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Friday, 26 July 1912

Senator FINDLEY (Victoria) (Honorary Minister) . - In regard to ves.sels coming to Australia, at the first port of entry they must get a clearance. A medical officer, under instructions from the Quarantine Department, boards a ship, and if he is assured that there is no quarantinable disease on board, she is allowed to proceed. The Irishman was closely inspected by the quarantine officers off Williamstown, and kept off that place during the night. It was known to the quarantine authorities that there were cases of measles on board, but under the principal Act measles is not a quarantinable disease. We had no power to detain the vessel or any of the passengers, and, therefore, she was allowed to proceed to Melbourne. As soon as the wharf was reached, the State authorities were responsible, and they took over the vessel. Under this Bill, measles will, in a measure, be a quarantinable disease, and there will not, I hope, be a similar case in the future.

Senator E J RUSSELL (VICTORIA) - In the event of any disease of a serious nature being on board a vessel, would it not be better for the quarantine authorities to communicate with the health authorities prior to her coming to the wharf?

Senator FINDLEY - That is always done.

Senator E J RUSSELL (VICTORIA) - Why was it not done in the case of the Irishman?

Senator FINDLEY - I believe that every possible precaution was taken by the Quarantine Department to prevent the spread of measles, and to make the fact known to the State authorities that that disease was on board.

Senator Millen - What happened that the authority which allowed the boat to come in had to send her back again?.

Senator FINDLEY - When the State authorities were informed that under the principal Act measles was not a quarantinable disease, they asked the Commonwealth to take control of the boat, and see to the passengers on board. That was immediately done.

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