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Wednesday, 6 December 1911

Senator GUTHRIE (South Australia) . - Will the Minister explain whether it is not" possible to connect a lighthouse in some other way than by a telephone or telegraph? In my own State there are several lighthouses which it is not possible to connect in that way.

Senator Rae - Wireless will be useful in such cases.

Senator GUTHRIE - We have no promise that wireless communication will be established in these instances. There are lighthouses at such places as the Althorps and the Neptunes, which are most important stations, because all ships coming to Australia make one or other of them. I recommend to the Minister to insert the word "cable" in addition to "telephone and telegraph."

Senator McGregor - " Telegraph " includes "cable.".

Senator GUTHRIE - I doubt whether it does.

Motion agreed to.

House of Representatives' Amendment. -After clause 8 insert the following new clauses "8b. An action or other proceeding shall not be maintainable against the Commonwealth, or the Minister, or any officer of the Commonwealth by reason of any act, default, error, or omission, whether negligent or otherwise in relation to any lighthouse or marine mark."

Motion (by Senator McGregor) proposed

That the amendment be agreed to.

Senator Sir JOSIAHSYMON (South Australia) [3.8]. - New clause 8b seems to me to go far beyond what is necessary or desirable. It is, of course, usual to protect public Officers as well as magistrates from ordinary actions. But this clause as it stands would go the length of protecting an officer who might be guilty of gross negligence, leading to manslaughter, or, at all -events, loss of life. If a lighthouse-keeper were guilty of gross negligence which brought about disaster, he could not,under this clause, be prosecuted for manslaughter. I think the provision ought to be restricted to protecting officers against civil actions. For this purpose, the clause might be made toread, " An action or other civil proceeding." The insertion of the word " civil " would leave the criminal liability of the officer who, by reason of gross negligence was guilty of manslaughter, untouched.

Senator Guthrie - Would the honorable senator restrict the amount of the liability ?

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - I think not.

Senator Guthrie - That was done in the Navigation Bill, where a pilot was made liable up to . £100.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - I have no objection to that.

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