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Friday, 19 April 1985
Page: 1259


Senator COLLARD —I direct my question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. I refer the Minister to the fact that the Department of Aviation has issued a notice to airmen that notification, flight planning and processing of aircraft movements will not be available for regular public transport and cargo flights in Queensland today. What action is the Government taking to ensure that services are restored and what action will it take against any employees of the Department of Aviation who have joined in the Australian Council of Trade Unions blockade? Was this notam forced on the Government by its employees participating in the ACTU blockade of Queensland, or did the Government decide to direct the officers involved not to provide these vital services for fear of union retaliation?


Senator BUTTON —The Government has not directed anybody. This question is another attempt to raise the temperature of this matter because heat rather than light is sought by the Opposition in this dispute. It was sought, by the Liberal Party today, in a series of advertisements published in newspapers which were outrageously untrue, which were designed totally to raise the heat in this dispute and which were false in most major particulars. It was sad to hear the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Peacock, on the AM program this morning, putting himself out on a limb on this issue-something which his deputy and heir apparent, Mr John Howard, has been very astute not to do. However, the gullible Leader of the Opposition has put himself out on a limb on this matter and did so very effectively on the AM program this morning.

Senator Collard's question goes to a number of details about a circular which suggested that notification of flight plans would not be available today. If everything Senator Collard says in this place were to be believed, there would be a lot of sense in not having notification of flight plans available today, because no planes will be flying anyway. I do not know how he wants it. I will look at the details of the question. I am probably not any better informed than Senator Collard on whether such a notice was sent out.


Senator COLLARD —I ask a supplementary question. Has the Department of Aviation issued a notice to airmen that notification, flight planning and processing of aircraft movements will not be available for regular public transport and cargo flights in Queensland today?


Senator BUTTON —I have already answered that question. I said I was probably no better informed than Senator Collard was.


Senator Peter Rae —He does not know.


Senator BUTTON —That is right. That is what I said.