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Wednesday, 3 April 1957

Mr LUCOCK (Lyne) .- First, I think I, and the House, are very lucky that I speak after, instead of before, the honorable member for Farrer (Mr. Fairbairn), because I had intended to speak along the lines on which that honorable member has spoken, but without touching on the technical detail that he gave in his speech. So, rather than weary the House by going over the ground covered by the honorable member for Farrer I shall content myself with saying that I agree with all that the honorable member has said regarding the purchase of American aircraft rather than British aircraft.

The House will probably recall that I asked the Minister for Air (Mr. Osborne) a question regarding the purchase of American aircraft, at the time it was first announced that Qantas Empire Airways Limited had changed over from the Britannia, known as the "Whispering Giant ", to American aircraft. After having said that I support the remarks of the honorable member for Farrer, and the reasons he put forward for the views he expressed, there is one thing I want to say in support of the loan itself, forgetting, for the moment, the respective merits of American and British aircraft. Qantas Empire Airways Limited has contributed largely to Australia's name being known favorably throughout the world. We know that the service given by Qantas on its various routes is certainly of the highest class, and I feel that it is well that in this National Parliament we should make mention of the services given by the members of the staff of Qantas on the trade routes on which its aircraft travel. No only has Qantas established our name throughout the world as a result of the splendid services it gives but, as has already been pointed out on both sides of the House, it has bee[ earning dollars for Australia. So, actually, the borrowing of the dollars on this occasion is merely a business proposition to enable Qantas to earn more dollars for Australia. If Qantas gains permission to conduct an air service across the United States it will be enabled to earn even more dollars, and so will be able to repay this loan which has been borrowed for the purchase of aircraft.

A question that has been asked in the House is how the loan will be repaid. The responsibility of the Commonwealth Government in this connexion is more or less the responsibility of guarantor of the loan to this firm for its business operations. 1 should imagine that the people in charge of Qantas, being businessmen, would have an appreciation of their ability to repay the loan before they discussed with the Commonwealth Government the borrowing of the money. In those circumstances, I would say that, as Qantas has made a contribution to Australia we, as the Commonwealth Parliament, should assist in making it possible for the company to make an even greater contribution.

I feel that, because of the services thai Qantas has already given, this loan will result in an even greater opportunity for an extension of those services, and in further favorable publicity abroad for Australia. So I support this measure, leaving aside the question of the purchase of American rather than British aircraft.

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