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Thursday, 6 December 1973
Page: 4379

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Mr Speaker, I wish to make a personal explanation.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! Does the Minister claim to have been misrepresented?

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Yes, I have been misrepresented by the Press. I had intended to refer to this matter when making my statement on the terms of settlement of the dispute.

Mr SPEAKER -I ask the Minister to restrict his remarks to the area where he has been misrepresented.

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Most of the newspapers today carried a report which purported to represent what I said yesterday during question time in answer to a question relating to the settlement terms of the TransAustralia Airlines dispute. One serious error which appeared in all the newspapers but which I notice does not appear in Hansard states:

TAA could guarantee passage on day of choice to everybody who had purchased tickets', Mr Cameron said.

That was perfectly correct. The article went on to say:

He said The airline had not re-engaged the dismissed pilot because it had a firm policy from which it would not depart'.

It then goes on to say:

It will always put the safety of its passengers above the private motive or above monetary considerations'.

That is not what I said. My recollection of what I said is borne out by the Hansard report where I am reported as saying:


That is, TAA - will always put the safety of its passengers above the profit motive or above monetary considerations,-

There is another correction that I wish to make. I said yesterday that: 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 ... 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.

That was not a correct statement of the settlement terms. The settlement terms did not give to the Department of Civil Aviation the right to decide whether the penalty for the breach of safety regulations was too severe. The settlement terms made it perfectly clear that, in the event of the pilot appealing, the Director-General of the Department of Civil Aviation would advise the Minister of his recommendations in respect of the disciplinary action following the decision on that appeal and that the Minister would then advise the Australian National Airlines Commission of the comment and recommendations of the Director-General and ask that these be taken into account in reconsideration of the disciplinary action. The result of such reconsideration shall be referred back to the Minister for final decision. It was not a condition of the settlement terms that the Australian National Airlines Commission or TAA would review the decision to dismiss the pilot. The matter was to be referred to the Minister; but TAA would not necessarily be required as a consequence of the settlement terms to re-employ the dismissed pilot.

The terms of settlement provided that the agreement was not to be used as a precedent in any future cases concerning safety and that there would be no Press statement other than the statement that was then officially agreed to. I have not broken this last section of the agreement and neither has the Minister for Transport (Mr Charles Jones). I do not believe that Captain Guggenheimer, Mr Crofts or Mr Gray did. But somebody without any authority has been responsible for spreading the false rumour that the pilots had won the dispute and that the man who had been dismissed for an alleged breach of safety regulations had been re-employed. That is not true. It is not true that the dismissed pilot had been re-employed. Neither is it true that the Pilots Federation had been allowed to resume work under threat to engage in lightning one-day stoppages. The strike threat was lifted unconditionally. I am sorry that the full text of the hitherto secret settlement terms is being kept secret by the decision of the Opposition in refusing me leave to read the full text of the settlement terms.

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