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Thursday, 1 August 1912

Senator FINDLEY (Victoria) (Honorary Minister) . - In submitting the amendment, I stated that it is the practice of the Department to act on the recommendation of the Director of Quarantine. In speaking of the gentleman who fills that office - Dr. Norris - I can fully indorse all that Senator Lynch has said. Dr. Norris has been intrusted with work of the highest importance to the health of every citizen of the Commonwealth. It is true that we did ?end him abroad, and I hope that his trip will be of very great advantage to Australia, from the point of view of quarantine. When Senator Needham says that the omission of these words will mean that the Minister will not have the advice of that officer he misunderstands the object of the amendment. I repeat that the practice is for the Minister to act on the recommendation of the Director of Quarantine, and that practice will be continued so long as the present Government hold office j but I would point out to Senators Needham, de Largie, and Lynch, that the Minister's hands will be absolutely tied in cases of sudden emergency if the words in question be retained. A legal objection would prevent him from appointing an emergency quarantine ground without a recommendation from the Director of Quarantine. What would be the position of the Minister if that officer chanced to be absent? The Director of Quarantine himself desires this amendment to be made in the Bill, because, while it will not lessen his powers in any way, it will authorize the Minister to proclaim emergency quarantine grounds should the occasion demand it. Honorable senators need have no fear whatever of the amendment, which is in die interests of Dr. Norris and which will be helpful to the Minister.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 9 -

After section fifteen of the Principal Act the following section is inserted - .... "4. Where a vessel has arrived from a proclaimed place and the prescribed precautionary measures have not been taken, any prescribed measures, or measures deemed necessary by the Director of Quarantine, for the prevention of the introduction or spread of any quarantinable disease may be carried out by a quarantine officer with respect to the vessel her crew passengers and, cargo at the expense of the owner of the vessel."

Senator FINDLEY(Victoria) [444I move -

That the words " or measures deemed necessary by the Director of Quarantine " be left out.

Vessels arriving from a proclaimed port are, under this Bill, expected to take certain precautionary measures. If they do not, precautionary measures may be made to apply by regulation, or may be suggested by the Director of Quarantine. Under the existing Act regulations may be prescribed, or may be such as the Director of Quarantine directs. We desire that the measures to be taken shall be prescribed by regulation only.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould - Suppose there is an emergency, and there is no regulation to meet it.

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