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Wednesday, 11 December 1974
Page: 3359

Senator BESSELL (TASMANIA) - I direct my question to the Leader of the Government. In view of the statement in today's Press by the Prime Minister that his overseas trip is not a luxury, is it not possible for the Prime Minister to use a BAC 1 1 1 from the VIP fleet instead of a chartered Boeing 707 aircraft from Qantas Airways Ltd at a very much higher cost?

Senator MURPHY - I am not aware of the technical details of this matter. I indicated once before that there are all sorts of considerations of a security type which would be insisted upon by other governments as well as our own. I have some little experience of the precautions which are taken when other persons are visiting Australia. I am not aware at all of what aircraft could be substituted for the one which has been chosen. After all, the Government has advisers who look into these matters. The Prime Minister would hardly be making a proposal for one type of aircraft rather than another unless there was technical advice as to what was suitable. Surely, if one is to consider how money should be spent, it should be remembered that at least this Government has not wasted thousands of millions of dollars in the past- there are still more payments to be made- on such ventures as the Vietnam war. The Opposition seems to concentrate on pointing to amounts of money and saying: 'Here is a terrible expenditure by a Prime Minister of half a million or three-quarters of a million dollars or here is an acquisition of some work of art. How dreadful it is that all Australia is going to fall down because of such expenditure'. All honourable senators opposite have to do is to remind themselves of the awful, wasteful expenditure of billions of dollars on the Vietnam war and they will realise how pitiful are the complaints about the Prime Minister going overseas on the nation's business.

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