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Thursday, 1 March 1973
Page: 134

Mr SPEAKER - Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.

Mr BARNARD - The Government recently gave consideration to the question of rules for the use of Royal Australian Air Force VIP aircraft for VIP and VIP party travel, following which the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) stated that the rules would be tabled when Parliament sat. I now table these rules. There are some points which I should specifically mention. Essentially these rules are the same as those which were drawn up and applied under the previous Government. Those rules were the subject of a statement in the Senate on 30th September 1970, by the then Minister for Air, Senator Drake-Brockman, in which he summarised their provisions. The rules which I have tabled amplify the previous rules in 2 respects. First, it is made clear that a request is not to be made to an approving authority for VIP aircraft travel if alternative forms of transport are available. Second, the previous rules said that passengers carried as members of a VIP's party would normally be limited to his wife, personal staff and departmental officials connected with the official party. The new rules add that if a request is made for travel by a member of a VIP's family other than his wife it will be referred to the Prime Minister for consideration.

There is a final point I should make to avoid possible misunderstanding. As has been made clear in the past, the rules provide guidelines. They are not intended to include specific references to all circumstances in which travel on VIP aircraft may be approved nor are they intended to be inflexible. There may be special circumstances in which approving authorities will need to exercise discretion and applications in those cases will be examined on individual merits. Such matters will be handled by me in consultation with the Prime Minister. I present the following paper:

Rules for the use of Royal Australian Air Force VIP aircraft - Ministerial Statement, 1 March 1973.

Motion (by Mr Daly) proposed:

That the House take note of the paper.

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