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Thursday, 26 November 1959

Mr BRYANT (Wills) (12:35 PM) .- I simply support the attitude which has been so well stated by the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) - the attitude that minorities have a right to express their point of view. For it appears that, in this instance, I may be a member of the minority. Having heard the Treasurer's most persuasive and compelling appeal, I am quite certain that it will not be long before, under the system that is being developed, we shall have spear-fishing facilities at airports in order to cater for all the requirements of travellers.

I think that the points at issue in the minds of Opposition members are quite clear. About 2,000,000 passengers a year use the airports throughout Australia. 1 oppose the bill for two principal reasons. First, I object to this particular pandering to air travellers - a very distinct group in the community. Secondly, I object to any pandering to the demand for alcohol. How conscientious is this belief that travellers must have opportunities to consume alcoholic drinks?

Mr Hulme - What about the railways?

Mr BRYANT - If the Minister likes, I can develop the theme about the railways and this Government's approach to them, particularly to the provision of funds for the reconstruction of the line between Townsville and Mr Isa, in Queensland.

Mr SPEAKER - Order! The honorable member had better get back to the bill.

Mr BRYANT - I could develop that theme, just as the Minister for Defence (Mr. Townley) developed the theme of airport finance in his second-reading speech. However, I return to the two points I mentioned - pandering to air travellers and pandering to persons who wish to consume alcohol. These are important points. I shall take the second of them first. This morning, at question time, the Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck) made a very compelling attack upon the evils of overindulgence in alcohol. I appreciated his attitude. The principle that he enunciated ought to be developed. We cannot, at question time in the morning, on one issue, adopt a well expressed moral principle and then abandon that principle about twelve hours later when we are considering the circumstances of a special group of people - air travellers. We must develop a national civilized consciousness in these matters. The honorable member for Perth (Mr. Chaney) seems to equate civilization and the development of a true spirit of nationhood with the extension, on a large scale, of facilities for the consumtion of alcohol.

I am not particularly concerned with whether or not people drink alcoholic beverages. If they like, I shall hold their hands while they do it. There is no doubt that the questions posed by Opposition members about the trading facilities proposed in this measure need answering. It has been suggested, of course, that State laws are to be applied. The laws differ from State to State. Clause 9 of the bill provides that the conditions of trading shall be as nearly as possible those that apply under the laws of the State. What does the phrase " as nearly as possible " mean? Who is going to interpret it? Let us look at the position in Victoria. There are serious deficiencies in the law in that State, because the political outlook of many of its people is quite wrong. In Victoria, we have established a very comprehensive and very welldeveloped liquor licensing system, and a

Licensing Court of highly qualified members has been appointed to administer it. Is it proposed that, in Victoria, despite the highly complex system of licensing developed there, the Minister for Civil Aviation may decide the hours of trading in respect of the new facilities to be provided at Essendon airport?

Mr Townley - The conditions will be exactly the same as are those imposed under State law.

Mr Pollard - The bill uses the words " as nearly as possible ". What does that phrase mean?

Mr BRYANT - As always, Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the audience participation. The Minister for Defence has just said that the conditions under which trading will take place will be the same as are the conditions imposed by the State law. Does that mean that the Minister for Civil Aviation will apply to the State Licensing Court to see whether the conditions that he envisages conform with the scheme that has been developed in Victoria? At Essendon, of course, there is the international terminal building, the TransAustralia Airlines terminal, and the AnsettA.N.A. terminal. Are we to have three different sets of conditions for three different bars at that airport? This is only a subsidiary consideration compared to the main reason for which I oppose the bill.

The Australian airways ought to be conducted under financial arrangements similar to those which prevail in other forms of transport. The suggestion that we should try to recoup some of our expenditure on airline facilities by this sort of measure beggars description. If necessary, fares should be raised to meet the commitments of the airlines. Air travellers are a special group in the community. I take this opportunity to make an especial appeal to the Government to rationalize the entire Australian transport system so that financial provisions similar to those which apply to the airways will apply also to the railways, to sea transport and to road transport. Our opposition to this bill is based on the principle of the Labour movement that there are some things that do not necessarily need government sponsorship. One of them is over-indulgence and the extension of liquor trading hours.

Question put -

That the bill be now read a second time.

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