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Thursday, 29 October 1970

Mr GRAHAM (North Sydney) - With due deference to my friends and colleagues on both sides of the chamber and to the Chairman of the Select Committee on Aircraft Noise, I feel that at some stage of this fascinating debate some comments must be made on behalf of the professionals. With great respect to the integrity and political consciousness of my friends and colleagues, there are some comments to be made about the practicalities and realities of life. I can well understand why honourable members should find it encumbent upon them to rise to speak on behalf of what my honourable and gallant friend from Bradfield (Mr Turner) described as the common man. He talked in terms of the intrusion of modern technological developments upon the common man. He talked in terms of government indecision in planning in relation to the avoidance of this intrusion. He mentioned the burden of the noise problem with which we are all concerned. But the House must have on record comments which relate to the realities.

We are in a growing and advancing economy. It is not easy to plan ahead, in terms of time. It is not easy to be able to say that We will select certain areas and keep them, with the approval of State government and of local government authorities, as international airports, aware of the fact that if the urban development over the next 20 to 40 years becomes so great we will have to restrict such development and keep it away from these particular zones. It cannot be done. Honourable members rise in their places to speak on this subject and I say with all due deference, complete sympathy and absolute understanding of the problems that face my friends and colleagues on this side as well as the honourable members for Barton (Mr Reynolds) and St George (Mr Morrison), having been a member for St George in this House, that I am very conscious of the political pressures. But Sydney Airport has been established for a long time and many hundreds of millions of dollars are invested in Sydney Airport. I suggest, with great respect, that it is utmost nonsence for any honourable member to talk in terms of an absolute change - of a moving away from Sydney Airport. I realise that my friend, the honourable member for Kingsford-Smith (Mr Lionel Bowen) has his social problems resulting from these facts, but the truth is that if the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) were Prime Minister of Australia and members opposite sat on this side of the Parliament there would not be one single utterance within their ranks about a movement.

Mr Lionel Bowen (KINGSFORD-SMITH, NEW SOUTH WALES) - That is not true. We recommended the removal in 1955.

Mr GRAHAM - Let us be practical. The honourable member knows very well that nothing would be done by a Labor government to move the greatest international airport in Australia.

Mr Lionel Bowen (KINGSFORD-SMITH, NEW SOUTH WALES) - We recommended its removal in 1955.

Mr GRAHAM - If a Labor government recommended such a proposal I am sure that the leading members of Qantas Airways would find it difficult to remain in that organisation. They would all be going to Fiji for a holiday, because that government would be ruining the organisation. There is* no likelihood of this happening and somebody has to say it here and now. It may be that in some, of the subdivisions of St George which are close to the boundaries of the airport there are people who are highly sensitive, but there are other subdivisions in the electorate and one must be consistent with reality in political considerations. 1 can understand, in relation to the Avalon area, the comments that have been made by the honourable member for Corio (Mr Scholes), the honourable member for Lalor (Dr J. F. Cairns) and the leader for the Labor Party in this debate, the honourable member for Newcastle (Mr Charles Jones). This is an area close to the great city of Melbourne. It is the best flying training area close to that great metropolis. Whilst the international and local airlines have been looking for training areas which are fairly close to the areas in which their employees have to live it has become apparent to them, over a long period of time, that this is the ideal area. It is utterly wrong to say that Avalon is the worst possible place because the fact of the matter is that from the flying man's point of view it is the best place. Somehow we have to work out a reasonably comprehensible pattern of understanding between those who will suffer from noise and those who want to reside close to airports. I am not at all satisfied as to the validity of the argument that noise will remain an everlasting problem. I have every reason to believe that the technical efforts that are being made to solve the problem will, over the next decade, become reasonably successful, and more successful as time passes. We will find many hundreds of people who want to reside close to airports. There are people who work at great international airports who want their homes in and about an area in which there is a noise problem. It is in their commercial economic interest to be there. Is the Department of Civil Aviation to be criticised for not being able to look into a crystal ball? Someone said that the airport could be moved out to Bourke or Dubbo. In 100 years time it may be that the same type of problem that is existent now at Avalon, and which is manifest in Sydney, will also exist in New South Wales at Dubbo and people will be standing in this House repeating the same arguments as we have heard today.

We must face the fact that we cannot have advancement and the improvement of the technical services that are vital in a growing economy like Australia's economy in 1970 without some burden resting upon the shoulders of the average man. After ali, he carries the burden of defending the country; he carries the burden of being in the country, he carries the burden, in effect, of developing a heritage for the future of his own children. In these circumstances it is my judgment that reality and practicality will prove that, apart from all the emotional political arguments, be must face up to the situation. I believe that he will face up to it and will either deal with it personally or will suffer from the advances of technology and derive the benefits from the advances of technology. lt is, I think, an eternal verity that the average man in Australia wants to see his country advance. He does not want to see it become stagnant. He does, not want to see it remain in a backward condition. Let me illustrate this to the honourable gentleman and to you, Mr Speaker, by saying that when the emerging nations that are arising throughout the world, those in the great continents of Asia and Africa, are developing, the very first thing they establish is an international airline. They get an aeroplane and put their name on it and fly it all around the world. Do they have arguments about noise? Do they have arguments about problems in relation to the suffering that follows the advancement of technology? Certainly they do. But they put up with it because the advancement implicit in the shining representation of technology that is to be seen in a mckern aeroplane is important to them in their governments, in their homes and in their countries. That is why at their first opportunity they establish an international airline. T am confident the Minister will confirm what I have said.

Mr Turner - T wish lo make a personal explanation.

Mr SPEAKER -Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?

Mr TURNER(Bradfield)- Yes. I claim the honourable member for North Sydney (Mr Graham) has misrepresented me. In the course of his speech he referred to me, the honourable member for Bradfield, and said he understood the political pressures upon his friends and colleagues, implying that the reason why I rose and said what I have said in this debate was that I wished to win support among ray constituents. Admittedly, this is a thing that all members like to do. However, as I will not be a candidate at the next election for the seat of Bradfield I wish to refute any suggestion that 1 am concerned with winning votes from people whose suffrages ! shall not be seeking. The second point I wish to make is that the honourable member impugned roy loyalty. He said that if the boot had been on the other foot and if honourable members opposite had been on this side of the House when this report had been produced by the Select Committee on Aircraft Noise no honourable member opposite would have protested against it and, therefore, I was disloyal. This was the plain implication. Let me say this: Loyalty must be to somebody or to something; it must be to one's party or one's constituents, to an institution or to one's country. I have sometimes found loyalty to party a little narrow.

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