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Thursday, 14 September 1911

Senator ST LEDGER (Queensland) . - On the matter of risks all round, I do not think that a measure could be framed as between ship-owner, master and pilot, where there would not be some risk, both to passengers and to crews. All we can do is to try to adjust the apportionment of risks as fairly as possible. I think, if my recollection is correct, that the Bill empowers the Minister, from time to time, to test the pilots and other officers on the ship by certain examinations. With regard to depriving a man of the position of pilot] because he has reached a certain age, a provision of that kind would deprive the Commonwealth of the services of some of the ablest men, whose faculties, especially as to seeing at night), seem to increase with age. The most able and qualified pilot I know of on the most dangerous part of our coast, is one of the oldest pilots in the service of Queensland. His eyesight is so good that it is the envy of every pilot, and notwithstanding that he is very nearly seventy years of age, the owners, if they have a chance of giving

a.   preference, always look for him to navigate a ship through any dangerous water. I think that, inasmuch as other, provisions empower the Minister in certain cases to have tests applied to officers and others, we can allow this clause to pass. We- should not make a hard and fast age as- to when a pilot should retire. The question of eyesight is a very important one; but with some persons the precision and accuracy of. eyesight, especially for long distances in the dark, seems to increase up to a certain point with age.

Clause, agreed to.

Clause 351 agreed to.

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