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Wednesday, 28 September 1910

Senator PEARCE (Western AustraliaMinister of Defence) . - There are two points to be considered in connexion with Senator Lynch's amendment. One is that, in the service in question, there is fierce competition. Officers occupying positions on steam-ships generally hold certificates of a grade higher than the rank they are filling, and the companies have no difficulty in filling their positions. The second fact is that the steam-ship companies themselves are naturally anxious to protect their own property. They take care to safeguard their interests by employing active men in full possession of their faculties. There would be a danger in fixing an arbitrary age. Some men are in a condition of senile decay at fifty, whilst others are comparatively useful at sixty-five. The Commonwealth has fixed- the age at which an old-age pension can be obtained at sixty-five. Senator Lynch's amendment would say to seafaring men, " We will turn you out of your employment at sixty, knowing that you will have to wait five years before you can get a pension of 10s. a week."

Senator Millen - Senator Lynch's amendment would also apply to second class marine engine-drivers.

Senator PEARCE - Of course; it would apply to all indifferently. In view of the fact that the competition in this calling is so keen, I would suggest that there is no need to press the amendment. I have even known men to dye their hair and beards so as to disguise their age, knowing that old men had very little chance of employment.

Amendment negatived.

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