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Wednesday, 28 September 1910

Senator GUTHRIE (South Australia) . - There is a considerable amount of misunderstanding in this matter. The question is not how a man is to become a third-class engineer. That is well-known throughout Australia under existing regulations. We are proposing in this Bill to make two new grades, with a first and a second-class coastal certificate, and the question before the Committee is how men at present holding a third-class certificate in the States shall be able to secure a second or a first-class coastal certificate.

Senator Millen - Senator Lynches amendment affects only the initial certificate.

Senator GUTHRIE - I do not understand that. That is what I tried to bring about by the amendment which has just been rejected. I have here the regulations relating to the examinations for engineers in South Australia. With respect to engineers of vessels trading on the River Murray within the limits of a port or between the ports of St. Vincent and Spencer Gulfs, a candidate for a third-class engineer's certificate must be twenty-one years of age. He must have served at least one year at sea in the foreign-going or intercolonial service in the capacity of fireman, stoker, greaser, or donkeyman. He must have served at least eighteen months at sea in the coast trade as a fireman or as a fireman or assistant engineer on the River Murray or within the limits of a port. He must have had at least eighteen months' experience in a factory or other works as an engine-driver, or as the driver or stoker of a locomotive. These are alternative qualifications required.

He will be required to explain the use and position of the principal parts of steam engines and boilers, and the position and use of the various valves, cocks, pipes, &c, in connexion with the machinery of a steam-ship ; state the causes and effects of and the usual remedies for preventing incrustation and corrosion ; also to write legible and correct answers to a number of elementary questions, and work out certain arithmetical questions put to him by the examiner.

Senator Pearce - That is for the Murray River?

Senator GUTHRIE - Yes ; and within the limits of a port. The same thing applies to a marine engine-driver in Victoria and to a third-class engineer in Queensland, New South Wales, and Western Australia.

Senator Millen - That is really the whole alphabet as against the "A B C " which the Minister has proposed.

Senator GUTHRIE - The Minister will also impose a practical test in the use of engineers' tools, a condition which I contend the Committee rejected when it refused to accept the previous amendment.

Senator Millen - Nothing of the kind.

Senator GUTHRIE - The proposal made was to exempt a man from a test in the handling and use of tools and machinery. The Minister has stated that the Government intend to make a regulation which the Committee decline to enact in the form of a provision.

Senator Pearce - I said so then, but the honorable senator would not accept my assurance.

Senator GUTHRIE - I heard no such assurance. The only thing I had to guide me was a test to be passed by a man who wished to rise from the third class to the second class - a test which, as I said yesterday, not 50 per cent, of the Board of Trade chief engineers sailing on our coast could pass. I want to show the reason why men should not be debarred from qualifying. In every State the possession of a third-class engineer's certificate enables the holder to take charge of a vessel within certain limits, but service in such capacity does not in any way qualify a man for a certificate of a higher grade, the qualifications for which are laid down in clause 22.

Senator Pearce - We do not repeal them.

Senator GUTHRIE - We are revising the conditions and bringing into existence three classes of engineers who have not existed previously. The whole point with me is, How are men who have qualified as third-class engineers to rise to the second class, and afterwards to the first class? Certainly the proviso says that every man shall be given an opportunity to rise, but I do not know how it is to be done, because, if we compare the clause with the manning scale, it will be seen that there is no possibility, especially if we adopt the regulations of the Board of Trade for second-class and first-class Board of Trade certificates.

Senator Millen - May I suggest that it would simplify the discussion, and enable us to understand the position more clearly, if, instead of relating what happens after the initial certificate has been obtained, the honorable senator would confine himself to the amendment, which deals with what is to take place before a certificate is issued at all ?

Senator GUTHRIE - We have to recognise positions as they are. Clause21 says -

All uncancelled and unexpired certificates of competency for masters or ship's officers, issued under any State Act, shall continue as if issued under this Act -

Senator Millen - That has no reference to the amendment.

Senator GUTHRIE - It means that those who now hold third-class State certificates will continue to hold them.

Senator Millen - The amendment before the Committee deals with a previous time - that is, with a lad who comes from a workshop and seeks a certificate.

Senator GUTHRIE - These men may be in that very position.

Senator de Largie - Their certificates are quite safe.

Senator GUTHRIE - Where is a marine engine-driver of Victoria under this clause ? He is wiped out.

Senator Pearce - No ; he is just where he is to-day.

Senator GUTHRIE - In clause 5 we have defined "officer," and a marine engine-driver is not an officer. I take it that, unless an amendment lis made in clause 22, the marine engine-driver of Victoria will have to start de novo, and go up for a third-class certificate.

Senator Pearce - Where does the honorable senator get the idea that a marine engine-driver is not an officer under this Bill?

Senator GUTHRIE - The whole thing is governed by the words " masters or ship's officers," in clause 21.

Senator Pearce - But clause 12 says -

Certificates of competency .... shall be granted in accordance with this Act for each of the following grades of officers (that is to say) : -

First class marine engine-driver.

Second class marine engine-driver.

Senator GUTHRIE - In clause 5, we have defined, for the first time, that an officer in relation to a ship means " the master, mates, and engineers of the ship," not marine engine-drivers.

Senator Pearce - Under clause 12, marine engine- drivers are officers.

Senator GUTHRIE - They are certainly enumerated at the bottom of a list; but they are not designated as officers.

Senator Pearce - If the honorable senator will read sub-clause 1, he will find that it contains the words "the following grades of officers."

Senator GUTHRIE - What is your marine engine-driver here ? He is in charge of a vessel which is not propelledby steam.

Senator Pearce - Still, under clause12, he is an officer of the vessel.

Senator GUTHRIE - The clause deals with quite a different matter. A marine engine-driver in Victoria is not a man in charge of a steam-ship.

Senator E J RUSSELL (VICTORIA) - Under which head is he at present ?

Senator GUTHRIE - In my opinion, he is wiped out under the Bill. There are hundreds of such persons in this State. A third class engineer is recognised by the Bill; but how is he to rise to the second class, and afterwards to the first class, and, after he has received a first class coastal certificate, how will it be possible for him to get a Board of Trade certificate ? The manning scale shows that he will never be in charge of a ship with horse-power sufficient to enable him to go up for a second class certificate. That is the position which we have to face. I am sorry that the last amendment was not passed.

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