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Wednesday, 27 May 1942

Senator FRASER - It is some months. The following information should clarify the intention of clause 9: -

Two classes of certificates of competency are issued under the Navigation Act to masters, mates and engineers of ships, namely, those having Imperial validity, i.e., which are recognized in all parts of the British Empire, and those of a less important character, valid within the Commonwealth only.

The issue of the certificates of Imperial validity is subject to the provisions of section 102 of the Merchant Shipping Act of Great Britain, and by means of regulations made under that section power is given, where a certificate of Imperial validity has been cancelled or suspended, and if, in the opinion of the Minister, the justice of the case requires it, to return or re-issue the certificate or to shorten the time for which it has been suspended or grant in place thereof a certificate of lower grade. This power does not, however, extend to the purely local certificate mentioned. The new section proposed gives similar power in regard to these.

Under the principal act, a master, or officer, of a ship whose certificate is cancelled, or suspended, by a court of marine inquiry has no right of appeal to any local court. By virtue of section 478 of the Imperial Merchant Shipping Act, however, he can appeal from the decision of a court of marine inquiry anywhere in the Empire direct to the High Court of England. It is considered preferable that he should have, as regards inquiries held here, an appeal in the first instance to some superior court in the Commonwealth. The new section proposed accordingly provides for an appeal to the Supreme Court of the State in which the inquiry was held. The British Com monwealth Merchant Shipping Agreement of December, 1931, provides that where a certificate of competency is cancelled, or suspended, by a court of marine inquiry in a dominion, an appeal shall lie from the decision of the court "to a court in that part of the Commonwealth in which the formal investigation was held, and that court shall be similar in its constitution and jurisdiction to a Divisional Court of Admiralty in England". The new provision now proposed does not, and as a matter of fact, cannot, in any way affect the right of appeal to the High Court of England, either direct from the decision of a court of marine inquiry, or, subsequently, from the decision of the Supreme Court of the State.

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