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Wednesday, 27 May 1942

Senator McLEAY (South Australia) (Leader of the Opposition) . - I direct the attention of the Minister in charge of the bill to section 358 of the Navigation Act 1912-1935 which provides that -

A Court of Marine Inquiry shall be constituted by one or more District or County Court Judges or Police or Stipendiary or Special Magistrates of the Commonwealth or part of the Commonwealth or of a State or part of a State or by one or more Judges or Magistrates specially authorized by the Governor-General to sit as members of a Court of Marine Inquiry.

The clause under discussion gives to the Minister power to do certain things after a court of marine inquiry has heard the evidence in a case and arrived at a decision.

Senator Ashley - If an injustice is done by the court, the Minister will be able to remedy it.

Senator McLEAY - The Minister would have the right to upset the decision of the court. We do not stand for anything like that in this country.

SenatorFRASER (Western Australia - Minister for External Territories; [11.19].- .Section 474 of the British Merchant Shipping Act of 1894 provides -

The Board of Trade may, if they think that the justice of the case requires it, re-issue and return the certificate of a master, mate or engineer which has been cancelled or suspended whether in the United Kingdom or in a British possession, or shorten the time for which it is suspended, or grant in place thereof a certificate of the same or any lower grade.

The act is still operating, although it has been on the statute-book for nearly 50 years. I have discussed the bill with the officers of the department concerned and they state that it is essential that the clause should remain in the bill.

Senator McLeay - For political reasons ?

Senator FRASER - This Government does not use legislation for political reasons. I will not accept the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McLeay).

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