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Monday, 26 May 1997
Page: 3971


Mr TANNER —My question is again to the Minister for Transport and Regional Development. Did you, in your call to Airservices, ask if something could be done on three separate occasions? Is this the first time since the introduction of this hotline service that this call has been made by a passenger and not by the pilot of the aircraft?


Mr SHARP —The phone call is available for people who are pilots. I actually have a pilot's licence.


Mr Tanner —Is it current? Were you piloting?


Mr SPEAKER —Order! The member for Melbourne has asked the question!


Mr SHARP —I got a pilot's licence back in the late 1970s. As I pointed out the letter from the head of Airservices Australia stated:

. . . the Minister exercised the same right available to any other pilot or person nominated by the pilot of any aircraft to make contact on the published freecall number . . .

I was asked by the pilot to do that. I did it, as indeed any other person is entitled to do. I sought no favour—as the transcript of the conversation points out—and I was given no favour. No special numbers were used; no special favours were asked.

The whole purpose behind this, the one thing that was never withdrawn by the person who made this complaint—he is not the person who received the call—is his opposition to the changes that this government has made at Sydney's Mascot airport. We took northern take-offs in the Bennelong funnel—50 per cent of all aircraft movements at Mascot airport were to the north of the airport on the Bennelong funnel—down from 50 per cent to 26 per cent, where they were last month.


Mr SPEAKER —The minister will conclude his answer.


Mr SHARP —So you can see from the failure by the person whom the Labor Party is now supporting in this campaign that the Labor Party's whole purpose is to try to revert to those parallel runway operations, which thousands of people went out onto the streets to complain about when Labor was in government.


Mr Howard —Mr Speaker, having had the customary 20 questions, I ask that further questions be placed on the Notice Paper .


Mr Crean —Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The minister tabled a document which is incomplete. I refer to the fact that the document refers to two attachments which are not included in what he tabled. The first is the transcript of a conversation and the second is a copy of a relevant page. Given that the minister has sought to table this document to clear up the confusion, I ask you to require him to table the complete document.


Mr SPEAKER —I thank the honourable member for his point of order. I was listening very carefully to the questions posed and the minister's responses. The minister was reading from a document which I certainly understood he tabled. Whether it was with or without attachments is unknown to me, but he certainly tabled the document he was reading from.


Mr Crean —I have the document, Mr Speaker. It is without the two attachments. If he is going to table the document, there is a requirement in this chamber for it to be a complete tabling, and I would ask you to require him to do so.


Mr SPEAKER —Order! Resume your seat.


Mr Reith —Mr Speaker, the standing orders allow a minister to table a document nominated by the minister. That is what the minister has done. There is no other requirement on the minister. Therefore, you are not in a position to otherwise respond.


Mr SPEAKER —I thank the Leader of the House. I have ruled on the issue.


Mr Beazley —Mr Speaker, this is not a criticism, but you cannot possibly have had time to have a look at the document or the circumstances in which the minister for transport issued the tabling statement.


Mr SPEAKER —No, I have not.


Mr Beazley —I would ask, Mr Speaker, that you consider the matter in some detail privately and conclude whether or not the minister has actually said he is effectively tabling the documents, which would be the totality of the document, or some part thereof.


Mr SPEAKER —As I said, I was watching very carefully. I think the minister had two pages, which I saw him table. He had no other correspondence in his hands when he left the dispatch box and, so far as I am concerned, the document that he was reading from has been tabled.