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Wednesday, 28 September 1910

Senator PEARCE (Western AustraliaMinister of Defence) . - In confirmation of what Senator Guthrie has said, I may quote the following from the regulations governing the examination of engineers for certificates of competency under the Marine Board of Victoria. Regulation 12 provides that -

If after a candidate has passed the examination it is discovered on further investigation that his services are insufficient to entitle him to receive a certificate for the grade for which he passed, the certificate will not be granted.

That is quite in conformity with the provisions of this Bill. It bears out what I have said, and what Senator Guthrie has confirmed from practical experience, that officers must undergo these examinations whenever they can, and it would very often be inconvenient for them at the time of the examination to produce the necessary proof of qualifications. We provide that ari officer may undergo the examination in the meantime, but under clause 15 he will be called upon before the new certificate is handed to him to produce whatever evidence is required. Senator Symon will agree that there might be something more than the old certificate required. I trust that the Committee will accept the clause as it stands.

Senator Sir JOSIAHSYMON (South Australia) [5.13]. - I agree that it would not do to prevent a man going up for an examination at some port because he might not have the necessary documents with him, and so delay his advance in his profession. But I venture to think that what the Minister has just quoted from the Victorian regulations is opposed to what is provided for in this Bill. Under clause 14, the applicant for examination is required to show that he possesses the prescribed qualifications. It will be perfectly competent in the regulation to prescribe the qualifications, but some such regulation as the Minister has quoted under the Victorian Act is necessary, as it might later be shown that the applicant's services were insufficient to qualify him, or there might be some other defect in his application, or in his qualifications, for which the new certificate ought to be withheld. In fact, the regulation would be incomplete unless it had what lawyers call a defeasance. A man, for instance, might believe that he had filled up all the time of service required, but he might be mistaken. But that can all be provided for by regulation.

Senator Pearce - Even in the legal profession, this is done.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - I think not.

Senator Pearce - I have here the rules of the High Court, which show that it is done.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - I should like to hear them. I admit that they are a little difficult of apprehension. I think it is obvious, on the face of the clause, that the amendment would be an advantage if made.

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