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Tuesday, 19 August 1980
Page: 23

Mr BURR (WILMOT, TASMANIA) - Can the Prime Minister advise the House whether it is feasible for the Federal Government to offer a subsidy to air travellers resident in particular States only? Has the Government looked at such a proposition?

Mr MALCOLM FRASER - There are many remote parts of Australia. The honourable gentleman will know that we have established an air fares committee of inquiry. It will look, in particular, at air fares between Western Australia and the eastern States. It will also look at air fares between Tasmania and the mainland and give us a general report on the structure of air fares, the way the charging mechanisms have operated and the equity of that matter. But it does seem rather strange to offer a particular subsidy to a particular State and at the same time to ignore other areas. I understand that the proponent of that sort of policy was not particularly well received in north Queensland, where the people regard themselves as having to travel long distances, as do the people of the Northern Territory, of the Kimberleys in Western Australia and of Western Australia itself, which is somewhat remote from the eastern States. This leads to a degree of difficulty.

Mr Morris - Why do you hate Tasmanians?

Mr MALCOLM FRASER - Of course, we know a little about Tasmania and we have done a great deal to assist Tasmania. I think this shows the ad hoc manner in which the Australian Labor Party is now going about policy-making. We have not only its $2,000m worth of expenditure over about five areas of government but also more than 100 other promises which would cost money. We have commitments which could not be met in any reasonable way without sending the taxpayers broke. Members of the Labor Party are now going around different parts of the country saying: What would they like here?. What would they like somewhere else?' Various promises are being made, no matter what the cost might be. I think one could judge the Labor Party's concern for Tasmania and indeed its knowledge of Tasmania by a recent report in one of the more notable Tasmanian journals, the Hobart Mercury.

Mr Charles Jones (NEWCASTLE, VICTORIA) - Why don't you tell the truth?

Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member for Newcastle will withdraw.

Mr Charles Jones (NEWCASTLE, VICTORIA) - I withdraw.

Mr MALCOLM FRASER - That report stated:

At Peter Hudson's Granada, for the ALP's campaign launching, Mr Hayden was finding the Tasmanian scene confusing. He announced to the 4S0 dinner guests that Neil Batt would have the responsibility for reintroducing Medibank . . .

Well, Neil Batt is an endangered species and has gone overseas. So it shows what hope the Australian Labor Party has - absolutely none. The report continues that earlier, at a Journalists Club lunch, the Leader of the Opposition introduced our candidate for Denison' as Lance Free.

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