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Tuesday, 22 May 1973
Page: 2417

Mr KEOGH (Bowman) - This concern that the Opposition has expressed and set out in the amendment is a matter, I am sure, that we can well appreciate. If there were any genuine grounds for the concern there would be some reason for the efforts which honourable members opposite are endeavouring to make in order to get the Committee to do what they suggest. The Minister for Civil Aviation (Mr Charles Jones) has given a clear undertaking, particularly after the amendment was introduced, that these things are just not going to happen. There appears to be no purpose in the Minister or the Government considering any further the terms of the proposals set out in the amendment which was moved by the honourable member for Gippsland (Mr Nixon). I again refer to an article that was quoted, to some extent, by my colleague the honourable member for Lilley (Mr Doyle) earlier today. Quoting the words of a director of Ansett Transport Industries Ltd, Sir Peter Abeles, the article states:

I know the intent of the Minister (Transport Minister, Mr Jones) has been to make TAA competi tive. We always feel competition on an equal basis is good for everybody'.

Sir Petersaid that he did not object to any provisions in the Bill allowing TAA to buy shares in Ansett Transport Industries . . .

He also said that he did not have any objection to the provisions of the Bill and that he did not believe there was any intention that TAA should take over the hotel industry.

Mr Donald Cameron (GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND) - He also said that he has not seen the legislation.

Mr KEOGH - He certainly made many other comments. If the honourable member for Griffith wanted me to read the whole article to the Committee, I would be delighted to do so, but the limited time imposed on this debate does not permit me to do that. I think that it is far more fitting for me to quote from a speech made in the Senate on 29 August last year on the civil aviation policy of the last Government than to quote from an article in this morning's Press referring to what was said by Sir Peter Abeles. If one takes it right from the horse's mouth one sees what the intention of the previous Minister was regarding this matter. It is easy to relate that to the intention of this Government. Probably it would amount to the same thing as Sir Peter Abeles is reported to have said in this morning's Press, and it is probably the one thing which the honourable member for Griffith wanted me to quote. Sir Peter Abeles said he had not read the legislation in detail but he had enough trust in the Minister for Civil Aviation, in the Government and in TAA or the Australian Airlines Commission to know that these great bogies that have been trotted out today were non-existent and were not likely to arise to put TAA into the position of doing all these horrible socialistic things that the Opposition is suggesting it would do. The Minister for Civil Aviation in the previous Government, Senator Cotton, said - I quote from the Senate Hansard of 29 August 1972:

The Government has decided further to give TAA greater opportunity to undertake outside engineering work, including government contracts, and to enter into mutually beneficial arrangements with surface transport carriers and hotel-motel operators. This is designed to improve Trans-Australia Airlines abilities to continue to compete effectively, especially now that it faces additional competition.

Surely those proposals mentioned in the statement are in line with the proposals before us today. Accordingly, there seems to be no reason why the Bill cannot be supported. If honourable members opposite were genuine in their expressed concern - I would hope that they were - let them rest assured that that concern should be allayed by the undertakings that have been given by the Minister in the proposals he has put, particularly in the amendment he proposes to move in Committee to safeguard the future operations of TAA in these various fields. As Ansett Transport Industries Ltd increases its activities in its fringe operations, in parallel but at a lower level - in fact, following behind Ansett Transport Industries Ltd - there will be comparative increases in these operations by TAA.

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