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Thursday, 2 April 1987
Page: 1797

Senator GEORGES(10.52) —I do not want to delay other honourable senators, but if I do not respond the Senator Boswell no doubt he will mention it from time to time. What I found extraordinary about Senator Boswell's contribution was this: He attacked Australian Airlines for withdrawing from a service that has proved to be desperately unprofitable. The reason for that is that an arrangement that Australian Airlines came to with the Queensland Government was reneged on by the Queensland Government, which allowed another airline to intrude. I would support Senator Boswell if he had said that, as a result of the benefits which Australian Airlines and Ansett Airlines of Australia received from the two-airline agreement, they ought to be providing services to outback places.

Senator Boswell —That is exactly what I said.

Senator GEORGES —No, the honourable senator did not; he concentrated just on Australian Airlines.

Senator Boswell —No, I didn't.

Senator GEORGES —Yes, the honourable senator did. If he were to amend his remarks and include Ansett, he would have my wholehearted support.

Senator Boswell —I agree with Senator Georges.

Senator GEORGES —The honourable senator has conceded the point. He really meant to include both airlines in his remarks. If that is what he meant to do, I support him because airlines have responsibility, charging the fares they do between capital cities, and between Sydney and Canberra in particular--

Senator Crichton-Browne —You try flying to Perth, George.

Senator GEORGES —And Perth too, I am not quite certain about that. The point is that, if the airlines are to get benefits on the main routes and charge high fares on those routes, they ought to be providing services to areas which are not profitable. That is the situation in western Queensland. The people there, even more than city people, deserve a quick, efficient and comfortable air service, which they are not receiving at present, let alone what will happen when Australian Airlines pulls out.