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Tuesday, 5 November 1996
Page: 6570

Mrs CROSIO(10.40 p.m.) —Yesterday, while speaking on my private member's motion, I called on the members of this House to put away their political hatchets, jettison their political baggage and give serious consideration to the case for Goulburn as a site for Sydney's second airport—a site that, when serviced by the Sydney-Canberra very fast train, seems to me to make an awful lot of sense.

During my time in this parliament, certainly during my 25 years of public life, I think I have been fairly up-front. I would hope that I have treated members of the opposing parties with as much candour, sincerity and honesty as I have treated members of my own party. Yesterday, in my private member's speech, I asked for the same sincerity and candour to be shown by the government members to the motion I put forward. I did not insist that they agree with my proposition, merely that they approach it with open eyes and a clear mind and not dismiss it out of hand.

The member for Hughes (Mrs Vale), I am glad to see, was able to do so. I appreciated her comments made in the House last night and I warmly support her fight to move Sydney's second airport outside the Sydney basin, led most admirably by my colleague the member for Werriwa (Mr Latham). However, it was unfortunately not possible for the member for Lowe (Mr Zammit). Not only did he denigrate my suggestions with the politically biased rhetoric and thinking I had implored members to reject but he even questioned my reasons for starting the debate. The member for Lowe claimed not only that I had ulterior and malicious motives in putting forward my motion but also that the federal parliamentary Labor Party had colluded with me in the process.

I reject his slimy accusations. Not only do I reject them but I feel I must address them. The member for Lowe stated in his speech:

The underlying intention of the motion moved by the honourable member for Prospect (Mrs Crosio) is, without doubt, to limit Sydney to the one international airport—that is, KSA . . .

What absolutely unmitigated tripe! Sydney needs a second airport, a second airport which will go some way to relieving the people of Sydney of their intolerable aircraft noise burden. What I object to is the notion that this will best be achieved by building a second international airport on the doorstep of thousands of other Sydneysiders—be it at Badgerys Creek or Holsworthy—subjecting them to the same, if not worse, noise levels. I do not wish to delay the building of Sydney's second airport any more than the hopelessly misguided member for Lowe. I just do not want to see a repeat of the mistakes that have been made at Kingsford Smith.

After he attacked my motives, the member for Lowe sought to challenge my argument with what he must believe passes as constructive debate. Unfortunately, the member for Lowe, to the obvious embarrassment of members of his own party, only succeeded in exhibiting the fact that he entered this chamber thoroughly unburdened with the intelligence required to contribute to the discussion. He stated:

Why does the honourable member stop at Goulburn? Why not throw in Wilton, Richmond, Newcastle and Wollongong?

The member for Lowe not only must have rocks in his head but must be as deaf as Helen Keller was blind. I suggest Goulburn as a site for the airport only in conjunction with a very fast train service which seems destined to be built between Sydney and Canberra, and possibly extended to Melbourne some time in the near future. Unless my geography is incorrect, Wilton, Richmond, Newcastle and Wollongong are not directly on the way to Canberra as Goulburn is. Perhaps the member for Lowe needs a new prescription for his glasses. Perhaps he just needs to go back to Geography 101.

The member for Lowe states that, because Goulburn finished last in the site selection process in 1985, any further suggestion that it should be looked at again is ludicrous. If my memory serves me correctly, Holsworthy finished second last in that site selection process in 1985 and yet it has not stopped the Minister for Transport and Regional Development (Mr Sharp) thinking it worthy enough to warrant further consideration. Again, the member for Lowe lets his dim light shine—dim being the operative word.

The member for Lowe complains that a very fast train would cost $2.5 billion to build, implying that this extra cost would be borne by the government. What has the member for Lowe been doing for these last few months? The very fast train will be financed and operated by private business—at no cost to the government. It will employ hundreds of people; it will have many positive economic spin-offs. Do the member for Lowe and the government not want this project to go ahead?

And what of his inane argument that you could not have a very fast train servicing an airport at Goulburn because families would have to spend hundreds of dollars catching the train to see them off at the airport? Oh please! Of course, they cannot say goodbye at the train station! That is just illogical, isn't it? Well, it is certainly too logical for the member for Lowe.

He also raises the bogus argument that Goulburn cannot be operated because the site is affected by fog approximately 50 days per year. My God, what does he think they do at Heathrow airport when a London peasouper rolls in—land the planes on Buckingham Palace? I ask the member for Lowe: what about the microwave landing system, or MLS, which will supersede instrument landing systems by the end of this decade, virtually making landing aircraft in poor conditions a non-issue? What about Lockheed Martin's autonomous precision approach and landing system which offers airlines the ability to operate in reduced visibility free of any dependence on ground based equipment? What about the CHURPs autopilot system presently being developed right here in Australia by BHP senior research scientist Dr David Stirling, which will revolutionise take-offs and landings by computer early next century?

The member for Lowe has shown time and time again in this House his incapacity to grasp an issue and make some sense of it. I know it must be hard for him, but for the sake of his constituents and the rest of Sydney who want a solution to the aircraft noise problem I do implore him to look hard enough within himself to find the intelligence which would enable him to make a constructive contribution to this debate. Otherwise, I suggest he stays in his office and continues to watch it on his TV set. (Time expired)