4th Parliament · 3rd Session
The President took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
– Is the Minister representing the Postmaster-General in a position yet to answer the following questions, which I asked on the 10th October : -
– I have been furnished with the following information : - 1.. One hundred and nine (38 in New South Wales, 47 “in Victoria, 7 in Queensland, 17 in Western Australia).
– I desire to ask the Minister representing the Treasurer whether, in the event of the information contained in the cablegram as to a statement by Mr. Lloyd-George in reference to the effect of the Commonwealth land tax - regarding which notice of a question has been given by Senator St. Ledger - being found to be incorrect, he will communicate by cable with the High Commissioner, forwarding correct information for publication in the United Kingdom?
– I think that everything will be done to allay the anxiety of the honorable senator.
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The answers to the questions are -
In addition there was held inLondon on that date fox the same purpose, £378,980.
asked the Minister re presenting the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The answers to the questions are -
– May I point out that that is not an answer to my question. The question was not whether it was with the concurrence, but at the instance of the Government - a very different matter.
– That is the reply I have received.
– I should like to ask, sir, whether, under the Standing Orders, the Minister ought not to say that he declines to answer my question, or to give an answer - not to answer a question which I have not asked.
– The honorable senator must recollect that I am not the Treasurer, nor yet the Governor of the CommonweaIth Bank. I can only supply to honorable senators the answers which are given to me. If the honorable senator is not satisfied, he can put the question in any way that will elicit the information which he requires.
asked the Minister reipresenting the Minister for Home Affairs, upon notice -
– The answers to the questions are -
Government does not pay wharfage on similar material. 3 and 4. This matter is still under consideration.
In Committee (Consideration resumed “from21st November, vide page 5770).
Clause 333- (1.) The Minister may, subject to the regula tions, licence persons (in this Act called “ coastal pilots”) to conduct ships from one port to another port in Australia. (2.) A coastal pilot shall not (except as authorized by his licence) act as a pilot for any port at which pilotage is compulsory.
Penalty : One hundred pounds.
House of Representatives’ Amendment. - Omit “ coastal,” line 2, insert “ licensed “ ; after “ Australia,” line 4, insert “ or to act as pilots for any port at which pilotage -is not compul- sory”; omit “coastal,” line 5, insert “licensed.”
Upon which Senator Pearce had moved-
That the amendments be agreed to.
Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD (New South Wales) [10.40].- When progress was reported yesterday I was endeavouring to elicit from the Minister what powers are to be given to licensed pilots and their duties, and also to ascertain by what means the Government propose to test the qualifications of those who desire to be appointed as licensed pilots. These amendments would appear to be intended to meet the case of certain individuals who will not be authorized to art where pilotage is compulsory, and as a kind, of solatium to men who are not considered qualified to act in that capacity on account of age or incapacity. If that be the case, it means that licensed pilots are to be distinctly inferior to the ordinary pilots who will be appointed.
– This question was raised yesterday afternoon. I have gone into the matter again, and it seems to me that the point of order must be. upheld. We are dealing with the House of Representatives’ amendment to clause 333, which merely changes the term “ coastal “ to “ licensed.” That is only a matter of designation. I again remind honorable senators that discussion of the widest kind, and ranging over the whole question of the duties and liabilities of pilots may take place when we are dealing with the House of Representatives’ amendments to clauses 351 and 352. I rule that Senator Gould will not be in order in discussing the duties and responsibilities of pilots on the motion now before the Committee.
Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD (New South Wales) [10.55].- I am prepared, sir, to accept your ruling, though I should have expected some support for my contention, although, as you have pointed out, a full discussion of thematter with which I desired to deal may take place on later amendments. I ask: the Minister why the proposal to substitute “licensed” pilots for”coastal”’ pilots is made?
– Because “licensed” is the most appropriate term for the classof pilots referred to. A coastal pilot will be a licensed pilot under the Bill.
– The honorable senator would not have compulsory pilots at Port Stephen.
– The honorable senator should know that under the ruling of the Chair I am not allowed to talk about that now. Possibly the Minister is unable, for a similar reason, to give me the information desired, but I should like to know whether the alteration was not made in view of an intention to make a further amendment in the clause at a later stage.
– I cannot understand this storm in a tea-cup. Thereis a very simple explanation of the matter, and it is that “ licensed “ pilots is considered a more convenient and proper designation for this class of pilot. If I were to talk for an hour I should giveno other explanation of the amendment.
– Why is it a more convenient term? Does it involve any additional duties?
– I was discussing this matter when progress was reported last evening, and I have since had an opportunity to consult an expert on the question. The conversation I had was hurried, and it is possible that I did not quite gather what the piloti with whom I conversed intended to convey, but I was left under the impression that the pilots of Australia would all liketo be classified as licensed or coastal pilots rather than as compulsory or Government pilots. The question put to the Minister in this connexion is a very simple one, though there may be something important behind it. I should like to learn from the honorablesenator whether the technical examination for a licensed pilot will be the same as that prescribed for a Governmentpilot operating in ports where pilotage is compulsory. I stated yesterday afternoon that there is a difference in responsibility between a pilot who takes charge of a vessel and cargo worth£1,500,000, and one who takes charge of a small vessel at some outlying port. The answer to this suggestion from the other side is always that the lives of those on the small vessel are more valuable than a ship and cargo worth £1,500,000; but that answer only shirks the difficulty. Perhaps the Minister will say whether or not the qualifications required of licensed and Government pilots will be identical.
– I am sorry that I am unable to accept the Minister’s explanation of this tmatter. He has told the Committee that it is desired to make the change, because “ licensed “ pilot is regarded as the most appropriate term. I would ask the honorable senator whether he seriously intended that statement to be regarded as an explanation, or as an answer, as to what has been said on this side? Would the honorable senator propose an alteration in a taxation system, and justify it by the mere statement that it was considered more appropriate ?
– Why does not the hon- orable senator admit that no explanation will satisfy him at the present juncture?
– The one purpose for which I am addressing the Committee 3s to extract from the Minister some explanatiop which will satisfy, not me, but the ordinary purposes of public debate. The tenacity with which the Minister is /hanging on to the proposed amendment would lead to the belief that there is something important about it. As I understand the matter, these pilots will be both coastal and licensed. They will be able to act only under a licence issued by the Government, and their operations will be limited to the coast of Australia.
– They may not be coastal; they may be limited to a port.
– Is not a port coastal ?
– Not necessarily.
– Does the honorable senator suggest that we could have a port inland, or outside the territorial waters of the Commonwealth? The waters in our ports are coastal waters. These men will be licensed by the Government, and their operations limited to the coastal waters of Australia. That being so, the original term of “ coastal “ pilots sufficiently desig nated the duties which these men will be called upon to discharge. As one title seems to be as explicit as the other, I should like to know why the Minister displays so much pertinacity in his endeavour to secure an alteration of the title.
Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD (New South Wales) [11.7]. - In dealing with the second amendment to the clause proposing the insertion after the word “Australia” of the words “or to act as pilots for any port at which pilotage is not compulsory,” I suppose it is competent to ask whether it is proposed in this way to enlarge the powers of licensed pilots. Originally it was apparently intended that coastal pilots should take charge of ships only between one port of Australia and another, and it would not be competent for them to act inside of a port. Now it is proposed that they should take charge of ships from pne port to another, and also in ports for which pilotage is not compulsory. I would like to ask whether it is intended to have two classes of licensed pilots? Is k intended that some shall take charge of ships between one port and another, and others shall take charge of ships in ports for which pilotage is not compulsory? Again, it might be explained whether the” latter class is to be subdivided, and some pilots given the right to take charge of ships in particular ports and not in others, whilst some may be competent to take charge in all ports. The explanation given by the Minister amounts to very little. Instead of calling the place outside this building a street, we might call it a road, or even a lane, if that were not an indignity offered to one of the fine streets of Melbourne. But what difference would it make ? I recognise that additional duties are to be given to pilots. Is this done for the purpose of helping individuals who have not been considered as qualified to act as pilots in the ports of Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane, and wherever pilotage may have been compulsory up to the present time ? Is it intended to give these gentlemen an opportunity of still earning a living as pilots, although they are not competent to take charge of ships in ports where pilotage is compulsory ? If these . men are not competent to occupy their positions as pilots, they should not be licensed Is there anything in the Bill to prohibit a master of a ship from taking a man on board and accepting his assistance for pilotage purposes although he is not a licensed’ pilot ? The Bill, it is true, provides that a licensed pilot is not to act as a pilot for any port where pilotage is compulsory unless authorized to do so. But if the master of a ship considers that a man who may not be licensed is competent to give him advice and assistance in taking a ship into a port, is there anything to prevent the master making use of that assistance ? The Minister cannot point to a single clause in this Bill which would preclude a master from inviting a man to help him to navigate his ship into a port where pilotage is not compulsory. Suppose that Senator Guthrie were to help the master of a ship in such a case. If an accident happened, the master would be liable. If Senator Guthrie had been a licensed pilot, he and the master would be equally responsible. Is it not possible under this Bill for any man to go on board a ship and act as a pilot without running the slightest risk of punishment or interference on the part of the Government?
– That is lovely, coming from a lawyer.
– I might have suggested that Senator Barker, who, perhaps, knows nothing about navigation, might take charge of a ship under such circumstances.
– The honorable senator wants freedom of contract for pilots.
– No, I want to get information. I want to know whether there is any provision in the Bill which would prevent me, if I were the master of a ship, from getting any man to assist me to pilot my vessel into a port where pilotage is not compulsory.
– It makes one suspicious when there is a refusal to give information.
– How would that sort of thing be stopped ? The master of the ship would be responsible for the negligence or incompetency of a licensed pilot, and would be equally responsible for the negligence or incompetency of the unlicensed pilot. Of course, he might get into trouble with his employers.
– I think the honorable senator will find that the pilot is responsible for his own negligence.
.- Under this Bill every atom of responsibility for negligence on the part of’ the pilot is swept away. The honorablesenator will find that provided for in later clauses, to which I cannot just now refer. I ask the Minister to tell us why these additions are made to the clause, and whether they are simply put in as a solatium for certain individuals; who may desire to act in ports where pilotage is not compulsory, and whether thereis any power to prevent a master from getting any individual to help him to navigate his ship into a port where pilotage is. not compulsory.
– If honorable senators will read the clause together with the amendment now before the Committee tacked on to it, they will see that it reads as follows : -
The Minister may, subject to the regulations, license persons under this Act, called licensed pilots, to conduct ships from one port to another in Australia, or to act as pilots at any port at which pilotage is not compulsory.
That practically divides the ‘ports of theCommonwealth into two classes - that is, ports at which pilotage is compulsory and; ports at which pilotage is not compulsory.. At compulsory ports there will be no licensed pilots. The examination in the case of licensed pilots will refer to the navigation of the port, where the licensed pilot is to act. In the case of compulsory pilots, it will be of a more general character. Let us assume - as of course will be the case - that Sydney will be made at port where pilotage will be compulsory.. In that port an examination as regards thecompetency of pilots will relate to their local knowledge of the port of Sydney. As regards, say, the port of Warrnambool” in Victoria, where pilotage will probably: not be compulsory, the qualifications for a licence will be the pilot’s local knowledge of the port of Warrnambool.
– In addition to hisseamanship.
– In addition to hi* seamanship in each case.
– And his local knowledge in each case.
– Of course that hasto be taken into consideration. As honorable senators will see, in addition topilots licensed for a particular port, therewill be pilots who have licences for pilotage from port to port. They will more: strictly come under the designation of coastal pilots. Such a case occurs on the Queensland coast. There we shall have licensed pilots for pilotage within the Great Barrier reef running up to Thursday Island. There will not be an examination as to their competency on that course for any one route, but as to their competency to take a ship through the Barrier Reef and through the channel at Thursday Island. There are various ports along the route. Take the port of Townsville. There may be pilots at Townsville who will be licensed for Townsville only, and whose competency will be judged by their knowledge and seamanship with respect to Townsville only. The responsibility of these pilots does not arise under his amendment. It can be more conveniently discussed in connexion with the amendments to clauses 349 and 351. I wish to add as regards licensed pilots that this Bill does not alter their position in the slightest degree.
– Except probably in Melbourne.
– Melbourne will mot be a place for licensed pilots. This Bill will not affect the position or status of licensed pilots at all. As regards compulsory pilotage, wherever the Government declare a port to be one where pilotage is compulsory, the pilots will be Government servants. That is the only alteration made in this Bill from the position of pilots as they existed under State laws.
– Is it proposed to take over the whole of the existing public pilots ?
– I am not in a position to say. I understand that negotiations have been proceeding on those lines, but I do not think that the Government have committed themselves to anything, because, of course, the Bill is not law yet. I understand, however, that where pilots have been acting in ports where pilotage will be compulsory it is the intention to rtake them over.
– The whole of them?
– If they are competent. I think that is contemplated.
SenatorLt.-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - May there not be some men who may be regarded as sufficiently competent ?
– There may be.
– Probably there will be.
– I am not in a position to say.
– What will happen to those men?
– There is a clause which safeguards the position of persons who are now holding licences. It is clause 335-
All cancelled and unexpired licences issued under any State Act authorizing, any persons to conduct ships from one port to another port in Australia 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.
– That does not deal with publicly-employed pilots.
– I am informed that there are none.
– Are there any in Victoria ?
– They are licensed at present.
– What about the port of Melbourne ?
– Melbourne will undoubtedly be a port where pilotage will be compulsory. Another point which has been raised by Senator Gould is with regard to his assumption that the master of a ship will be likely to do something in the way of engaging pilots which we ought to prevent him from doing. Clause 342 provides for certificates of exemption for masters who hold the necessary qualifications. If a master is qualified to pilot his own ship, he can apply for and get a certificate of exemption for a specified port or. a specified trade.
– That is, where pilotage is compulsory?
– Yes. Take a case where pilotage is not compulsory. At such a port the master of a ship can, it is true, elect to take his vessel into port without assistance. He can elect to take Senator Guthrie or Senator Barker, or any other person, to assist him in the navigation of the ship into that port.
– The master of a ship which recently ran into a lighthouse was piloting his own ship.
– He was; we are not altering the law in that regard ; but there is in this Bill, and there was under State Acts, a provision that if the master of a ship does so elect, and his ship was wrecked or met with a mishap, a Court of Inquiry was held, and if the Court found that the master was to blame in so doing, his certificate might be suspended, either for the rest of his life, or for a given period.
– Is it not a matter of fact that the master is responsible for damage or injury when he has a registered or an unregistered pilot to help him?
– The honorable senator knows that that is a highly controversial matter. It does not arise under this amendment. It was debated at some length, and we came to a compromise by which a fair amount of liability would still rest on the pilot. Senator Gould is also aware that the Board of Trade have had a special inquiry into this matter, and that the solution which we have acted upon is that which we recommended.
– But it has not been accepted by the Imperial Parliament.
– I believe our information was that it was the intention of the Imperial Government to embody the recommendation in the Bill. At any rate, it has the indorsement of the Board of Trade. The question is a very vexed one. I think I have now replied to all the points that have been raised. I may add that we are not doing any injury to any class of pilots by this amendment, and that we are also safeguarding the shipping of Australia, as far as our pilotage provisions are concerned.
– I must say that the Committee is deeply obliged for this belated explanation from the Minister.
– The matter was so clear that it did not require any explanation.
– To a brilliant intellect emanating from my honorable friend’s country, that may be so. But it may not be brilliancy of intellect that induces some honorable senators to accept a Ministerial explanation without question. It may be merely a desire to shirk public duty. I have no wish to yield to that temptation. Whilst expressing my appreciation of the Minister’s action in having made the explanation, I want him to go a little further, because there is still a lingering doubt in my mind as to the matter of responsibility. This Bill, as far as licensed pilots are concerned, undoubtedly maintains their right to their licences. But it does not seem to me to go far enough. Take the case of a pilot in Sydney. I understand that he has a licence to-day.
– He is a public servant.
– In answer to a question of mine, I understood the Minister to say that there were no publicly-employed pilots in Australia.
– No, he said in Victoria.
– More than one question was asked when the honorable senator asked his. There was also a question from Senator de Largie about the Melbournepilots, and I said that they were not publicservants. I understand that in Sydney and’ Newcastle, where there are compulsorypilots, the pilots are public servants. Theywould not be affected by the Bill.
-They may beaffected, unless a guarantee is given to them that, irrespective of qualification, they areto be transferred to Commonwealth employment. I see no clause in this Bill which* safeguards their interests. There is aclause which transfers their property, butthere is no clause which transfers their right to employment under the CommonwealthThere is no provision which .will insure to* publicly-employed pilots to-day a continuance of public employment after the Bill becomes operative.
– Will not the Public Service Act do that?
– How can it, seeing that the later Act will prevail?
– The Constitution’ will do it.
– That is only with, regard to certain transferred Departments.
– Will this not be a> transferred Department?
– I am not at all certain that it is a Department.
– I think that I can set the honorable senator’s mind at rest.
– I shall be glad if the Minister can.
– The position in regard to Sydney and Newcastle pilots is that they are Government servantstoday.
– Are they the only publicly employed pilots in Australia?
– I do not know.
– Certainly not; in Western Australia they are Government servants.
– Whatever is said about the Sydney and Newcastle pilots will apply to other ports where there is compulsory pilotage. The State Act provides that these men must be competent and liable to examination from time to time. If they are competent, as we must assume that they are, it is intended to take them over, but if they are incompetent undoubtedly the Commonwealth will not take them over.
– Do you propose to have an examination to test their qualifications ?
– I presume that the Commonwealth will have to satisfy itself that the men are competent either by reference to the State examinations or by having an examination.
– Even now they are liable to submit to examination from time to time.
– I understand that they are. The qualifications might be determined at the time the men were taken over.
– The Minister’s explanation is really what one might have anticipated. The Commonwealth proposes, although it as not provided for in the Bill, to continue in Government employment those pilots who are now employed by the State Government, always reserving to itself the fight to decline to employ obviously incompetent men. This clause, coupled with the following one, does secure to licensed pilots their existing rights as represented by their licences. Take the pilots in the port of Melbourne who are licensed pilots only. This measure provides not only that the Commonwealth shall respect their rights and continue their licences, but also that a licensed pilot shall not operate in a port in which pilotage is to be made compulsory. What are we going to do, then? The position is that a licence held by a pilot to-day is to be respected for what it is worth - that is to say, we shall continue existing rights. This clause says that a licence is to be operative for the purpose for which it was issued. The Melbourne pilots hold a licence to-day to operate in the port of Melbourne. The Bill respects that licence so far as the words written on the paper are concerned, but we have a clause to the effect that no licensed pilot shall operate when a port is declared a compulsory port.
– What I have said in regard to Government pilots applies equally to licensed pilots at ports where pilotage is made compulsory.
– That, of course, is a very satisfactory explanation. It makes it obvious that, not merely in regard to pilots employed by the State, but in regard to pilots operating under licences, their rights will be respected as well in ports intended to be made compulsory as in ports to be left optional.
– Senator Millen knows quite well that there are terms used at present which we do not intend to continue. For instance, a licensed pilot in Melbourne is a port pilot, at a port where pilotage is compulsory. Under this measure a licensed pilot may be a port pilot, but a port pilot will not be a licensed pilot in the sense in which the term is used under the State Act. It is quite evident that in future a licensed pilot will not be a port pilot where pilotage is compulsory.
-He may be; a port pilot may be a licensed pilot.
– He will not be a pilot at a port where pilotage is compulsory.
– The port of Melbourne being a compulsory port, the pilots are now licensed, but in future they will not act as licensed pilots. They will have to be Government employes, appointed under this measure as such.
– For certain ports.
– I am referring to the port of Melbourne, where we have licensed pilots, who are not employes of the State Government. In future the pilots for this port will be employes of the Government.
– Only as a result of the Minister’s statement, not of the Bill.
– I am not going to say that the Navigation Department will be a transferred Department, but I remember that on the Navigation Commission it was contended that these pilots would be transferred public servants.
– I have not gathered from the reply of the Minister whether an answer has been given to the question I addressed to him. I pointed out that there are pilots who are specially licensed to pilot ships between Townsville and Thursday Island. From the Minister’s explanation, I take it that these men have been licensed because of their special knowledge. I asked the Minister if there were any different tests, so far as examination was concerned, as to the technical or other skill of a pilot whose certificate entitled him to pilot vessels in a certain locality as against a pilot who is in the position of a Newcastle pilot - a Government servant.
– I said yes; they have to show their local knowledge.
– The difference between the two is simply that of local knowledge. There are pilots who have held for years certificates to pilot vessels between Townsville, Cooktown, and Thursday Island. They have been tested in various ways - by examination and, of course, by experience - and hold a certain status as pilots under the Queensland Act. What their position is to be under this Bill has not yet been made clear. Will they have to go through a new test ? Is it to be a separate or a new examination ?
– Read clause 335.
– Will those who are simply licensed pilots for a particular portion of the coast of Australia, by reason of their tests and experience, be eligible to be pilots in ports where compulsory piloting will at once come into effect, and will such pilots be Government servants? The Torres Strait pilots must be exercised on that point. That explains why, in a short conversation I had with some pilots yesterday, the impression was given to me that they would have preferred the position regarding coastal pilots to have remained entirely as it was before the Bill was amended. The Minister is making a distinction now which did not prevail before. There are cases where the pilotage system has been a licensing system, but, according to the Minister’s explanation, there will be some ports where there will not be licensed pilots. That at once draws a line of distinction in respect to the pilots in a port who are now licensed, but who, under this Bill, may not be public servants under the control of the Commonwealth. The point is, will the licensed pilots of to-day be entitled ipso facto - by reason of their work and experience - to be classified under the Bill as pilots directly in the employ of the Commonwealth ?
– The honorable senator is referring to the Torres Straits pilots?
– I am referring to the Torres Straits pilots as an illustration of my argument. There may be other pilots in the same position. I wish to know whether these pilots, in view of their technical knowledge and service, are to pass into the Public Service of the Commonwealth without further examination or test should the Commonwealth Government require their services ?
– There is no doubt about that under the Bill.
– I should prefer that assurance to come from the Minister. If Senator Guthrie is correct, oneimportant point is cleared up. I certainly hope that these pilots, who pass from theState service to that of the Commonwealth-, will find their positions improved under this Bill. Senator de Largie raised theconstitutional question, but I think theMinister was justified in asking that the Committee should be spared a discussionon the constitutional aspect of the matter. Still,I remind honorable senators thar there axe some public servants of the Commonwealth who, believing they had certain rights upon their transfer from the serviceof a State, took their claims to the High Court, only to- find that the constitutional section upon which they relied was a delusion and a snare.
– The constitutional aspect of the case mentioned by Senator de Largie is one which we should fully consider.
– But it does not affect licensed pilots who are not in theemplov of the State Government.
– They are the pilotswith whom we were dealing, and Senatorde Largie’s reference to the Constitution, as he now admits, could have no possibleapplication to them.
– It has an application to Government pilots.
– Its application toGovernment pilots can be seen by a reference to section 84 of the Constitution, which provides that -
When any Department of the Public Service of the State becomes transferred to the Commonwealth all officers of the Department shall become subject to the control of the ExecutiveGovernment of the Commonwealth.
Anv such officer who is not retained in theservice of the Commonwealth shall, unless he isappointed to some other office of equal emolu-. ment in the Public Service of the State, be _ entitled to receive from the State any pension,, gratuitv, or other compensation, payahln under - the law of the State on the abolition of his. office.
The balance of the section deals with the case of officers who are retained, and we? are not concerned with them. If on the transfer to the Commonwealth of the Public Department which controls pilots in New South Wales it is not desired to continue the service of any pilot now employed, we have no assurance that he will receive any compensation if the Commonwealth Government declines to employ him. There is absolutely no guarantee given under this Bill that pilots employed to-day under the State authority will, when this measure becomes operative, have their means of livelihood continued to them under the Commonwealth. What is the position with regard to the merely licensed pilot? Although some honorable senators seem to be abundantly satisfied with it, I invite any one of them to refer me to a single clause in this Bill which will give them any protection at all. All the pilots operating in the port of Melbourne to-day do so under a licence. What this Bill provides for is that the Commonwealth shall continue the licences of those pilots, but, having made that provision, we further provide that the possession of those licences shall not necessarily enable them to follow their present means of livelihood. We can assume that under this Bill Melbourne will be made a compulsory pilotage port, and, that being so, these men will be prohibited from acting as pilots in this port unless the Commonwealth Government steps in and employs them. I am given to understand that the Melbourne pilots have expressed themselves as not dissatisfied with the Bill as it stands. I hope that honorable senators who have had that intimation conveyed to them will not be unduly influenced by it. I venture to say that the pilots who have expressed that opinion arrived at their conclusion probably as the result of con- suiting officers of the Department, and I do not know of any more dangerous guide which men so situated could seek than the officers of the Department, or the persons responsible for the drafting of this Bill. I can quite understand that they would view the matter from an entirely different stand-point from that from which it would be viewed by the pilots. The officers ot the Department may, in all good faith, have assured these men that their interests are sufficiently safeguarded under the Bill, and yet that assurance may not have weight with those called upon to administer the Department, or if tested in the Courts of the country. Although I am very much pleased with the Minister’s assurance, I think that even now some provision should be included in the Bill giving a specific guarantee to pilots in the port of Melbourne, and others similarly situated., not merely that they will have their existing licences continued to them, but that their transfer from licensed to compulsory pilots will be observed, honoured, and respected by the Government.
– There is a good deal in the contention regarding the status of men who have served as pilots and done good work in the pilotage service in the past. The Minister of Defence admits that under this Bill no guarantee is given to them that, when the Commonwealth takes over the pilotage service, they will be given any employment. I do not think that any trouble will arise so far as compulsory pilotage ports are concerned, but we have to consider the case of ports where at present only licensed pilots are engaged. In the port of Melbourne, there are twentytwo licensed pilots, who possess property worth many thousands of pounds. The Government make provision for taking over their property when the pilotage service is taken over by the Commonwealth, but there is no guarantee given that the Commonwealth will take over the men. They may decide that, instead of having twenty-two pilots for the port of Melbourne, it will be necessary to have only eleven, and, therefore, eleven of the existing pilots will be sent about their business. They will still hold their licences, but these will be useless to them, because their employment will have been taken away.
– And they will be entitled to no compensation.
– They will be entitled to no compensation from the State of Victoria or the Commonwealth, but they will be entitled to compensation from a fund of their own established for the purpose. I think we might overcome the whole difficulty in this matter by inserting the following words as a new sub-clause 1 («) -
Upon any port being proclaimed a port at which the pilotage is compulsory all persons holding licences issued by any State to act as pilots for that port shall become officers in the Commonwealth Public Service.
– The honorable senator will not be entitled to discuss that matter unless he hands in a definite amendment.
– I have the amendment written out, and I now submit it.
– I have to inform the honorable senator that his amendment is not applicable to the portion of the clause now under consideration by the Committee.
– We are now dealing with an amendment to insert after the word “ Australia “ the words “or to act as pilots for any port at which pilotage is not compulsory under this Act,” and there is a distinct connexion between that amendment and the amendment suggested by Senator Guthrie. I am satisfied that, so far as the Standing Orders permit, you, sir, will allow honorable senators to discuss the amendment suggested by Senator Guthrie as an addition or alternative to the amendment of the House of Representees. We may be prepared to accept the House of Representatives’ amendment if the words suggested by Senator Guthrie are added ; and if honorable senators are not prepared to accept Senator Guthrie’s suggestion, they may then feel disposed to reject the amendment made in another place.
– Senator Guthrie has proposed to insert his amendment in a part of the clause which is not now before the Committee, and it would not be in order in its present form if moved as an amendment upon the part of the clause which is before the Committee.
– I recognise that, but Senator Guthrie did not submit his amendment until you, sir, called upon him to do so.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.I did not call upon the honorable senator to do so, but informed him that I could not allow him to discuss it until it was submitted. I could not say whether it was in order until it was submitted1.
– Senator Guthrie is putting forward his suggestion as a way out of the difficulty. The amendment of the House of Representatives might be accepted if the objection to it were removed by the adoption of that suggested by Senator Guthrie, and to that extent I submit that a reference to it would be entirely in order.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.Senator Guthrie’s amendment could only be attached to the amendment now before the Chair if it were preceded by the word “ and “.
– Has Senator Guthrie indicated where his amendment is to be introduced ?
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.There is no indication on the written statement of the amendment handed1 in to the Chair.
– I submit that the amendment cannot be accepted. The motion before the Chair is that the House of Representatives’ amendment be agreed to. How is it possible to attach. Senator Guthrie’s amendment to that motion ?
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.I have already intimated to Senator Guthrie that I think his amendment would be in order if it were preceded by the word1 “ and “. The House of Representatives have amended the clause by inserting after the word “Australia” the words “ or to act as pilots at any ports at which pilotage is not compulsory “. I think that Senator Guthrie might submit his amendment as an addition to those words if it were preceded by the word “ and “.
– I am prepared to accept that suggestion.
– Before Senator Guthrie’s amendment is accepted in that way, I wish to raise a point of order. My point of order is that the amendment is not relevant to the subject-matter of the clause now before the Committee. If you, sir, will refer to clause 331, you will find that it provides that -
The Governor-General may proclaim the ports at which the employment of a pilot shall be compulsory. (2.) At any such port the pilotage shall be performed by a pilot in the Public Service of the Commonwealth.
I submit that that is the clause of this Bill which deals with the employment of pilots in the Public Service of the Commonwealth. The object of Senator Guthrie’s amendment is to make it obligatory on the Government to take over and employ in the Commonwealth Public Service certain licensed pilots. The clause we are now dealing with has no reference whatever to pilots in the Public Service of the Commonwealth, but only to licensed pilots. It reads - (1.) The Minister may subject to the regulations license persons (in the Act called licensed pilots) to conduct ships from one port to another in Australia.
It does not deal with coastal pilots or pilots in the Public Service, and I therefore submit that Senator Guthrie’s amendment is not relevant.
– The amendment of the House of Representatives inserts after the word “ Australia “ the words “or to act as pilots at any port at which pilotage is not compulsory under this Act.” Senator Guthrie desires to add to those words other words which would provide that licensed pilots already operating in ports which, under this Bill, may be proclaimed compulsory pilotage ports, shall be taken over as public servants of the Commonwealth. Suppose a port where there is no compulsory pilotage to-day, and that it is made a compulsory pilotage port. The pilots there would become public servants, because it is only intended to have public servants at such ports. I submit that Senator Guthrie’s proposal is necessary in order to protect those persons who are pilots at present. I think the suggestion of the Chairman that the proposed words should be put in as an addition would meet the requirements. During the consideration of this matter, we have gone so far as to amend another clause in the Bill because of an amendment made in a clause amended by the House of Representatives. The Minister said that he proposed to accept that amendment, provided an addition were made to another clause. No objection was raised to that procedure. Now we are only proposing to amend the very clause which is under consideration, and to make an addendum to it which would induce many honorable senators to accept the amendment submitted by the other Chamber. I submit, therefore, that it is competent for the Committee to consider the amendment.
– I direct attention to standing order 219, which, I think, make* very clear the very wide measure of liberty given to this Committee in dealing with amendments that come from another place. The standing order reads -
No amendment shall be proposed to an amendment of the House of Representatives that is not relevant thereto; nor can an amendment be moved to the Bill unless the same be relevant to, or consequent upon -
I direct attention to those words “ or consequent upon “ - either the acceptance, amendment, or the rejection of a House of Representatives’ amendment.
It is quite clear from that standing order that whilst the amendment might not have been in the first instance strictly relevant to the subject-matter of the clause, still, something has been introduced by the other Chamber affecting, not merely the technical construction of the clause, but the whole effect of it, and its whole effect on the Bill. It is impossible to take a brick out of a wall without having an effect upon the whole structure.
– Unfortunately for the honorable senator the whole structure is not now before us.
– We have a right to ask ourselves whether this amendment does not open up an entirely different position, and whether we are not, therefore, at liberty, not merely to accept or reject the House of Representatives’ amendment as it stands, but to insert a proviso as a preliminary to accepting it. I submit that the amendment that Senator Guthrie has proposed is consequential to a consideration of the amendment of the other House and that we ought to be at liberty to consider it.
– I think that the addendum proposed by Senator Guthrie is quite relevant to the clause. Certain alterations have been made in the Bill affecting pilots. All that Senator Guthrie is endeavouring to do is to protect the interests of those men who are taken into the Commonwealth service. I hope that the Minister will not endeavour to defeat the amendment by a technicality. We ought to consider it from the point of view of the justice of the case. We know that it is quite possible for a Department to be taken over by the Commonwealth and for its officers to receive very scurvy treatment, as was the case with the South Australian post and telegraph officers.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.The honorable senator is not entitled to allude to that matter.
– It is a very strong argument to show that the interests of those taken over should be protected. The amendment appears to me to be relevant, and one that ought to receive fair consideration from the Committee. Personally I am prepared to give it my strong support.
– I have considered this matter in the light of the arguments put forth on both sides. I feel that I am compelled by the Standing Orders, though very reluctantly, to rule in favour of the view given by the Minister of Defence. I say “ reluctantly “ because I recognise that no opportunity has been given to honorable senators to consider clause 331 of the Bill, upon which the amendment would have been distinctly relevant.
– That clause was considered when the Billwas before us.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.Yes, but we are now dealing with the Bill as reviewed and revised by the House of Representatives. Having to do that, we are placed in a new position. I think that it is a pity that under the Standing Orders I am compelled to give my ruling against Senator Guthrie’s amendment and in support of the view submitted by the Minister of Defence - that the amendment is not strictly relevant to the amendment of the House of Representatives which we are now discussing. I say again that I give that ruling reluctantly.
– Why “ reluctantly,” when you are obliged to follow the Standing Orders?
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.Yes, but I regret that I have to do it, because this Committee has had no opportunity of dealing with clause 331, under which the amendment would have been relevant.
– May I ask, for future guidance, whether I understand you to say that the amendment would be in order at some other time?
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.I can only give a ruling on this amendment.
– With very great reluctance I feel called upon to dissent from your ruling. I will state my objection in writing.
In the Senate:
The Temporary Chairman of Com mittees. - Mr. President, I have to report that during the proceedings in Committee I gave a ruling concerning which Senator Millen has handed me the following notice of objection : -
That the ruling of the Temporary Chairman, Senator Givens, disallowing, the following amendment submitted by Senator Guthrie on clause 333 of the Navigation Bill, be objected to : - “ On any port being proclaimed a port at which pilotage is compulsory all persons holding licences from any State Act as pilots of that port shall become officers of the Commonwealth Public Service.”
I ruled, somewhat reluctantly, that Senator Guthrie’s amendment was out of order, because it was not relevant to the amendment of the House of Representatives which the Committee was discussing. Clause 333 of the Navigation Bill, on which an amendment had been made by the other Chamber, has reference only to the licensing of coasting pilots, and, in my opinion, has nothing whatever to do with the employment of pilots in the Public Service; nor has it any relation to those ports in which pilotage will be compulsory. In fact it goes further and prohibits coastal pilots, where pilotage is not compulsory, from having anything to do with ports where pilotage is compulsory. I further ruled that the amendment was not in order on the ground that such an amendment, if moved at all, could only have been relevant to clause 331 of the Bill,, which was not then under discussion, and which dealt with compulsory pilotage and with the employment of pilots who were officers of the Public Service. Senator Millen has dissented from my ruling, and I have much pleasure in leaving the matter for your decision.
– I wish, first of all, to direct your attention, Mr. President, to standing order 219. I do so because the ordinarily observed rule as to amendments being strictly relevant is in that standing order varied in a direction that necessarily, and I think for obvious reasons, widens the range of discussion. Standing order 219 reads as follows: -
No amendment shall be proposed to an amendment of the House of Representatives that is not relevant thereto.
If the standing order stopped there, I should admit that the decision of the Temporary Chairman was unchallengeable. But it does not stop there. I think you will observe from what I am about to quote, not merely that there is an addition, but that there is a qualification in the direction of enlarging thepower of discussion, and necessarily the making of amendments upon amendments of the House of Representatives. The standing order continues - nor can an amendment be moved to the Bill unless the same be relevant to or consequent upon either the acceptance, amendment, or the rejection of a House of Representatives’ amendment.
That phrase “consequent upon” is entirely different from “ revelant to,” and suggests that we are entitled under the Standing Orders to take the view that where an amendment is made by the other House, which viewed in a technical sense would require either a negative or an affirmative decision from the Committee, we are entitled to consider an amendment upon that amendment, realizing that animportant amendment must have an effect upon the structure of the Bill itself. I submitted to the Temporary Chairman of Committees that the amendment made by the other House might be likened to taking a brick out of a wall. It would be absurd to say that we can only deal with the removal of the one brick. We have a right to consider the effect the removal is likely to have upon the wall of which it forms a part.
– We can only deal
Avith amendments that come from the other House.
– But we are entitled to make amendments which are “ consequent upon “ amendments made elsewhere. Just as the effect of removing one brick from a wall may be so to weaken the structure that wehave to put in iron bolts and to underpin it, so we may have to make amendments in a Bill before us, in order to make allowance for amendments made elsewhere. Having dealt generally with what I conceive to be the rights of the Committee under the standing order, I want to deal with the amendment itself in its relation to clause 333. The Committee was engaged in considering an amendment which inserted in the clause the words “or to act as» pilots in any port at which pilotage is not compulsory.” Those words have reference to the issue of licences to pilots who are to be intrusted with pilotage duties in ports where pilotage is not compulsory. It was useless for the Committee to ask whether or not it was favorable to the issue of licences unless it could also consider the “rights and privileges conferred by the licences. We have to turn to clause 335 to ascertain what is to be done in regard to these licences. Taking the two clauses together, it is proposed that the Commonwealth shall issue a licence to pilots to act in non-compulsoTy ports, or, where licences are in existence to-day, renew them under Federal authority. In the port of Melbourne, and perhaps in other ports, there are licensed pilots who are not Government employes, but act under licences issued by the Government. Under this clause and the one to which I have just referred, licences will be issued by the Commonwealth to these men, but as Melbourne will be a compulsory port, by the addition of these words we would say to the present holders of State licences, “ Although we provide for the issue of a Federal licence to you,we shall not allow you to use it,” because under the clause the licences are only to be issued in respect to ports which are not compulsory. That being so, we have to accept the words of the amendment from the other House, or to reject them, or to accept them with an addition. The object of the addition to the amendment is to safeguard existing rights. Can it be said that the words are unconnected with, or irrelevant to, or have no bearing upon, the words which the Committee is asked to add ? Suppose, for instance, that two men are bargaining about a horse, that the intending purchaser offers £20, and that the vendor says, “ I want £25.” And suppose that the would-be purchaser says to the vendor, “ If you will throw in the saddle and the bridle I will give you £25.” Will any one say that the saddle and the bridle are not relevant to the deal ? Now, the other House has made an addition to clause 333, and we say that we are prepared to accept that amendment with the addition of certain words. I submit that any alternative condition that we like to put in asa reason for the acceptance of the proposal from the other House must be in order.
– Senator Millen has contended that the concluding words of standing order 219, “ nor can an amendment be moved to the Bill “ widen the scope of the Committee’s power.
– No; “consequent upon “ were the words I quoted.
– The standing order reads -
No amendment shall be proposed to an amendment of the House of Representatives that is not relevant thereto ; nor can an amendment be moved to the Bill unless the same be relevant to or consequent upon either the acceptance, amendment, or the rejection of a House of Representatives’ amendment.
– It may be either “ relevant to “ or “ consequent upon.”
– Senator Millen tried to induce you, sir, to take the view that the words “ nor can an amendment “ widen the scope of the power of the Committee. Were that the intention, the framer of the standing order would not have used the words “ nor can,” but the word “ but,” or the words “ provided, that.” The use of the words “nor can” indicates a still further prohibition.,
Again, Senator Millen misread the standing order. The first part of the standing order deals with an amendment of the other House, but the second part deals with an amendment which we can make, not upon the amendment of the other House, but upon the Bill. The honorable senator did not stress the word “ Bill.” My contention is that we can do one of two things. We can amend the amendment of the other House, but our amendment must be relevant to the subject-matter of their amendment, or we can amend another portion of the Bill, as we have already done, on the ground that the amendment is consequential upon our acceptance or rejection of the amendment of the other House. In the previous case, we have an amendment of the other House to a certain clause. There was another clause which was not amended by the other House, but which was affected by the amendment with which we were dealing, and the latter portion of standing order 219 deals only with that class of cases. Consequent upon our acceptance or rejection or amendment of an amendment of the other House we are entitled to amend a clause with which that House has never dealt. That is what the latter part of standing order. 219 means, and I think that no one knows that better than does Senator Millen. Clause 331 deals with two points, namely, the question of compulsory pilots as dis. tinct from licensed pilots,’ and, secondly, with the question of what pilots shall be in the Public Service of the Commonwealth. Before the Bill was sent to the other House the Senate was entitled to say that licensed pilots under certain conditions should come into the Public Service of the Commonwealth, but it did not avail itself of that opportunity. We have now to deal with clause 333, only so far as it has been amended by the other House. Here we find two limitations. First, the clause does not deal with compulsory pilots at all or with the Public Service of the Commonwealth, but simply with licensed pilots. The amendment of the other House deals with neither of those points, but only with the name of the licensed pilots, that is with the question of whether they shall be called “coastal” or “licensed” pilots. As regards the other limitation the clause simply lays down what a licensed pilot may do. Neither the clause nor the amendment deals with compulsory pilotage, but solely with licensed pilots, but Senator
Guthrie’s amendment deals with twothings. It says, in effect, that the Commonwealth shall make licensed pilots compulsory pilots, and take them, into itsPublic Service. The amendment cannot,. I contend, be held to be relevant either to the amendment of the other House or to the clause with which we are dealing, nor can we under the latter part of standing order 219 amend clause 331, which deals with both those matters, because it is not relevant to our acceptance or rejection or amendment of the proposal of the other House, which deals entirely with licensed pilots. For these reasons, sir, I think that you should uphold the ruling of the Temporary Chairman.
– The point which Senator Millen, strongly emphasized was that an amendment may be moved which is consequent upon our acceptance or rejection or amendment of a proposal of the other House. Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that we had decided to omit from the amendment of the other House the words- “ port at which pilotage is not compulsory,” so that the clause would read -
The Minister may, subject to the regulations,, licence persons to conduct ships from one port to another port in Australia, or to act as pilotsfor any port in Australia.
Then it would have been necessary to see whether, consequent upon that alteration, another clause of the Bill ought to have been amended, and we could haveamended clause 331, which reads as follows^ - (1.) The Governor-General may proclaim theports at which the employment of a pilot shaft be compulsory. (2.) At any such port the pilotage shall be performed by a pilot in the Public Service of the Commonwealth.
We could have amended sub-clause 2 by providing that at any such, port the pilotage should be performed by a licensed pilot. That amendment would have been consequent upon an amendment which we had made in clause 333. I submit that we can adopt Senator Guthrie’s amendment as being consequent upon our acceptance of the amendment from the other House, just as we are entitled at the present moment to alter the, words “ or to act as pilots for any port at which pilotage is not compulsory.” We can so alter that provision as to enable these persons to act as pilots for any port within the Commonwealth. If we can do that we can turn to the other clause, and provide, by omitting certain words and adding a word, that at such ports the pilotage shall be performed by licensed pilots. If we can make a consequential amendment in that way, can we not make an amendment in the straightforward way proposed by Senator Guthrie? We want not simply to leave it within the power of the Minister to do this thing whether he likes it or not, but to provide that pilots who are now licensed by States may act in ports in which pilotage is made compulsory. We want to provide that licensed pilots shall continue to act as they have hitherto done.
– The Temporary Chairman has reported that on the amendment made by the House of Representatives in clause 333, Senator Guthrie proposed this amendment -
Upon any port being proclaimed a port at which the pilotage is compulsory all persons folding licences issued by any State to act as pilots for that port shall become officers in the Commonwealth Public Service.
The Temporary Chairman ruled that the amendment of Senator Guthrie was not relevant to the clause which was under consideration, and which had been amended by the other House. Senator Millen, I understand, based his objection to the ruling, not on the first part of standing order 219, but on the latter part, which reads - nor can an amendment be moved to the Bill unless the same be relevant to or consequent upon the acceptance, amendment, or the rejection of a House of Representatives’ amendment.
Senator Gould has contended that it is competent for the Senate to make an amendment on the amendment of the other House, but that the Senate’s amendment must be relevant to the clause under discussion and the amendment of the other House. It has been pointed out by the Minister in charge of the Bill, and I think it has been held, that it is not competent for the Senate to make an amendment to an amendment of the other House which does not deal with the particular matter or clause under consideration. It has also been pointed out that this amendment would have been in order had it been proposed to an amendment to clause 331. I cannot see how there can be any argument against that position being taken up. The whole matter submitted in dealing with compulsory pilotage is confined to clause 331, and if we were to take this matter as dealing with clause 333, which provides for licensing pilots and the ports at which the licensees shall be able to carry out their work, it seems to me that this amendment would interfere not so much with that particular clause as with clause 331, which has already been passed. I think that the ruling of the Temporary Chairman is correct. In my opinion, the latter part of the standing order referred to by Senator Millen means that where an amendment has been amended, agreed to, or dissented from, consequential amendments may be moved to bring the Bill into conformity with the action taken by the Committee. I rule, therefore, that the Temporary Chairman was correct in the ruling he gave with regard to the amendment submitted by Senator Guthrie.
Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD (New South Wales) [12.51]. - I move -
That the amendment be amended by leaving out the words “ at which pilotage is not compulsory,” with a view to inserting the words “within the Commonwealth.”
That would enlarge the power for the appointment of licensed pilots,
– The honorable senator must be aware that that power is not contained in the State Act.
– That may be so. If my amendment be accepted, pilots will be enabled to act as such for any port within the Commonwealth.
– Whether they hold a licence or not?
– No; they will have to hold a licence.
– Then the proposal is to do away with compulsory pilotage.
– No; but to render licensed pilots eligible to act , in ports at which pilotage is compulsory. If my amendment be carried, I intend to propose a subsequent amendment, which I will indicate. Under my proposal, assuming that Melbourne is made a compulsory pilotage port, licensed pilots operating in that port at the present time would be entitled to be licensed to continue to operate in that port. If the amendment I now move be agreed to, it will’ be necessary to amend clause 331 consequentially. Sub-clause 2 of that clause reads - (2.) At any such port the pilotage shall be performed by a pilot in the Public Service of the Commonwealth.
It will be necessary to amend that so as to read -
At any such port the pilotage shall be performed by a licensed pilot.
Under this proposal, any pilot already holding a licence would become eligible for employment in any port for which his licence holds good. It would afford the Government an opportunity to do an act of simple justice, and give the men at present licensed as pilots for the port of Melbourne the right to continue in their occupation. The Government practically say to these men, “ We will give you a licence, but we will not take you into the Public Service.”
– We do not say anything of the kind.
– The Government will not necessarily take these men into the Public Service. I desire to bring all these pilots within the one category of licensed pilots, with a right to employment in any port covered by their licence. Of course, the regulations will provide for the necessary qualifications to enable a person to secure a licence. I submit that my proposal offers a fair and reasonable way of dealing with this matter, in view of the difficulties which our Standing Orders presented in connexion with the amendment submitted by Senator Guthrie. The amendment I propose is, I submit, clearly within the competency of the Committee, because we may amend the amendment of the House of Representatives as we think fit, and may then make consequential amendments in the Bill. If this amendment be made, it will be necessary to make a consequential amendment, as I have stated,in clause 331, or otherwise the provision in clause 331 would conflict with clause 333.
Sitting suspended from 1 to 2.30p.m.
– I trust that the Committee will not accept this amendment. If it is accepted, it will set aside all idea of Government pilots. The Government will proclaim Melbourne and Sydney as ports at which pilotage will be compulsory; and, if Senator Gould’s amendment be agreed to, what will happen will be that we shall have in those ports pilots who will be Government servants and at the same time licensed pilots who will be able to do the work of pilotage in those ports.
– The Government would not license them.
– Of course, no Government in such circumstances would grant licences to men who were not in their employ. All that would follow from the adoption of the amendment would be that men now holding licences would be deprived of them.
– Which would be a worse evil than that which might arise under the clause.
– That is so. ‘‘The object of the Government in making pilotage compulsory at ports where there is. great traffic or many difficufties of navigation, and where, consequently, very great care is necessary in the handling of vessels, is that they may have complete control over the pilots employed at such ports. They desire that for this purpose pilots employed in such ports shall be Government servants. For the reasons I have stated I ask the Committee not to accept the amendment.
– Iamnot particularly enamoured of the amendment submitted by Senator Gould. It does not meet the difficulty which arises in connexion with this clauseI venture to say that there is some measure of anxiety as to what will be the position under the clause of the Melbourne pilots and others similarly situated, and the Minister might relieve the mind of the Committee by making a clear statement on the subject.
– Did I not make a clear statement before the luncheon adjournment ?
– That statement, so far as the Minister was concerned, was entirely satisfactory.
– It is the statement, also, of the Minister of Trade and Customs.
– I do not question it at all as a declaration of the Ministerialpolicy; but the honorable senator will see that it would be more desirable, and would remove all doubts for the future, if the Ministerial policy were embodied in the Bill. It would be better for the Minister and the pilots concerned if a provision were inserted in the Bill conserving the interests; of those who will be affected by the clause.
Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD (New South Wales) [2.35]. - Honorable senators must make up their minds as to whether they will do justice to- these people. If they consider that the position would only be made worse by accepting my amendment, well and good. The Minister naturally fights to maintain the position taken up by the Government, but that does not appear to be any reason why the Minister administering this measure should not have control over licensed pilots as well as over Government pilots. If a Government pilot makes a serious mistake, which shows incompetence or incapacity, the Minister may deal with him. And I contend that if a licensedpilot were to make a serious mistake, indicatingincompetency or incapacity, the Minister could deal with him just as effectively by taking away his licence. What further control the Minister could desire I am at a loss to understand. My only object in submitting the amendment was to leave a way open to the Government to deal with these licensed pilots in such a way as would be satisfactory to them and the public gene rally. It is natural to suppose that the Government would be more careful in issuing licences to pilots for ports frequented by great ocean liners than for ports like Warrnambool or Port Pine, frequented by very much smaller vessels. I have said that if my amendment be agreed to it will be necessary to make a consequential amendment to clause 331.
– It can be done in clause 335.
.- I shall be glad to hear from Senator Guthrie how he proposes to meet the difficulty by the amendment of clause 335. I shall have no objection if it can be shown that an amendment of that clause will get over the difficulty. I have no wish to obstruct the Bill, or to introduce amendments which will notBe desirable in the public interests, or in the interests of the persons specially concerned.
Motion (Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir Albert Gould’s) negatived.
Motion (Senator Pearce’ s) agreed to.
Amendment of clause 334 agreed to.
Clause 335- (1.) All uncancelled and unexpired licences, issued under any State Act, authorizing any persons to conduct ships from one port to another port in Australia, 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 underwhich they were issued; and for those purposes and to that extent the holder of any such licence shall be deemed to be a coastal pilot. (2.) Any such licence may be dealt with as if issued under this Act. (3.) The holder of any such licence may, subject to the regulations, surrender it for a corresponding licence under this Act.
House of Representatives’ Amendment. - After “Australia,” line 4, insert “or to act as pilots for any port at which pilotage is not compulsory, under this Act.”
Motion (by Senator Pearce) proposed -
That the amendment be agreed to.
– I move -
That the amendment be amended by inserting: the following words after sub-clause (1.) : - “Provided that upon any port being proclaimed a port at which the pilotage is compulsory, all persons holding licences issued by any State to act as pilots for that port shall become officersin the Commonwealth Public Service.”
If the amendment made by the House of Representatives in this clause means anything, itmeans that a man who holds a licence to act as pilot in a port may or may not be taken over as a Commonwealth public servant. If he is not taken over his licence will become absolutely useless and his living will be gone. The men. composing the pilot service of Australia to-day are the picked men of the mercantile marine. They have thrown up commissions as master mariners for the purpose of acting as pilots. All of them have had to pass stringent examinations, and they are liable to be examined at any time. If it is found that they are suffering from any defect, physical or mental, their licences may be cancelled. I want to safeguard their interests. In the port of Melbourne, we have twenty-two Hobson’s Bay pilots and six river pilots. In Port Pirie, South Australia, and in Port Augusta, there are also a number. As far as 1 can see, the object of the Government in having this amendment made is that they want to havepower to pick up the best men, and let the others go. I am not prepared to permit that to be done. When Federation was brought about, a promise was made that public servants that were taken over to the Commonwealth Public Service wouldl have all rights which they had secured under State Acts guaranteed to them. Although thepilot service will not be a transferred Department in the sense in which that term is used in the Constitution, we ought to make good the promise made, and recognise th’ rights of the pilots by taking them over into the Commonwealth Service.
– No matter what their age may be?
– Under the Commonwealth Public Service Act officers have- to retire at a certain age. I know that some of the best master mariners in Australia have been rejected when applying for positions as pilots because of some slight -defect in eyesight, or otherwise.
– Would not the honorable senator regard that as a serious defect ?
– If an ordinary ; person has a defective eyesight, it is remedied by artificial means. As a matter of fact, the first thing a pilot does when !he goes on board ship is to use the binoculars. He assists his eyesight by artificial means in that way. The principle behind any amendments is the principle of State -obligations; and I trust that the Committee will accept it.
– I do not see how I can accept Senator Guthrie’s amendment. Clause 331 of the Bill deals definitely and exclusively with the question which the -amendment affects. The amendment intro.duces the principle that pilots at a port where pilotage is compulsory, shall become members of the Commonwealth Public Service. I cannot say that that is relevant to clause 335. It seems to me that the question raised is practically on “ allfours “ with that which was settled this :morning by a ruling of the President.
– I think there is a difference between the question ruled upon toy the President this morning and that raised by Senator Guthrie’s amendment. The amendment, first of all, contains a declaration as to what privileges’ shall be conferred upon the holders of pilot licences. The amendment of the House of- Representatives takes something away from the holders of licences. Surely, if an amendment can be made in the clause withdrawing something from them, we can insert words adding compensation. That is all that Senator Guthrie’s amendment does. The House of Representatives says, in effect, “ We put a disability on these licences.” Senator Guthrie proposes to accept that disability, but to add an advantage. I submit that if a limit can be put in in one direction, we can make an amendment granting an extension in another.
– Senator Millen has argued as though we were at liberty to deal with the whole clause. . That is the fallacy which he and others have been constantly falling into. The Standing Orders Jay upon us the duty, not of dealing with the clause at this stage, but with the amendments of the House of Representatives. That is a very different thing. The only question is whether Senator Guthrie’s amendment is in any way consequential upon the acceptance or rejection of the House of Representatives’ amendment. That amendment does not affect the privileges of the compulsory pilots in the least degree, and the compulsory pilots are the only persons who can become public servants under this Bill. An amendment upon the House of Representatives’ amendment must be relevant to the question of whether these licensed pilots shall or shall not act as pilots for any port at which pilotage is not compulsory under the measure. That is the only question at issue. I submit that it is not relevant to raise any question as to whether these pilots shall or shall not become public servants. That is another question altogether, which will have to be determined by this Parliament. The amendment raises no question of the pay or status of the pilot It merely deals with the ports at which they can act. Senator. Guthrie wants to alter the whole status of the men. The amendment is clearly governed by the previous ruling of the President.
– The question raised by my amendment is what is to be done with the pilots who are to be dealt with under the clause? The position is that, after this Bill passes and the pilot service is controlled by the Commonwealth, there will be in existence certain uncancelled! and certain unexpired licences. In this clause, the Government ask for the right to take over a certain number of certificated pilots into the Public Service, and to reject the others. At present, there is no provision to protect the rights of those who now hold certificates.
– You are on the amend-i ment now.
– I am on the clause.
– Under the standing order the whole of the clause is not before the Committee, but only such portion as has been amended by the other House, and the discussion must be confined to that amendment.
– Senator Guthrie was, I think, a little premature in proposing hisamendment to this clause. It should have been proposed to amendment 154, which is to insert after “ pilot “ the words - but no such licence shall entitle the holder to act as pilot at a port at which pilotage is compulsory under this Act. If it were proposed to be made there it could not be objected to, I think, on the ground that it was not relevant to the amendment of the other House, because that amendment deals with the pilots who are to be taken over, and the desire of Senator Guthrie is to protect the rights and interests of those men when they are taken over.
– I would point out to the honorable senator that the amendment of Senator Guthrie was not put from the Chair.
Motion agreed to.
Amendments inserting “subject to this Act” after “shall,” line 5, and substituting “licensed” for “coastal” agreed to.
House of Representatives’ Amendment. - After “pilot,” line 11, insert “but no such licence shall entitle the holder to act as pilot at a port at which pilotage is compulsory under this Act.”
Motion (by Senator Pearce) proposed -
That the amendment be agreed to.
– I move-
That the amendment be amended by the addi tion of the following words : - “ Provided that upon any port being proclaimed a port at which the pilotage is compulsory all persons holding licences issued by any State to act as pilots for that port shall become officers in the Commonwealth Public Service.”
The only difference between pilots who are licensed by a State and other public servants of the State is that while the latter are in the receipt of a salary the former only get what they earn. Unless my amendment is made, the Government may decide to work the port of Melbourne with twelve pilots instead of with twenty-eight as at present, so that sixteen men would be deprived of their livelihood. To all intents and purposes, licensed pilots at present are public servants. My amendment does not apply to the port of Melbourne alone, but to a number of ports which, probably, are equally important, so far as pilotage is concerned. I think that we should, in justice to these men, preserve their opportunities to earn a livelihood.
– On a point of order, sir, I ask whether this amendment can be moved here, because it seems to me that it raises the old question. Clause 335 deals with the State licences of licensed pilots, and the amendment of the other House places a sort of prohibition, or, rather, limitation on those licences; and it seems to me that any amendment must be relevant to the question of whether the holderof a State licence is entitled to act as a pilot at a port at which pilotage is compulsory under this Bill. I do not think that it needs any argument to satisfy you, sir, that this amendment is on all-fours with the other proposal which Senator Guthrie submitted.
– It is now that I want to address to you, sir, the argument whichI commenced a short time ago, and the Minister has made my task easier by thehappy selection of the word “ prohibition.”
– I said “limitation.”
– The Minister admitted that this amendment is a limitation of the rights which are conferred upon the pilots by the State licences. If we are entitled to place a limitation upon the purpose and use of the licences we are equally entitled to expand them. What Senator Guthrie says, in effect, is that as we placea limitation upon the licences we should as a set-off against that, give the holders of the licences something in the nature of a compensation. Let us look at the wording of this amendment. No such licenceshall entitle to do something; he is not entitled to do it by reason of the licence. If we say that he is not entitled, because of the licence to do one thing, we are equallyentitled to say that because of the licence he is entitled to do another thing. If we pass a form of words the effect of which is to take away a man’s livelihood”, it is relevant to those words to say, as a set-off, that we give him something; and that is what Senator Guthrie proposes. I see noreason why it should be regarded as being; out of order.
– I presume that there is no disputing the fact that we can amend the amendment. It statesdistinctly that no such licence shall entitle the holder todo certain things.
– To act as a pilot.
– To act as a pilot is to do a certain thing.
– It is a definite thing.
– That which is certain must be definite. Suppose that the Committee chose to substitute the words “ and every “ for the words “but no “ in theamendment. That would entitle the holder- of every licence to act as a pilot at a com pulsory port.
– I would point out to the honorable senator that such an amendment would be in direct conflict with another clause, which says that licensed pilots shall not do so.
– Suppose that we had a free hand to deal with this amendment. We could substitute the words I have mentioned, and provide that every such licence shall entitle the holder to receive a fixed amount, so that he would be in a position to carry out certain duties assigned to him. I take it that if we can impose a prohibition or limitation upon the holder of a licence it is competent for the Committee to provide any compensation which, in its opinion, he is entitled to receive on account of our having deprived him of something which he now posseses. In other words, it must be as competent for the Committee to compensate the holder of a licence for any right or privilege of which it deprives him as it is to deprive him of that right or privilege. I think, sir, that you would unduly limit the power of the Committee if you were to hold that it had no power vto deal with the question of compensating sthe pilots for the withdrawal of certain advantages which they now possess.
– I can hardly see the force of the argument advanced by the Minister. The amendment of the other House is a restriction of the rights which are now held by licensed pilots, and the object of Senator Guthrie’s proposal is to conserve and expand the rights which that House has restricted. Surely, in dealing with the amendemnt of the other House, the Committee is entitled to say whether the rights of licensed pilots shall be expanded or conserved. If the Bill is passed in its present form a distinction will be set up be tween the pilots, and the result will be that some will be licensed and others will not be licensed. What is to happen to those whose licences may be taken away? All that Senator Guthrie is trying to do is to preserve their rights. Out of a sense of justice, the Committee should conserve the rights of pilots who are taken over from the States; and 1 cannot see that the amendment of Senator Guthrie is not relevant to the amendment of the other House.
-Colonel Cameron. - The whole of this trouble appears to me to have arisen out of the changing of a word which vwas descriptive of the pilots. I refer to the amendment of the other House to substitute “ licensed” for “ coastal.” It is out of a desire to protect the interests of port’ pilots who require to possess special knowledge that all this trouble has arisen. Had the distinctive words “coastal pilots” been retained, the term “ licensed pilots “ might have been retained in the amendment without any doubt as to the proper interpretation. It is the interpretation of “ licensed “ which seems to have bothered every honorable senator. The use of the word “licensed” has apparently conveyed a double meaning to the minds of honorable senators. We shall have two classes of pilots - men requiring special qualifications as pilots for ports at which pilotage is made compulsory, and coastal pilots. I believe that if the term “ coastal pilots “ had been retained, no difficulty would have arisen.
– The House of Representatives proposes to amend this clause by inserting the words “ but no such licence shall entitle the holder to act as pilot at a port at which pilotage is compulsory under this Act.” If that be so, I should like to ask what will entitle the holder of a pilot’s licence to do so?
– He must be a Government employe. He will be taken over by the Government, and, , as a Government pilot, will be allowed to operate in a port at which pilotage is compulsory.
– The Minister’s statement has not convinced me that under the amendment of the House of Representatives the position of these licensed pilots will be sufficiently safeguarded. Many of them have had long service, and they are all doing their work well, and, as I am afraid their position will be jeopardized by the acceptance of the amendment, I must vote against it.
- Senator Pearce has asked for a ruling of the Chair as to whether the amendment submitted by Senator Guthrie can be accepted. It seems to me that it cannot be accepted, for the reason that it is not relevant to the amendment before the Chair, nor is it consequent upon the acceptance or rejection of that amendment. It proposes to put licensed pilots on the same footing as Government pilots dealt with in clause 331. The amendment would bring the clause before the Committee into conflict with clause 331, and I think it is going too far to say that it is consequential upon the acceptance or rejection of the amendment of the House of Representatives in this clause. I have no wish to curtail discussion or the opportunities afforded to honorable senators to submit amendments, but on my reading of standing order 219 I have no option but to refuse to accept the amendment. The standing order says -
No amendment shall be proposed to an amendment of the House of Representatives that is not relevant thereto ; nor can an amendment be moved to the Bill unless the same be relevant to, or consequent upon, either the acceptance, amendment, or the rejection of the House of Representatives’ amendment.
I cannot see that Senator Guthrie’s amendment, which introduces an entirely new principle, is relevant to or consequent upon the House of Representatives’ amendment in the clause before the Committee, and I am, therefore, reluctantly compelled to refuse to accept it.
– As certain questions have been raised about the position of licensed pilots, and the position of the Port Phillip pilots has been specially mentioned, I wish to inform the Committee that sincethe discussion took place I have been authorized by the representatives of the Port Phillip pilots to say that they are absolutely satisfied with their position under the Bill, and with the statement made as to the intentions of the Government if the Bill is passed in the form proposed by the House of Representatives.
Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD (New South Wales) [3.27].- I do not know whether Senator Guthrie is now satisfied with the statement made by the Minister. There are pilots engaged in other parts of the Commonwealth who may not be so easily satisfied as are the Port Phillip pilots.
– And who are not so accessible.
SenatorLt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD. - Just so. Senator Guthrie’s amendment has again been ruled out of order, and perhaps it would have been just as well if the Committee had considered an amendment which I submitted in connexion with an earlier clause. However, the honorable senator expressed himself as quite satisfied that he could do what he desired by proposing an amendment when we came to clause 335. He submitted his amendment, with the result that it is ruled out of order. The honorable senator is not prepared to question the ruling, and we are now unable to further consider the mat ter. We have now to accept the amendment of the House of Representatives or cut out altogether the words “ but no such licence shall entitle the holder to act aspilot at a port at which pilotage is compulsory under this Act.” In view of the provision in clause 331, it may be contended that these words would be surplusage”, because under that clause only certain pilots who will be Government servants will be permitted to take charge of ships in ports at which pilotage is compulsory. The Committee has proved itself powerless to make any amendment which would provide for simple justice being done to men who have been in the pilot service for many years, and who may, under this Bill as it stands, have to leave the ports in which they have been engaged, and earn a living as they best can. I congratulate honorable senators upon the beautiful tangle into which they have got themselves in connexion with this matter.
– - Ihave already said that I do not think the amendment of the House of Representatives will sufficiently protect the interests of pilots who to-day hold licences. I move -
That the amendment be amended by adding; the words “ but such licensee shall be eligible to act as such.”
That will give some hope to these men, that their interests will not be overlooked.
– If the honorable senator’s amendment were accepted, the words to be inserted after the word “pilot “” would read - but no such licence shall entitle the holder toact as pilot at a port at which pilotage is compulsory under this Act, but such licensee shall be eligible to act as such.
It appears to me that the amendment submitted by Senator St. Ledger is a contradiction of the amendment now before the Committee. It seems to me that it would negative that amendment.
– Surely there is a difference between what a man is entitled toand what he is eligible for ?
– If he is eligible, he is entitled.
– No, not necessarily.
– Making a man eligible for a billet does not give him the billet.
– There is a distinction between saying that a man is entitled to something and is eligible for it. I am entitled and eligible to hold property, but some people are not eligible to hold property.
– There might be something in the honorable senator’s argument if he proposed that the licensee should be eligible for appointment.-
– I have no objection to use the words “ but such licensee -shall be eligible to be appointed to act as such.”
– If the amendment is put in that form, I think that no exception can be taken to it.
Motion amended accordingly.
– So far from feeing a negative, my amendment would be absolutely an affirmative, and would give these licensed pilots some assurance of employment. They would be entitled to say, “ We have certain qualifications, and have done certain service. There are certain vacancies for which we are eligible, why should we not be appointed to fill them? “ I cannot imagine that the Government would exclude these men, who have shown themselves competent to act as pilots in ports at which pilotage will be made compulsory.
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales) 13-36]- - I was very much surprised to note that some honorable senators appear to regard the word “ eligible “ as equivalent to the word “entitled.” I can give a concrete instance in which it will be seen that the two words may mean something quite different. Under the laws of New South Wales a man is entitled by will to receive property, but if it takes the form of some tenures created under the State land laws, although he is entitled to receive the property under a will, he is not eligible to hold it if he is already the possessor of a certain area of land otherwise obtained. If Senator St. Ledger’s amendment be accepted, the holders of these licences will not be entitled to act as compulsory pilots at ports at which pilotage is compulsory, “but the fact that the Commonwealth Government will honour their State certificates by giving Commonwealth certificates in exchange for them will render them eligible to receive Government employment in ports at which pilotage will be compulsory. The Minister has said that it is the intention of the Government to give them this employment. This brings me to a statement made by the Minister a little time ago. He said that the representatives of the Port Phillip pilots had communicated with him, and he mentioned in an impressive way, which showed that he must him self have been impressed, that they had expressed themselves as absolutely satisfied with both the Bill and the Ministerial assurance. Honorable senators can picture for themselves what happened. This body of simple-minded, honest, guileless sailor men approached the Minister, and with a touch of pathos laid before him the position in which they are situated. They say, “ Here we are with our wives and families, and we fear that our occupations are threatened by this Bill of yours.” The Minister turns to them-, and with an ample flow of words, says, “My dear friends, how could you entertain a suspicion of this Government? The one purpose for which the Government lives, and for which I occupy this Ministerial’ chair, is to make your lot in life happier. Can you doubt me? Leave it all to me, and be satisfied that this Bill of ours will make your last condition better than your first.”
– The pilots are not quite so simple as that.
– Other people have been told the same tale before, and it was only later that they found that instead of having to deal with the sympathetic eloquence of a Minister, they were “ up against “ the unsympathetic legal fraternity. Then they began to understand that a Ministerial assurance, no matter how honestly given, and how sincerely intended at the time, does not secure any rights in this community. Rights can only be secured in one way, and that is by an Act of Parliament.
– Senator St. Ledger would be well advised if he would withdraw this amendment. It really means nothing. As a matter of fact, every person in the Commonwealth is eligible to be appointed a pilot.
– No; not unless the Government have lost their head.
– I am glad to find that Senator St. Ledger admits that the Government have a head. Suppose the Commonwealth, having taken over the pilot service, require ten additional pilots, should not I be eligible to be appointed if I were qualified? Licensed pilots will be eligible to be appointed. The persons whom Senator St. Ledger desires to assist are eligible already. Every person is eligible. The amendment would not carry the matter one step further.
Motion (Senator St. Ledger’s) negatived.
Motion (Senator Pearce’s) agreed to. Clause 342 -
Such certificates shall be called “pilotage exemption certificates” and shall -
be granted to British subjects only; and
have effect only in regard to ships registered in Australia, and to snch other classes of British ships as axe prescribed.
House of Representatives’ Amendment. - Add the following words : - “ but nothing in this section shall affect the renewal of a pilotage exemption certificate granted before the commencement of this Act to a person who is not a British subject.”
– In some States, in particular New South Wales, pilotage exemption certificates have, in the past, been granted to masters without discrimination as to nationality. This is the practice in Great Britain also, though it is, I believe, proposed in a Pilotage Bill now before the House of Commons to discontinue the practice. Representations have been made by the Board of Trade, as welT as by several foreign Governments, that it would be an injustice to the holders of existing certificates to take them away. There is considerable weight in this, and as the number of aliens who hold Board of Trade certificates as masters, and also pilotage exemption certificates, is not great, and will in course of a few years disappear, it is proposed to conserve existing rights in this respect. Pilotage exemption certificates will be issued in regard to Australian-registered and certain classes of British ships only, and will not be available for foreign vessels. I move - .
That the amendment be agreed to.
Motion agreed to.
Clause 349 -
House of Representatives’ Amendment. - Omit “ the ship into bis charge,” and insert “ the charge of piloting the ship to that pilot.”
– I move -
That the amendment be agreed to.
There is an important difference between the words omitted and the words inserted in their stead. In accordance with the provisions of an International Convention in regard to Collisions and Salvage,to which practically the whole of the maritime nations are parties, the defence of “ compulsory pilotage “ has been abolished. That: is to say, that it is to be no longer a good defence for the master of a vessel that has. caused damage to another vessel to plead that he was required by the law to carry a pilot, arid that such pilot was in charge. Clause 352 deals with this by expressly ‘declaring that such circumstances shall not confer immunity from liability upon themaster or ‘owner of the ship in fault. Seeing, then, that the master is the responsible party, it must be made clear that the charge of the ship remains in his hands. The pilot will be in charge merely as pilot, but the master may supersede him at any moment, whenever his experience and knowledge tell him the ship is being run intodanger. The amendment is to make it clear that the pilot is there as a pilot only, but is not in charge of the ship.
-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD (New South Wales) [3.47].- The change proposed to be made in this clause is a very . important one. As the law stands, when the master of a ship is compelled to receive a pilot on board, the pilot, as far as the navigation of the vessel is concerned, is master of the situation. The skipper is relieved of responsibility in connexion with that matter. But it may be that under certain circumstances the master of a ship might take upon himself the responsibility of disregarding the directions, or instructions of the pilotin charge. . The responsibility would be a very grave one as the law stands. This clause refers to a case where pilotage is not compulsory, but where the master of a vessel chooses to take on board a pilot to assist him in’ navigating his vessel. In that case, unquestionably the master is still in control of the shipyard the pilot is his servant. In just the same way as any other person employed1 on the ship the master or owner becomes responsible for the actions of his servant, the pilot. Under this Bill, the master is compelled to take the first pilot whose services are offered. He cannot pick and choose. There may be some reason why a particular pilot at a particular time is not believed to be competent. The incompetency may be believed to be due to illness or intoxication. Nevertheless, that pilot has to be taken.
– I think we might go into this matter next week.
Senator FINDLEY laid upon the table the following paper : -
Wonga Shoal Lighthouse : Report of Inspection made by Commander Brewis, S.N., on 28th March, 1912.
Senate adjourned at 3.53 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 22 November 1912, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1912/19121122_senate_4_68/>.