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Thursday, 30 August 1973
Page: 719

Mr WENTWORTH (Mackellar) - I was not, as it happened, in the House earlier today at the time when the Minister for Services and Property (Mr Daly) made the explanation to which he referred a minute ago, but

I was in the House when he made the original statement. I have checked what was reported in the daily Hansard-

Mr SPEAKER -The honourable gentleman is out of order, in the adjournment debate, in reviving a debate taking place in the House.

Mr WENTWORTH - I will just say that the daily Hansard is correct. It records exactly what the Minister said. I am not reviving a debate. I am raising a question which is of great interest to you, Mr Speaker, and that is the rights of honourable members to alter their speeches in Hansard. This is a most serious matter which concerns you as the Speaker and the custodian of this House. I do not have the advantage of knowing what the Minister said earlier in the debate tonight. I do not have that advantage.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! I remind the honourable gentleman that I am not questioning his right to speak, but when he refers to the altering of the Hansard proofs, if he has any specific instance in mind I should like the honourable gentleman to tell me.

Mr WENTWORTH - 1 draw your attention to this instance, Sir, because I did hear myself the Minister using those words. To the best of my recollection the daily Hansard is correct. I think that there are ways and means of verifying this. Everybody knows that when an honourable member has made a slip of the tongue he is entitled to correct it. Everybody knows that in matters which do not go to substance honourable members are entitled to make corrections. But when an honourable member has been correctly reported and his remarks have been printed in the daily Hansard I do not think that he is entitled to make an alteration of substance without reference to you, Sir, and the House. I will not pursue this matter further at the present juncture because obviously now that the matter has been brought to your attention you will make inquiries and when we meet again on Tuesday week you will be letting the House know the result of those inquiries. So I drop that matter at the present moment.

I now wish to refer to the question of the second Sydney airport which seems to have had a certain amount of publicity lately, following upon the Government's announced decision to site the second airport for Sydney in the area of Galston Gorge. I regard the siting of the airport in that area with some horror because I believe that the areas around

Sydney should be preserved, whether they be in the Galston Gorge area or elsewhere. I understand that the State government is suggesting that the second Sydney airport be located some distance from Sydney. That being so I want to make a concrete suggestion which I believe has already been made by certain people in the Hornsby area. It seems to me that if the airport is to be displaced from Sydney the correct place for it is Canberra. Canberra already has the prestige of an international capital, and this is where an international airport should be. It also has the advantage of being on the direct line between the two great cities of Sydney and Melbourne. Therefore an airport here, if displaced from Sydney, would give the maximum service.

Mr Daly - '.Mr Speaker, I take a point of order. A few moments ago the honourable member made certain allegations against me. I quote from my speech of last night, namely:

I see the honourable member for Mackellar (Mr Wentworth) slumbering quietly on the front bench. If I might say so, he is unmoved by my eloquence.

Yet tonight he said he heard me say things.

Mr SPEAKER -The Minister for Services and Property is out of order. He should have taken the point of order immediately the remarks were made.

Mr WENTWORTH - I take very hardly the actions of the Minister. I heard distinctly what he said and I am prepared to testify that Hansard, to my recollection, is correct - Hansard stands as my witness: It may be even that there is a record of this on the tape in the Hansard office. We shall see. No doubt you, Mr Speaker, as the custodian of the rights of this House, will look into this. Let me return to the point I was making when I was interrupted so frivolously and unworthily by the Minister for Services and Property. The airport at Canberra is unsatisfactory. It is being lengthened at considerable expense and even then it may not come up to international standards particularly as a result of the fogs which sometimes descend on it. I am not going into these technical matters at the moment. I believe there was a proposal to construct an alternative airport to the northwest in an area known as Mulligans Flat, but on further examination this proposal was dropped because it was found that Mulligans Flat did not offer conditions very much superior to those at the existing Canberra airport. Then a site was found about 20 miles from

Canberra in the vicinity of Bungendore which does measure up to all the criteria and on which a first class airport could be constructed. Since Bundendore is on the rail line one of the things that we could look forward to - not immediately but perhaps in 10 years time - would be the improvement of the rail service between Canberra and Sydney via Bungendore so that the time of journey would be reduced to a reasonable proportion. I know that the Sydney-Wagga track, considering the density of traffic which it carries and its potential for carrying traffic, is probably the worst aligned stretch of railway in the world. The grades are bad; the curves are bad. I know that the terrain is difficult, but it is not as difficult as all that. With the technical advances being made, such as the advanced passenger train in Great Britain and things of that character, it would not be impossible - it would, I think, be desirable - to improve that stretch of line from Goulburn to Sydney at least to the extent that trains could average 75 or 80 miles an hour or even more. This may involve very large expenditure but I remind the House of the tremendous potential importance of the MelbourneSydney rail link. I also remind the House - and I can claim to be familiar with that line - that in view of the carrying potential of the line it is probably the worst aligned railway line in the world. It does merit a great deal of improvement. If this is so it might perhaps fit in very well later on - perhaps not now but in 10 or 15 years time - with the establishment of a major international airport in the Bungendore area to serve Canberra and to become the second airport for the SydneyMelbourne complex. After all, Canberra is the capital of Australia. Already it is a large and growing centre of population and already it generates a tremendous amount of air traffic both internally and internationally. I would hope at some time later when there is more time for debate to develop this matter further.

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