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Thursday, 15 October 1964

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Failes (LAWSON, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Order! The honorable member should cease interjecting.

Mr FAIRBAIRN - The whole of the muddied waters surrounding this most unfortunate business could be cleared in no time if the New South Wales Government, instead of trying to make political capital out of this issue, as it obviously is trying to do, took the action that is open to it and tested in the High Court of Australia the new Air Navigation Regulations that the Commonwealth has promulgated. This is the way to overcome the situation. We do not want this constant bickering and fighting to go on. We want an immediate decision on the question of whether the Commonwealth has the power or the States have the power to make such regulations. Once that issue is determined, we can go ahead and have a sensible re-arrangement. But what has the New South Wales Government done? It has brought in one of the most vicious pieces of legislation ever witnessed, I believe, by any member of this Parliament or of a State Parliament. That piece of legislation is completely vicious and has been brought in for the purpose of damaging Ansett and forcing him to go to the courts. I understand that the legislation has not yet been passed by the New South Wales Parliament but is still being debated. The extraordinary thing about it is that it provides for the adoption under State law of the regulations made by the Common wealth. In other words, the New South Wales Government proposes to adopt the amending regulations introduced by the Commonwealth within the last few days - the very regulations against which it is protesting. I say frankly that I do not know what the reason for this can be.

Mr E James Harrison - The New South Wales Government knows it.

Mr FAIRBAIRN - I do not think so, frankly. I do not think it even knew that it was doing this. The New South Wales Government is only playing politics and looking for an issue for the next election. It is hoping to deprive Dubbo of an air service which it has had for many years and which has been well and efficiently operated. What the State Government does not realise is that if it deprives Dubbo of this service, it will also deprive Mudgee. As many honorable members know, the Airlines of New South Wales service from Sydney to Dubbo is operated by a Fokker Friendship which lands first at Mudgee and goes on to Dubbo. What Renshaw is hoping to succeed in doing is to close down this airline. If he does, he will deprive Mudgee of its service.I suggest that Mr. Nott, a Labour member who is the representative of the Mudgee area in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly, will have a bit of explaining to do concerning the actions of the State Government which he supports and which has introduced special legislation that will have the effect of depriving Mudgee of its air service. I repeat that these muddied waters could be cleared tomorrow if the New South Wales Government or any other State Government were to decide to go to the High Court and find out just who has the power to regulate intrastate civil aviation.

Sitting suspended from 12.43 to 2.15 p.m.

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