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Wednesday, 28 September 1910

Senator GUTHRIE (South Australia) . - In considering this clause we must recollect that we are legislating for men who are constantly on the move, and who do not remain in one place for any long period. It may happen that an engineer who is engaged upon a vessel trading between Western Australia and New South Wales may find it convenient to present himself for examination in Adelaide. He may not be able to prove all that is necessary at the time, but he may say to the examiners, " I possess the necessary qualifications. Here is my fee. Will you examine me ? "

Senator Millen - The honorable senator is assuming that the regulations will deal only with those subjects in which the applicant is ready to be examined.

Senator GUTHRIE - Exactly. That is what 1 take the regulation to mean. If a man makes an application for examination, he has to pay a prescribed fee. There is nothing then to prevent him going up for examination at any convenient time, but if he is successful at the examination he must give proof of other things required under the Bill. If he is unsuccessful, it will be unnecessary for him to write to his previous employers for a reference, or to get a discharge from the master of his ship in order to prove his service.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - Is he to be required to provide a reference as well as his former certificate?

Senator GUTHRIE - Yes, he has to give satisfactory evidence of his sobriety,, experience, ability, physical fitness, and general good conduct.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - There is no objection to that.

Senator GUTHRIE - I say that that evidence can be given after the examination. Under clause 14, the applicant must prove that he is a British subject, and speaks the English language intelligibly, be- fore he can present himself for examination. He must show, also, that he possesses the prescribed qualifications. Those qualifications will be laid down by the regulations. After examination, if he is successful before the new certificate is delivered to him, he has to give evidence of sobriety, physical fitness, and so on.

Senator Pearce - He may also have to produce his certificate.

Senator GUTHRIE - No doubt he will.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - Ought he not have to give up his second-class certificate ?

Senator Pearce - No; and Senatoi Guthrie has given good reasons why the applicant should not be called upon to give certain evidence required prior to the examination.

Senator GUTHRIE - If the applicant were required to produce his certificate before the examination, he could not be asked to give it up, because the examination might not take place for a considerable time after he put in his application to be examined. I suppose that even in Sydney and Melbourne examinations of this kind will not take place more often than once a month", and it may be a month after a man has put in his application before he can be examined for the new certificate. When we are prepared to give him the new certificate, it will be time enough to call upon him to produce his old certificate. I think it would be a mistake to alter these provisions.

Senator Sir JOSIAHSYMON (South Australia) [5.5]. - I admit the force of what the honorable senator has said. No one desires to throw obstacles in the way of a man being examined at any port where an examining body is constituted. I think it would be better to make the clause read -

Subject to the condition in the next sub-section mentioned, a certificate in the form prescribed shall be delivered to every applicant who passes the prescribed examination satisfactorily on production of his previous certificate and satisfactory evidence of his sobriety, experience, ability, physical fitness, and general good conduct.

The clause, as it stands, may be misleading to the examinee, and may prevent a man going up for examination. It may have the very opposite effect to what is intended. He may say that he does not know what other qualifications he is expected to prove. If he has only to produce these documents, it seems to me that it would be better to say so in the Bill.

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