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Wednesday, 28 September 1910

Senator SAYERS (Queensland) .- If Senator Lynch had moved to provide that the large ships he has mentioned that are without lathes and other appliances for effecting repairs at sea, should in future be supplied with them, I should be disposed to support such an amendment.

Senator Lynch - The honorable senator thinks they should carry a foundry.

Senator SAYERS - No ; but they should be supplied with the material and tools necessary to repair damages at sea. I may give the Committee a little personal experience in this connexion. On one voyage I made in the Loongana to Tasmania, something went wrong with one of the turbines just as the vessel got outside Port Phillip Heads, and, if we had not had men on board with shop experience, the damage could not have been repaired. One of the turbines was disconnected, and the ves'sel resumed her voyage at a slow speed. The second turbine was taken out, the necessary repairs effected, the turbine replaced, and the ship was back in Melbourne within her contract time. If we had had on board men who had only had sea-going experience, they would never have seen such work done, and would have been unable to effect the necessary repairs.

Senator Guthrie - In what shop in Melbourne would men get experience of turbines ?

Senator SAYERS - I have told the Committee what actually took place. Some honorable senators would appear to think that men should receive certificates as engineers who would be unable to effect such' repairs. In my opinion we cannot put men through too strict a test when the lives of crew and passengers may depend upon their qualifications for the positions they fill. The test which the Minister of Defence has explained men seeking a thirdclass engineer's certificate would be required to go through if they had no certificate of apprenticeship, is a very simple one indeed.

Senator Lynch - We are all agreed as to the necessity for having fully-qualified men.

Senator SAYERS - If a man could not pass the test 'mentioned by the Minister of Defence, he should not get a certificate as a third-class engineer.

Senator Givens - No one is asking that he should.

Senator SAYERS - I understood from the Minister of Defence that if an applicant for a third-class engineer's certificate, had not had shop experience, he would have to pass the simple test which the Minister describes.

Senator Lynch - The honorable senator makes a mistake if he supposes that the cutting of a key-way is a very simple operation.

Senator SAYERS - It is not a difficult operation. I have known men who did not claim to be engineers to cut a key- way in a shaft with a drum and it remained sound for years. We have no reason to believe that the Government are deceiving the Committee, and the Minister of Defence has plainly stated the test which a man applying for a third-class engineer's certificate would be expected to pass if he had had no shop experience. I like to see men rise if they possess the necessary qualifications, but I do not wish to see men foisted into positions for which they are not qualified. I cannot support the amendment.

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