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Transcript of doorstop, Parliament House, 22 May 1996

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Journalist: Mr Beazley there's been another delay, apparently, on the second airport for Sydney.

Beazley: This is a really stupid idea. Bad news for people who live around Sydney Airport who have been waiting for years and years for relief. The previous Government, ourselves, finally got a decent alternative site and were putting through an EIS on that which would, combined with the privatisation of Sydney Airport, under conditions that develop Sydney West, give exactly the sort of relief that they needed.

Holsworthy is an incredibly stupid idea. We've looked at Holsworthy. W e originally looked at it very favourably because it was Government owned and therefore we didn't have a big acquisition problem associated with it. But we discovered that aircraft and unexploded bombs and ravines are, on the whole, not compatible. And nor is an airport compatible with a very high population centre, which is of course around Holsworthy.

Journalist: Mr Beazley, moving on to Mabo, there seems to be a couple of Coalition backbenchers who are this morning a bit disgruntled with the draft plan that the Government is putting out.

Beazley: Yes, well that's a problem that Mr Howard has to control and contain and he will have great difficulty with them on that and many other issues with his absolutely over-inflated backbench as the years go by.

Journalist: What about the actual Mabo legislation per se? I mean have you had any indication what the draft is like? And are you satisfied with it?

Beazley: Well, this is a paper only as far as I understand. It may or may not subsequently emerge as legislation. They seem to have been taking the same legal advice that we did and therefore in substance there are similarities. The compromise that Mr Howard has made, I don't believe, will have the effect that they say it will have. I believe the capacity to declare an interest and negotiate was actually quite important in speeding up the process of arriving at conclusions which


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allowed developments, and was put in there for that purpose, so that if there was a likely owner there'd be some indication to would-be explorers, developers or whatever, and they would be able to settle accounts with them. In Western Australia, of course, for a very great number of exploration licences, that process

has permitted it to be indicated there is no likely owner and they've been able to go ahead. So I don't think that the implications are really fully understood either by Mr Howard or his revolting Liberal cohorts.

Journalist: Already Mick Dodson has said that it's going to set back the reconciliation process, these latest changes that the Prime Minister is talking about.

Beazley: Well if Mick Dodson says it, then it will, because he has a substantial say in that reconciliation process and, as I said, I don't think it will achieve very much.