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Thursday, 3 December 1914

Senator GUTHRIE (South Australia) . - I would like the Assistant Minister to explain why it is proposed to take the words "other than a pilot" out of the definition of "Master." We all understand that the master at all times has control of the ship, and that the pilot is merely an adviser in local waters. It is not proposed in this Bill to alter the definition of "pilot" in the principal Act. That definition reads - " Pilot " means any person appointed or licensed as such under this Act, and not belonging to a ship, who has the conduct thereof.

The pilot does not belong to the ship, but he has the conduct of the ship. Let me now read the definition of " master " - " Master " means any person other than a pilot having command or charge of a ship.

Here we find two different definitions of the man in charge of a ship - first the master, who has command or charge of the ship; and, secondly, the pilot, who has the conduct of the ship.

Senator Shannon - The pilot is in charge of the ship.

Senator GUTHRIE - No; the master never loses charge of the ship. The pilot is merely an adviser. According to the Imperial Act - ' Master " includes every person (except a pilot) having command or charge of any ship.

But our own Act says that the pilot only conducts the ship. The distinction between " charge " and " conduct " makes all the difference in this clause. I am inclined to think that, in order to be absolutely clear, we ought to retain the words " other than a pilot " in the definition of " Master. " Perhaps the Minister can give a legal reason for the proposed alteration, but I cannot see that it is necessary. It is admitted that the master has charge of the ship at all times. The whole of our legislation regarding pilotage lays down that principle. The pilot is only on the ship to assist the master with local knowledge, and to advise regarding local waters. I am inclined to think that in the interests of safety we ought to adhere to the definition of " Master."

Senator Stewart - Is the master liable for anything which happens while the pilot is in charge of the ship ?

Senator GUTHRIE - Yes.

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