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Monday, 26 November 1973
Page: 3801

Mr Keith Johnson (BURKE, VICTORIA) - My question is directed to the Minister for Transport and Minister for Civil Aviation. Is the dispute between Trans-Australian Airlines and its pilots a lock-out? Was the pilot concerned offered alternative employment? If so, did he accept it? Will the Minister give an undertaking that any settlement of the dispute will not place in jeopardy the unparalleled air safety record which exists in Australia?

Mr CHARLES JONES (NEWCASTLE, VICTORIA) (Minister for Transport) - A lockout does not exist between Trans-Australia Airlines and the Australian Federation of Air Pilots. Members of the Federation can return to work whenever they are ready to commence duty on condition, of course, that they give an undertaking that they will continue to work and not place the travelling public in the invidious position of first buying a ticket and then of being transported if the pilots elect to remain at work that day. I do not think any airline can operate under those conditions. The honourable member asked whether the pilot in question has been offered alternative employment. Yes, TAA has offered him alternative employment in a non-flying capacity. If the Federation is so concerned about his future employment then I inform it that there is a job for him at TAA in a nonliving capacity. Honourable members can be assured of one thing: Under no circumstances, whether it be by threat of strike action or by any other action, will the safety record of TAA be at any time reduced. Honourable members opposite have been chiacking, first of all, the Prime Minister by directing questions to him on this subject. It is interesting to note that one of the principal instigators of this dispute is, I believe, a Liberal Party nominee for pre-selection for the seat of Mitchell, and that, in actual fact, he was the campaign director for the defeated Liberal candidate for Mitchell at the last election. So if honourable members opposite are so concerned about peace in industry why do they not talk to their own candidates and influence them to create some peace in industry and to provide transport for the people? Honourable members opposite should have a look in the mirror. They will find just as much disruption in their own ranks.

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