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Thursday, 31 August 1989
Page: 688

Senator REID —My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Defence. I ask whether he is aware of an advertisement in today's Sydney Morning Herald which states:

Fly the R.A.A.F. to Hamilton Island!

Now is your chance to fly with the Royal Australian Air Force! A special Hercules service operating in conjunction with Ansett Airlines will fly Sydney-Hamilton Island on Saturdays, commencing September 2.

Does the Minister believe that this is an essential emergency service requiring Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) services? Does the Minister think holiday-makers going to Hamilton Island have priority over Australian soldiers returning from Kangaroo 89, people going about their normal productive business, cases of urgent personal need and, in fact, the needs of other holiday resorts? Can the Minister advise who gave permission for the RAAF to be used in this way?

Senator RICHARDSON —I have not read today's Sydney Morning Herald, but I wish I had, on the basis of Senator Reid's question.

Senator Reid —Can I table a copy of the advertisement for the Minister's benefit?

Senator RICHARDSON —I do not care whether the honourable senator tables it or not. I am asked whether this is an essential service. I would have to find out. I suppose that, for those who want to go there, it is. Do holiday-makers have priority over servicemen returning from Kangaroo 89? I have to say that there have been some claims made about this, including those made in a question yesterday from Senator Newman. I will be addressing those false claims at the end of Question Time. I will make inquiries as to the rest of Senator Reid's question, and let her know the answer as soon as I can.