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Wednesday, 4 October 1911
Page: 1028

Senator DE LARGIE (Western Australia) . - I have been looking up the report of the Navigation Commission, and I find that that body gave some attention to this matter and made a recommendation in regard to it which I had overlooked. That recommendation is as follows: -

In conformity with the general practice now followed on up-to-date ships, of carrying a medical man, we recommend that, in the case of vessels carrying not less than 100 passengers, and on voyages of five days or over, a legally qualified medical man should be carried, and on those vessels not thus provided for, it is suggested that the master or some other person should be qualified to render first aid. It is also suggested that a knowledge of first aid should be necessary to obtain a master's or officer's certificate, ' and that an opportunity should be afforded to seamen and apprentices to qualify.

Seeing that we propose to make provision for the presence of a medical man on vessels carrying 100 passengers, and trading as far as Fremantle, I think that we ought not to forget the recommendation of the Commission. I admit that other portions of Australia are not five days distant from any port. The voyage from Adelaide to Fremantle is more like an ocean trip than a coastal one, not merely because of the nature of the run, but because of the weather that is frequently experienced in crossing the Great Australian Bight.

Senator Pearce - It is often the roughest portion of the trip between here and the Old Country.

Senator DE LARGIE - Exactly. I do not know that this proposal will mean a very great burden to our shipping companies. They are combined in such a way that it would be an easy matter for them to engage one or two doctors for voyages between Adelaide . and Fremantle. That is the only trip of five days' duration round our coast. I may mention that our coasting vessels are much more busy on that run than are the deep-sea vessels. During the summer months the number of women and children who travel to and from Western Australia by our coastal steamers is really surprising. Women with children apparently prefer to travel by those vessels rather than by the mail steamers, 'because of the absence of style ion board 'them., During 'the summer months there is a tremendous passenger trade between Western Australia and the eastern States, and the necessity for a doctor on board vessels making that trip must be apparent to everybody. For this reason I hope that the proposal of the Minister will be accepted by the Committee. I can assure Senator Gardiner that the new departure can be worked so economically that the engagement of one or two medical men by our shipping companies would accomplish all that is necessary under this clause. Notwithstanding Senator Millen's hostility to the proposal, the necessity for it is quite apparent, and I hope the Minister will stand by the amendment.

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