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Tuesday, 11 April 1972
Page: 990

Senator PRIMMER (Victoria) - (11.5)- I congratulate Senator Webster for raising this matter. I can appreciate the conditions under which Senator Poyser sat on that cold railway station in Melbourne on the night mentioned. This matter has been the subject of some discussion between Senator Poyser, Mr Scholes, the member for Corio, and myself, particularly in relation to the non-facilities that exist to enable the three of us to travel into the Western District of Victoria on a Friday morning. It normally happens that Mr Scholes brings his car to Melbourne on a Monday or Tuesday, leaves it there during the week and the three of us travel back to Gcelong in that car. As Senator Poyser has already pointed out, a junior officer from Duntroon can get a car at Tullamarine and travel 20 to 30 miles beyond Geelong. I have often made requests for a car to take me outside a 30-mile radius of Tullamarine, but all to no avail. Four times out of 5 of a Friday morning if Mr Scholes's car is not at Tullamarine Senator Poyser and I, in a Commonwealth car, make a mad dash hell for leather across the western suburbs of Melbourne in order to head off the Geelong train. We do not have time to catch it at Spencer Street and there have been occasions when we have not had time to write out a warrant for our tickets and we have been virtually unofficial passengers of the Victorian railway system for the trip to Geelong.

When I have finally got back to Warrnambool at 2 o'clock in the afternoon I have found on the doorstep a Federal Minister who has had a car right from Tullamarine to Warrnambool and who is going back that same evening. There is something ludicrous about the whole situation when these circumstances can prevail. I find myself in a similar situation to Senator Poyser - he being the last home of that committee. I would estimate that if everybody in this Parliament left Canberra at a given time on a Friday morning I would be one of the very last to arrive back at my office. It takes about 40 minutes from Canberra to Tullamarine and 5 hours from Tullamarine to Warrnambool - a distance of 170 to 180 miles - because of this ludicrous situation. Incurred in that time is a 120-mile drive by my wife to pick me up in order that I can be back to carry out some office functions on a Friday afternoon while my secretary is working, otherwise it leaves me only one day of the week, in those weeks when the Parliament is sitting, to operate from my office.

I can see that there is some need for improvement allround, but the only question on which I am qualified to speak is the question of the paucity of cars out of Tullamarine on a Friday morning when 3 Federal members are seeking to travel 45 miles to Geelong. For the sake of an extra 30 miles for one car we are all deprived of a car and must get home virtually by the best ways we can.

Senator COTTON(Minister for Civil Aviation - New South Wales) - by leave - Without any doubt there is unanimity in the Senate on this subject. Those who have spoken primarily have been from Victoria, but from one's own experience one knows the problems of senators from Queensland and Western Australia, and sometimes they are more aggravated, not less. As I have listened to honourable senators it seems to me that the situation is inconsistent and in many ways manifestly unfair. I will raise it as a matter of serious and important intent with the responsible Minister and will do what I can to rectify it.

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