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Thursday, 19 November 1936

Senator COOPER (Queensland) . - I am very much in agreement with the views expressed by Senator Hardy, who contends that there should be separate control over civil and military aviation. Undoubtedly in a few years civil aviation will become so extensive that a division of control will be essential. Aviation, generally, should be under the control of the Commonwealth, more particularly because ground' organiza1 lon is of outstanding importance. Without efficient ground organization aviation services cannot operate satisfactorily. Suitable aerodromes, capable of use in all weather, must be provided for commercial and military aircraft. The

Federal Government is the only authority which can deal with this matter on a national basis. The ground organization established in connexion with commercial aviation would be of immense advantage to Australia if Ave were ever called upon to defend this country against an invader.

Senator Herbert Hays - That is a good reason why the control should not be removed from the Defence Department.

Senator COOPER - It is not necessary that the aerodromes should be controlled by the Defence Department at the present time, because as big machines will be used in civil aviation as will ever be used for military purposes.

Senator Herbert Hays - ' Two branches are in existence at the present time.

Senator COOPER - Senator Hardyremarked that there are two branches of shipping, but our harbours and ports are not necessarily naval bases; they are commercial 'bases. Similarly, aerodromes are, in peace time, commercial bases, but they may be used for military purposes if the necessity should arise. The fact that they may be so used in time of war does not necessarily imply that they should be placed wholly under the control of the Defence Department in time of peace. Commercial aviation represents the biggest proportion of aviation activity in Australia; the construction of aerodromes and the arrangement of ground organization is principally for commercial purposes, although these facilities could be availed of by the Defence Department without the slightest, difficulty. Commercial aviation enterprises have developed far more landing grounds throughout the Commonwealth than would have been built for defence purposes only. In future, Australia, which is vast in area and rich in resources, will be dependent to a large extent upon flying services. We should therefore concentrate on making this mode of communication not only a success, but also a general and common means of transport. The time is not far remote when travel by aeroplane will be as general in Australia as travel by railway is to-day. I strongly support the proposals of the Government to place the control of aviation in Australia under one central authority, the Commonwealth Parliament.

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