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Wednesday, 3 April 1957

Mr CAIRNS (Yarra) .- It seems to me that so far the debate has revealed that the outstanding feature of the presentation of this bill has been the lack of relevant information from the Government and that the suggestion made opposite, and supported to some extent from this side of the House, that further consideration of this matter should be delayed until that information can be provided, should be taken up. At the same time, a good deal more information has been provided in this bill than has been provided in other similar bills. We have been told here that a particular type of aircraft will be purchased. The technical characteristics of that aircraft are fairly generally known. We are able to make, as did the honorable member for Farrer, a satisfactory comparison of the characteristics of this aircraft with those of other possible types, and if in the end we receive the more adequate information that we have a right to expect, we will, no doubt, find that there is nothing more than a difference of opinion among experts. Quite obviously. Qantas experts have taken into account the characteristic features of these aircraft. Quite obviously, they have just as adequate a knowledge of them as the honorable member for Farrer has. They know the requirements of their own particular service. They know that they have to compete in a field where speed is a most important factor. Perhaps we are wrong in thinking of this great association between the jet and speed, but it is certainly important in the part of the world where these aircraft are going, and no doubt nas a great appeal for the travelling public lt seems to me that, at best, the,e wm be a conflict of opinion among experts. second point raised by the honorable member tor Mackellar .(Mr. Wentworth) has a particular validity. If the aircraft to be purchased are of such a type that certain airfields in Australia will have to be altered and we are to be faced later with a fait accompli - " We have these aircraft, therefore we shall have to expend a few hundred thousand pounds on aerodrome alterations " - that is certainly a mat'er of a different kind. When ail these technical considerations have been taken in.o account, there does remain the fact that the company concerned has a first-class record of service and of judgment in the type of aircraft that it needs. The company has discharged its duties so far with considerable honours and though I support statements, notably from the other side, that the Government should have provided us with more information before asking us to vote on such an important bill, I do bear in mind the evidence, which has accumulated for many years now. of the efficiency and excellent judgement that has been displayed in the operations of Qantas.

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