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Thursday, 17 May 1973
Page: 2279

Mr HANSEN (Wide Bay) - lt is amazing that the honourable member for Warringah (Mr MacKellar) should run through such a long list of actions which he claims have been perpetrated over the past few years. I believe it is important that I draw the attention of the House to the fact that, despite this list of actions, no prosecutions by the Government of which he was a member or by the State Liberal governments of New South Wales and Victoria have been initiated. This fact stands undenied.

Before raising the matter on which 1 intend to speak during the Grievance Day debate, I should like to reply to some issues that were raised by the honourable member for Maranoa (Mr Corbett). He made loose accusations that Queensland was being discriminated against by this Government. When the statements the honourable member made are analysed, they can be seen to have no basis in fact. The honourable member for Maranoa said that it is rumoured that Queensland will be denied an international airport. The facts are that already this Government has established a committee which has joined in investigations into the proposed new airport and has allocated sums of money to be made available for the acquisition of land for extensions to the Brisbane Airport and for the improvement of runways at that airport as well as for the purchase of land not only for the existing airport but also for a future airport in the vicinity of Brisbane. The Government has also sent a ministerial committee to Townsville to investigate the possibility of constructing an international airport there.

The honourable member for Maranoa also referred to the conservation of kangaroos. He pleaded that, whilst he is basically a conservationist, he believes that conservation should be carried out in a planned manner. The facts are that an embargo has been placed on the export from Australia of kangaroo products. The embargo was imposed by this Government so that it could ascertain the facts relating to kangaroos. On 9th March of this year, Ministers representing the Commonwealth Government and the 6 State governments met in Melbourne for discussions on wildlife conservation. I refer honourable members to a

Press statement which was released after the meeting and which states:

The Ministers agreed as follows:

(1)   The meeting is opposed to uncontrolled harvesting of kangaroos and related species.

(2)   Recognises that for conservation purposes selective culling or harvesting of certain species . . . may be a legitimate management practice.

(3)   Agreed that a scientifically acceptable range of data gathering and control measures be drawn up to regulate culling or harvesting throughout Australia in the interests of conservation of the species and the general environment.

The Ministers decided to set up a working party of officers of the relevant departments who were to meet before the end of May. I understand that a preliminary meeting has already been held and they are to meet again before the end of May and draw up a report for presentation to the Ministers. A decision will then be made by the Government on the whole issue involved and not on one particular area in regard to the ban on the export of kangaroo products and to the harvesting of kangaroos. I am not certain whether the honourable member for Maranoa knows this. The honourable member mentioned that the income of some people has been affected by the ban; perhaps there has been some additional breeding of kangaroos within this area. But I believe that the Ministers of this Government have acted in a responsible manner and in the interest of the people and a decision shortly should be made that, I feel, will be acceptable to the majority of the people of Australia.

The matter which I intended to raise this afternoon relates to the type of glass that is being sold for use in motor vehicle windscreens, more particularly in Queensland because that seems to be the only State where any complaint has arisen. I raised this matter almost 12 months ago with the then Minister for Shipping and Transport, the honourable member for Gippsland (Mr Nixon) and with members of the House of Representatives Select Committee on Road Safety. I provided both the Committee and the then Minister with samples of the type of glass that was being used in windscreens. This glass, instead of crystallising when struck and broken, shattered into splinters. I asked what action could be taken. This glass was imported from Belgium and was being distributed to repairers of windscreens throughout Queensland. One such man drew my attention to the glass. He had a number of windscreens made of this glass in stock, but has refused to use them any longer He drew my attention to the glass and I, in turn, notified the then Minister for Shipping and Transport and the Committee.

The then Minister wrote to me on 6 July last year and informed me that while Queensland traffic regulations specified that replacement windscreens should be made from non.shatterable transparent material, it is in fact the practice of the administering authority to require the use of safety glass which conforms to current accepted standards. He stated: . . while the glass sample you provided has been through a heat treatment process akin to that required to meet safety glass specifications, it does not meet United States, British or Australian standards for wind screen safety glass. Vehicles manufactured after 1st July 1971 are subject to Australian Design Rule No. 8 for safety glass. This provides for the use of either laminated or toughened glass and requires that glass should fracture into much smaller particles than the sample you have provided.

He then suggested that I should take the matter up with the Queensland authorities. Since I raised this matter, the Royal Automobile Club of Queensland has complained about the glass. Apparently no other similar body throughout Australia has made such a complaint, so the only conclusion to which I can arrive is that perhaps Queensland again is being discriminated against in that glass that cannot be sold in other States is being sent to Queensland.

The point on which I should like to make my protest is that, while it is not an offence to sell this type of glass for use in windscreens, nor is it an offence to sell faulty safety helmets, seat belts or mag wheels, it is an offence for a person to fit them and to use them. I believe that the law relating to these matters requires changing. Australia has a Standards Association and I understand that, while the Association can list approved brands, it is not allowed to list those which do not meet up to its required standards. This glass is being imported into Australia. In the past, there have been embargos for health reasons on, for instance, toys that had a high lead content in the paint that was applied to them. These toys have been withdrawn from the market at the request of the Department of Health. About 12 months ago a type of air gun toy which made a very resounding noise was withdrawn because it was felt that it could cause deafness to children if it was used in a certain manner.

I have taken this matter up with the Minister for Transport (Mr Charles Jones) and I am pleased to note that yesterday he sent an officer of his Department to Brisbane to confer with the Royal Automobile Club of Queensland about this glass and to arrange for tests to be conducted. If Queensland is the only State concerned, it seems to me that the distributors and importers of this glass have found some fault in Queensland legislation and therefore are distributing it in that State only. This seems hardly likely. 1 would like to see some uniform legislation in respect of not only the glass provided in new vehicles but also the glass provided for replacement purposes. I would like to see some legislation to the effect that imported glass should meet certain standards-

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Berinson)Order!The honourable member's time has expired.

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