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Thursday, 26 November 1959

Mr MAKIN (Bonython) .- This bill is not the innocent measure that the Government and its supporters are trying to make the public believe it is. The bill will establish at each of various airports in the Commonwealth a business centre which will supply not only air travellers but anybody else who likes to go to an airport to buy goods that are not available elsewhere at certain hours of the day or night. It is quite evident that the honorable member for Hume (Mr. Anderson) expects these facilities to be available at all hours of the day and night, because he instanced the 4,000 employees at Essendon airport who are required to do shiftwork. He said that some of them were on night work and unable to do their ordinary shopping, and so would find this proposed facility at airports a great assistance. The fact is that shops in our cities and towns are open at the proper trading hours, and that the people who work at Essendon have the same opportunities as workers elsewhere to do their shopping, or have it done for them by other members of their families, in those ordinary trading hours.

There is, however, one kind of purchase that employees at Essendon airport may not be able to obtain so readily as they will obtain it at the airport if this measure becomes law - liquor. I object strongly to any one of those 4,000 men at Essendon airport being able to indulge in the consumption of any beverage that is likely to weaken in any way the safe operation of aircraft operating to and from that aerodrome. My safety, and your safety is involved in this matter. I do not know why we should make available a special facility for the sale of liquor at airports, as well as on aircraft, when we know that the greatest danger that we have to contend with on the roads of this country is the result of liquor. Now the Government wants to put that danger on the sky-line.

The opportunity to buy liquor at airports at all hours will not be available to air travellers, but also to people who come to an airport to see travellers off, or welcome them. It will also be available to anybody else who care's to go to the airport for the specific purpose of consuming liquor there. I say that it is objectionable to women and children air travellers to have to contend with people who are possibly over-proofed in regard to this kind of indulgence. My own feelings about the provision of liquor at airports may not correspond with those of some other honorable gentlemen. I certainly feel that liquor should not be dispensed on aircraft in flight. I do not know why we want to make glorified barmaids out of the beautiful young women who are specially selected as airline, hostesses. One of the most objectionable features of our air services that one could imagine is that part of the duty of airline hostesses is to serve liquor to passengers, some of whom may already have had more than is good for them. My respect for those girls is such that I feel there should not be imposed on them any conditions which would make their duties objectionable. There are no doubt honorable gentlemen who would not agree with me in that respect, but I can assure them, and other honorable members too, that the overwhelming majority of the people of this country would certainly support the view that I am expressing now.

The honorable member for Perth (Mr. Chaney) who immediately preceded me, told us that the Western Australian people apparently approve of the opportunity that they have to purchase liquor at Perth airport. Let me tell him that a more wholesome attitude is manifested by the people of South Australia than is to be found in many other places.

I feel, Mr. Speaker, that the time has come for us to challenge those who seek to impose this new feature on our Australian way of life - a feature which might imperil safe travel by air in this country, We should let it be fully known that the Australian community desires to keep Australia's airlines as free from the dangers that arise from the over-indulgence in and over-supply of liquor as it is possible to do. Oversupply of liquor is already objectionable in many ways to people who travel.

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