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Wednesday, 4 October 1911
Page: 1027

Senator GARDINER (New South Wales) . - There may be cases such as that cited by the Minister of Defence, but I would point out that they are exceptional. I do not know that it is wise to handicap the whole of our shipping simply because a case occasionally occurs in which the presence of a medical man would have been an advantage. If one travelled much by sea he would doubtless be able to cite instances in which no great loss of life had occurred on board, owing, perhaps, to the illness of the doctor. My experience is that doctors are absolutely useless at sea. .1 fail to recognise why we should go out of our way to help along the doctors' union by imposing a burden upon shipping companieswhich now find it difficult enough to make ends meet, by reason of the many restrictions with which they have to contend in the organization to which most of them belong. I do not see that any very great advantage will be derived by 'placing in this Bill a condition which will compel a vessel making a voyage of three or four days' duration to carry a doctor, whose .services may be required only once in ten years. Of course,, we might go a step further by declaring that on such vessels passengers shall be provided with medical attendance free of charge. But in the absence of competition,, there is nothing to prevent doctors on board ship from charging their own price, so that I do not know whether, under this provision, we shall be conferring even a temporary advantage upon the seatravelling public.

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