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Wednesday, 4 October 1911

Senator SAYERS (Queensland) . - Will - the Minister of Defence say that a man who is entitled to serve in a steamer of 50 nominal horse-power to-day shall still be entitled to serve in her if she be classed as a vessel' of 55 nominal horse-power? To me it seems plain : that in the absence of such a provision the amended scale will inflict a hardship upon some" men. The Vice-President of the

Executive- Council- interjected that those -who are displaced from their positions by reason of this new scale- will be able to obtain employment in in lower grade vessels. But J would point out that the positions on such. vessels will be already filled. If only ten men are thrown out of employment because of vessels being declared to be of -a higher grade, those men will have to look for employment elsewhere. That will be a hardship. We ought to have an assurance from the Minister that if a man is entitled under his certificate to drive a vessel of 55 nominal horse-power he will still be able to drive her if she is declared to be a vessel of 60 nominal horse-power.

Senator PEARCE(Western. Australia - Minister , of Defence) T4-21]- - When Senator E. J. Russell was speaking, I referred him to clause 21, thinking that he would read that provision, which 'constitutes a complete answer to the fears expressed by Senator Sayers. That clause provides -

All uncancelled and unexpired certificates - of competency for masters or ships' officers issued under any Slate Act shall continue as if issued under this Act, but shall be valid only for the purposes for which, and the extent to which, they would have been valid in accordance with the provisions of the State Act under which they were issued.

That seems to me to be definite enough. If, under the State Act, they were valid for a ship of 60 nominal horse-power, they will be valid for a vessel of 60 nominal horse-power under this Act.

Senator Millen - But, under this proposed new scale, the Government propose to make her a vessel of 70 horse-power. "

Senator PEARCE - I venture to say that if what Senator Millen says be correct, under the concluding paragraph of that clause an officer who holds a certificate entitling him to serve in a certain vessel will still be entitled to serve on that vessel if we alter her engine power designation. That is the meaning of clause 21, if it means anything. Paragraph 3 of that provision reads - ' .'"

The holder of any such certificate, may, subject to any prescribed restrictions and limitations, surrender it for a certificate of 'a' similar or corresponding grade under this Act.

Therefore his rights are safeguarded. ,1 am of opinion that under this proposed "new scale he will occupy a better, position than he would have occupied under the scale now in the Bill. The latter provides for only first and second class engineers' certificates, whereas, the new' schedule makes' provision, for first-class engineers'' certificates, second-class engineers'' , certificates, , firstclass coast engineers' certificates," .secondclass coast engineers' certificates, and third-class coast " engineers.' .certificates. Honorable senators will recollect . that some time ago, when we .were discussing " the clauses under which these certificates were granted, in accordance with the recommendations of the Navigation Commission, provision was made by which a man could rise from the position of greaser until he became possessed of a first-class engineer's certificate. This proposed new scale gives expression to that idea, and is therefore more in harmony with the clauses of the Bill than is the present scale.

Senator Millen - The Minister is dealing rather with the general effect of this part of the schedule.

Senator PEARCE - The particular cases which have been dealt with by Senator Millen are covered by clause 21 It would be foolish to endeavour to amend this schedule to meet particular cases. We say to the men employed on these vessels, " We will not give you anything worse than we offered you originally in the Bill." Otherwise they would not occupy " a similar or corresponding grade" under this measure. It would not be corresponding if he were entitled to drive a 60-ton ship under a State Act, and we gave him a certificate which would entitle him to drive only a smaller ship under this Bill. We may alter the means of arriving at the tonnage of a vessel, but that will not alter the size of the vessel.

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