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Wednesday, 20 March 1957

Mr DAVIDSON - The Sea Venom aircraft were grounded some time ago for a minor defect, of which I have not the details with me, because I was not then administering my present portfolio. Last Thursday, the Australian Naval Board received advice from the British Admiralty to the effect that a small defect had been discovered in its Sea Venoms in the gear used in catapulting the aircraft from carriers. Therefore, although our Sea Venoms are of a Mark different from those used by the British Admiralty, it was decided, purely as a precautionary measure, to ground our aircraft and give them a thorough inspection before using them again. That is the reason for the action which was taken. No defect had been noted in our own Venoms, which had been flying from the carrier " Melbourne " for a considerable time, but it was considered desirable to take that action as a precaution. I certainly do not subscribe to the view voiced by the honorable member for Kennedy that these aircraft are obsolete. In fact, they are very effective aircraft for the job for which they were designed and for which they are being prepared. I assure the honorable gentleman that that is not only my personal opinion, which might not be considered to be very valuable. It is also the considered opinion of those who are in a position to know - that is, the advisers in the Naval Board.

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