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Tuesday, 26 September 1972
Page: 1930

Mr BARNES (Mcpherson) - I do not wish to appear offensive to the young honourable member for Blaxland (Mr Keating) but I believe that he has been indoctrinated by the mediocre thinking of the Opposition.

Mr Keating - You do better.

Mr BARNES - You listen to me. I have only started; you have finished. This is the sort of thinking that produced Wirraways in the last war. It is all right if we have the young men to fly these aircraft and to be shot to pieces when they go up. This is all very well. The honourable member is concerned about an industry; he is not concerned about the young men who have to fly these mediocre aircraft.

Mr Keating - What about the ones you sent to Vietnam?

Mr BARNES - They have done pretty well there. You would not have sent anything to Vietnam. You would have let the communists take over.

Mr Cope - The Wirraways had good tails anyway.

Mr BARNES - That is right. That is all they could boast. They were not as good as Tails. They could not get away from the enemy. The honourable member gave us an example of the mediocre thinking we get from the Opposition in our important defence areas. The honourable member spoke about the defence aspect of the Australian aircraft industry. We are talking about a loan to Qantas Airways Ltd. The honourable member for Blaxland talks about making 25 per cent of parts for 707s and probably jumbo jets and other aircraft in Australia. What on earth will Qantas do if it has to pay the prices that would have to be charged if we made these parts in Australia, with a dozen or so strikes thrown in into the bargain? In the previous debate the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) talked about making our gas pipelines. I interjected: 'How many strikes to the mile?'

Mr Nicholls - Your Government put the Wirraways at Darwin in 1942.

Mr BARNES - Listen to the thinking of the Opposition. We learn from experience.

The Opposition has not learnt from experience. It would make the same mistakes over again. Where would we be if we had to make these parts in Australia? Aircraft manufacturing is a most competitive business. There is in the industry in the world today top competition. Thousands of millions of dollars are invested in research, in producing a top fighter aircraft and in producing a top domestic airliner. No honourable member opposite has spoken about the large firms that drop out and go broke when they fail to get orders. A few succeeded. Boeing succeeded, as did the 707 aircraft, the jumbo jets and others. But how long will this last? Somebody will come up with something else costing thousands of millions of dollars. .But we have not got this sort of money in Australia. Nevertheless here we have an amendment which says: a select committee is appointed to inquire into and report upon the effectiveness of Qantas management and (3) the terms of the loan agreement are set forth in a schedule to the Bill.

I can tell honourable members, here and now that Qantas took a great nosedive when it had that strike a few years ago. It has been a remarkable airline, a great Australian airline of which I, as a Queenslander, am proud. It began . in western Queensland and gradually built up until it was the foremost airline in the world. It went ahead and expanded, and got new routes. It got the right to fly across the United States of America. Then it had this disastrous strike a year or so ago and has never recovered. Honourable members opposite do not talk about the. strike. They talk about unemployed pilots, about pilots being encouraged to go from the Royal Australian Air Force to Qantas. Of course, the pilots would have had a job if this airline had continued to expand the way it had been, but this strike set: the airline back and it has never, recovered from it. The Opposition does not want any inquiries into this sort of thing. Look at the history of the industry. With our bitter industrial relations we have not a hope in Australia of building these overseas communications unless new compete with overseas companies. Our shipping lines are going down the drain in exactly the same way as Qantas is. I believe that in the interests of Australia we will have to get out of the whole business of communications if this

Irresponsible industrial situation persists. Therefore, I condemn this amendment and support the Bill.

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