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Monday, 18 August 2003
Page: 18732

Mr BARTLETT (4:29 PM) —I fully endorse the first part of this motion. I have been arguing against the Badgerys Creek proposal for some eight years now and will continue to do so should it ever be put back on the agenda. The question is: does the Labor Party really believe and support the first part of this motion? Does the member for Lowe support an end to the Badgerys Creek proposal? In fact, the member for Lowe is on the record many times arguing strongly in favour of Badgerys Creek. In Hansard on 27 February 2001, talking on Badgerys Creek, he said: `I support an airport there.' In a campaign letter to his constituents in October 2001, he complained that the government had deferred a decision to construct Sydney West airport at Badgerys Creek. In an interview on radio 702 ABC on 30 March 2001 and then again in Hansard on 6 March 2001, he criticised the government for not going ahead with Badgerys Creek airport. You wonder how sincere the member for Lowe is about this first part of his motion.

He is not alone. Many members on his side are on the record as strongly supporting Badgerys Creek. The member for Blaxland in his 2001 electorate report criticised the government's decision and urged: `get on with building Sydney's second airport now' —referring to Badgerys Creek. The member for Watson on 28 March 2001 said:

... the only answer on what to do with Sydney airport is to build another big airport ... and that is Badgerys Creek.

In the last couple of weeks, the member for Sydney said in an interview with radio 2GB's Philip Clark, `My view is that Badgerys Creek is the better site.' The member for Chifley, otherwise known as the father of Badgerys Creek, back in 1995 said:

... I am delighted with the initiatives of the government in proposing we should have an international airport at Badgerys Creek.

The member for Grayndler, who I see opposite, in his campaign material in 1996 said, `The only real solution to aircraft noise is the immediate construction of a major international airport at Badgerys Creek.' The member for Grayndler said, `Labor will build Badgerys Creek.' And on we go. The member for Kingsford-Smith, Labor's last transport minister, said:

An airport at Badgerys Creek will finally deliver an alternative to Kingsford Smith.

The former Leader of the Opposition, the member for Brand, in a letter to Holroyd council on 13 March 1999 argued that he supported an airport at Badgerys Creek. The member for Werriwa and future leadership aspirant, in Hansard 28 March 2001, said:

... Labor policy is to proceed at Badgerys Creek —that is crystal clear ...

I could go on and mention others on the other side, Mr Deputy Speaker. You wonder just how serious the member for Lowe and the Leader of the Opposition, given his recent comments, are about this. The point is that the last Labor transport minister, the former Labor leader and the future Labor aspirant have all strongly argued in favour of an airport at Badgerys Creek. Three questions immediately spring to mind. The first question is: how can so many Labor leopards change their spots? If they can so easily change their spots, why can't they change them back again after the next election? Labor's record is clear not only on this but also on many other issues—that is, they say one thing in opposition and they do something totally different when in government. Is this issue, the issue of Sydney's second airport, going to be any different? The second question is: will this so-called decision of the Leader of the Opposition survive Labor's next leadership challenge? Will it survive the challenge given that the former leader—still probably carrying the baton in the knapsack—and the shadow Treasurer, a future leader aspirant, have both been strong supporters of Badgerys Creek? How long will this last when there is another leadership challenge? Will it be back on the agenda yet again? The third question is: if in fact Badgerys Creek is off the agenda and if Labor are so strongly committed, as they are, to building a second Sydney airport, where will that airport be?

In his infamous press statement some three or four weeks ago, the Leader of the Opposition mentioned a number of sites and left the door open for the use of Richmond. I have news for Mr Crean: the people of my electorate, the people of Hawkesbury and the Blue Mountains, will not allow Labor to transfer its plans for a second airport from Badgerys Creek to Richmond. We will not allow Labor to turn Richmond RAAF base into a large commercial airport. We will not allow Labor, in its search for a political solution, to play its old game of shifting aircraft noise out of Labor seats into seats that it does not care about. We need more than a committee; we need Labor to come clean, to tell us exactly what their airport plans are and to tell us exactly where they intend to build Sydney's second airport.