horse-power and over will be compelled to carry as a minimum, one first class engineer and one second classengineer. Possibly such a vessel is now carrying only one first class and one third class engineer.
– A vessel of the power referred to must carry a first class and a second class engineer and one other man, who may be an uncertificated man, or a man undergoing training. Such vessels would not now carry one first class and one third class engineer.
– Well, river and. bay steamers of 200 horse-power and over must carry at least one second class engineer. Such vessels may now in some instances be carrying third class engineers.
– In New South Walesthird class engineers are being employed.
– Not on vessels of 200 horse-power.
– The point to which I wish to direct attention is that, although a third class engineer’s rights are to be preserved, such men in many cases may lose their present jobs when the Act becomes law. I have no practical knowledge of this subject, but it does not seem to me that clause 21 will maintain men in their present jobs. We are requiring the employment of engineers of higher attainments than are now employed on some steamers, and the result must be that some of those now employed must be dismissed.
– I have intimated that I will accept an amendment.
– An amendment seems to be required. Clause11 imposes on all steam-ship owners the absolute obligation to comply with the schedule in the manning of their vessels, and the requirements of the schedule may result in some third class engineers being deprived of their present positions, although their certificates still hold good. Some amendment will, I think, be necessary.
– This is a most important matter, as it affects the rights of a great number of persons, and I want to make perfectly sure that I have clearly caught the point put by the honorable member for Flinders. I understood him to say that the effect of clause 21, read with the schedules and the enacting clauses, is that while the rights of the persons mentioned in clause 21 are conserved, their position and opportunities for employment are or may be affected.
– Very well. I wish to state now the intention of the Government. The intention of the clause is that not only should the rights of these persons be conserved in a technical sense, but that, included in their rights, opportunities for employment in the same capacity and to the same extent as they now enjoy should not be affected by anything in the Bill so far as a certificate of competency and status is concerned. I am of the opinion that the clause does that. It says - (1.) All uncancelled and unexpired certificates of competency for masters or ship’s officers issued under any State Act shall continue as if issued under this Act, but shall be valid only for the purposes for which, and to the extent to which, they would have been valid in accordance with the provisions of the State Act under which they were issued.
If a certificate is issued under this Bill and has the same effect as it would have had-
– If it is issued under this Bill it would still have been issued as a third class certificate.
– Yes ; but it will be issued under the Bill subject to the qualification that if it was a certificate under a State Act it is to have the same validity as if issued under this Bill for the purposes and to the extent that it would have been valid if issued under a State Act. The whole question is : To what extent is a certificate of competency issued under a State Act now valid? Because, to whatever extent it is now valid it will be valid under the clause. I do not think that we can serve any useful purpose by discussing the matter any more, because we are all trying to do the one thing. The Government are trying to safeguard the rights of these men. If upon inquiry of the Law Officers I find that the opinion which I hold, and about which the honorable and learned member has some doubt, is not upheld, we shall strengthen the clause so as to make the intention perfectly clear.
– I think thatin their contention the honorable members for Hunter and Flinders overlooked one essential and most important particular. We are faced with a difficulty which is on all-fours with a difficulty which we experienced in dealing with branches of the Commonwealth Service. We have to unify and apply generally six differing State conditions. It seems to me that honorable members have overlooked the fact that this Bill must not only absolutely safeguard existing rights, but also provide for future contingencies.
– The trouble is that it does not.
– I think that clause 21 not only guarantees that existing certificates shall be valid under the Federal Act, but specifically enables the holder of any such certificate to surrender it for a certificate of a similar or corresponding grade under the Federal Act. The existing certificates, as well as the existing rights and” privileges, are guaranteed in this measure specifically and categorically, and any new arrangement in regard to qualifying for certificates or introducing new men into the service will be made under the schedule. Seeing that an existing certificate can be surrendered for a similar or corresponding certificate under the Federal Act, it seems to me that not only are existing certificates absolutely protected, but the admission of new qualifying candidates under the schedule is absolutely secured, too.
– The terms which the honorable member uses are not applicable to this clause. He referred, for instance, to a “corresponding” certificate. In regard to three certificates, there is no corresponding existing certificate. At present there are three classes of certificates, namely, first class Board of Trade and second class Board of Trade. Then there are three classes of engineers, marine engine-drivers, and so on. It is proposed to substitute for these three new classes of engineers - first class coast engineer, second class coast engineer, and third class coast engineer ; while for petrol marine engines there will be marine engine-drivers.
– I overlooked that fact. I should have said corresponding grade.
– It is not a question of grade ; it is one of rights.
– The position of marine engine-drivers in Victoria has again been brought under my notice. I understand that “their qualification is just as high as, if not higher, than the qualification of third class coast engineer.
– They hold a third class engineer’s certificate.
– Can the Minister give the Committee some assurance regarding the position of those who hold that certificate, that their right to get a certificate under this Bill will give them a grade or right corresponding to that which they possess at present ?
– Clause 21 assures to a man all the rights which he now has. As the Attorney-General interjected rather lengthily, the Bill provides for three classes of coast engineers. There is no such system at present. As I said before, it is quite possible - in fact, very probable - that, directly the Bill is brought into operation, it may be necessary to grade the existing certificates, because the conditions under which they have been issued in the States have varied. It may be held that some of the third class certificates existing to-day are equal to the first class coast certificate to be issued under this Bill. Probably others of them will be found equal to a second class coast engineer’s certificate. Where it has been very easy to obtain a certificate - that is, where there has been no difficult examination to pass- - the certificate will pro*-‘ bably be held to be equal to a third class coast engineer’s certificate.
– You will find that pretty well all of them will come under the new headings.
– If it is found that the certificate of a man is equal to our first class coast certificate, the certificate will be readily changed. If a certificate under which a man is working is found to be equal to our second class coast certificate, that is the only certificate which he will receive, subject in every case, of course, to the limitations I have just mentioned.
– A marine engine-driver, if competent, will get a second class certificate under the Bill ? .
– Yes, if the work for which it was issued is equal in value to the work for which a second class coast certificate will be issued under the Bill. The matter cannot be dealt with at present. Until these various things have been looked into, we cannot state what will be done.
– I ask the Committee to negative this schedule.
:- According to information which has been supplied to me, the new schedule which is to be substituted for this schedule will make important changes, and greatly increase the scale. I shall give an illustration in connexion with passenger steamers. Take the ordinary seamen and the boys that will be introduced under the Bill. At the present time Inter-State passenger boats carry eighty-one, but under the Bill the number will be 104, showing an increase of twentythree. The amendment introduced by the Minister to-day will increase the number to 187, being an increase of 106 over the present conditions. I have a number of cases here. The illustrations regarding different ships show a great: increase. In the scale of the crew on passenger steamships under the Bill as brought here there will be an increase of four, and under the amendment an increase of nine. Take, for instance, the Kyarra, with a gross tonnage °f 6>9S3 tons. At present she carries fifteen able seamen, two ordinary seamen - total, seventeen. Under the Bill there would be nineteen able seamen, two ordinary seamen, bringing the total up to twenty-one. Under the amended schedule there are to be nineteen able seamen, one ordinary seaman, and six apprentices, making a total of twenty-six. Under the Bill, therefore, there is tobe an increase of four, and under the amendment an increase of nine. That increase runs right through the whole scale of the boats. I ask the Minister if he cannot see his way to reconsider the schedule. I do not think that it is his intention to unduly burden the ship-owners in this connexion. I should like to know why the schedule has been altered at all.
– Although I propose to negative schedule 2, I do not intend to ask the Committee to insert the whole of the new schedule, as printed. It is proposed to adhere to the number of employes as provided in the old schedule, but to put alternatively “ one apprentice, or boy.” That will not increase the number in any case, as laid down in the Bill before it left the Senate. Where “boy” occurs in the old schedule we propose to put in alternatively “one apprentice or boy.” There are also some minor alterations of a technical character, and I thought it would be far better to propose a new schedule. I shall have the matter of the river and bay ships looked into during the luncheon hour.
Sitting suspended from 1 to 2. 30. p.m.
ScheduleIII. (Scale of provisions in the case of British ships not registered in Australia, and British ships not engaged in the coasting trade).
– It is necessary to make an amendment of a verbal character in this schedule. It will be seen that in the table of substitutes and equivalents, rice, marmalade jam, and butter, are bracketed together. That is a mistake. Rice, of course, is not an equivalent for marmalade jam or butter All that is required is to alter the bracket including rice, so as to group it with split peas, flour, and haricot beans.
Schedule verbally amended accordingly, and agreed to.
Amendment (by Mr. Tudor) proposed -
That new schedule (I.) be inserted (see page 4419).
.- What does the Minister intend to do with the opening paragraph of the schedule which makes reference to limited coast trade and river and bay ships of less than 15 tons gross registered tonnage? Is the 15 tons to be increased?
– I understood that the Minister intended to increase the limit to 50 tons.
– If the honorable member looks down the schedule he will see a reference to river and bay ships over 50 tons running more than 20 miles from places of departure. Such vessels are to carry one second class mate. But that will not be necessary in the case of the little vessels of which the honorable member is thinking.
– My attention has been drawn to the schedule as it originally stood in the Bill. There are many vessels trading in the South Australian gulfs which do not carry a mate. I am informed that there are no steamers plying in the gulfs. Some of them make voyages of only four hours’ duration, moving from one side of a gulf to the other. There are also about sixty sailing ketches. I have made inquiries, and believe that these ketches as a rule have a registered tonnage not exceeding 50. If that be so they will not be much affected, because I understand that “ over 50 tons “ means over 50 tons gross. If so, these vessels will come under the description of river and bay ships. In South Australia vessels under 50 tons are not obliged to carry a mate. I have a memorandum before me from a man who owns several of these ships, in which he says that the present system in South Australia is not to require a mate for vessels under 100 tons trading within the State. Has the Minister any information as to how these South Australian vessels will be affected? The schedule does not mention whether the tonnage is gross or net.
– The honorable member will see that the headline contains the reference “net registered tonnage.”
– Then I think that the schedule as it is to be amended will cover these cases. Otherwise it will be very unfair to compel such vessels to carry a mate.
– They would not be compelled. A net registered tonnage of 50 tons means a fairly large vessel.
– If that be so the anxiety of some of the South Australian owners will be allayed.
– I have circulated an amendment to insert after the word “ officers “ the words “ including a duly qualified medical practitioner as prescribed.” The object of my amendment is to make the first paragraph of the schedule read -
Every ship shall be provided with duly certificated officers, including a duly certificated medical practitioner as prescribed.
Subsequently I desire to move the insertion of similar words under the heading “ Steam-ships.” Perhaps honorable members are not aware that on many ships coming to Australia the medical man is paid only is. per month. I desire to do away with that sort of thing. I think that every vessel of upwards of 1,000 tons, registered for carrying passengers, should carry a duly-qualified medical practitioner, who should be properly remunerated. Inasmuch as a new schedule has been brought forward, I hardly know where my amendment would come in; but by courtesy of the Minister I am speaking now in order to explain my intention. It must be within the knowledge of every one that persons travelling by sea are not only liable to nearly every illness which may occur on land, but, in addition, to illnesses and accidents that are peculiar to the sea. It is the height of absurdity to expect trained men to look after the welfare of human beings at the munificent remuneration of is. per month and found. The China Navigation Company, to its honour, was the first shipping company to recognise Australian-born officers, from the captain downwards. This company pays a fair sum to its medical officers, equal to about the pay of a first mate. The Eastern line of steamers also pays its medical officers fair salaries. The Peninsular and Oriental and Orient Companies used to pay a nominal salary, and the medical officer was supposed to receive tips. Speaking personally, I have been medical officer on four steamers, and am glad to say that the indignity of a tip was never offered to me. Therefore, I never had the opportunity of refusing one. This is a monumental Bill, which we hope will confer advantages on our officers and seamen. I desire to make it mandatory on shipping companies to carry trained medical men on their vessels. I am informed that under Japanese law, if even a collier makes a return journey of over 1,000 miles, she must carry a duly-qualified medical officer.
I believe that many valuable lives would have been saved if there had been a medical man on board some of the ships, making even so short a journey as from Australia to New Zealand. One instance stands out in my recollection. I refer to the case of that great Englishman, Mr. Seddon, whose death might have been avoided if there had been a doctor on board the ship on which he was travelling from Sydney to New Zealand. A medical man would probably have observed the premonitory symptoms, would have prescribed complete rest, and then the small artery in the brain, the bursting of which caused Mr. Seddon’ s death, might not have given way. I trust that the Minister will give consideration to my proposal and that the Committee will determine that ships of over 1,000 tons shall not be permitted to undertake voyages without carrying a qualified medical practitioner on board. If the amendment in the schedule be agreed to, it will involve the recommittal and amendment of clause 4, giving the GovernorGeneral power to make regulations for “ the fixing of the remuneration to be paid to the medical practitioner.”
– I am in cordial sympathy with the ideas expressed by the honorable member for Melbourne, and I think the Minister might take into consideration something which is, at any rate, as important as the carrying of a medical man. There ought to be provision made on vessels for proper surgical treatment should occasion arise. For instance, appendicitis can be treated with almost absolute safety in a modern hospital; but on a ship, where there is no possibility of aseptic treatment, it is, I am told, most? dangerous to touch a patient with the surgeon’s knife. It would not cost very much to provide for surgical operations, and there is no doubt that something of the kind is necessary. A relative of my own, who was travelling from England some years ago, developed appendicitis in the Red. Sea, and, though it was in the month of August, had to travel all the way to Australia before the necessary surgical relief could be safely given.
– Clause 133 provides that a foreign-going ship, or an Australiantrade ship, having 100 persons and upwards on board, or travelling the prescribed distance, must carry a duly qualified practitioner. The honorable member for Melbourne will see that this clause refers only to vessels leaving Australia, whereas he spoke of boats coming here with immigrants.
– I merely cited them as an example.
– What we are considering now is the position of deck officers, and I think we could hardly so describe a medical practitioner. It is only between Adelaide and Fremantle that passengers are quite beyond medical aid if anything serious should occur. This is the first time that we have provided for medical officers on Australian ships, and I suggest that we should not overburden the Bill.
– It is the first time, I think, that there has been such a provision made in the British world.
– I would not be sure as to that. The amendment suggested by the honorable member for Melbourne, referring as it does to vessels of 1,000 tons and upwards, would apply to most of the cargo boats trading round Australia, and I am not sure that it would be a wise provision to insert. If the honorable member desires to carry his amendment, perhaps the better course would be for him to move the recommittal of clause 133, and have it there made. My own opinion is that we had better try the Bill as it is ; though, no doubt, the time will come when doctors will have to be carried in other vessels than those prescribed.
.- My. suggestion is that there should be reasonable hospital accommodation, because it is useless to carry a surgeon .unless he is provided with a place in which he can, with reasonable safety, conduct operations. I do not think that operations are ever performed on a ship, for the simple reason that there is practically certainty of death.
– Is there not usually a surgery on board ship?
– There is what is called a “ surgery,” but it is merely a small cabin for the storage of medicines, and the furniture and fittings would excite laughter in a modern hospital. I have been told by medical men that they would not dream of performing a serious operation on board ship. The danger does not appear to arise from the movements of the vessel, but from the absence of facilities for aseptic treatment.
– Clause 271 gives power to make regulations in connexion with the carriage of passengers generally, and particularly in regard to equipment and medical staff and attendants. Under that clause the provision of hospital accommodation could be made compulsory. The question, however, is not dealt with in the schedule under consideration.
.- As surgeon at is. a month I twice brought immigrants out to Australia, and I may say that the medicines authorized by the Board of Trade were of the crudest, while the instruments prescribed by .the same body were so old that I had to go to the museum of St. Mary’s Hospital and borrow instruments in order to comply with the regulations. I do not think I could give a more absurd example, though I must say that since then there has been an improvement so far as the Board of Trade is concerned. If, however, a person were to develop typhoid in Ceylon on any ship other than one of the big shipping companies which trade to Australia, he would have to be doctored by the captain, who may or may not be lucky enough to hit upon the right medicine. The life of a sailorman is just as valuable to his family as is the life of any other man ; and the accommodation provided for him in the past has been so terrible that, but for the fresh air on deck, his average length of life would have been much shorter on account of the lack of proper ventilation in his quarters. Even the forecastle on an up-to-date steamer is not all that could be desired, and there has been much agitation on the subject from the time of Plimsol 1. I contend that a sailorman should have as much care taken of him as has an ordinary passenger. There is hardly a medical man of any large practice in Australia but who knows of cases on board ship, which, for lack of proper treatment, have resulted in permanent injury ; and I think something should be done to remedy the present state of affairs, for the sake of common humanity. The whole of the four vessels of the China Navigation Company are registered under 750 tons, so that it will be seen that a vessel of 1,000 tons is much above the average. Whether the doctor be regarded as a deck hand or an engine-room hand is scarcely worth discussing; but I understand that the salaries from the captain downward are fixed by the shipping companies themselves.
– There are some Arbitration Court awards.
– Then if the doctors desire to. have the salary fixed they will have to go to the Arbitration Court?
– The Dutch Packet Company affords an excellent example, inasmuch as they give the highest pay for white officers of all the ships that visit our port, not even excepting the great mail steamers. Dutch Packet Company captains are allowed to retire at the age of forty-five on a pension of £200, and they draw as high as£1,000 a year in salary. I do not suggest such high salaries as that ; but I say that a doctor ought to be rated with the first officer, for no one will deny that the education of a medical man equals, at all events, that of a ship’s captain. Shipping companies would then not select men who merely desired to save the expense of a voyage, but would, as some of the greater companies do, engage a doctor for a year or three years. This would result in a better class of men being employed, and the passengers and crew would, have the advantage of modern medical science.
.- Some time ago I mentioned the matter of the tonnage of river and bay ships required to carry a certificated master. As the new schedule stands, every vessel of over 15 tons gross registered tonnage must carry a certificated master, and a river and bay ship of over 50 tons, and running more than 20 miles, must also carry a mate. It is suggested from South Australia that the tonnage should be fixed at 100 tons. There are a number of vessels in South Australia of about that tonnage that, under the State law, do not carry a master and a mate. Recently, under an Arbitration Court’s award, the obligations of the owners have been very much increased by a considerable addition to the wages paid, the number of holidays allowed, and other concessions. If they are under this Bill to carry on their vessels a greater complement of officers at the higher rates, the measure will largely increase their existing burdens. Some of the vessels trading in the two South Australian gulfs are over 100 tons register. A letter sent to the honorable member for Boothby, and handed to me, suggests that the limit ought to be 100 tons for river and bay ships required to carry one certificated officer. I mention the matter because it is proposed also to increase the manning of engineers. There is a complaint made in another communication which has been received that the manning of engineers proposed by the schedule is excessive, that no distinction is made be tween river and bay ships, and that three steamers that are mentioned will be required to carry two engineers, although they make only a few hours’ run on each trip. The limitation of 15 tons to require the carrying of a certificated master is retained in the new schedule, and it is proposed that vessels of over 50 tons must carry a mate in addition to a master. I am informed that the South Australian vessels to which I have referred are very much sought after by engineers because of their short run, and the fact that they are in port every night. It is said, also, that if the proposed schedule is carried there will be one engineer on each of these vessels who will have nothing to do, but who will have to be paid all the same. From Queensland also there is a communication in which it is stated that several of the Inter-State companies have small vessels trading in the Queensland rivers as lighters. They are over 50 tons register, and have only a few hours’ run, and it is ridiculous that such vessels should have to carry a mate in addition to a master. I should like to know from the Minister whether there is any substantial objection to altering the 15 tons to 100 tons to meet the case of some hundreds of vessels in the Commonwealth.
Mr.Tudor. - It was fixed at 15 tons when the Bill passed the Senate, and we have increased the tonnage to 50 tons.
– That is in the case of river and bay ships, and as regards the necessity for carrying a mate in addition to a master. I should like to know what the Minister has to say on the question.
– Under the New South Wales law every seagoing vessel, no matter of what tonnage, is required to carry a certificated master. Some of these little boats of less than 50 tons go from here to Tasmania. I can mention one, the Mary Burgess, that is used in connexion with the fishing industry. The men in charge of these vessels have masters’ certificates. We have agreed to increase the tonnage, in regard to certain matters, from 15 tons to 50 tons, but it must not be forgotten that the schedule as it stands in the Bill, providing only for 15 tons, was agreed to in the Senate, and any alterations we propose in the schedule are in the direction of reducing the obligations on ship-owners.
– The real trouble is that the schedule is being framed to meet conditions in Victoria and New South Wales, and will not be applicable to South Australia.
– The New Zealand law exempts only vessels of 5 tons from the obligation to carry a certificated master. We are proposing to exempt vessels up to 50 tons net tonnage, which means up to 70 to 100 tons gross tonnage from carrying mates. Honorable members know the type of vessel that will be affected. A great portion of the forepart of these vessels is used as a chain locker, and for the storage of spare gear, and in the afterpart there is a little cabin for the master and a deck hand, and this is not reckoned in estimating the tonnage.
– Will this affect small boats used as lighters at Fremantle and Perth?
– If the lighters are towed I do not think they will be affected. In such a case I believe that it will be onlythe tug that will require to have a certificated officer. In view of the fact that they would not have a run of 20 miles, they will not be included in any case.
.- I wish to direct the attention of the Minister to a matter which, I think, is worthy of serious consideration. Inthe portion of the schedule dealing with river and bay ships, it is provided that if they are over 50 tons, and run more than 20 miles from the place of departure, they must carry a mate in addition to the master. I wish to point out that we are overlooking a very necessary precaution in the public interest. There are in Sydney Harbor a number of ferry boats, many of them large vessels, which carry from 1,000 to 1,500 passengers on a trip, but do notrun a distance of twenty miles from place to place. It is not a sufficient protection for the travelling public that these vessels should be required to carry only a master.
– Quite right, but the difficulty is that the conditions in South Australia are affected as well.
– What would the honorable gentleman do if the captain dropped dead ?
– I am not dealing with that point.
-If boats of over 50 tons register, running over 20 miles, are obliged to carry a mate, in addition to a master, where is the justification for permitting a large ferry boat, carrying a large complement of passengers, to be in charge ofonly one man? The attention of the captain of one of these boats is so much occupied with his duty of navigating his vessel that he can give no attention to passengers. It is, in my opinion, a defect in the Bill that under it such a vessel is required to carry only a master. I do not know how the difficulty should be met, but we might insert a provision requiring a boat carrying more than a certain number of passengers to carry an officer in addition to the master.
– Or a boat carrying any passengers at all?
– I should not say that, because some boats carry only one or two passengers. We should adopt every precaution possible to secure the safety of the travelling public, and we shall not do so if we permit this schedule to go through, and require the boats to which I have referred to carry only a master, while much smaller boats, with a run of over 20 miles, usually carrying very few passengers, and earning considerably less, are required to carry a mate as well as a master. The travelling public should be assured that if any accident happens to the captain of one of these boats, there will be some one else on board capable of taking charge of the vessel.
. -I will have the point raised by the honorable member looked into. It is quite possible that it may be held that the vessels to which he has specially referred do not come under our jurisdiction at all in this particular respect, but we certainly should take any power necessary to secure the safety of the travelling public.
– I am glad that the Minister has agreed to look into the matter raised by the honorable member for Hunter. I agree with what the honorable member has said. Whether the matter is one which comes within our jurisdiction, or is a matter for State regulation, I am quite unprepared to say. We are dealing with the question of navigation generally ; but, perhaps the Minister will take advice on the point, and certainly, if we have the power to deal with these vessels, we should make some provision in the direction suggested by the honorable member for Hunter. When he is considering this question, I ask the Minister to also consider the point which was raised by the honorable member for Melbourne in regard to the carrying of a medical officer, and that which was urged by the honorable member for Wentworth in respect of providing accommodation on board ships for the performance of surgical operations.
– Are we going to provide that vessels shall carry a surgeon, too?
– Provision has already been made that a surgeon shall be carried under certain circumstances. It is useless to carry a surgeon unless we provide him with suitable accommodation in which to discharge his professional duties. I know of very few ships to-day which are equipped with proper surgical accommodation. It is true that most of them have what is termed a surgery, but it usually consists of a little pantry, which is just large enough to contain a washing basin and sink, together with a few shelves for the storage of medicines.
– A nice plush cushion instead of an operating table.
– Yes. Should the occasion arise for the performance of a surgical operation, there are very few ships in which the necessary accommodation is provided.
– I have never known a surgical operation to be performed on board ship.
– We all know that accidents occur, not merely on passenger vessels, but also on other vessels. The way in which things are managed under present conditions is really marvelious. We should provide in the Bill that proper accommodation shall be made for the performance of surgical operations. We ought not to leave this matter to regulations, which may be altered at the caprice of successive Ministers. I would like the Minister to look into this matter.
– I am sure we all are very pleased to see the honorable member for Lang back in his place again. But I would point out to him that new clause 271a reads -
Foreign-going ship trading; regularly with the Commonwealth; or
Australian trade ship on a voyage between consecutive ports which ex ceeds a prescribed distance ; and having one hundred persons or more on board, shall be provided with hospital accommodation of such a character, and so placed and arranged, as to afford proper means of isolation for cases of communicative disease which may arise during the voyage, and for any persons attending to such cases. (2.) The accommodation shall include the necessary lavatory and sanitary accommodation and such other accommodation as is prescribed. (3.) The hospital shall, wherever practicable, be placed on the top deck aft, or on the boat deck as far back as practicable.
That provision meets the case put by the honorable member.
.- Unfortunately this schedule appears to be based on the assumption that a ship is more valuable than are the lives of the passengers which she carries. I am rather inclined to support the contention of the honorable member for Hunter that every vessel carrying a certain number of passengers should be obliged to carry an officer in addition to the captain. I think that in section 3 of the schedule we should insert a provision that all ships licensed to carry passengers should be compelled to carry one extra officer. After all, the care of human life on board ship is of primary importance. To commit the safety of passengers into the hands of one man who is subject to the physical infirmities to which we are all subject is not wise. The security of life is of much more importance than is the security of the ship. I suggest that the Minister ought to insist upon a second officer being carried on all ships licensed to carry passengers.
– In reply to the honorable member, I would point out that it is. doubtful how far we can go in regard to most of this legislation. As we have legislated for vessels which run a distance of over 20 miles, we have got the matter down pretty fine.
– Has the Minister a doubt as to the power of the Commonwealth to control river steamers?
– There is a doubt as to the extent of our power in regard to river and bay steamers. I will look into the matter, but I question whether what the honorable member desires can be done.
.- I should like to know whether it is essential that river and bay ships of over 50 tons register should carry a mate? It has been pointed out to me that the South Shore Ferry Company, for example, have a steamer, called the Vaucluse, of 82 tons register; and another vessel, the Greycliff, of 90 tons register. It would be absurd to require a mate to be carried on these vessels.
– They do not run over 20 miles.
– Then the provision will not apply to them.
– I am pleased to hear that. But I think the scale which requires a greaser to be carried on vessels of from 55 to 85 h.p. will apply to these ferry-boats. I would point out to the Minister that on such vessels there would be absolutely nothing for a greaser to do, inasmuch as the engines are stopped every few minutes. Will such vessels be compelled to carry a greaser ?
– I am informed that the tonnage of the Vaucluse and Greyclijf cited by the honorable member for North Sydney is the gross tonnage, so that their net register would be less than 50 tons. I would also point out to him that this schedule is a new one, and that it has yet to receive consideration in another place. Should it affect any of the interests which are supposed to be affected by it, representations will doubtless be made by the persons chiefly concerned whilst the measure is under review elsewhere. The matter of requiring greasers to be carried on board such vessels as those mentioned by the honorable member has, I understand, been fixed up.
I do not think it is necessary for those vessels to carry an extra greaser. At the same time, I am not the legal member of the Government team. It is doubtful whether we have power to touch river and bay boats at all, except so far as they interfere with general navigation.
.- Whilst the Minister appears anxious to meet the wish of the Committee in this matter, I would point out that in New South Wales to-day third class engineers are employed on steamers of, nominally, 50. h.p. ; whereas the proposed amendment provides that they may be employed on vessels of 40 h.p. If the Attorney-General is correct in his contention that under clause 21 their rights are preserved, well and good; but if, on the other hand, the schedule directs who is to be employed, then their rights will not be preserved, since we are reducing the nominal horse-power from 50 tons to 40 tons. I simply refer to this matter in order that the Minister may give it further consideration.
Amendment (by Mr. Riley) agreed to -
That a new line be inserted immediately under the following heading in the proposed New Schedule I. above : - “ Running under 100 miles from Place of Departure,” viz. : -
and that under the same heading the figures and word “ 40 and “ be inserted before the word and figures “Under 55”.
Proposed new schedule, as amended, agreed to.
– I move -
That the following new schedule (II.) be inserted -
SCALE OF CREW.
Note. - This Schedule does not apply to river and bay ships.
Firemen and Trimmers.
The number of firemen and trimmers required for steam-ships fired with coal shall be in the proportion of at least one fireman or trimmer for every three and a half tons of coal consumed per diem. Provided that in the case of any particular ship the Minister may, after reference to the Marine Council, specify a greater or less number of firemen and trimmers to be required. The amount of coal consumed per diem to be ascertained by such means as are prescribed. Provided that out of the total number of persons carried in any such steam-ship rated as firemen or trimmers, one-half at least of such total number shall be firemen; and that no seagoing steam-ship running morethan one hundred miles shall in any case carry less than three firemen and that no other sea-going steam-ship shall in any case carry less than two firemen. In regard *to* any class of ships not provided for in the above scale, the number of firemen and trimmers to be employed shall be such as the Minister may require in each case, and the Minister may prescribe in reference to any particular class of ships what hands other than firemen and trimmers (rated as such') shall be carried in lieu of the latter.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 18 October 1912, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1912/19121018_reps_4_67/>.