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Wednesday, 27 May 1942

Senator MCBRIDE - That statement is entirely inaccurate.

Senator AMOUR - The clause is clear in its terms. I take the view that the power given to the Minister may be exercised by him if a person considers that an injustice has been done to him by a court of marine inquiry. The clause gives a person who feels aggrieved the right of appeal.

Senator Leckie - The right of appeal is provided for in the next clause.

Senator AMOUR - Any man who works on a ship, whether he be a master, mate or an engineer, is a worker. It is only faking a case to claim that the Government is opposed to some courts and wants to supersede them. Those who oppose the clause believe that a mariner, whether he be a master, mate, or engineer, should not have the ordinary right of appeal against the decision of a court. Honorable senators opposite refuse to grant that right. Every citizen should have the right of appeal against the decision of a court.

Sitting suspended from 12.80 to 1.15 a.m.

Senator AMOUR - Members of the Opposition desire to delete that part of the clause which gives to a mariner, whose certificate has been suspended by a court of marine inquiry, the right of appeal to the Minister. I remind them that this right of appeal is something which we, as democrats, should treasure. We are in this war to fight against the totalitarian powers, against Nazi-ism in Germany and Fascism in Italy, countries in which the rights of the individual receive scant consideration. We must show the people that we have a regard for democratic institutions, and are zealous for the preservation of individual rights. Politicians are not held in such high regard by the public that we can afford to take risks. We should not deny the right of appeal to the Minister by a master mariner, mate or engineer who, because he is worn out by working an excessive number of hours, may be held so responsible for a collision. If it be true, as honorable senators opposite say, that the right of appeal is provided for in another part of the bill, why are they objecting to this clause?

Senator Leckie - The other clause does not give the right of appeal to the same person.

Senator AMOUR - So that is what the honorable senator is worried about. Mariners are doing a most important national work, and they are as much entitled to consideration as any one else. If a mariner becomes involved in an accident, it is always possible that some one with a grudge against him may be able to induce the court of marine inquiry to cancel his certificate. Should that happen, he should have the right of appeal from the court to the Minister.

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