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Friday, 22 November 1912

Senator MILLEN (New South Wales) . - The Minister's explanation is really what one might have anticipated. The Commonwealth proposes, although it as not provided for in the Bill, to continue in Government employment those pilots who are now employed by the State Government, always reserving to itself the fight to decline to employ obviously incompetent men. This clause, coupled with the following one, does secure to licensed pilots their existing rights as represented by their licences. Take the pilots in the port of Melbourne who are licensed pilots only. This measure provides not only that the Commonwealth shall respect their rights and continue their licences, but also that a licensed pilot shall not operate in a port in which pilotage is to be made compulsory. What are we going to do, then? The position is that a licence held by a pilot to-day is to be respected for what it is worth - that is to say, we shall continue existing rights. This clause says that a licence is to be operative for the purpose for which it was issued. The Melbourne pilots hold a licence to-day to operate in the port of Melbourne. The Bill respects that licence so far as the words written on the paper are concerned, but we have a clause to the effect that no licensed pilot shall operate when a port is declared a compulsory port.

Senator Pearce - What I have said in regard to Government pilots applies equally to licensed pilots at ports where pilotage is made compulsory.

Senator MILLEN - That, of course, is a very satisfactory explanation. It makes it obvious that, not merely in regard to pilots employed by the State, but in regard to pilots operating under licences, their rights will be respected as well in ports intended to be made compulsory as in ports to be left optional.

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