Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Thursday, 14 September 1911

Senator PEARCE (Western Australia) (Minister of Defence) . - I move -

That the following new clause be inserted : - 351A. - (1.) Upon the commencement of this

Act, all steam-ships, boats, buildings, plant, and property belonging to the licensed pilots for any port in Australia, and used by them exclusively in their business as pilots; shall become the property of the Commonwealth. (2.) The Commonwealth shall pay to the per sons, entitled thereto, as compensation for any property acquired under this section, the value thereof as. agreed upon between those persons, and the Minister, or, in default of agreement, as settled by arbitration. (3.) Any dispute or difference which may arise between the pilots and the Minister, as. to what property passes under this section, shall be settled by arbitration. (4.) Any arbitration under this section shall be according to the laws relating to arbitration in force in. the State in which, the property is situated. (5.) The. reasonable costs of any arbitration under this section shall be paid by the Commonwealth out of moneys to be provided by the Parliament.

The necessity for this clause is due to the fact that power is taken under the Bill, and if is proposed to exercise it, to take over the pilots as servants of the Commonwealth. It would obviously be a hardship and injustice if pilots were transferred to the Commonwealth service and the property and plant which they have been using in their business were left on their hands.

Senator Millen - Does none of this property belong to the States ?

Senator PEARCE - There is some belonging to the States. It depends on the system which has been in existence.

Senator Millen - Will this clause be sufficient to enable the Government to take over property belonging to the State Governments, and used in connexion with pilot services? It appears to me that it deals only with property belonging to licensed pilots.

Senator PEARCE - I admit that this clause does not expressly deal with property belonging to the State Governments. We are not dealing with transferred properties in the ordinary sense of the term.; and this kind of property belonging to the State Governments might be dealt with under this clause in the same way as the property of. a private individual. If a private individual, or a State Government, did not desire to hand over any of this property, we need not take it over.

Senator Millen - The Government are seeking authority to do a certain thing ; but they limit themselves, in the proposed new clause, to an authority to acquire property belonging to certain private individuals. It seems to me that they really desire to do more than that.

Senator PEARCE - I remind the honorable senator that the property of the State Governments can be taken over under the Constitution. But it was thought necessary and right to insert this clause to reassure licensed pilots carrying on a business of their own that they would not suffer by being taken over by the Commonwealth. We propose to make provision in the Act to acquire their property used for purposes of pilotage. There is, I understand, a Pilot Association carrying out the work of pilotage in Victoria, and the members have invested large sums of money in plant. It. is only fair that they should not be left in doubt as to what their position will be. under the Bill. When State services are taken over by the Commonwealth, buildings and plant connected therewith are necessarily taken over under the Constitution ; and it is, therefore, unnecessary in this clause to set out the conditions on which we shall deal with the States in acquiring property used for pilotage purposes.

Suggest corrections