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Friday, 12 September 1969

Mr BOSMAN (St George) - We have witnessed a most interesting foray by the honourable member for Newcastle (Mr CharlesJones) into the land of fear. For 15 minutes he tried to instil fear in the people not only of the electorate which 1 represent but of Australia. As for the incident involving the two Friendships, all

I can say is that the safety standards set by the Department of Civil Aviation are respected internationally. The honourable member's alarming remarks were illfounded. There is no room for them in the pattern of civil aviation in Australia. There is no basis for the suggestions made in the last 2 days that jet operations will be allowed at Mascot between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. This exercise, which has been carried out both inside the Parliament and outside, has been well organised and interesting. Today the honourable member for Newcastle has tried to prey on the fears of the people. No doubt people are apprehensive about jet operations between11 p.m. and 6 a.m. but the honourable member knows, better perhaps than his colleagues, that there is no foundation for the suggestion that such operations will be permitted.

Reading from the record of proceedings in another place the honourable member drew the inference that a Minister in another place had some inside information on the subject. The honourable member did not have the courage to quote the clear statement made today by that same Minister who said that in his earlier remarks he was expressing not Government policy but a personal opinion. I concede that the people of St George and Barton, as well as those who live near the airports of Adelaide, Brisbane and Melbourne, cannot afford the luxury of a Minister in another place expressing a personal opinion on this very sensitive subject. But for the honourable member to trade on this fact in the hope of winning a handful of votes - a very doubtful hope - is reprehensible, as it would be in any of his colleagues who acted in a similar manner. T know that the honourable member has some experience of the problem of aircraft noise but if he had supported the people of St George and Barton, as well as his colleagues the honourable member for Grayndler (Mr Daly), who represents the area around Marrickville, and the honourable member for Watson (Mr Cope), in their endeavours before 1963 to get something done about aircraft noise we might have seen more rapid improvement in the situation. Until 1966 Barton had for years been represented by Labor. Until 1963 St George had for years been represented by Labor. Yet nothing was done by the Labor members who represented those electorates.

Mr Calwell - What could they do?

Mr BOSMAN - I answer the right honourable member for Melbourne, who has already claimed, by way of interjection, that Melbourne will be Australia's No. 1 airport. I will tell him what has already been done in St George. Aircraft patterns have been reorganised. The Department of Civil Aviation has been persuaded to acknowledge that an aircraft noise problem exists. The Minister for Civil Aviation (Mr Swartz) has been persuaded to stand his ground and to reaffirm that he will not lift the curfew on jet operations at Mascot or at other airports in Australia. The Minister stated the position clearly last night andI believe that he will do so again this afternoon. Not only have we had aircraft patterns reorganised in order to reduce aircraft noise, we have also brought about a complete review of the situation. The people of St George - those who live in Kogarah and Rockdale - know only too well that the situation has improved out of sight in the last 6 or 1.2 months. This is not an electioneering stunt; it is the result of a definite programme carried out since 1 966.

The Government has acknowledged what is involved in the present situation. It acknowledges the problem of aircraft noise; it is aware of the impediment which aircraft noise causes to private living in those areas. What more would you want the Government to do at this stage? The entire world, through the International Civil Aviation Organisation, is trying to come to grips with this problem. What more would you ask the Government to do than appoint a select committee - the very thing which honourable members opposite are constantly calling upon the Government to do in order to investigate a wide variety of matters in this country? The Opposition would brush aside the importance of the Select Committee on Aircraft Noise, but I would tell honourable members that the Committee has covered a great deal of ground already. In the next 2 weeks it will submit its interim report, but a further 9 or 12 months will elapse before the Committee can cover all the ground.

What else has been done? Let me tell honourable members opposite. In the last 1 2 months the Minister has had the courage and foresight to pay serious attention to representations by the Government Members Civil Aviation Committee. He has been prepared to take those representations to the International Civil Aviation Organisation in July this year. He has placed on the table of the Organisation a convention, which ICAO has accepted. Today Australia has been projected to the forefront in the field of aircraft noise investigation and its solution. One of our most respected workers in the Commonwealth Acoustics Laboratory has been invited to attend in November a meeting of the International Standards Organisation. He is accepted internationally as an expert in the field of noise standards. What else does the right honourable member for Melbourne (Mr Calwell) want at this stage? The Select Committee is giving leadership not only to Australia but to the world so far as aircraft noise is concerned, and we will achieve more. The Labor Party has done nothing. Nothing was done in St George until 1963; nothing was done in Barton until 1966. Even the honourable senator who asked a question in another place has admitted that he cannot attack the Government over its handling of the aircraft noise problem. He knows what we have done in the past 12 months. What he has attacked is the idea that jet cargo operations may be permitted at night; that the curfew on jet operations at Mascot between 1 1 p.m. and 6 a.m. might be lifted. He has traded on the fear of the people.

I know that certain sections of the Press, to whom I address myself, through you, Mr Deputy Chairman, are organised on this issue. When the Minister made a blue the other day they swung into action. Just read this morning's 'Sydney Morning Herald' and you will see what I mean.

The opinion of a parliamentary candidate was quoted first, and what the Chairman of the Select Committee on Aircraft Noise appointed by the Federal Parliament had to say was contained in about three remarks at the end of the article. I ask the right honourable member for Melbourne whether that is fair representation. He stands and talks about Press favouritism in this Parliament. I ask: Is that a fair go? In about 10 minutes time let him go out and read the Sydney 'Daily Mirror' and see how it presents a case for the Opposition. If this is not a campaign stunt, what is it?

It is reprehensible for the right honourable member for Melbourne or for anybody else in this chamber or in the other place to trade on the fears of people who have suffered from this thing for years and years because they could not get any leadership from the representatives in their area. But they are getting leadership now and they will get it for the next 3 years, particularly in the electorates of St George and Barton and, if necessary, other areas also. The right honourable member for Melbourne is trying to interject. I do not want to hear any of his interjections because I know what I am talking about on this subject even if I do not know much about the other aspects of administration. I say again - I have to say it to a Minister of my Government - that if the Minister thinks he can afford the luxury of a personal opinion on this matter he has another think coming. We cannot afford to have him experimenting in this field. He lives in Perth and spends the rest of his time in Canberra, and he never encounters this problem. I offer him a fortnight's free accommodation for him and his family in Rockdale right under the flight path of aircraft. He may stay there for a fortnight. I will show him whether he can afford the luxury to stand up in another place and say that he hopes that people will be exposed to aircraft noise between 1 1 p.m. and 6 a.m. There are two things I want to say to the Minister for Civil Aviation in this regard. I had intended to leave it until next year before opening up on this subject. I had intended when I came back here to say something about what I proposed to do.

Mr Charles Jones (NEWCASTLE, VICTORIA) - The honourable member had better get in and say it now because he will not be here next year.

Mr BOSMAN - We will get every opportunity in the world. The Opposition is banking too much on this foray. I am confident that the people in St George will weigh the matter up for what it is - a 5-minute foray by an outsider who moves into the area and thinks he can get away with a well organised campaign by other people outside. I want the Minister for Civil Aviation, firstly, to institute immediately, if necessary, a feasibility study of the value of ensuring immediately or as soon as practicable that all cargo flights, including propellor driven ones, use the Richmond Air Force base on a joint user basis with the Royal Australian Air Force. The Richmond air base is 35 miles from Sydney and there is no reason in the world why it cannot be used. I am opposed not only to jet aircraft flying in between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. but also to propeller driven ones coming in. They go to no trouble to limit the nuisance. They fly right over the top of built up areas.

I ask the Minister to institute a feasibility study on the practicability of encouraging or enforcing as soon as possible all scheduled flights between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. to use the Richmond airport. There is no reason in the world why it cannot be done. At that time of night there are no traffic problems on the road. With high speed trucks the cargo could be brought into Sydney in as little as 1 hour, and 1 hour is worth all the money in the world to the people who live around the Mascot airport and the other airports, such as the Brisbane airport. Is there any reason why the Amberley air base near Brisbane could not be used for the same purpose? It is suitably located.

I want to make one other point about something that was in one of the Melbourne newspapers this morning. A situation seems to be emerging in which Ansett Airlines of Australia is moving itself into an unenviable situation. The public can be excused if they consider that Ansett Airlines now has a vested interest in seeing that the Liberal members for St George and Barton no longer hold their seats. I leave that to the Committee to think about. Ansett Airlines could have a vested interest in seeing that the Liberal Party no longer holds these seats because of the progress that has been made in relation to aircraft noise and because there is the possibility that more money will have to be spent by the airlines in the interest of the people who live near airports. I took the opportunity on the debate on the estimates to raise these matters. I had prepared a speech, but because of the scurrilous campaign that has been organised in the last 2 days I have taken the opportunity to point out to the Parliament what has gone on - that it is only a stunt campaign for the purposes of the election. There is no foundation for it at all.

Jet cargo flights will not be introduced into Kingsford-Smith Airport, despite what Sir Henry Bolte said. He is a stirrer from way back if ever there was one. The people will not fall for it. These flights will not be introduced. I ask the people who have confidence in the honourable members for St George, Barton (Mr Arthur) and the State member for Cook's River, who at this time last year gave an assurance to the people that the development of Towra Point as a second airport for Sydney would not go ahead. This project is now off the book. The honourable member for Newcastle today uttered a lot of rubbish, the same as he put forward a lot of rubbish about Towra Point. What does he think about Towra Point now? The Opposition did nothing to show that aircraft noise at Towra Point would not be the same as it is at Mascot. 1 assure honourable members that that is what the position would have been. They can consider that.

Motion (by Mr Calwell) proposed:

That the honourable member for St George be granted an extension of time.

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- The honourable member's time has expired.

Mr Calwell - I have moved that the honourable member for St George have his time extended.

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN- The motion is out of order.

Mr Calwell - I raise a point of order. In what respect is my motion out of order? The Standing Orders provide that any honourable member may at any time move that any other honourable member be granted an extension of time.

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN - I point out to the right honourable member that under the Standing Orders an extension of time may be moved at any time except for a first speech in Committee. The honourable member for St George has just made a first speech in Committee.

Mr Calwell - And then he disappeared. I accept your ruling, Mr Deputy Chairman.

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