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Wednesday, 28 September 1910

Senator PEARCE (Western Australia) (Minister of Defence) . - The Leader of the Opposition has endeavoured to make it appear that these words have crept into the clause inadvertently. Nothing of the kind. Clause 14 deals with an applicant before he submits hirriself for examination, and clause 15 deals with him after he has emerged from that examination. Let me take the case of an applicant for a first class engineer's certificate. After he has passed his examination, he may be called upon to produce his second and' third class engineer's certificates.

Senator Millen - They must be demanded under clause 14.

Senator PEARCE - There is no obligation to demand them' laid upon us under that clause. I may tell the Committee of a similar case in connexion with the university examination of candidates for civil engineering degrees. After a candidate has passed his examination, and before the degree is conferred, he may be required to produce his books to show what work he has clone. I repeat that clause 14 deals with an applicant for a certificate prior to his examination, whereas . the provision under discussion provides that, after he has passed that examination, he may be called upon to produce his antecedent certificates. If a candidate for a first class certificate cannot produce his second class certificate he will be granted only a second class certificate. If he cannot produce his second class certificate he will be granted only a third class certificate.

Senator Chataway - Surely it is fair to put before him all the conditions with which he must comply, prior to his examination?

Senator PEARCE - That is so. But if he submits to examination, despite those conditions, he must accept the risk. He will know that he may be called upon to show that he possesses the necessary qualifications. After an applicant has passed his examination he may be kicked out if he cannot produce evidence that he possesses theprescribed qualifications.

Senator Sir JOSIAHSYMON (South Australia) [4.55]. - I do not know whether T am getting more obtuse than I used to be, but the explanation of the Minister has quite confused me. Clause 14 prevents any candidate from submitting himself to examination unless he is a British subject, who speaks English fluently, and possesses the prescribed qualifications. Those qualifications may cover anything. They ought to include the necessary evidence that a candidate for a first class engineer's certificate already holds a second class engineer's certificate, and that a candidate for a second class engineer's certificate already holds a third class engineer's certificate.

Senator Millen - In other words, they ought to prescribe that if he can pass the examination the matter will be at an end.

Senator SirJOSIAH SYMON - Exactly. The woids 10 which exception has been taken by Senator Millen are identical with tiiose which are contained in clause 14. I think that the amendment which he has moved is a very proper one. The Min ister of Defence says that, after a candidate has passed an examination which entitles him to a certificate, he ought to be called upon to produce his antecedent certificates. The position which he takes up is based upon the assumption that the prescribed qualifications under clause 14 have not been complied with. If a candidate has satisfied the examiners that he possesses all the prescribed qualifications I cannot see what more should be required of him. The Minister has instanced the case of a university examination in this connexion. He has pointed out that a student, after examination, may be required to produce the books in regard to which he has been examined. I happen to know that that is often clone. But the production of the books does not evidence a qualification. It is merely an element in the examination. As a part of the examination the student has to satisfy the examiners that he has read a certain course of books, and their production is merely intended to show the extent of his reading. The Minister must recognise that the words to which attention has been directed are superfluous. Even his great skill has proved unequal to the task of showing that their retention is desirable.

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