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Wednesday, 5 December 1973
Page: 4281

Mr OLLEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) - My question is directed to the Minister for Labour. Did the terms of settlement of the Trans-Australia Airlines dispute provide for the pilots' lifting of the threat of lightning strikes, and has the dismissed pilot been re-employed?

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - The terms of settlement of the Trans-Australia Airlines dispute have not previously been made public, but in view of the fact that quite a number of the travelling public believe that the terms of settlement did not involve the lifting of the threat of lightning strikes without notice, it is proper that I should make it quite clear that, among the terms of settlement which led to the return of the pilots to their normal duties, the Federation of Air Pilots gave an unconditional guarantee that it would not engage in lightning strikes, and that persons who buy passenger tickets on Trans-Australia Airlines' nights can be assured that they will travel on the day that they wish to travel and will be brought safely back home again. TransAustralia Airlines can guarantee passage to everybody who purchases tickets.

On the question relating to the return of the pilot who was dismissed for an alleged breach of safety regulations, I can say that Trans-Australia Airlines has not re-engaged that pilot. Trans-Australia Airlines has a firm policy from which it will not depart. It will always put the safety of its passengers above the profit motive or above monetary considerations, and in no circumstances will Trans-Australia Airlines give up the right to dismiss a pilot who in the opinion of the Australian National Airlines Commission has committed a serious breach of safety regulations. In this case it was the view of the Commission that the pilot had committed a serious breach of safety regulations, and he was dismissed. He is still dismissed and will not be re-employed unless the Department of Civil Aviation in reviewing the case considers that the dismissal was a penalty too severe in the circumstances. But unless that decision is made by the Department the pilot will not be re-employed, because safety of our passengers is paramount to Trans-Australia Airlines.

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