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Monday, 25 February 1985
Page: 169

Mr IAN CAMERON(10.15) —I realise that the Victorian election is on. I realise I am not meant to be speaking here tonight, but it is the fiftieth anniversary of Qantas Airways Ltd today. The first international flight Qantas made was on 25 February 1935. I think it is most important for all Australians to remember the fact. No doubt many parliamentarians, including the Minister for Sport, Recreation and Tourism (Mr John Brown), make many trips around the world with Qantas in the big jumbo jets and think nothing of it, but it is to be remembered that the Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services commenced its services in western Queensland more than 50 years ago.

The service was initially established by a number of people in that part of the world who saw the need for an airline to service western Queensland and the Northern Territory, to give those people much needed mail services and food services, which they were not able to get in those days. Of course, it was a tremendous advance in technology. The first internal Australian service, on 16 November 1920, operated from Charleville to Cloncurry. Charleville is, of course, one of the bigger and better towns in my electorate.

Over the years many people have been involved, people like Sir Hudson Fysh, who was one of the first pilots, and Mr McGinness. Fergus McMaster was the first Chairman of Qantas, and Mr Baird was the first mechanic. Of course, many pioneer pilots and other people were associated with that airline in western Queensland in the early days. There have been a number of editorials in the daily Press today and I am pleased to see that they have taken time to remember the fact that we have come a very long way since those early times in western Queensland.

The first flight took place from Brisbane to Singapore, and it took three days to get there. It used to take 12 to 14 days to get to London. These days we hop in the big Qantas jumbos and get there in less than 24 hours. Captain Scotty Allan was the first pilot to pilot the aircraft to Singapore. These days the airline takes many people around the world. Last year there were over 2 million passengers and the airline turned over $1.386 billion in revenue. It flew 64 million kilometres, and it employs 11,000 Australians.

Mr Goodluck —Too many.

Mr IAN CAMERON —It may be too many, but it is important that this airline does contribute tremendously to our economy and gives a lot of Australians good jobs. It also contributed $28.5m to tax revenue to this country. Honourable members would agree with me that it is most important that I, the member for Maranoa, one of the areas where this airline was born, be given time to pay tribute to the early pioneers of this wonderful airline. Of course, it is going from strength to strength. Last year it showed a profit of $58.3m.

Mr Campbell —When are you going to sell it?

Mr IAN CAMERON —We do not expect to sell it. While it is making a profit, there is no need to sell it. All honourable members will agree with me that it is a wonderful tribute to the endeavour of the early Australian pioneers. There is no reason why we should not all be very proud of this international airline that we have established. I know most of us are proud to fly Qantas around the world; we know it is one of the safest international airlines on which we can travel. I wish those who have contributed to this airline all the very best.