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Friday, 26 July 1912

Senator FINDLEY (Victoria) (Honorary Minister) . - Senator Needham is wrong in believing that because the yellow flag is flown on a vessel there is disease on board.

Senator Needham - There was a case of illness on a vessel, and the doctor thought that it was small-pox.

Senator FINDLEY - I should like to obtain from the honorable senator the specific case to which he is referring.

Senator Needham - It can be found on the files in the Department.

Senator FINDLEY - The hoisting of the black-and-yellow flag is a signal that there is, in the belief of the medical man or the officer in charge, a disease on the boat. The yellow flag is not an indication that a doctor is required ; on the contrary, it is an indication that in the opinion of the captain the vessel is clean.

Senator Millen - Senator Guthrie says the opposite.

Senator FINDLEY - The Director of Quarantine has informed me that the flying of the yellow flag is an indication that, in the belief of the captain, the vessel is clean.

Senator St Ledger - It must be something more than that, surely?

Senator FINDLEY - It is a further assurance that, although a doctor is required, he need not subject himself to unnecessary inconvenience in the way of putting on overalls, and doing this, that, and the other, which would be the case if the black-and-yellow flag was flying. The yellow flag is an indication to the doctor that in the opinion of the captain there is not a communicable disease on board, and, therefore, it is a mere matter of form for a quarantine officer to go on board the vessel and the necessary clearance to be effected. A quarantine officer Hoes board every vessel. A doctor was on the vessel to which Senator Needham has referred, and he should be the best judgeas to whether it was safe for her to go alongside the wharf. The vessel could not be there without his permission, and that his permission was given is evidenced by the statement made by Senator Needham that she did come along from her mooring although she had a case of illness on board.

Senator E J RUSSELL (VICTORIA) - Is it possible for a deep-sea vessel, which in the opinion of the master is clean, to come right up to a wharf without a quarantine doctor going on board?

Senator FINDLEY - Not without a quarantine officer on board.

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