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Tuesday, 9 May 1972
Page: 2239

Mr DALY (Grayndler) - I had not intended to speak on the matter which the honourable member for Holt (Mr Reid) has mentioned, but I shall make passing reference to it. I agree with the honourable member when he criticises this Government, because criticising this Government is justified in relation to anything - not only foreign aid. Consequently I congratulate the member of what we are told is the independent thinking Liberal Party on having the courage to defy that fiery figure, the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) who sits at the table in this House from time to time, in expressing his dissatisfaction at the Government's policy on foreign aid. With the honourable member for Holt and other honourable members who sit on the other side of this Parliament I agree that there is a great deal of poverty throughout the world. It is our responsibility to play our part in relieving that poverty. But with due respect to the honourable member I have never heard him speak in this Parliament of the condition of the pensioners in this country, 200,000 of whom live in Australia today on $20 a week. I have never heard the honourable member express concern at the poverty that exists under this Government in this country today.

With due respect to the peoples of the world, I am one who believes that charity begins at home and that it is time that this Government and the honourable member for Holt paid a bit of attention to the churchmen of this country who have brought to the attention of the people of Australia the conditions of poverty under which our own people live under this Government which has been in office for about 23 years. Is it not tragic to think that the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) had to be shown, as it were, by leading churchmen in Sydney that poverty existed in this country? Is it not a tragedy that churchmen and other people have constantly to bring it to the attention of the Government that people, probably within a stone's throw of this House, are living below the poverty line? With due respect to those in similar situations abroad, I am one who believes that there is no need to apologise for what Australia is doing for the people of the world. Despite the fact that there is a

Liberal Government in office, we as Australians and our government play pur part in bringing salvation to people throughput the world by way of aid and things of that nature.

But what I am dissatisfied with and what I decry is that honourable members on the other side of the chamber constantly undermine what Australia does for people abroad and completely neglect their responsibility to care for the people of this country. I heard the honourable member for Holt say that Bangladesh requires Si Om for this and S40m for something else. If I suggested that similar amounts should be provided for the pensioners of Australia I would be heehawed out of Parliament by honourable members opposite. By all means let us give aid to the people of Bangladesh and to people in other places, whether it be $40m or $50m, but let us give to the pensioners throughout the length and breadth of this country an equivalent amount because 200,000 of them are living on $20 a week in this age of prosperity and affluence, as we call it.

Whilst I understand the great concern which the honourable member for Holt holds for these people, a concern which I and every member of this Parliament share, I hope he will stimulate his Government to do something for those people who in this country live in want and poverty, at a time when they should be enjoying the fruits of their labours. They are the pioneers of this country who have made it possible for Australia to give to people abroad, but they in turn are now suffering poverty. Yet those who sit opposite in support of this Government not only do nothing for them but also want to give millions of dollars to people on the other side of the world. For my part, and I do not care much who knows it, I want to see every person in this country above the poverty line - well above it. We will have fulfilled our responsibilities for the people whom we represent in this country, the citizens who put us in this Parliament, when not one person in this country is in want. We are all keen to play our part in relieving poverty throughout the world. But to the honourable member for Holt and to other members of the Liberal Party let me say that charity begins at home. This Government has betrayed its responsibility to the people whom I represent in this Parliament. Today in my district people by the thousands are in want under this Government which boasts of what it is doing in various spheres of activity. Honourable members opposite have a lot of concern for people everywhere, but not for the people whom they represent. That is why this Government's supporters are going to go where they ought to go, into the political limbo of the forgotten, as soon as the people get an opportunity to send them there.

I turn now to the matter on which I rose to speak. I read that when the Prime Minister is lying awake during many of those sleepless nights, wondering who from among those who sit behind him is going to stab him, he reads the Bible. I hope that when he is reading it he is reading how he will take us into the promised land, because after 20-odd years it is nearly time that he got us there. I want to say to him that if he lived in the districts which I represent - in Leichhardt, Marrickville, Newtown and other places- he would have plenty of time to read the Bible because of the aircraft which, due to the policy of this Government, are permitted to fly at night time 1,000 feet above the heads of the residents in those districts. I would like the Prime Minister to move into that area and live there for a while. If he did so, not only would his interest in the Bible be stimulated but also he might get an inspiration to do something about the menace of aircraft noise in the community today.

When all is said and done, the Prime Minister wants some stimulus. I have noticed that it costs $100,000 a year to maintain his staff, whereas a private member can hardly get a secretary to assist him. Yet the Prime Minister does nothing at all in respect of a number of major issues confronting the people of Australia. In my district we find the aged, the sick and the infirm, the kids in the schools and the residents who have built their homes there, continually menaced by aircraft noise. The Government does nothing at all to curtail this problem in any way, yet it is probably the greatest menace to living standards or residential standards anywhere in this country today. Only yesterday or the day before I received a letter from the Marrickville Municipal Council, which is a good council. It is a Labor council and, what is more, the people in the municipality vote Labor and therefore are worth- representing. What these people lack in worldly goods they have up top. In other words, they know the party that they ought to support. Let me tell honourable members what the council said in its letter of 14th April. It reads:

At a recent meeting of the Council it was agreed to adopt recommendations made by the Committee of Representatives of Municipalities Affected by Noise from the Sydney (Kingsford Smith) Airport at its meeting held on the 15th March, 1972, at Botany Council Chambers, to which this Council sent three (3) Representatives.

This Council strongly protests against any further development of the Sydney (Kingsford Smith) Airport, which is in close proximity to the Marrickville Municipality. The flight path of the North-South Runway, particularly, greatly affects many thousands of residents of the area, lt is of particular concern to this Council that the noise generated by the approaching and departing aircraft takes place not only during the normal working day, but because of the frequent breakage of the curfew hours-

Mr Deputy Speaker,you are one of those good members of Parliament who reside in their respective electorates. You know your constituents and the problems that aircraft noise brings to them. I mention that the honourable member for Sydney is temporarily occupying the Chair. The letter continued: takes place at any time during the night, resulting in extreme disturbance to the peace of the neighbourhood.

The Council has written to the Minister for Civil Aviation and the Regional Director of Civil Aviation protesting at the continued breakage of the curfew hours as laid down by the Noise Abatement Committee. Less regard is given to the curfew hours during the times when people expect some peace and quiet, such as at Christmas, Easter and other holiday periods, than during normal times.

If 1. might just interpose here, I suppose that Mr Ansett has to continue to make his profits even at that time. The letter continues:

Any further development of the Airport would also lead to further noise pollution by way of increased passenger and freight road traffic. All this would, of course, add to the already dangerously high level of air pollution.

The people of this Municipality have endured, for many years, the disturbance and inconvenience caused by the Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport and although it is appreciated that some of the' disturbances are the price which we must pay for progress, it is considered that the capacity of the Airport should be contained at its present level.

The Council strongly urges that the residents of this Municipality be sympathetically considered when the siting of a second Sydney airport is under review.

The action now taken by Council by reason of this letter is brought about by long-standing, deep concern and is not only generated by reason of the request nf the above mentioned Committee.

The Committee of which I speak held a meeting on Wednesday, 15th March 1972 at the Botany Council Offices. The representatives of the following councils were present: Hurstville, Sutherland, Marrickville, Botany, Leichhardt, Drummoyne and Canterbury - ail very good councils of the great metropolis of Sydney. The Committee decided, firstly, that it should write to both the Minister and the Regional Director protesting in the strongest possible terms at their practice of continually giving permission for aircraft to take off and land within the curfew hours. I wonder whether the Minister for Supply (Mr Garland), who is at the table, would be able to ponder over his documents in the middle of the night if planes flew a few feet over his head. I wonder what his wife would say if the kids were awakened. No doubt he would have to nurse them for the rest nf the night as a lot of people have to do in Marrickville and many other suburbs.

Secondly, the Committee decided to deplore the abandonment of the noise abatement procedures in the pre-Christmas period and any other holiday period. Thirdly, it decided that it should inform the Minister that unless some honest attempt was made to observe and enforce the noise abatement procedures laid down by the Noise Abatement Committee, councils would withdraw their representation on that Committee and seek other ways of obtaining relief from the aircraft. Fourthly, the Committee decided to request the Minister to supply figures for 1971 showing the number of takeoffs, etc. The resolutions passed by this meeting cover a page and a half of print. Time does not allow me to read all of the resolutions. However, what I have read does show the concern of these people who represent in the main, I suppose, half a million souls who are being affected by this menace of aircraft noise. Listen to a letter I received from a distraught constituent ra lady - a few days ago. lt says:

I have no idea what the curfew hours are, but please may I add my complaint to the list of those regarding noisy aircraft.

I could not carry the complaints that I have to this Parliament tonight without a lorry. This is why I am referring to only one letter. It continues:

I am employed as receptionist-telephonist at a glass factory situated at Cadogan Street, Marrickville, not far from Sydenham station. At periods during the day, planes, mostly jets, fly over this building, when preparing to land at Mascot. They seem to almost touch the roof. The noise of them is so bad, that I have to close the keys on Ibo switchboard, in the middle of the conversation and keep the caller waiting, until the terrible screaming sound stops, as it is most unpleasant for the person at the other end of the line, as well as myself. It is useless trying to carry on with conversation as not a word can be heard. Sometimes, 2 or 3 jets follow, with intervals of only a few minutes.

One can bet that they were Ansett planes because this Government does not care what they do. The letter continues:

As a result of all this noise, I suffer from severe headaches and at the end of each day, I feel exhausted from nervous tension and I have no doubt that I am not the only person working under these conditions. I wonder how the Minister for Civil Aviation would like to work under these conditions for 8 hours a day.

For the information of the House, let me say that I invited the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) to spend a week at my expense in the best motel that we could get under the aircraft flight path anywhere in my electorate. The Minister for Civil Aviation has a bit of sense. He did not accept the invitation for the simple reason that he knew that he possibly could not survive this.

To add to all of our woes and troubles and just to make certain that not only in the daytime would people be in that demented frame of mind from aircraft noise, the Minister decided in February of this year to give permission to certain airlines to operate Electra turbo-prop freighter aircraft to Sydney Airport during curfew hours. In other words, the Government says: 'We are going to worry you all da; while you are working, if you can, and then to make certain you cannot sleep, we are going to keep you awake all night with turbo-jet and other noise'. In a long letter to me dated 21st March 1972 the Minister said:

The restriction which has been imposed at Sydney, commonly called the 'curfew', has always related to pure jet aircraft only. The restriction has never been applied to propeller-driven aircraft, such as the Electra, at Sydney or at any other airport in Australia. Although this has been publicised in many of my Press statements, it is clear from letters which I have received on the subject that the situation is not completely understood.

The letter goes on to state:

Ansett Airlines of Australia has operated propeller-driven Carvair aircraft during the curfew period at Sydney airport for several years and operations have averaged 10 take-offs and 5 landings per week at the airport during this period.

The Minister says that they were not noticed. Of course they would not be noticed because so many aircraft from Ansett take off in contravention of the curfew that one does not know whether they are jet or other aircraft. This is the only reason why they are not noticed.

Let me warn the people in the areas surrounding the Mascot aerodrome - especially the constituents in the Barton, KingsfordSmith and St George electorates - that this is the thin end of the wedge to having 24-hour round the clock flying into Mascot Airport. That is the Government's reason for agreeing to allow freighter aircraft to be put in. It looks as >though the Minister is being sadistic. He seems to be a decent fellow when one meets him - someone who is reasonable and pleasant. But he is almost sadistic. He even gives aircraft time to warm up before they actually take off. The Minister said:

The general procedures employed at Sydney Airport require that aircraft engine ground running for scheduled maintenance purposes will be restricted to the period 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

Has the Minister ever been awakened at 5 a.m. at Mascot, Newtown or Marrickville and listened to aircraft warming for taking off to bring in profits for those who run these airlines? The Minister continues:

To minimise the amount of ground running that may commence at 5 a.m., aircraft scheduled for departure between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. will not be permitted to commence an engine run up more than 2 hours prior to departure.

So if aircraft are to depart before 6 o'clock in the morning one can expect to hear them at 4 o'clock. The Government does nothing about this. It says that people should not live within the proximity of the aerodrome. The fact of the matter is that people were there before aerodromes were thought of.

In 1953 I made a speech in this Parliament on low flying aircraft at Mascot. At that time everyone laughed at me. But I was the pioneer on the Opposition side in warning of aircraft noise in Australia. Aircraft noise has become a very real menace to people today. Just to rub it in, the Minister for Civil Aviation, in his sadistic way, in answer to a question by the honourable member for St George (Mr Morrison) said that the Concorde will shortly come in. Lord knows where that will take us because I understand that the Concorde will probably be noisier than any other aircraft. Honourable members opposite might say: What can the Government do about this?' It can do a lot about it, but is not prepared to intervene where the profits of airline operators are concerned, irrespective of the effect on the people in the community. The Canberra Times' of 4th March 1972 carried an article on a system for noise abatement. The article states:

A system has been invented which can cut aircraft noise by 30 per cent.

Time does not permit me to .deal with the article, but I am told that this can be done. To date the Government has done nothing about it. The House of Commons has introduced legislation to enable effective action to be taken against those people who disturb residents of various areas close to airports in England. The legislation introduced in the House of Commons considerably reduced the menace of aircraft noise in Great Britain. Why does the Government here not do something like that? Of course it will not do anything. It is more wrapped up in the interests of profits and profiteers and the huge airline companies and those who run them than it is with the interests of the people who live in the residential areas in Sydney. In a letter to me of 6th August the Minister for Civil Aviation explained in detail what was done in the House of Commons, but at no stage did he say that the Government would legislate similarly here. He said that, broadly speaking, he thought the Government had this power at the present time. The Government certainly -has not exercised it.

The point I make is that the people who live in constituencies adjacent to airports are entitled to consideration because they were there long before aircraft were heard of. Aged people by the thousands reside in those areas, and their health is affected by the menace of aircraft noise. Other residents are affected. Those on night shift, those on day shift and those who work for long hours in factories, workshops and offices are affected by this noise, as are those people in schools like Newington College, which is in my district, who advise me that many times they have to curtail classes. In many churches sermons and services on Sundays have to be curtailed because of this menace. In every way, in hospitals and other places, aircraft noise constitutes one of the greatest menaces in this country today. Yet we find that the Government - worn out, tired and discredited, split to ribbons by dissention and disunity - cares nothing about this important problem, and does nothing about it.

The Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) lives on a property near Oberon where one never sees an aeroplane and tells the people in my district that they ought to put up with what is happening. As the honourable member for Bradfield said once, if the aircraft ever flew low over the dairy farms and stopped the cows from giving milk, you would find every member of the Country Party on his feet wanting to ground every aeroplane in the country. But people in the great metropolis of Sydney suffer from this menace and nothing is done about it. Where people's lives will be affected, it is the Governments' responsibility to establish and plan aerodromes, with expressways to carry people to the great metropolis, instead of having aerodromes established in their midst. Above all else, it is the Government's responsibility to see that people in this country live in security and peace and are not disturbed by this menace of which I have spoken so often.

The honourable member for Mallee (Sir Winton Turnbull) is holding up a notice which reads Think big'. The day that he does that will see one of the miracles of this Parliament. Aircraft noise is a major problem. It is a great menace in this country. Why does the Government not learn from Great Britain, America and other places, and establish aerodromes well away from the metropolis, caring for the people and accepting its responsibility to see that those people get some relief from aircraft noise?

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