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Thursday, 26 November 1959


Mr POLLARD (Lalor) .I am convinced that this is nothing but a cunning device to create facilities at airports all over Australia that will be available for Ansett-A.N.A. when, eventually, as is the obvious intention of the Government, the whole of the civil aviation operations in Australia fall into its hands. Already this company has been granted equal rights with Trans-Australia Airlines in the carrying of Her Majesty's mail and is benefitting under the rationalization agreement for the carrying of passengers. A government that will use every opportunity to sell out what was the finest nationally-owned airline in the world, will go to the limit and hand the whole show over to Ansett-A.N.A.

What could be more attractive to AnsettA.N.A. than these profit-making facilities, ready-made for it. Costs of airlines operations are always increasing, and profits from these facilities, provided by capital taken from the taxes paid by the masses of the people, most of whom, because of their numbers, are workers who never receive enough even to get near an airport, would help to meet these costs. That is the motive behind the bill. There cannot be a shadow of doubt about it. The secondreading speech of the Minister for Defence (Mr. Townley) was well-padded. Look at it! It contains a long list of services that he suggests are required at overseas airports, including Melbourne. We are told that advertising, barber shops, beauty par.lours, car parking lots, children's nurseries and many other services are needed, and the list includes cocktail lounges. Government supporters may laugh, but they must answer to the people of Australia who are proud of their national airline. Amongst these innocuous trading activities that are to be legalized by this bill are cocktail lounges. They are all right in their proper place, but this facility will not be restricted to cocktail lounges. Ordinary bars for the sale of liquor will also be provided. We see these bars in hotels all over Australia, and they are all right in their proper place. I misjudge my fellow Australian-


Mr Turnbull - Yes, you do!


Mr POLLARD - I misjudge my fellow Australian if I think he is any different from the honorable member for Mallee, who is a much travelled member of the Parliament. He goes to the airport at Melbourne and to the airport at Canberra. But I have never seen him with his tongue hanging out, looking for a cocktail lounge or a bar. Does he suggest that his fellow Australians need these facilities any more than he does? Of course he does not! I have never had a request from any person in my electorate that liquor facilities at airports should be provided for them as travellers. We have the best nationally owned civil airline in the world. As I have said, this is a cunning device to place in the hands of Ansett-A.N.A., ultimately, all the facilities that are here visualised for the drinking of intoxicating liquors at airports. We are now free of this, and I have not seen anybody at the Sydney airport or the Melbourne airport running around with his tongue hanging out, looking for a liquor trough. The position is rather to the contrary. Because of the facilities that are already available, most Australians want to get on to an aircraft as quickly as possible and, on arrival, to get to their home or hotel and there obtain the refreshments they need. There are exceptions. Some interstate travellers have to spend an hour or perhaps two hours at big airports; but in the main the time spent at airports is not very long. There has been no clamour from air travellers for these facilities. The clamour has come from one source, and one source only. If honorable members want proof of this, they need look only at the stress placed in the Minister's secondreading speech on what has been done at Los Angeles. The profit on trading at the Los Angeles airport has reached £2,000,000 annually.


Mr McMahon - You have the wrong figures.


Mr POLLARD - Very well, 2,000,000 dollars, if you want it that way. It does not materially affect the position, because the argument advanced is that 2,000,000 dollars-


Mr McMahon - For leases.


Mr POLLARD - For business activities and leases, if you like. It does not matter what it is, but it includes liquor. The Minister also stressed that at the SeattleTacoma airport, the revenue is 79,300 dollars. The point that is made is that vast revenues will be obtained by granting these trading rights - and the sale of liquor is to some extent cunningly hidden. These revenues comprise 57.5 per cent, of the total revenue. This shows the reason for AnsettA.N.A.'s interest. Instead of having to increase air fares on its airlines when it cops the lot from this conservative Government, it hopes to derive 57.5 per cent, of its total revenue from trading activities, and thus be able to keep air fares down to a lower level. My electorate adjoins the Essendon airport. I know that in many instances people living in areas around airports have ordinary hotel facilities available to them. I have read the Minister's second-reading speech. Sometimes, the Government does not show much nous 'n preparing second-reading speeches. In his second-reading speech, the Minister said -

The scope for the development of these activities is indicated by the size of the ready-made market, for example, at Melbourne airport, where there are more than 4,000 employees whose hours of work and distance from established business centres deprive them of normal shopping facilities. . . .

Do those 4,000 men who work in the vicinity of the Melbourne airport shop for the ordinary household requirements of their wives, or is it intended to provide additional facilities for them to obtain liquor7 This Government prattles about the rights of private enterprise, but it proposes to spend the people's money in providing costly and elaborate drinking facilities at all the big airports. To do that it will tax the people. The Government is not consistent. It has always been its case that private enterprise should be left to do these things. There are hotels in the vicinity of the Melbourne airport. Why interfere with them? Not that it matters to me, because if I had my way all liquor facilities would be run by the Government and there would be no inducement to encourage people to drink to excess.


Mr Hasluck - Would the honorable member for West Sydney agree with your policy about hotels?


Mr POLLARD - The Minister may apologize for himself to his electors. The honorable member for . West Sydney has indicated his support for the decision of the Australian Labour Party on this very vital issue. The Minister for Territories may square off for himself; never mind about the honorable member for West Sydney.

This bill was not necessary in order to provide facilities of a business character at airports. We already have newspaper facilities at airports. We can buy cups of tea or coffee, toothpaste, toilet requisites, lemonade and many other things at airports now.


Mr Forbes - There are no hairdressers.


Mr POLLARD - Get your hair cut at home. The honorable member should cut his own hair; he would be more intelligent if he did. We have these facilities now. The fact that liquor facilities exist at overseas airports is no reason why they should be provided at airports in Australia. We should not slavishly follow practices of overseas countries. It is an unchallengeable fact that the Australian civil airlines, established by the Australian Labour Party - and let me pay a tribute to their founder, the late Arthur Drakeford - have a record that has not been equalled in any other country, notwithstanding their facilities. Is it merely a coincidence that that record of freedom from disaster has been associated with the fact that there are no liquor facilities at aerodromes in this country?


Mr Harold Holt - Liquor is available on aircraft.


Mr POLLARD - The fact is not an argument for the provision of additional facilities for obtaining liquor. I travelled on a small plane not many years ago from Sydney to Tamworth. Sitting adjacent to the rear door of the plane was a drunken man. I was somewhat nearer to the pilot's seat. That drunk was a menace. I could have done nothing if he had wanted to jump out of the plane. He was a menace and a nuisance to the passengers. No doubt when he boarded the plane he appeared sober, but after the plane was airborne he was a proper pest.

The Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr. McMahon) is interjecting. No doubt he supports the proposition that there should be additional facilities for people to get into that condition. In many countries sumptuous facilities have been provided for drinking liquor at airports; but Australia is a country that requires its capital for further developmental work. The Treasurer and the Minister for Labour and National Service bear a grave responsibility in this Parliament, because at Williamstown British migrants are living in circumstances which no human being should be required to endure. If the Government were to build hostels of a decent type for migrants such hostels could be used later to house aged people. The Government would then do some good for the country. I have not been provocative to-night, but I have been well heckled by honorable members opposite. I condemn the bill and will vote against it.







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