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Thursday, 13 April 1972
Page: 1113

Senator SIM (Western Australia) - I do not wish to cover the ground which has been covered at some length by

Other honourable senators. 1 indicate my support for the motion moved by Senator Gair, lt has support from all sides of the chamber except one. I think I indicated to Senator Turnbull - 1 am sorry that he is not here - my view of his remarks when he started speaking by saying: 'What rubbish'. I said that quite early in his comments. After listening to him I had no reason to change that opinion. I believe that not only is there merit in the Senate Standing Committee on Primary, Secondary Industry and Trade examining this matter but also I believe that there is a responsibility on Parliament to be informed on this matter. lt is a matter of great public interest. Where matters are of great public interest they are the real concern of Parliament. I indicate quite clearly that I shall oppose with every means in my power the takeover by Thomas Nationwide Transport Ltd of Ansett Transport Industries Ltd unless I am convinced that the public interest is best served by such a takeover.

I- indicate - although my mind may or may not be open - that 1 am far from convinced at this moment that the public interest would be best served. That is why I welcome this motion. I believe that this matter should be thoroughly investigated by Parliament and not by the Executive only. Parliament should make up its mind and it should make the final decision. It is the responsibility of Parliament. Parliament cannot and should not avoid its responsibility in matters such as this. That is why I am speaking and putting the view which I believe should be put. I ask honourable senators to understand that the final responsibility is upon us as members of this Senate and of Parliament. I shall make only one or two other very brief comments. I have been impressed, as others have been, by the spontaneous reaction of Ansett employees in supporting their company. I do not think it is a matter which we should treat lightly. The views of 13,000 people - or whatever the number is - who are employed by a company must be of some concern to us. The employees have indicated their view quite clearly in a way which I should say must bring a flush of pride to Sir Reginald Ansett's heart. They are supporting him at this moment. ! ''

The other point I mention is 'iri relation to Western Australia. Whatever . one may say about Ansett or anybody else, since ATI took over MacRobertson Miller Airlines. Services . in Western Australia there has been a most dramatic improvement in the services to the north-west; and Kimberley regions of Western Australia. As a Western Australian I do not think that I should let this service pass - unnoticed. Today this area is served by a- .complete jet fleet of the most modern jet aircraft. The services are equal to those anywhere else in Australia, and, probably, the. world. I do not think there is any area so .sparsely populated which today has the service which is provided to the north-west of Western Australia. I make the point, purely as a Western Australian, that I am vitally interested, as are my colleagues in Western Australia, to see that these services are maintained and, if necessary, improved.

It has been the policy of ATI to improve services. A sixth jet aircraft is on order but whether delivery will be taken of it now I do not know because of a downturn in traffic. Nevertheless it is. ready to go into service to provide the needs of the north. With these few points I support this motion. This will be a major inquiry. I think a matter such as this is the correct type of reference to give to a standing committee. The Committee has a great responsibility to report to Parliament. Parliament has a great responsibility to make up its mind as to where the public interest lies.

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