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Tuesday, 4 March 1980
Page: 484

Senator MISSEN (VICTORIA) -I draw the attention of the Minister representing the Minister for Industry and Commerce to the comments of Qantas Chairman, Sir Lenox Hewitt, during a recent Australian Broadcasting Commission television interview. Will the Minister comment on Sir Lenox's claim that Qantas runs more flights to Sydney than any other capital city because people want to go to Sydney as their point of entry into Australia? Is it a fact that such statements conflict with evidence from tour organisers and travel agents promoting Australia overseas? Is it also a fact that Qantas devotes most of its advertising abroad to the advertising and marketing of Sydney? What action will be taken to ensure that in future a balanced view of tourist potential will be projected by our leading airline spokesmen and that material distrubuted by Qantas overseas has more national content?

Senator CHANEY (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs) - I did see reports of Sir Lenox Hewitt's comments. I can only say that either he is a gamer man than I am or he does not sit between equal numbers of Sydney and Melbourne senators as I do. I draw attention to his courage in making the statements that he did. I have made some inquiries about the matter because I thought it was likely that some senator from Victoria would find the comments offensive. My advice is that Sir Lenox 's comments that Qantas concentrates its advertising on Sydney simply are not true. Rather, Sir Lenox Hewitt was commenting on the fact that on the basis of Qantas surveys, which are in-flight surveys, most of the visitors to Australia are more aware of Sydney than any other Australian city. I am assured that Qantas does not concentrate its advertising on Sydney and in fact its promotion brochures used overseas show that Qantas promotes every State and territory, and indeed even the national capital. I think I should ask the Minister to get a selection of those brochures from Qantas and submit them to Senator Missen for his examination to bear out the point that I have made. The Government seeks to encourage international airlines to serve gateways other than Sydney. I think that is quite apparent from the history of the last few years. There are now many carriers serving ports other than Sydney. The whole of the Government's civil aviation policy is aimed at ensuring that international travellers have access to the whole of Australia, and it believes that it is having a considerable amount of success in that. The concerns that motivated Senator Missen 's question are therefore misplaced.

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