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Thursday, 26 March 1987
Page: 1585

Mr GEAR(1.56) —One is always amazed, upon coming in here to debate matters of some importance, to note that when honourable members of the Liberal Party and their National Party colleagues are in opposition they possess unlimited vision. They can stand over on the other side of the chamber and tell us what should be done but when they have to come over here and actually do it they are mortified. Nothing illustrates that more, apart perhaps from taxation policy, than the Opposition's aviation policy. Honourable members opposite had, in relation to the new Sydney airport-which they have spent a lot of time talking about-seven years in government in which to pick out a suitable site. They could not do so. The reason was that they thought they would lose a marginal seat. They talk now about the congestion at the Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport and say that this Government should do some planning. It has done so. At least it has picked out a site and got the whole system going in order to ensure that there will be a second Sydney airport. That decision should have been made 10 years ago. Opposition members come in here and start criticising this Government for allegedly not making decisions. We have made the necessary decision. It is a pity that they did not make it 10 years ago.

I would like to talk about some of the achievements of this Government and, in particular, to go across to the other side of Australia and talk about Perth airport. Those of us who used to fly to Perth airport on international carriers had to feel very much ashamed of that airport. The impression left with our visitors from overseas, when they had to line up for hours to get Customs clearance and go through the other procedures necessary on entering Australia, must have been a very poor one. This Government took a decision to construct a new international terminal at Perth and the terminal was finished in September of last year. It is the most up-to-date terminal in Australia and was opened by the Prime Minister (Mr Hawke) and the local member, the Minister for Defence (Mr Beazley) who, as my colleagues point out, is a top Minister. Moreover, I believe that the design of Perth airport is to be used for the new international terminal in Beijing. That, I think, speaks volumes not only for the design features incorporated by the Department of Housing and Construction but also the Australian craftsmanship that went into building that international terminal, which was so ably opened by the Prime Minister last year. The Prime Minister spoke in very glowing terms about the new Perth International Airport and so he should. It is one of the great achievements of this Government that it has taken its aviation and transport policy seriously. In the present Minister for Transport and Minister for Aviation, (Mr Peter Morris), I believe we have the most able Minister to have held the portfolio. It is clear from the acclamation of my colleagues that they agree. In regard to not only aviation but also roads and all other aspects of transport, the Hawke Labor Government can run rings around its predecessors. I go back to the point that I made before: It is great to have vision when in opposition-which this mob always tries to espouse. The trick is to have it when in government.

Madam SPEAKER —Order! It now being 2 p.m., in accordance with standing order 104, as amended for this session, the time allotted for precedence of General Business has expired. The honourable member for Canning will have leave to continue his speech when the debate is resumed. The resumption of the debate will be made an order of the day under General Business for the next sitting.