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Friday, 15 May 1970

Mr NIXON - I would be prepared to convey that message to my colleague the Minister for Supply but for the fact that many of my friends living in country areas in the electorate which I represent of their own free will choose to own black cars. V am sure they are not soft in the head. When 1 am buying cars for use in Canberra the first thing I take into account is the economics of the deal. If a manufacturer places before me a proposition which incidentally includes the provision of air-conditioning in the car and it is an attractive proposition which means that at the end of the car's departmental life I can sell it at a higher price than I otherwise would. I am interested in the deal. The Department is buying 37 new cars and they will bc equipped with air-conditioning, lt so happens that I am making a better deal for the taxpayer in this way.

As far as the colour is concerned, it seems to me that around the world, including every tropical country I have visited, ceremonial cars used by governments are black. The basis on which the honourable member makes his judgment that there is some advantage in not having black cars cannot altogether stand up. I am sure that people who live ia the tropics are equally as sensitive to driving conditions as people who live in the bush from where the honourable member comes. I think honourable members will agree that in Canberra we are very fortunate in having a good team of Commonwealth drivers. Having regard to the shortage of labour and the difficulty in obtaining good drivers I must consider not only passenger comfort but also the comfort of the drivers if we are to maintain a good driving force.

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