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Friday, 22 November 1912

Senator GUTHRIE (South Australia) . - There is a good deal in the contention regarding the status of men who have served as pilots and done good work in the pilotage service in the past. The Minister of Defence admits that under this Bill no guarantee is given to them that, when the Commonwealth takes over the pilotage service, they will be given any employment. I do not think that any trouble will arise so far as compulsory pilotage ports are concerned, but we have to consider the case of ports where at present only licensed pilots are engaged. In the port of Melbourne, there are twentytwo licensed pilots, who possess property worth many thousands of pounds. The Government make provision for taking over their property when the pilotage service is taken over by the Commonwealth, but there is no guarantee given that the Commonwealth will take over the men. They may decide that, instead of having twenty-two pilots for the port of Melbourne, it will be necessary to have only eleven, and, therefore, eleven of the existing pilots will be sent about their business. They will still hold their licences, but these will be useless to them, because their employment will have been taken away.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould - And they will be entitled to no compensation.

Senator GUTHRIE - They will be entitled to no compensation from the State of Victoria or the Commonwealth, but they will be entitled to compensation from a fund of their own established for the purpose. I think we might overcome the whole difficulty in this matter by inserting the following words as a new sub-clause 1 («) -

Upon any port being proclaimed a port at which the pilotage is compulsory all persons holding licences issued by any State to act as pilots for that port shall become officers in the Commonwealth Public Service.

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