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Wednesday, 27 May 1942

Senator FRASER (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) (Minister for External Territories) . - The statement that reasons for the inclusion of the clause have not been given is not correct. I quoted the British Merchant Shipping Act of 1894, and in respect of this subject I can reasonably compare the Board of Trade in England with the Commonwealth Government. The Leader of the Opposition (Senator McLeay) does not welcome the truth or any statement that will clarify a clause that he contests. The British Merchant Shipping Act gives to the Board of Trade a power which is similar to the power sought in the clause. The Department of Commerce, of which I am Assistant Minister, administers the Navigation Act. If the clause were agreed to, the procedure would be for the Director of Navigation to recommend whether the certificate of a master, mate or engineer withdrawn on the finding of a court of marine inquiry should be restored.

Senator McLeay - Is that because the Minister is incompetent?


Senator McLeay - Why should the Minister take instructions from an officer and not from the court?

Senator FRASER (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - The Minister will act upon the advice of his expert officers and decide either to renew the certificate or to refuse to do so. In Australia the Minister takes the place of the Board of Trade in Great Britain. I refuse to accept the amendment of the Leader of the Opposition.

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