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Friday, 22 November 1912

Senator GUTHRIE (South Australia) . - I move-

That the amendment be amended by the addi tion of the following words : - " Provided that 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."

The only difference between pilots who are licensed by a State and other public servants of the State is that while the latter are in the receipt of a salary the former only get what they earn. Unless my amendment is made, the Government may decide to work the port of Melbourne with twelve pilots instead of with twenty-eight as at present, so that sixteen men would be deprived of their livelihood. To all intents and purposes, licensed pilots at present are public servants. My amendment does not apply to the port of Melbourne alone, but to a number of ports which, probably, are equally important, so far as pilotage is concerned. I think that we should, in justice to these men, preserve their opportunities to earn a livelihood.

Senator Pearce - On a point of order, sir, I ask whether this amendment can be moved here, because it seems to me that it raises the old question. Clause 335 deals with the State licences of licensed pilots, and the amendment of the other House places a sort of prohibition, or, rather, limitation on those licences; and it seems to me that any amendment must be relevant to the question of whether the holderof a State licence is entitled to act as a pilot at a port at which pilotage is compulsory under this Bill. I do not think that it needs any argument to satisfy you, sir, that this amendment is on all-fours with the other proposal which Senator Guthrie submitted.

Senator Millen - It is now that I want to address to you, sir, the argument whichI commenced a short time ago, and the Minister has made my task easier by thehappy selection of the word " prohibition."

Senator Pearce - I said "limitation."

Senator Millen - The Minister admitted that this amendment is a limitation of the rights which are conferred upon the pilots by the State licences. If we are entitled to place a limitation upon the purpose and use of the licences we are equally entitled to expand them. What Senator Guthrie says, in effect, is that as we placea limitation upon the licences we should as a set-off against that, give the holders of the licences something in the nature of a compensation. Let us look at the wording of this amendment. No such licenceshall entitle to do something; he is not entitled to do it by reason of the licence. If we say that he is not entitled, because of the licence to do one thing, we are equallyentitled to say that because of the licence he is entitled to do another thing. If we pass a form of words the effect of which is to take away a man's livelihood", it is relevant to those words to say, as a set-off, that we give him something; and that is what Senator Guthrie proposes. I see noreason why it should be regarded as being; out of order.

Senator Rae - I presume that there is no disputing the fact that we can amend the amendment. It statesdistinctly that no such licence shall entitle the holder todo certain things.

Senator Pearce - To act as a pilot.

Senator Rae - To act as a pilot is to do a certain thing.

Senator Pearce - It is a definite thing.

Senator Rae - That which is certain must be definite. Suppose that the Committee chose to substitute the words " and every " for the words "but no " in theamendment. That would entitle the holder- of every licence to act as a pilot at a com pulsory port.

The CHAIRMAN - I would point out to the honorable senator that such an amendment would be in direct conflict with another clause, which says that licensed pilots shall not do so.

Senator Rae - Suppose that we had a free hand to deal with this amendment. We could substitute the words I have mentioned, and provide that every such licence shall entitle the holder to receive a fixed amount, so that he would be in a position to carry out certain duties assigned to him. I take it that if we can impose a prohibition or limitation upon the holder of a licence it is competent for the Committee to provide any compensation which, in its opinion, he is entitled to receive on account of our having deprived him of something which he now posseses. In other words, it must be as competent for the Committee to compensate the holder of a licence for any right or privilege of which it deprives him as it is to deprive him of that right or privilege. I think, sir, that you would unduly limit the power of the Committee if you were to hold that it had no power vto deal with the question of compensating sthe pilots for the withdrawal of certain advantages which they now possess.

Senator Barker - I can hardly see the force of the argument advanced by the Minister. The amendment of the other House is a restriction of the rights which are now held by licensed pilots, and the object of Senator Guthrie's proposal is to conserve and expand the rights which that House has restricted. Surely, in dealing with the amendemnt of the other House, the Committee is entitled to say whether the rights of licensed pilots shall be expanded or conserved. If the Bill is passed in its present form a distinction will be set up be tween the pilots, and the result will be that some will be licensed and others will not be licensed. What is to happen to those whose licences may be taken away? All that Senator Guthrie is trying to do is to preserve their rights. Out of a sense of justice, the Committee should conserve the rights of pilots who are taken over from the States; and 1 cannot see that the amendment of Senator Guthrie is not relevant to the amendment of the other House.

Senator ALBERT GOULD (NEW SOUTH WALES) -Colonel Cameron. - The whole of this trouble appears to me to have arisen out of the changing of a word which vwas descriptive of the pilots. I refer to the amendment of the other House to substitute " licensed" for " coastal." It is out of a desire to protect the interests of port' pilots who require to possess special knowledge that all this trouble has arisen. Had the distinctive words "coastal pilots" been retained, the term " licensed pilots " might have been retained in the amendment without any doubt as to the proper interpretation. It is the interpretation of " licensed " which seems to have bothered every honorable senator. The use of the word "licensed" has apparently conveyed a double meaning to the minds of honorable senators. We shall have two classes of pilots - men requiring special qualifications as pilots for ports at which pilotage is made compulsory, and coastal pilots. I believe that if the term " coastal pilots " had been retained, no difficulty would have arisen.

Senator St Ledger - The House of Representatives proposes to amend this clause by inserting the words " but no such licence shall entitle the holder to act as pilot at a port at which pilotage is compulsory under this Act." If that be so, I should like to ask what will entitle the holder of a pilot's licence to do so?

Senator Pearce - He must be a Government employe. He will be taken over by the Government, and, , as a Government pilot, will be allowed to operate in a port at which pilotage is compulsory.

Senator St Ledger - The Minister's statement has not convinced me that under the amendment of the House of Representatives the position of these licensed pilots will be sufficiently safeguarded. Many of them have had long service, and they are all doing their work well, and, as I am afraid their position will be jeopardized by the acceptance of the amendment, I must vote against it.

The CHAIRMAN - Senator Pearcehas asked for a ruling of the Chair as to whether the amendment submitted by Senator Guthrie can be accepted. It seems to me that it cannot be accepted, for the reason that it is not relevant to the amendment before the Chair, nor is it consequent upon the acceptance or rejection of that amendment. It proposes to put licensed pilots on the same footing as Government pilots dealt with in clause 331. The amendment would bring the clause before the Committee into conflict with clause 331, and I think it is going too far to say that it is consequential upon the acceptance or rejection of the amendment of the House of Representatives in this clause. I have no wish to curtail discussion or the opportunities afforded to honorable senators to submit amendments, but on my reading of standing order 219 I have no option but to refuse to accept the amendment. The standing order says -

No amendment shall be proposed to an amendment of the House of Representatives that is not relevant thereto ; nor can an amendment be moved to the Bill unless the same be relevant to, or consequent upon, either the acceptance, amendment, or the rejection of the House of Representatives' amendment.

I cannot see that Senator Guthrie's amendment, which introduces an entirely new principle, is relevant to or consequent upon the House of Representatives' amendment in the clause before the Committee, and I am, therefore, reluctantly compelled to refuse to accept it.

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