23rd Parliament · 1st Session
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– I ask the Minister for the Navy whether it is a fact that the Department of the Navy proposes to establish naval stores at Woolloomooloo, Sydney. Will the establishment of these stores result in the removal of families from their homes? Have eviction orders been given to 60 families? If so, will the department make the necessary arrangements for the housing of these people threatened with eviction?
– The Navy is in the process of acquiring - to some degree it has acquired - land at Woolloomooloo for naval store purposes. The acquisition of this land was gazetted in August, 1950, following the Chifley Government’s decision and approval in 1949 that the land should be acquired. Payment for it has not yet been completed, there being still one case in which it has not been possible to make suitable arrangements. I think litigation is proceeding over one part of the area. There are houses in the area which are in a very dilapidated and rundown condition. Some of them have been condemned because of their condition, and some are being kept in use by minor repairs being made by the Department of the Interior, which is the department that at present owns them. Some of the houses have, I think, fallen down. 1 am not certain of the number of families about which the honorable senator has asked me. I shall make inquiries and let him know the exact number involved. The position is that the land is being acquired. Its acquisition was gazetted in 1950, and the gazettal was as a result of action of the previous government.
– Has the attention of the Leader of the Government in the Senate been directed to a report in one of the Sydney metropolitan newspapers of today’s date that Professor Baxter had advocated the establishment of a research foundation? If the Minister has seen the statement, is he of the opinion that such a proposition should be examined?
– I read with great interest the statement by Professor Baxter, because I have a very great regard for him. I hesitate to express an opinion upon the proposal, remembering as I do the Commonwealth’s intimate interest in the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization. My initial reaction was that, to some extent, Professor Baxter’s proposal, if given effect, might conflict with the operations of the C.S.I.R.O., but I would not regard that as being a final view on the matter. When opportunity offers, I shall have a talk with Professor Baxter about it.
– In view of the success of the Government’s policy in encouraging the rehabilitation of physically handicapped people, will the Minister representing the Treasurer ask the Treasurer to consider, as an allowable deduction for income tax purposes, the cost of transport to and from work of those people so physically handicapped that they cannot use public transport or drive a motor car? I say by way of explanation that some of these people, but for their own courage and moral fibre, would become invalid pensioners, in which event the cost to the country would be far greater than at present, and their own morale would be lowered. I believe that the Government can afford to give them this help.
– I shall be pleased to convey the honorable senator’s request to my colleague, the Treasurer.
– I ask the Minister for National Development whether it is a fact that Australia’s income from exports last year was increased by almost £120,000,000 as a result of the sale of goods manufactured by secondary industries in Australia. How does this figure compare with that for the previous year? Would the Minister care to comment on the rapid growth of secondary industries in Australia?
– This matter cropped up in the Senate a few weeks ago. At that time, I said I would try to get some information for Senator Scott. I have done so. and the information I have received is that the values of Australia’s exports of manufactured and semi-manufactured products in the last five years are estimated to be £62,000,000 for 1954-55, £77,000,000 for 1955-56, £109,000,000 for 1956-57, £113,000,000 for 1957-58 and £110,000,000 for 1958-59.
I thought honorable senators might be interested to have a break-up of the major portion of the £110,000,000 earned by the exportation of manufactured and semimanufactured products in 1958-59. The relevant information is that metals and metal manufactures, including vehicles and parts, earned £39,000,000, the products of petroleum refining returned £16,000,000, machines and machinery, excluding dynamo electrical machinery, earned £9,000,000, chemicals, pharmaceutical products and fertilizers earned £7,000,000 and rubber and leather manufactures returned £5,000,000.
– I ask the Minister for Civil Aviation whether it is a fact that, in granting Ansett-A.N.A. a licence to import a third Electra, he argued that TransAustralia Airlines had more prop-jet aircraft than its competitor. Is he now proposing to compel T.A.A. to agree to an exchange of three T.A.A. Viscount turbo-prop aircraft for two Ansett-A.N.A. DC6B piston engined aircraft? If so, does he not feel that his argument in this respect is inconsistent? Does he further agree that his talk about equal and fair competition between the two airlines is just a rationalization of his intention to hinder the public’s own airline - T.A.A. - and help its competitor, whatever the cost?
– I am not proposing to make any requests or suggestions to Trans- Australia Airlines in regard to what should be done with its fleet. When I announced the grant of a permit to Ansett-A.N.A., I made it quite clear that at that time T.A.A. had no current applications before me for imports, but that if it submitted an application, that application would receive the same consideration as did the application by Ansett-A.N.A. I said also that it would necessarily have to comply with the criteria laid down in the Airlines Equipment Act of last year, lt has been suggested that this Government is hindering the government airline. I can only repeat what I said yesterday, and what I have said a hundred times before that. The progress which T.A.A., the government airline, has made under this Government has been quite remarkable. We have turned it from a money-losing proposition into a moneymaking proposition. We have built up its fleet to such a point that the fleet is numerically and qualitatively better than that of its competitor. We have continued to supply it with capital to purchase aircraft as they are required. In every way we have meted out fair treatment to T.A.A.
– Has the Minister for Civil Aviation seen a statement in today’s Melbourne “ Age “, attributed to Mr. Calwell, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition in another place, in respect of Lockheed Electra aircraft, claiming that these aircraft are already obsolescent? As this is contrary to the view that the Minister expressed yesterday, can he inform the Senate who determines when an aircraft is obsolescent? For how long does it have to be obsolescent before it becomes obsolete?
– I saw the statement which was attributed to Mr. Calwell. I was intrigued by the use to which he put a statement attributed to Sir Giles Chippindall. The honorable gentleman used it to prop up what he himself obviously recognized to be a very weak case. What Sir Giles said was that he was looking for jets as equipment in years to come. With regard to the alleged obsolescence of Lockheed Electra aircraft, I can only say that the airline operators are the best judges of whether an aircraft is obsolescent or when it will become obsolete. That Lockheed Electra aircraft are not obsolescent is well illustrated by the fact that no fewer than twenty airlines have, between them, ordered 170 of them. The major airlines of the world are competing one with one another for deliveries, which now run to December, 1960. As they are ordering so far ahead, it hardly appears that, in the judgment of the airline operators, this aircraft is obsolescent. Lockheed Electras are being ordered by very large, successful, hard-headed and experienced airlines in various parts of the world. I would far rather accept their judgment than that of Mr. Calwell.
– Will the Minister representing the Minister for External Affairs make a statement about the present position of the proposed war memorial in K inablu North Borneo?
– I shall inquire of my colleague and see whether he is prepared to make a statement.
– I direct a question to the Minister for Civil Aviation. Can he state whether any development has taken place recently in surveying an overseas air route between Australia, New Zealand and South America with aircraft possibly touching down in French Tahiti? I understand that Sir Gordon Taylor carried out some pioneering work on this route some years ago. If nothing has been done recently, will the Minister consider, in cooperation with New Zealand, the possibility of opening up such an air route?
– As the honorable senator has reminded the Senate, a survey flight was made by Sir Gordon Taylor some years ago. Of course, the information which Sir Gordon collected on that flight is retained as a basis of flight information to this day. We naturally keep in touch with airport developments which are occurring on the route to South America, but since Sir Gordon’s flight no Australian has been over the same route. That does not mean that details of the route are unknown to Australian civil aviation authorities, which keep closely in touch with developments on all air routes of the world.
asked the Minister for Trade, upon notice -
Have any permits for the export of scrap steel been granted to any Brisbane firms or persons during the past twele months? If so, to whom and involving what tonnages?
– The Minister for Trade has now informed me as follows: -
In the twelve months ended 30th September, 1959, permits have been issued for export from Queensland of the scrap iron and steel shown below: -
Scrap covered by special export approvals and export quotas would be shi)ped mainly from the Port of Brisbane.
The names of individual exporters and the quantities exported by them are regarded as confidential information. Except in exceptional circumstances these details are not made public.
– bv leave - I desire to advise the Senate that, since the appointment of the Select Committee on Road Safety in May of this vear, the committee has met in Melbourne on two occasions, has met in Sydney and in Hobart, and has had a number of meetings in Canberra. It has already interviewed more than 50 witnesses. The intention of the committee is to hear evidence in all States, and this will involve more meetings than it would be possible to arrange this year. In the motion for the appointment of the committee, the date stipulated for the presentation of the report to the Senate was 31st December, 1959. The committee realizes that it cannot complete its inquiry by that date, and suggests that the date for the presentation of its report be put forward to next year.
Under the terms of its appointment, the committee has no power to function after a prorogation of the Parliament, or to sit during a recess. It is suggested that in order that the committee may continue its work during the forthcoming recess, a motion should be passed by the Senate enabling it to do so. I therefore move -
– Is the motion seconded?
– I second the motion.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I have to announce that I have received a letter from Senator Wade resigning his place on the House Committee.
Motion (by Senator Spooner) - by leave - agreed to -
That Senator Wade be discharged from attendance on the House Committee, and that Senator Drake-Brockman be appointed in his stead.
Motion (by Senator Spooner) agreed to -
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn till to-morrow at 10.30 a.m.
Debate resumed from 13th November (vide page 1493), on motion by Senator Paltridge -
That the bill be now read a second time.
.- The broad terms of this bill were before the Senate in another form in May. The bill remained an the Senate notice-paper from then until only the other day - a period of some six months. Now, in the last days of the session, when there is an accumulation of more than 30 bills to be dealt with, and after the Senate has- had the spectacle of the guillotine being used to put measures through on a very tight schedule and of limited debate in relation to the Appropriation Bill, we have this bill presented to us. It is a very simple bill. It contains very few clauses, most of them being machinery provisions. I think it is safe to say that the substantive provisions of the bill are confined to four clauses.
On behalf of the Opposition, I say that we resent having a bill involving issues of this kind presented to us at this stage after such a long delay, particularly since the measure, in the ultimate, proposes the amendment of very few provisions of the legislation. I think the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator -Paltridge) should indicate to the Senate why that long delay was necessary and why we should now be presented with this bill at the end of the session, in view of all the time that has intervened. Normally, the Minister makes a very informative speech in introducing measures that emanate from him. On this occasion, he has given us a very lengthy speech. He has referred to quite a number df matters, but his speech is singularly lacking in information on many points on which we would like more information. I shall particularize in this respect in a moment.
I want to come at once to the broad purposes of the bill which, the Minister has explained, are two-fold. The first purpose is to provide adequate facilities for the travelling public and others at airports in Australia; and the second, by the letting of business concessions, is to obtain revenue with which to help to bridge the enormous gap between the cost of running the airports of Australia and the revenue that is derived from them. One can sympathize with both broad purposes. Those purposes are sought to be achieved, first, in clause 5, by divesting the Department of the Interior of the power to grant leases at airports. As honorable senators know, the Department of the Interior invariably discharges that function under the Lands Acquisition Act. The Minister has indicated that a great deal of time and cost will be saved if the letting of areas at airports is handled by the Department of Civil Aviation instead of by the Department of the Interior. That is the first point at which we lack information. The Minister might have told us - and I invite him to do so later - of the attitude of the Department of the Interior to this proposal. I also invite him to say in what way time will be saved, and the extent to which there will be a saving in costs.
I could understand the argument that it would be wrong to allow the Department of the Interior to let areas at airports for purposes not approved by the Department of Civil Aviation, the department charged with -responsibility for air safety in this country, a responsibility which, I am quick to add, has been discharged with very conspicuous success. If that were the argument, one could understand it. The Minister should give .us more information on that point. If there were danger of collision, in respect of the purposes for which land had to be let, undoubtedly the opinion of the Opposition would favour the Department of Civil Aviation having responsibility in the matter. I ask -the Minister to address himself to that question when he replies.
The broad .plan of the bill, commencing with clause 7, is to prohibit absolutely the selling of goods or the supplying of services at airports without an authority in writing granted by the Minister. In clause 6, the
Minister is given on behalf of the Commonwealth, the most unrestricted power to grant leases and licences of every conceivable kind. Throughout the whole bill there is scarcely any limit to the scope of his authority in that matter. I pause for a moment to direct the attention of the Senate to sub-clause (1.) (a). I shall paraphrase -the clause to make it read that, except under an authority granted by the Minister pursuant te clause 6, a person shall not sell, for delivery within the airport, or supply, any goods or services. There is an exception to that provision in sub-clause 3 which enables airline operators to carry on their ordinary business with the people who are conti acting with them. That is a very necessary exception. I return now to the provisions of sub-clause (1.) (a), and I put it for consideration by the Senate very broadly at this stage that it represents a prohibition against supplying any services. It would mean prohibiting a taxi driver from taking a fare to an airport or to a terminal building, because that would be supplying a service. The clause relates to the supplying of a service whether for reward or otherwise. It covers the supply of any service other than to an airline operator. All such services are completely prohibited.
– Except under licence.
– I point out that unless every taxi proprietor in Australia gets authority from the Minister he will, under the terms of this bill, commit an offence against clause 7, if he takes a passenger on to an airport, and will render himself liable to a penalty of £100 for a first offence. Let me go further and say that, on my reading of the clause, if Senator Laught, who has interjected, were to drive a friend on to an airport, and transport his luggage for him, he himself, under the terms of this provision, would be supplying a service and would need the authority of the Minister to do so.
This is not a matter of great substance. Indeed, it is one that could far better be discussed in committee, but I point out that although six months have passed since this bill was first introduced questions of this nature can still be raised. I raise it now to give the Minister an opportunity to answer it, although not necessarily at the second-reading stage, because I under take to return to it in committee. It seems to me that there may be a lot of other exceptions that will need to be made in relation to activities of various kinds at airports. These places are now centres of extreme activity. If my interpretation of the meaning of this clause is right, I can only say that I am surprised that after a period of six months during which the Minister has had an opportunity to consider a very short bill of this nature, there should be a gap of that kind. I venture to say that a full inquiry would reveal other gaps*
I come now to clause 8, which sets out the scope df an authority. This clause provides that the Minister may by writing under his hand grant to a person an authority in relation to a lease or licence in respect of a particular land within an airport, on such terms, at such times, and under such conditions as the Minister himself thinks fit. The Minister has completely unfettered discretion in the matter. Then we come to clause 9, which is the crucial clause in the bill. It sets out how authorities conferred by the Minister are to be exercised. It provides that the holder of an authority needs no other authority than that of the Minister. It deals, in subclause (2.), in effect, with business activities at airports, apart from the supply of intoxicating liquor. It opens with the words. “ Subject to the next succeeding subsection “. As that deals with liquor, the clause I am discussing at the moment relates only to business activities other than the supply of liquor. The clause, in effect, says that the Minister may, having regard to the special needs of the travelling public, specify in the terms and conditions of an authority under the act the days on which and the times during which an authority may be exercised. Those are the only two matters. He may nominate the days and the hours. That is qualified, in sub-clause (5.) by the provision that any lease or licence granted by the Minister does not exempt any person holding such an authority from compliance with the law of a State.
So we see a complete change from the bill presented to us in May of this year. Even in relation to matters apart from liquor, the Minister reserves only one right against the States, that is, the right to specify the conditions upon which and the hours during which trading may take place. Now we come to the provision in relation to liquor, which the Opposition regards as the critical question. Sub-clause (3.), in effect, makes it mandatory upon the Minister, when granting a licence for the sale of intoxicating liquor, to include such restrictions, including restrictions as to days and hours, as are appropriate under the State law in relation to any comparable licence. Sub-clause (5.), to which I have already adverted, will of course, apply equally to the sale of intoxicating liquor.
At this stage, I shall content myself merely with outlining the provisions of the bill, and I shall return in a moment to the last-mentioned provision. Sub-clause (4.) of clause 9 provides that an authority shall contain such terms and conditions as will prevent the sale of goods or the supply of services to a person who resorts to the airport solely or principally for the purpose of purchasing goods or obtaining services outside the ordinary trading hours in the locality. The only other clause to which I wish to refer now is clause 10, which does two things. It provides that an authority granted by the Minister shall contain conditions and terms as to inspection of premises, keeping of records, and other matters.
Before I deal in detail with those four main sections, let me return to the theme that the Minister has given us inadequate information. I have already referred to one point. The Minister indicated that representations had been made to him in the interim. I invite him to tell the Senate who made the representations, what they were, which of them were rejected, and which were accepted. In particular, I invite him to say what consultation took place with State Governments in relation to the provision of these business facilities, particularly in relation to liquor. The issue was raised very acutely with the Minister as to his earlier bill’s arbitrarily overriding State laws, and T would assume that he had had discussions with State Governments and probably was aware of the views of the licensing police in the various States who administer these particular provisions. We have no information on that.
I think the Minister might well have opened out that subject a good deal more. I have already asked him to tell us how the power of the Department of the Interior to grant leases really impedes the Department of Civil Aviation. He has given us no information whatsoever as to what is in mind for the segregation of people who, it may be claimed, have resorted to an airport for the purpose of obtaining goods or services outside ordinary trading hours. When the Minister was dealing with that matter, he might have conveyed to the Senate some idea of what was in mind. We do not know what is in the Government’s mind in relation to whether the provision ot goods and services is to be restricted to air travellers, their relatives and their immediate friends, or in what way people who have resorted to airports for the purposes mentioned are to be identified. I think that the Minister should, before we proceed further, give us some information on that point.
I understand that liquor is supplied today and has for a considerable period been supplied at some airports in Australia. I should have expected the Minister to convey some information to the Senate on that point. It would be very relevant to know how the sale of liquor at some airports in Australia is working. My belief is that liquor is supplied at Darwin and that it is available at Perth. If my information is correct, it is interesting to note that it is available at Perth pursuant to State legislation. Apparently either the airline operators or the Department of Civil Aviation - it may be both - have approached the State authorities in Western Australia, and that the State licensing law has been varied to establish a type of airport licence. The holder of the licence is licensed under State law and the operation of the licence is policed by State police. It does point a pattern to what might be done in other States. Presently I shall advert more fully to the theme as to whether that would have been the proper approach for the Commonwealth to have made in all States. In the meantime, I am merely commenting on the fact that the second-reading speech is deficient, in the view that I put, because it does not tell us how this arrangement has operated in those two ports. The Minister may tell us whether it has operated in any other ports. He indicated that the provision of intoxicating liquor and the development of many facilities would be confined to six or seven main airports. I invite him to name the particular airports that he has in mind. One may guess at them, but one would expect that we would have the knowledge with a little more particularity than the Minister has displayed.
The final point under that head is the question of the market research that the Minister told us had been conducted by the Department of Civil Aviation to determine the needs of the travelling public. He said that some of the types of business that had succeeded on overseas airports were: Advertising, baggage rooms and lockers, banks, barber shops, beauty parlours, car parking lots, children’s nurseries, cocktail lounges, coffee shops, conducted tours, delivery service, drive-yourself car service, flower shops, gift shops, insurance machines, news stands, photographers, restaurants, service stations, snack bars, tobacconists, and vending machines. I should say that if we had all those at an airport business centre it would be a most comprehensive cover. t ask the Minister whether the survey conducted by his department led him to the conclusion that all of those facilities should be established in the six or seven airports that he had in mind. I should like him to indicate whether, according to the department’s research there was a demand, and a substantial demand, for all of these facilities. If there were demands could he give the Senate any information as to the order of priority of demand? That is a very relevant factor in the consideration of this matter. In particular, will he say where the supply of intoxicating liquor figured in the list of priorities?
– No. 1, perhaps.
– I do not know. The honorable senator thinks it might be No. 1, but I have no idea.
– More people die every year from over-eating than from overdrinking.
– I do not know all people, and I shall not embark upon an argument with the honorable senator on that proposition at the moment. I want to make some general observations at this stage. Quite apart from this bill, the Government has full power to provide these facilities. First, under sub-section 1 of section 5 of the Commonwealth Constitution, it has exclusive power to make laws relating to places acquired for public purposes, and airports fall into that category.
As I understand the cases in relation to this matter, an airport acquired by the Commonwealth does not cease to be State territory and it does not become subject only to Commonwealth law. My understanding of it is that the State law would continue to apply to it as part of State territory until the Commonwealth passed some law which abrogates or sets aside, or over-rides the State law. There is no question of the constitutional power.
Then, in my view, there is most complete power under the existing legislation. The Air Navigation Act 1920-1950 is an exceedingly brief one. Its primary purpose was to approve the Chicago Convention in relation to air activities. But then power was given to the Governor-General to make regulations. Under sub-section 3 of section 5, this appears -
The power to make regulations under this section shall include the power to make provision for-
the establishment, maintenance, operation and use of aerodromes and air route and airway facilities, including the imposition of charges and conditions for their use.
– That would mean facilities for the purpose of air navigation.
– No, I say it does not. I have considered that. Although the early part of the act deals with the Chicago Convention, the honorable senator will see, if he looks at section 5, that it is provided that the Governor-General may make regulations for implementing the convention, and then, in a completely separate sub-section, this omnibus power is given, and that is not tied to the convention.
– I was not referring to the convention. I said that it referred to facilities for air navigation.
– No, I should say that it did not. The term “ airway facilities “ is used generically, and it refers also to the imposition of charges and conditions for their use. The Minister, in his secondreading speech, referred incidentally to that power in the sense in which I have described it. At this stage, I am making the point that even without this bill the
Commonwealth lacks neither constitutional nor legislative power to establish such facilities as it believes to be appropriate.
Next, will the Minister convey to the Senate some information as to the circumstances surrounding the action of the Western Australian Government in legislating to set up liquor facilities at the airport in Perth? What were the negotiations, and how readily did the State agree? Have similar representations been made to any other State?
When one looks at the extraordinary power conferred upon the Minister under this bill, in which he is given authority not only to decide what licences will be issued, but also to determine what will be the terms and conditions attaching to each, one must direct attention to the fact that there could be heavy competition for these particular concessions. I suggest that there should be a provision that they should be let only after public tenders have been called, thus limiting the discretion of the Minister. It is very probable that the contracts board of the department will follow that course. Et may well be that it is compelled to do so under the administrative arrangements order applying to the department but we should remember that we are now giving to the Minister the most unfettered authority to let concessions that may be exceedingly valuable, and there is nothing in the bill to prevent him from exercising that power quite arbitrarily in favour of selected people. I do not believe for a moment that, as an individual, the Minister would do that but, as legislators, we are concerned with the possibility that the bill opens up.
When these concessions are established, they become monopolies. The holders of them are in the privileged position of being able to trade when all other similar activities in the city or locality nearby must cease. It may well be that, being in a favored position, being on Commonwealth property that will not be subject to municipal rating - and we have heard nothing about that from the Minister - they will be in a position to undercut the local traders. According to the Minister, they have a terrific potential in hand. At Melbourne, for instance, there are 4,000 employees at the airport rather removed from shopping and other facilities throughout business hours. Millions of passengers pass through and millions of visitors come to the airport in a year. There is an enormous business potential, which could be very valuable. There could be a very heavy turnover, and it might constitute quite unfair competition against townspeople and others in similar types of business.
Again, enjoying the advantage that they may trade when other shops are closed, the licensees may be extortionate in their charges. Although, by clause 10, the Minister has reserved power for inspection of premises, inspection of books and records, inspection and sampling of goods, there is, in view of the Opposition, a grave omission in that there is no provision for ensuring that the Minister shall see to it that reasonable charges for the supply of goods and services are made by the concessionaires. A power to investigate that particular matter and a power to recall it should, in the view of the Opposition, be included in this bill. Otherwise, the Minister may, or may not, do something about it. His power is unlimited and unfettered as far as the inspection of premises, the keeping and inspection of books and records, and the inspection and sampling of goods are concerned. Therefore, he should have specific power to ensure that the charges made by the various concessionaires are fair and reasonable.
– Can you point to any such provision in a State shops act?
– I would think not. However, the honorable senator must recognize that when a State legislates regarding shops, there are no favoured areas. It legislates for all shops. This bill, however, makes an exception in favour of Commonwealth concessionaires at airports, who may trade when other shops are closed. I think that that imposes upon this Parliament a duty, when legislating in this matter, to see that particular attention is directed toensuring that those who are specially favoured in this way will not act unfairly to other traders by under-cutting them, or to buyers by over-charging them.
The matter that the Opposition is gravely concerned about is the supply of liquor at airports. In our view, air safety is the paramount consideration. We acknowledge that liquor is regarded as a modern amenity which the country might be expected to provide, but one has to consider, in relation to air safety, the effect of liquor. May 1 say a word or two on that? We could have’ the situation that a person at an airport, temptation having been put in his way, has imbibed a considerable quantity of liquor within a very short period of time, and then boards an aircraft, seeming to be his usual rational self. But there could be a delayed action, and trouble could occur in the confined space of the aircraft after it had taken off and at a time when it could not land quickly, even if there were trouble with the passengers.
The second thing about liquor is, of course, its physiological action. It affects, first and most, that part of the brain that controls the faculty of self-criticism. The effect of liquor is instantly to dull and impair that faculty, and, if enough is taken, to black it out altogether. The selfcriticism faculty is there to prevent us from doing silly things - to enable us to assess ourselves. The effect of liquor is to make a person irresponsible and irrational. Tha! is why an. intoxicated person is usually difficult to deal with. He has lost temporarily the ability to reason and the faculty of self-criticism.
– Can the Leader of the Opposition say what steps are taken at international airports in other parts of the world to prevent happenings such as he has described?
– I invite the honorable senator to direct that question to the Minister. I am not in the happy position enjoyed by many honorable senators, in that I have not travelled around the world. I should certainly be very interested to hear from members of this chamber who have travelled abroad what takes place at other airports. I understand that a committee that was set up by the United States Congress to inquire into this matter found that an extraordinarily large percentage of air accidents was due to the element of drink.
– Can YOU quote the report?
– I cannot. I was told about it, and I am endeavouring to have it turned up now.
– What would be the position if it were not practicable for liquor to be sold in Parliament House?
– I have seen many extraordinary things happen in Parliament House, but I have never yet seen anybody here take off into the air.
– I think some persons in this building might reckon that they would be able to do that if they tried.
– Yes. I do not doubt that on rare occasions some individuals here have imagined themselves to be airborne.
– Has not the honorable senator witnessed flights of oratory?
– I concede that there is plenty of hot air about this place.
– I remind Senator McKenna that passengers may purchase liquor in an aircraft after it takes off.
– I concede that. 1 say at once, speaking personally now, that we would have no worry about the supply of liquor at an airport if the authority supplying the liquor were the authority responsible for air safety - the Department of Civil Aviation. That department would exercise a most rigid control, because, as I have said, the question of air safety is paramount. A licensee’s prime consideration, however, is to make a profit - to repay himself for the premium he has laid out for the lease and to show a return on the capital he has invested in the business. As I have said, I would not be worried about the supply of liquor at airports if it were controlled by the Department of Civil Aviation.
What is the normal procedure at an airport? It is certainly true that all of us arrive at the last possible moment at which we can catch an aircraft. When we get to our destination, we cannot get away from the airport fast enough. When we are detained at an airport - which rarely happens - due to some mishap to an aircraft or for some other reason, we wait around for an hour or two. When we weigh the necessity for air safety against the alcoholic thirst of a few individuals, our minds plainly come down on the side of air safety, and on the side of the comfort and convenience of large numbers of women and children.
– How does the drinking of liquor by passengers affect air safety?
– The honorable senator is indeed fortunate if he has never seen anybody intoxicated in an aircraft.
– Suppose there were a blithering drunk among the passengers on an aircraft. How would that affect air safety?
– In the first place, if the individual were intoxicated, he would be irrational. He might wander into the cockpit.
– And take over the controls?
– No. He might become physically violent towards other passengers. Apart from that altogether, I invite the Senate to consider the discomfort that the presence of a semiintoxicated individual could cause to a lady passenger in the confined space of an aircraft - space that is getting more confined, may I say, with the advent of tourist class travel, and that will be even more confined with the advent of economy class travel.
– My question related to air safety, not to the proper conduct of passengers. You were challenged on air safety. Face up to your argument.
– I have already done that. A drunken individual could burst into the cockpit and get into conflict with the pilot or the co-pilot, and so disrupt the control of the aircraft. That could be done in a very short time. It could happen in a flash. I have seen a man the worse for liquor declining to sit down in an aircraft when requested to do so by the hostess, and then declining to fasten his safety belt. It is only one step from that situation to his becoming completely bellicose and attacking the pilot or the copilot. It could happen.
– Have you ever seen it happen?
– Have you ever heard of it happening?
– No. I now come to the question of the comfort of women and children. Considerable discomfort could be caused to them by the loutish behaviour of an intoxicated person in the confined space in an aircraft. He would be breathing alcoholic fumes over them.
– You are over-playing; your hand. I have travelled a lot by air, and I have never seen that happen.
– Senator Maher may be fortunate, or he may have bad. eyesight, or he may concentrate on what is before him.
Another aspect about safety is that at the present time there are about 4,000 employees at airports. If liquor facilities wereavailable it would constitute a temptation tothe 4,000 people on the staffs at aerodromes, including crew, hostesses and therest.
– And mechanics.
– Mechanics also. I invite the Minister to say how somebody dispensing liquor at an airport could distinguish between those who are off duty and those who are on duty. I know that the Department of Civil Aviation has themost rigorous regulations governing abstention from liquor by pilots and crew, but it must be conceded that if liquor is provided at airports, where it is not now available, it will be a temptation to the thousands of people who work at airports. I doubt very much the possibility of segregating those who are finishing duty from those whoare embarking upon it. Work at airportsgoes on around the clock pretty well - from early morning to late at night. There arevarious shifts with people coming and going. I know that the thing can be controlled and regulated, but I have no confidence in this control or regulation if the main motive of having liquor at an airport on the part of a concessionaire is to makea profit out of his business deal. The only way I feel it would be safe would be tohave the sale of liquor under the control’ of the Department of Civil Aviation.
I conclude with the thought that this bill’ should not be brought down at this latestage. It should be considered quietly. We need a great deal more information; and wefind defects in the bill quite apart from theliquor aspect, which leave us uneasy about it. Accordingly, on behalf of the Opposition, I move -
Leave out all words after “ That “, insert “ the bill be withdrawn and redrafted to omit provisionsauthorising the supply of intoxicating liquor at airports “.
The purpose of that amendment is perfectly clear. If it is accepted it ends the bill for the time being. If it is not accepted, the-
Opposition will vote against the secondreading of this measure. I point out that the carrying of the amendment will not prohibit the Government from going on with other activities at airports if it so wishes. Again, when we reach the committee stage I shall move amendments that will be relevant to the thought underlying the amendment to the motion for the second reading. If those amendments are not carried, the bill will be unacceptable to the Opposition and we shall vote against the third reading of the measure.
– I should like to deal briefly with some of the comments made by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna), particularly those relating to his proposed amendment, before I express my own views on the substance of this measure. In opposing the bill Senator McKenna referred to the constitutional aspect of this matter. He conceded that even without the legislation the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Paltridge) would have adequate authority to do the things that he now desires to provide for. In fact I think Senator McKenna went further than that. I agree with him that under existing legislation, and in pursuance of section 52 of the Constitution, the Minister would have power to do more things - including the selling of liquor at airports - than he now proposes to do under this legislation. Therefore, the sequel to Senator McKenna’s argument is that this bill does not widen ministerial power but actually restricts it. I think Senator McKenna will agree with me that if the Minister already has wider power than he is now asking for in this bill he is merely doing something in order to placate certain State interests. The Minister is restricting a power which would be available to him without the passage of this measure. I am therefore quite at a loss to understand why Senator McKenna wishes to amend the bill because surely the actual effect of his amendment would be to retain for the Minister power that he now has and which he proposes to restrict by his measure.
Having said that, before I come to the amendment, I wish to deal with one other aspect of the bill to which Senator McKenna referred, namely the manner in “which the sale of liquor is now conducted at airports in other parts of the world and in other parts of Australia. Senator McKenna referred to Perth. Along with ail Western Australian senators I have had personal experience of this matter in Perth. I can assure the Opposition - I do not think I need to assure many members of the Opposition because most of them have been to Perth - that the sale of liquor at Perth aerodrome is conducted in an orderly manner. This facility is regarded by Western Australian people as a normal service. I am surprised that even Senator Tangney is alining herself with her leader, because recently she was a very exuberant advocate of longer trading hours in Western Australia. Apparently she has reversed her ideas on trading hours. I am quite certain that all Western Australian senators on the other side of the chamber will agree with me when I say that the sale of liquor at the airport in Perth has had none of the evil effects and horrible consequences that Senator McKenna now suggests will flow from the granting of liquor licences at airports.
I wish to analyse the objections that the Leader of the Opposition has postulated. In the first place he says that the sale of liquor at airports would affect air safety. He suggests that drunken persons would break into the cockpit of an aeroplane and perhaps cause a catastrophe. I do not know whether Senator McKenna is really serious when he says these things. Is he suggesting that a person who has all the facilities in the world to get intoxicated before he gets to an aerodrome, and also facilities to get intoxicated on the aeroplane, would wait until he got to an aerodrome, get intoxicated there, and then get on the aircraft and do all these terrible things? Surely the mere granting of a licence at an airport is not going to render this most remarkable character any more prone to intoxication and to beserk action than heretofore? Is Senator McKenna really serious in suggesting that is a real reason why he is opposing the sale of liquor at airports? I leave it at that because it is completely silly that that should be advanced as a genuine reason why liquor should not be sold at airports.
I have travelled on aeroplanes for many years. I have seen intoxication on aeroplanes and I have seen intoxication elsewhere. It could not possibly happen that a man would get out of control to that extent, or be permitted to get out of control to that extent by any of the crew, unless Senator McKenna is suggesting that the crew also are going to get tight. The other argument Senator McKenna raised is a little more feasible. It is not quite so stupid to say that people who work at airports might over indulge. It is possible that they may attempt to, but it is not possible that they will be permitted to. If Ansett-A.N.A. and Trans-Australia Airlines are going to be so lax with their employees as to allow them in working hours to drink in and around the aerodrome I have a much mistaken opinion of the administrative efficiency of both those companies. May I point out that liquor is served to passengers and their friends in hundreds of railway terminals throughout Australia? Does Senator McKenna believe that liquor should not be served in such places because railway employees may over-imbibe? If he is to be consistent, he must take that view. Senator Kendall has mentioned shipping. I remind Senator McKenna that we drink alcohol on ships. Does he suggest that that should be prevented because some one might go berserk, descend into the engine room and disable the ship, or because a member of the crew might over-indulge at the bar? These things are not even- remotely possible.
– They happen.
– I should be extremely surprised to learn that they do. I have certainly never heard of an aircraft accident that was attributable to overindulgence in alcohol by a passenger. It is quite possible that there have been aircraft accidents due to indulgence in alcohol by a member of the crew, but if such irresponsible persons exist and chose to consume alcohol prior to a flight, they would surely not go to an aerodrome bar to indulge. They would, of course, indulge secretly.
– May I interpolate the remark that there has never been a recorded case of an aircraft accident which resulted from indulgence in alcohol?
– I merely mentioned that aspect because Senator McKenna had asserted that there had been accidents of that kind. My point is that any crew member so inclined would not indulge at an aerodrome bar - with all the lights on and every one watching. A person who was so irresponsible - so criminal - would indulge surreptitiously. Therefore, the argument that the presence of a bar at an airport may lead to aircraft accidents has no merit.
– All pilots have a 24- hour honour period so far as abstention is concerned.
– I am well aware of what pilots do during their working hours, and before they go on duty. I have been a member of the Air Force.
– An airline captain can prevent a drunken person from getting on a plane.
– Of course he can. To suggest that liquor ought not to be served at aerodrome bars, when one can obtain all the liquor one likes on an aeroplane or in the hotel next to the airport, is a rather unfair dig at the sense of responsibility of air crews, airport officials, company officials and passengers generally.
I propose now to refer briefly to what happens overseas. The bill is entirely justified if we are to have standards of service at our airports comparable with those that have obtained in the major flying countries - and in many of the minor flying countries, too - for years now. Recently I had the great pleasure of landing at the Athens airport. I have jotted down some of the services that were available to me, as a passenger, when I arrived late in the evening. I could have had a shave or a bath, and ladies could have gone through the process known as having a hair-set. There was available a very nice lounge where gentlemen could wait while that was being done. One could buy virtually anything one liked, be it food, clothing, knickknacks or small gifts. If it was not available at the airport - the Greeks are very good salesmen - it would be obtained for you. In most airports overseas, of course, if goods are not to hand there, they will be procured for the convenience of the passenger. Also, one could contact a tourist agency and complete details for a holiday in Greece, including the payment for it. One could obtain advice as to the hotels one should stay at, and make the necessary bookings. One could obtain currency and conduct all the normal monetary transactions of the traveller at any time of the day or night. One could, of course, obtain a meal and a drink. Both were of a very high standard, properly served and available in comfortable surroundings. One did not have to fight for one’s food or refreshment - and it was not very expensive. Those are some of the things that I can remember offhand about the airport at Athens. 1 mention them only because so few are available at our airports. I would emphasize that Athens is by no means exceptional among overseas airports in this matter of high standards of comfort for passengers. 1 have merely described a typical example of the service that one can obtain in most air terminals overseas.
At London airport the standard of service is even higher. One need not even go into the city to catch a coach or bus to any of the major centres. One can wait in a beautiful lounge and then catch a bus at the airport for Southampton or Bristol - indeed, for most parts of England. It is possible to make the airport terminal one’s centre of operations. All the facilities that are available at Athens are to be had at this airport also - and many more. I may add that these are not regarded as exceptional services, but rather an act of courtesy towards visitors. It is regarded as a normal courtesy to provide the traveller with a meal, if he will pay for it, and a drink, if he wants it - as well as the other amenities that I have mentioned. They are certainly not regarded overseas as being anything out of the ordinary.
I think that we should, in considering this bill, think in terms of courtesy to visiting air travellers. It is not suggested that any unusual service shall be provided at an aerodrome. Senator McKenna, in a facetious way, read out some of the suggested services. There was nothing funny about them, although some honorable senators opposite seemed to think that there was. They are already provided by such supposedly backward nations as Arabia. I commend the Minister upon having the courage and foresight to introduce such a measure at this stage, enabling us to compete, in the provision of service, with some of the socalled backward countries in this field. I am surprised, Sir, that when an attempt is made to modernize this important aspect of air travel and to bring it up-to-date with conditions in other parts of world, some honorable senators should sneer and use the little bit of surreptitious propaganda allied to liquor to add force to their remarks.
We should face this liquor question frankly. The Opposition has not a bona fide amendment at all. The Opposition case suggests that honorable senators opposite are frightened of criticism from that small and narrow-minded, perhaps puritanical, section of the community which would deny to our visitors and to the Australian travelling public common courtesies. That section seems to think that one or two individuals may abuse the privilege, that they may sneak in the back door of an air terminal and get a drink that they are not entitled to have. For that reason, the Opposition would deny our thousands of overseas visitors and the travelling public of Australia, in their millions, the right to these simple services that are provided elsewhere in the world. The attitude of the Opposition to this bill is antiquated, devoid of reality and lacking in courtesy towards the travelling public, particularly visitors to Australia.
As I have said, if the Opposition is not happy about the provision of liquor on aeroplanes, why does it countenance the provision of liquor on railway trains? Everybody knows that at railway stations at which refreshments are served, one may obtain a drink. Admittedly, it may not be a very good drink. It may be served in circumstances that do not always please, but the principle is accepted that such refreshment should be provided for the travelling public. I do not think that the Opposition has ever denied that that should be so. As a matter of fact, I think that all honorable senators opposite would say, “ Yes, we agree with that “. Surely, the same argument applies so far as the airways are concerned. It is true that somebody on a train could get tight, climb along the footboard and push the engine-driver off the train. According to the Opposition, that is quite a possibility. Why, then, do> not honorable senators opposite say, “ Out with all liquor on railway trains “? If they were logical, they would also extend rheban on the provision of liquor to ships,. because someone might get up on the bridge and throw the captain overboard. In order to be logical, the Opposition should advocate the complete abolition of liquor service in all forms of modern transport. Otherwise, it is liable to be accused of playing the political game a little too hard.
Before I conclude, I wish to refer to an aspect of the bill which the Minister may -care to consider in due course. In the second-reading speech, the Minister stated -
It is envisaged that, where a State has laws relating to the sale of liquor which, in fact, meet the needs of the travelling public, the Commonwealth authority may do no more than require the concessionaire to obtain a State licence and to comply with all its provisions.
I sincerely hope that the Minister does not leave it at that. I hope that the authority that is to be given to concessionaires will require a great deal more to be done by them than merely complying with the State licensing laws. Here again, I refer to the position in Western Australia particularly, because I have had some knowledge of the licensing laws of that State. If, Sir, you go to a railway station in Western Australia where refreshments are served and where the licensee or the concessionaire, as the -case may be, is complying with the requirements of the State licensing tribunal, which has absolute control over all licences, you will find a rather unfortunate state of affairs. Anybody - and I am looking at Senator Tangney now, because she is probably anticipating what I am about to say - who has tried to eat one of our famous railway pies, or who has tried to drink a glass of stale beer at one of our railway refreshment rooms in conditions that are, to say the least, very uncomfortable, will know what I am talking about.
– Has the honorable -senator ever had a Pinjarra pie?
– I have tried to eat many pies on railway stations, but I have never succeeded in chewing, swallowing and digesting a whole pie. Usually, I manage to get about half-way through. But all jokes aside, the standard prescribed by our State licensing court in regard to the licensing of public cafes and restaurants on railway stations is not good enough for air transport. We have to do a lot better than merely prescribe the standards set by State licensing authorities.
In the first place, I think we should eliminate entirely the good old, rather colonial, method of obtaining a drink. If you are a good boxer or wrestler, you have a much better chance of getting served at a State railway refreshment room than if you stand back and let others pass. You have to be rather strong, and your tastes do not need to be very sensitive. I think that the Minister understands exactly what I mean. I hope that, in setting standards for the conduct of airport restaurants, the Minister will do a great deal more than leave the prescription of standards to State licensing tribunals, because I do not think that the standards that are laid down for the railways are good enough for air travel. I commend that thought to the Minister for consideration when authority is being granted in due course.
It is rightly claimed, Sir, that Australia is one of the most air-minded nations in the world. We have a great tradition of safety and of comfort in air travel, and that is something of which we may all be proud. We should pursue the other consequential aspects of air travel, so that all our facilities generally may not be regarded by any one as being below the best standards to be found anywhere in the world. As an air-conscious nation, those are the lowest possible standards at which we should aim. I am quite prepared to admit, after hearing the remarks of the Leader of the Opposition, that we aTe also a most alcoholconscious nation. I suggest that our ideas about alcohol have to be very much changed before we can provide the standard of service which travellers in other parts of the world consider normal service. Some people in Australia have the peculiar idea that there is something wrong, something sinister, in going into a hotel and having a drink. That peculiar type of thought still lingers in the minds of some Australians. That is a very unfortunate aspect of alcohol, and an attempt is being made to have it creep into this bill at a time when there is no room for it. I do not think anybody is going to get drunk in a bar on an aerodrome and do the terrible things that the Leader of the Opposition claimed might be done. I believe that when the bars are open they will be used by the travelling public for the purposes for which they are intended; that is, for the provision of refreshment for a section of the community that is entitled to it, a service that is taken as a matter of course in the rest of the world. 1 have great pleasure in supporting the bill and in opposing the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition.
– This is not a very important bill. To me it is just another machinery measure to improve facilities at airports. Now, however, a controversy has arisen over the measure and, therefore, I wish to put my point of view on the contentious subject that has been raised by the Opposition. First, 1 wish to say that no principle is at stake in the proposal to grant liquor licences at aerodromes. If there is a principle at stake it is that of a person’s attitude towards the consumption of liquor - whether he favours it or opposes it - but, as I have said, that principle is not at stake in this bill. I believe that it is time that facilities at airports in Australia were improved for the benefit of the travelling public, and this bill will do something to initiate the granting of additional facilities there. At the present time many Australian airports are barren places, but the provision of the amenities proposed in this measure will make them better places to accommodate travellers while waiting for their ‘planes. As honorable senators know, there is often considerable waiting time between the arrival and departure of ‘planes when persons are travelling from one State to another. We can take, for example, the waiting time at the Melbourne airport. Most air travellers board a ‘bus at the aerodrome and go into Melbourne for, as they say, “ a couple of beers “, and then return to the aerodrome on the next ‘bus.
– They will not do that now with a charge of 5s. each way.
– That would not apply to politicians. Most travellers will remain at the airport.
When the bill was first introduced the most contentious question it contained was whether its provisions would supersede the licensing laws of the States. As this Senate is the custodian of the rights of the States, any interference with State laws could have caused dissention here, but as the Minister has seen fit to delete the provisions that could have been objected to on that ground, and as the licensing laws of the States will apply, we have now no further argument with him on that point. The contentious clause now is that dealing with the supply of liquor. Throughout Australia motels are being built in considerable numbers, and State governments, whether Liberal or Labour, are granting licences for the sale of liquor at such places. Governments regard the availability of liquor at motels as merely the provision of another amenity. In my opinion, there is more danger to be feared from the granting of licences for the sale of liquor to motels than if similar licences were granted at airports. As Senator Vincent said, the various State railways have bars on platforms where liquor is sold.
The Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) said that he would not object to the bill or to the granting of licences at aerodromes if the control was vested in the Department of Civil Aviation, but I point out that, so far as State railways are concerned, State governments, regardless of their political colour, do not bother about retaining the licences in their own hands. In Tasmania, at least, licences are granted to private persons. If that is satisfactory in connexion with railways, there is no reason why similar action should not be taken in connexion with airports. The provision of liquor at the Perth airport in Western Australia is an outstanding example of a benefit being conferred on the travelling public and travellers from the eastern States appreciate the fact that they can obtain liquor there.
– Only at the international terminal.
– All passengers at the Perth airport seem to be international visitors. I, as a Tasmanian, would beaccepted as an international traveller. Over the years it has been proved a quitesatisfactory arrangement, and has been carried out successfully without any danger to the travelling public or to the employees at the airport. If this system can be carried out successfully in Western Australia, there is no reason why similar facilities should not be provided in the other States. I assume that the airports whichwill enjoy these facilities will be mainly those at capital cities, because 1 cannot imagine a licence to sell liquor being granted to the smaller airports. In any case, I do not think there would be any one there willing to accept a licence because the trade would be very restricted. For the reasons that I have given, I cannot see any reason why the amendment of Senator McKenna should be supported. I think the Minister and his department are doing something through this legislation to improve facilities at Australian airports, and so I have pleasure in supporting the bill and voting against the amendment.
– I support the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna), and in doing so I point out that it in no way cuts across the other facilities provided for in the bill and available at airports. The amendment merely deals with the question of the sale of liquor at airports. I listened attentively to Senator Vincent and, in my opinion, he, on several occasions, distorted and misrepresented the remarks of Senator McKenna.
I now propose to make some remarks on the speech of the Minister in charge of the bill. One point that struck me was his reference to the £7,000,000 gap that exists between the revenue and the expenditure of the airlines, and the degree to which the sale of liquor at airports could be expected to reduce the loss, or even cause it to disappear. I do not think that the sale of liquor at airports will make much impact on that £7,000,000. We must take into consideration in this connexion the number and the type of people who will be eligible to enjoy these facilities, if they are provided. In reading the bill I can come to no other conclusion than that the only people who would be entitled to enjoy such facilities would be persons actually travelling on the airlines. They would not be sufficient to reduce appreciably the losses involved in such undertakings. I direct the attention of the Senate to sub-clause (4.) of clause 9, which reads -
An authority under this act shall contain such terms and conditions as the Minister thinks necessary for the purpose of preventing the sale or supply of goods or services, in pursuance of the authority, to persons resorting to the airport solely or principally for the purpose of purchasing or obtaining goods or services at times outside the days and hours of trading or business . . .
I wonder how this provision would be policed. The Minister might give us some information on this matter. It is an important question. All sorts of people, and not only people who are travelling, go to airports. On occasion people go to see the departure of a mother, father or some other relative. They are in the airport terminal sometimes for some considerable time until the aircraft leaves. Would they be entitled to avail themselves of this facility?
– If such, is the case, seeing people off at airports might become a somewhat inviting prospect at certain times when liquor was not available at other places in the locality.
– Under the bill, liquor bars at airports will not be open when bars in the town are not open. Do not misrepresent the bill.
– I am not misrepresenting anything. I asked a question and now the Minister has answered it. I do not want to misrepresent anything. There has been enough misrepresentation in the speech of the Minister’s colleague, Senator Vincent, who distorted some of the remarks made by Senator McKenna. I do not want to follow his example. I was saying that it was impossible to make any big impact on the £7,000,000 gap by selling liquor at airports. I was interested to hear some of Senator Vincent’s remarks. He referred to the powers of the Minister. Senator McKenna stressed that the Minister already had adequate powers to put into effect the various proposals contained in the bill. Senator Vincent conceded that such power did reside in the Minister. He said that the Minister, by introducing this bill, was seeking to restrict his own power. I do not look at it in that way. I think anybody who looks at the matter reasonably will come to the conclusion that the Minister was doing nothing of the sort. The Minister is trying, by introducing this bill, to share some of his responsibility in relation to the powers he undoubtedly possesses. He is not proposing to restrict his powers. He is saying to the Senate, and to the Parliament in general, “ This measure may be unpopular and have no public appeal. Therefore, in exercising these powers, I want the members of the Senate and of another place to lake some of the responsibility from my shoulders. “
I do not accept the viewpoint advanced by Senator Vincent. Senator Vincent said that the Opposition - that is, the Australian Labour Party - was stampeded or influenced in some way and was seeking to make political capital out of the attitudes and views of narrow-minded people in the community. I reject that claim completely, and I am rather interested to note that the Minister said -
The provisions of the bill relating to the sale of intoxicating liquor have been revised very substantially in order to meet the point of view of various organizations which have made representations on the matter to the fullest extent consistent with the Commonwealth’s constitutional position.
The organizations referred to are undoubtedly not government bodies but are composed of people who have some objection to the sale of liquor at airports. If Senator Vincent wants to refer to such people as a narrow-minded section of the community, that is his responsibility, but at least it must be conceded that the Minister obviously does not consider these organizations as being composed of narrowminded people, because already he has given, in part at least, some heed to the propositions they have put forward and some consideration to the protests they have made. Yet his colleague, Senator Vincent, said that the members of the Opposition were on the one hand stampeded, and on the other seeking to make political capital by supporting the views of narrow-minded people in the community. I think Senator Vincent should have named the organizations to which he Was referring. I think it was very poor form on his part for him to criticize people in that way simply because they held strong views on certain matters.
Now we come to the rather important question of safety. In this respect, Senator McKenna’s remarks were misrepresented by Senator Vincent. We all know that people can arrive at airports in various stages of intoxication. If no liquor is available at the terminal, at least a period of time elapses before they board an aircraft, during which they cannot consume liquor. As a result, their degree of intoxication may decrease and they may be more amenable when they board the aircraft. It may be true that no accident has ever been caused on an aircraft as a result of intoxication. I cannot speak with authority on this matter. An accident may have happened overseas as a result of violent action on the part of a passenger who was suffering from the effects of intoxication. To say that it has not happened is not to say that it cannot happen. We should give every consideration to the question of preventing it from happening. I think Senator Wright asked what a drunken passenger could do that would in any way endanger the operation of an aircraft in flight. That is a fair question. I recall, still vividly, a flight I made between Canberra and Melbourne. On the aircraft were three or four people who were - to use a term we all understand - completely blotto. Quite a number of other people were on the aircraft. It was one of those flights on which everything went wrong. The weather was shocking. A terrific gale was blowing. The pilot had to go many miles off course, and we were considerably overdue at Essendon. In the minds of everybody on the aircraft, including myself - because we are all human - was the thought that something could happen.
– A couple of beers would cheer you up in those circumstances.
– I do not know. It is said that intoxicating liquor has various effects. It can depress on the one hand, or make a person more confident or happier on the other. It all depends on one’s psychological make-up. I do not intend to go into a discourse on matters about which I know little. The point I make is that this was a real happening. The incident is of some interest and is germane to the position we are discussing to-day. One of these passengers did get out of hand and became hysterical. I do not believe that that would have happened had he been sober. I think it was simply because of the amount of liquor that he had consumed. He told the hostess that the aircraft was going to crash, that he had been in the Air Force during the war and knew that the aircraft did not have enough petrol to get to Melbourne. He said, “ If we do not land at Mangalore, we are all as good as dead now “. Looking back on the incident now, it might seem humorous, but the important thing is that such a happening could transmit to people who are not accustomed to air travel a feeling of real terror. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that in circumstances such as that people could go berserk and the consequences could be disastrous. These things can and do happen, and we should do nothing which might tend to bring them about.
When Senator Vincent spoke of his tour on the Western Australian railways, much was said about liquor on trains and ships. 1 admit that liquor may be obtained on trains in certain circumstances, but on aeroplanes it is impossible to avoid embarrassment from the unpleasant behaviour of persons under the influence of liquor. On a ship one may move to another deck, or to some other spot; on a train, one may move down the corridor, but on a plane the corridor is only about 40 feet long and it is most difficult to escape the unpleasantness of a passenger under the influence of liquor.
We believe that the question is not whether one is for or against drink; the important question is whether the interests of safety and the comfort of users of this form of transport are better preserved by providing facilities for the sale of liquor at airports. To consider this proposal in the light of whether one drinks occasionally, whether one is a teetotaller or whether one is an alcoholic is to ignore completely the t eal issue.
The Minister has gone to great pains in discussing clause 9, which deals with the sale of liquor. Indeed, he has had more to say about that provision than any other part of the bill, despite the fact that the measure contains many excellent suggestions for improving service to air passengers. We all know that the amenities at airports in Australia at present could and should be vastly improved, and the Opposition has no desire to place any obstacle in the way of giving the travelling public better amenities and more facilities. But we cannot see that the proposal contained in clause 9 will do anything to improve the service or comfort of passengers. On the contrary, we believe that no inconvenience will be caused by retaining the present arrangement. It is only on the rarest of occasions that a passenger is required to wait for more than an hour at an air terminal. Surely it is not suggested that members of the travelling public are so anxious to get to the bar for a drink of beer, whisky or anything else that it is unreasonable to expect them to wait an hour at the longest for a plane without facilities for obtaining intoxicating liquor. How many members of the Senate, who travel extensively by air, will be inconvenienced by the acceptance of the amendment proposed by Senator McKenna? I hesitate to believe that any honorable senator has been so desperate for a drink during the half-hour or hour that he has had to wait at an airport that he really believes the proposal contained in the bill is of major importance.
We have been asked why this facility should not be provided for the travelling public. Senator McKenna put the position quite clearly when he said that most people who travel by air usually get to the airport at the latest possible moment because nobody likes sitting about unnecessarily. Again, immediately the plane drops down, the impelling thought of most people is to get from the airport to their homes as quickly as possible.
That being so, I believe that the only people who might be affected by the Government’s proposal are those who, having travelled from one State to another, are required to wait at the airport for perhaps half an hour or an hour for another plane to move on to a third State. Such people can do one of two things. They can either take the bus to the city - and most of them do - or they can wait at the airport.
– But if the plane is delayed, one might have to wait for any length of time without being able to leave the airport.
– On most occasions when there is a delay, such as when repairs have to be effected to the aircraft, an anouncement is made, and waiting passengers are given some indication of how long it will be before the aircraft is ready to take the air. My point is that the number of people to whom this so-called amenity could be important would be microscopic.
Again, it is reasonable to argue that those who would seek to avail themselves of this facility would have already partaken of liquor before arriving at the airport and, by agreeing to the Government’s proposal, we are giving such people greater opportunity to make nuisances of themselves, as does happen sometimes. I am reminded, too, that in some States the facility would not be available after 6 p.m. in any case, because the Minister has said that the conditions governing the provision of liquor at airports will conform as near as possible to the State laws. For instance, at Adelaide and Melbourne where closing time for the sale of liquor is 6 p.m., air passengers can forget about having a drink at the airport. So that there is a general whittling down of the number who will benefit from this so-called amenity, and further weight is added to our argument that the travelling public will not be inconvenienced if the Government accepts Senator McKenna’s proposed amendment. When we consider the comparatively small numbers who will benefit, it cannot be denied that the proposal is insignificant when compared with such important factors as the safety of the travelling public, the comfort of mothers with children and the general enjoyment of the flight. When we take those factors into consideration, justification for the proposal disappears completely.
T have much pleasure in supporting the amendment proposed by Senator McKenna, and I hope that those honorable senators who speak to it will consider the major points rather than be guided by whether we are for or against liquor.
– I listened with great interest to what Senator Toohey said. Fancy the Labour Party endeavouring to stop people from coming to Australia! The very purpose of the measure is to encourage visitors to this country. Australia is the only country in the world where liquor facilities are not provided at airports. If a person travelled around the world by air - as some of us want to do - he would find that at the airports at Fiji, Honolulu, San Francisco, New York, London, Rome, Athens, Karachi, Bangkok, Singapore, Djakarta and Darwin there are liquor facilities. The only major airport abroad that he would visit on a round-the-world trip at which no liquor facilities are available is Calcutta. As we know, there are no liquor facilities at Sydney airport or at Melbourne airport, but at the Darwin airport, liquor is pro vided on a company basis by Qantas Empire Airways Limited. Now the Labour Party comes forward and says that, as at the Calcutta airport, liquor should not be available at the major Australian airports.
– What is wrong with that?
– I am saying that the outlook of the Labour Party is fifty years behind the times. The Labour Party, which has claimed that it expresses the thoughts of the majority of the people of Australia, has come forward with this trash - this suggestion that liquor should not be available at our airports. Do you know that last year some 71,000 persons from overseas visited Australia?
– That is against your argument that if liquor is not available at airports, visitors from overseas will be discouraged.
– I am going to tell my story in my own way.
– What a story it is!
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Pearson). - Senator Brown, order, please!
– I intend to tell my story m my own way. At the present time, because there are more Australians going overseas than there are tourists coming here, Australia is losing £20,000,000 a year, on balance, on the tourist trade.
– But the Minister stops people from travelling here in charter planes.
– That is a stupid assertion. The Minister is not trying to stop people from coming to Australia; he is trying to encourage them to visit this country. We want to provide facilities at our major airports so that visitors from overseas will enjoy their stay in Australia. As matters are at present, when visitors to Australia arrive after a long flight from overseas, they cannot obtain a drink at the airport.
– They can get plenty.
– Senator Brown is only saying that to try to create a good impression in the minds of people who may intend to visit Australia. But what will those people think when they arrive at Sydney, Melbourne or Adelaide and find that they cannot get a drink, when, apart from Calcutta, they were able to obtain a drink at every international airport they visited?
– What is wrong with tea?’
– Senator Cameron says that we could give them a cup of tea. That is all right, but some of the visitors might prefer a nip of Scotch or a glass of beer. If people are willing to pay £300 or £400’ to come to Australia by air, why should we prohibit them from obtaining a drink at the airport when they arrive in our territory? That is the purpose of the amendment that has been moved by the Opposition. The Labour Party is saying to potential visitors to this country, “We want you to come to Australia, but we will not provide facilities for you to get a drink when. you. arrive here “. What an utterly ridiculous situation. This is the most stupid amendment that I have ever seen proposed in this chamber, and I sincerely hope that the Labour Party will withdraw it.
– There is no hope of that happening.
– I do not suppose there is. The people will be disappointed when they hear what you are doing.
– Why should we withdraw it?
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - Order! Senator Brown, I warn you again.
– I shall be very careful, Mr. Acting Deputy President, as I do not want to be thrown out.
The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - Order!
– I will go out anyhow, because I cannot stand the stupid utterances of the honorable senator. I will leave you in peace, Sir.
– I am sorry that this has occurred, Sir. I did not want to annoy Senator Brown too much. Evidently he realizes the stupidity of the approach of the Labour Party to this matter.
As I said before, apart from India, Australia is probably the only nation in the world that does not provide liquor facilities at all its major airports. At present we have a deficit of some £20,000,000 in relation to the tourist trade-. Therefore, surely the desire, of the Government to encourage more- people to; visit Australia, so- that we may derive, additional revenue from the tourist trade, is worthy. First, we- should provide at- our airports the amenities to which people are accustomed overseas. Apart from providing liquor facilities, we wish to provide many other amenities at our airports. I understand that the only aspect that is opposed by Labour is. the proposed provision of liquor facilities, at airports. As the Minister pointed out in his second-reading speech, facilities that have been successfully provided at overseas airports include advertising, baggage rooms and lockers, banks, barber shops and beauty parlours. If these and other facilities were provided at our major airports,, they would be availed of by travellers, particularly visitors from overseas. Doubtless, the provision of these facilities would not pass unnoticed- by travellers from othercountries.
– We- are- not opposing, the provision of the- facilities you mention.
– I know that. Honorable senators opposite are opposing the intended provision of liquor facilities at our airports in the hope that they will attract a few votes at the next election. Personally, I think that they will lose votes, as a result of what they are doing now. The Minister stated in his second-reading speech that the annual cost of maintaining and operating Commonwealth aerodromes, and related facilities exceeds £9,000,000. By establishing the facilities I have mentioned, we hope to obtain revenue, which will increase with the passage of years, to offset- the operating expenses. The Minister stated -
In overseas countries, revenue is derived from concessions granted at airports. This offsets the expenditure on the upkeep of the airport facilities. Let us have a look at the position at important air terminals overseas. At San Francisco airport, the total expense incurred in providing airport facilities in 1955 was 1,344,000 dollars; the total revenue received from concessions and licences was 2,495,000 dollars. The profit earned was 1,151,000 dollars. At Milwaukee airport, in 1955 the total expenses were 360,000 dollars and the total revenue, 300,000. In that instance, a loss of 60,000 dollars was incurred. That was not bad. In the case of the Indianapolis airport, in the year 1957, the expenses amounted to 377,000 dollars and the revenue to 656,400 dollars, showing a profit of 279,400 dollars. I shall quote only a few of them. 1 could mention many others that are showing a profit from the revenue received from the lease of airport facilities. Why cannot we do that in Australia? The Labour Party in effect says that the Government can do anything it likes as long as it does not sell any beer. The only reason for that attitude is that the Opposition thinks that there may be a few votes in this.
When honorable senators opposite consider the drink question as a whole, they must realize how ridiculous their suggestion is, because drink is sold on aeroplanes now if a person wants it. The Labour Party is not opposing that. Is any member of the Labour Party prepared to say that that should not be done?
– The sale of liquor on aircraft is controlled very well.
– No better than the sale of drink at airports could be controlled. The sale would come under State laws and the State police would supervise it. I do not think any honorable senator can cite one occasion where drink has caused an aircraft accident, particularly in Australia. A lot of rot was spoken by the Leader of the Opposition and by Senator Toohey about the frustration that could be caused in an aircraft by a drunken passenger, lt was suggested that he could get control of an aircraft. How ridiculous! If there are 40 to 50 passengers on an aircraft, do you think they would allow a drunk to get into the cockpit? If I was a passenger on an aircraft, a drunk would not get anywhere near the cockpit. I am also sure he would not if Senator Courtice were a passenger. How often do you see people under the influence of liquor on an aircraft? Very seldom indeed.
I have travelled as much as any other honorable senator and I have very seldom seen any one under the influence of liquor in an aeroplane. Such persons generally sleep out the trip and do not create a disturbance. I do not think I have ever seen any one on an aircraft under the influence of liquor create a disturbance. Why should not a person travelling to Australia, who arrives at the Perth airport probably at 8 or 9 o’clock in the morning and has to wait there for three or four hours, go into a bar and have a drink, as he does at the present time. Why should he not be able to do that in Melbourne or Sydney? He can enjoy that facility in any other airport in the world, but when he comes to Melbourne or Sydney he must not have a drink, but just hang around. On many occasions a person may be very anxious to have a drink. His friends may be meeting him and he may want to have a drink with them. He may not have seen them for 20 or 30 years.
– He probably wants to get away from the aerodrome as quickly as possible.
– He may be just meeting friends at the airport and going on further, and he may desire to have a drink with his friends before he does so. Labour’s attitude is that he should not be allowed to do so, but I am pleased that the Minister is going to provide these liquor facilities at airports in Australia.
I am also pleased that the Minister has done his utmost to please those people who have raised the objection that the provision of such facilities would interfere with State rights. I believe that under the Constitution the Commonwealth has power on its own property to do what it likes; but the Minister has stated that he will comply with State laws relating to the sale of liquor. For instance, in Melbourne I understand the closing time is 6 o’clock. If a bar is provided at the Melbourne airport after this measure has been passed, it will be closed at 6 o’clock. Of course, I would think that a considerable amount of pressure will be brought by the travelling public on the State governments to see that facilities are provided at the various airports so that ample provision can be made for overseas travellers to obtain liquor refreshments if they so desire.
I do not wish to say very much more, but I should like to refer to a questionnaire and give the Senate an analysis of the answers that were received. It took me quite some time to prepare this questionnaire, but I did so because I am very interested in this subject. Some 57 per cent, of the people who were questioned wanted cocktail lounges provided at airports.
– Who conducted the questionnaire?
– I conducted a part of it and someone else did the rest of it. Sixty-four per cent, of the people questioned favoured the provision of observation decks, 69 per cent, quick service buffets and 57 per cent, cocktail bars. It will be seen that the people of Australia require these facilities and are anxious to have them. 1 believe, therefore, that the Labour Party is taking a backward step in moving its amendment. As I said previously, if we want people who come to Australia to give a good report on Australian conditions, these facilities will have to be provided. As a nation we must encourage overseas visitors to come here if we are to overcome the deficit of some £20,000,000 a year in our tourist trade. We want people with money to come here and spend it in Australia. Those who come by aircraft will not give Australia a good report if our airports do not provide facilities that are available in other parts of the world. I repeat that I should like an Opposition speaker to tell me the number of countries that do not provide these facilities. I think he would be hard put to name more than two or three throughout the world. The Labour Party is anxious to put Australia in the same position as those countries that are not prepared to provide these facilities. As a growing nation we should do everything in our power to encourage more people to come to Australia. And when they come, we should provide the right conditions for them so that when they go back to their own people they will give a good report of what they have seen in Australia. They will be able to report that they have enjoyed themselves at our airports and have been able to have a drink as they passed through. They will thus encourage their friends to come and see us. I oppose the amendment.
– Senator Scott’s submission, though most interesting, contained a flaw, in that liquor is already available at the international air terminal in Perth. Legislation such as this is not necessary to enable us to provide liquor facilities in Australia for international air travellers. The Government has the power to provide liquor facilities. It has done so at Perth, and it can extend its application of that power. One has to look behind the measure to find out its real intention. The Government’s argument is that the measure is necessary so that international air travellers can enjoy in Australia facilities comparable with those that they enjoy in other countries. That, of course, is decidedly untrue. The Government has, in certain circumstances, made available facilities which are quite adequate and satisfactory.
– Are they available in Melbourne and Sydney?
– They are certainly available in Perth.
– But Melbourne and Sydney have not got them.
– There is nothing to prevent the Government - with all the power that it possesses - from providing similar facilities in those places also. Recently, when I left this country by air, liquor facilities were certainly available at the aerodrome. I do not know whether they were put on specially for my benefit.
– You were a V.I.P.
– I was B.O.A.C. Some honorable senators have risen, in high dudgeon, to insist that adequate liquor facilities be provided for overseas travellers. They have tried to create the impression that one of the main needs of the tourist is the ability to have a beer when he comes off the plane. Failure to provide such a facility would certainly not prevent tourists from coming to Australia. Even if it did, the Government would not need a bill such as this to remedy the position. I have no doubt that the Government studied the matter closely before bringing down the bill, but its thinking was directed to the economic exploitation of the property which it has taken over for the purposes of civil aviation. Its purpose is to turn into a commercial proposition the property it has acquired in the process of extending the air transport system of this country. [ have no doubt that people will continue to visit hotels and eat dinners given to them by their friends before they leave the country, but such a service is the prerogative of hotel-keepers. Their aim is to provide all the needs of our tourists. Whether they do so adequately or not is another matter. The proposals set out in the bill touch activities that are a source of revenue to the hotel-keeper. Moreover, I remind honorable senators that overseas visitors are not going to stay at aerodromes for longer than they can help. They will look to the better-class hotels to provide all the facilities that they need. It could only be a matter of an hour at most - and often only a few minutes - before such a traveller would reach his hotel, where refreshment and food of the kind described by Government supporters would be readily available.
In short, the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Paltridge) is out to collect revenue to offset the expenditure involved in the maintenance and operation of aerodromes. The gross expenditure last year on the provision of airport facilities was £9,000,000, and the net expenditure was £7,000,000 If the Government tries to offset that expenditure in this way, our airports will become highly commercialized, and the concessionaires will be placed in a distinctly privileged position. Regardless of what the Minister may say about the bill, if such a distinctly privileged position were not desired, regulations could be issued to provide for the facilities which we all, to a certain degree, accept as necessary. They should be provided, and can be provided. The Minister quoted from the recommendation of the United Kingdom Select Committee on Estimates, 1955-56, concerning ground services at airports. It was that more urgent measures should be taken by the Minister to develop amenities and concessions at airports. I should like to know the general consensus of opinion as to what is meant by “ concessions “ in this context. The concessions in air travel that the nation has enjoyed have been sliced away - not slowly or progressively, but very quickly - during the last six months. Previously we enjoyed air travel facilities and amenities that were superior to those of other countries. When attention is drawn now to the poor quality of the meal that is served, and complaints are made about the decision to deny passengers free transport to the airport, it is promptly said that services comparable with those of the French airways cannot be expected. On French aircraft, one is served with a small liqueur, or with hors d’oeuvres, before a meal. A stand different from that which is taken now was taken when the standard of our air services was being lowered. The lowest common denominator was regarded as being good enough then. We were told that the standard of service must be cut down - that the meal should be of lesser quality. Where was there then any attempt to serve the public or to grant concessions? The policy was to reduce concessions. The justification given was larger profits by both the airlines - one of which is under the guidance and close control of the Government.
I ask the Minister what concessions are proposed? He has told us that they will conform with the requirements of State laws, and has gone to quite a good deal of trouble to explain what is intended. I doubt whether there is any great demand from intra-state or interstate travellers for drinking facilities at airports. Clause 6 provides - (1.) The Minister may, on behalf of the Commonwealth -
The land in question has been acquired from State residents for Commonwealth purposes - for civil aviation. It is selected and desirable land. The Government’s argument, stripped of all its garnishings. is not that there is a public demand by intra-state and interstate travellers for liquor at airports, but that £7,000,000must be found somewhere, either through more economical administration, or by the selling of concessions. Those concessions will be much sought after, and will give an advantage to those possessing them in regard to the sale of liquor and other commodities, because they will not be subject to State laws. lt will be very difficult to provide reasonable conditions for employees at aerodromes. But leaving aside the question of liquor, I point out that on two occasions recently I have arrived at Melbourne airport at about 5 o’clock in the morning to find the restaurant closed. Nobody has been working there. A poor woman whose task it is to clean the place up has done her best to provide service for the people clamouring at the counters, but she could not do all that was required to be done. The refreshment room was not open. What law controls that position? It is not the Factories and Shops Act. In fact, there is no industrial law that is applicable. We should be careful about such matters, particularly if they involve the sale of liquor.
Of course, the aim of the legislation is not to provide a service for the travelling public. The Minister, in his second-reading speech, made in plain that concessions are to be given to privileged people.
– What is wrong with that?
– If the honorable senator were the licensee of an hotel adjacent to an aerodrome, complying with State laws and conditions, giving his employees time off, and so on, who found that 4,000 potential clients were being taken away, he would know what I mean. A privilege is to be given to certain people. An attempt is being made to justify the bill by claiming that it proposes to provide facilities for the Australian travelling public. That is wrong. That is a lie. The justification for it lies in the fact that there are, at an aerodrome, perhaps 4,000 employees whose custom will provide a source of revenue.
Let us examine the matter a little further. We are not concerned only with the question of whether or not drink should be provided. The point is that, as the Minister stated, the Government hopes to earn £9,000,000 from the granting of these concessions to private individuals. The Minister expects £4,500,000 to come to the Commonwealth in rents alone, leaving out of consideration the profit that must inevitably be made from the sale of commodities. I suggest that there is a vast difference between the conditions on trains and ships, and those on aeroplanes. I worked on the railways for a long time, and I know that many people are charged with the offence of being drunk on trains. They may not always have obtained the drink at railway refreshment rooms. People who object to the conduct of a passenger may have the train stopped and have the objectionable person removed. On trains, there are compartments specially set aside for women and children. Similar provision is made on ships. We know that about 95 per cent, of the public space on board ship is set aside for the use of men, women and children who want to enjoy their travel without liquor, or without interference from people who drink. About 5 per cent, of the accommodation is reserved for people who want to drink liquor. Men and women may drink together, if they wish, but if children come along, they are sent away. The position is vastly different on an aircraft. As we know, all air travellers have to go to the air terminal. What is to be done with a passenger who becomes drunk and offensive on board an aircraft? He cannot be parachuted from the aircraft. What is to be done if a man gets inebriated on airport premises, then becomes ill as a result of it, and is offensive to women and children. I suggest that nothing can be done. It may not even be possible to remonstrate with him, because he could say, “ You provided the facilities and encouraged me to do it “.
The expected revenue of £9,000,000 a year is not going to be made from the man who has an occasional drink at an airport. I am sure that the Minister has had enough experience in hotel management to know that if money is to be made out of drink a considerable quantity has to be sold. No doubt people will entertain their friends at airports. There would need to be a considerable sale of liquor to justify the provision of liquor service and to give the desired return on interstate and intra-state air travel.
– But lots of other things are being provided, besides liquor.
– We say that if the Government wants to improve facilities for the travelling public, it should forget about the provision of liquor and provide other services.
– But the people are getting all services.
– As a matter of fact, they are not. For instance, I point out to the honorable senator that there are no facilities at airports for children to be cared for. Air travellers, particularly women, want better amenities than those provided at the present time. They want something more than the bars, cocktail lounges and other drinking facilities that the bill envisages. As we know, provision is not made on aircraft for meals for people who do not eat bread, butter, or certain other foods. Such people have to take their meals with them. Is not the provision of suitable meals one of the first essentials of good air transport? I know that, once an aircraft is airborne, passengers may obtain drinks. An aircraft is in the same position as a ship, in that it is under the control of the captain. If the captain of an aircraft says to the hostess, “ That passenger is inebriated. He should not have any more drink”, the passenger is not served with more drink.
– The honorable senator does not object to the service of drinks on aircraft, does he?
– Certainly I do, if it is abused. If an inebriated passenger enters an aircraft and the attention of the captain is directed to his condition, the captain should eject him. and I have no doubt that that would be done.
– That is done.
– It has been done. The point I am making is that we should not encourage people to enter aircraft in such a condition. The Minister has put another premise altogether.
The argument of the Opposition is that this bill represents an attempt by the Government to give a special kind of privilege to enable certain people to sell liquor at airports. We think that the bill is not designed to improve conditions for the travelling public generally, nor is it designed ot improve safety in air transport. A host of other things in relation to air transport need to be done before additional provision is made for the sale of liquor.
Sitting suspended from 5.45 to 8 p.m.
– Before the suspension, I had placed before the Senate certain views of the Labour Opposition which has moved an amendment to the motion for the second reading of the bill in these terms-
Leave out all words after “ bill “, insert “ be withdrawn and redrafted to omit provisions authorizing the supply of intoxicating liquor at airports.”
We know that international air travellers have this amenity at Perth and various other places. Therefore, the argument that liquor should be available to international air travellers has no relation to this bill. If concessions are available to people who want to exploit the Commonwealth’s peculiar, protected position as the custodian of air services in Australia, and if excessive prices are charged, a good job will not be done either for the air services or for the travelling public,
The Minister said that the safety of aircraft would not be prejudiced, but he said also that 4,000 employees connected with the aerodrome at Melbourne would provide a good economic basis for these concessions. We do not want to see our safety record blemished. Nobody can convince me or other members of the Opposition that if 4,000 employees at the aerodrome have facilities available for obtaining liquor at any time, the efficiency and safety of our air services will not be impaired. It would be very wrong to say that pilots were not responsible persons or that air crew were not under strict surveillance before they boarded an aircraft. The 4,000 employees around the airport who, according to the Minister, would form an economic basis of trade on premises licensed to sell liquor at the airport have to attend to very important matters. They include technicians, fire fighters, and other members of the ground staff. They contribute in their various ways to the safety of Australian air services, which is unparalleled in the world. They should not be encouraged to drink on the premises in which they work.
People should not be encouraged to go to the airport for the mere purpose of drinking. Travellers can obtain drink on aircraft. If they arrive at the airport in an inebriated state they may be told that they will be obnoxious on an aircraft and they may be asked not to board it or restrained from doing so. If they become obstreperous, they can be dealt with. What is the position of people who arrive at an airport before the appointed time and become inebriated as a result of a liquor service that is established on the recommendation of the Minister for Civil Aviation?
– They will be refused permission to board the aircraft.
– After having been encouraged out there to drink? A man who rushes to the aerodrome, has a quick drink, and boards an aircraft, will be all right, but he will not be of much assistance in bridging the gap of £7,000,000 between income and expenditure. The Minister evidently proposes that these concessions will be leased on an economic basis. Apparently he will see that a high premium is paid for the privilege of competing with hotels for the custom of travellers. Persons who pay high premiums for this privilege will not be satisfied by a man who merely has a couple of drinks before boarding an aircraft. Obviously, if the concessions are to be economically successful, someody has to spend time and money on the premises drinking. How can Government supporters convince themselves otherwise.
– You are not convincing me.
– I can only tell the honorable senator; I cannot make him understand. If these enterprises are to be economically successful somebody I repeat, has to spend time and money drinking, quite apart from the casual intra-state and interstate traveller.
– This proposal is designed to give service to the travelling public.
– That is absolutely in conflict with the strong and forceful arguments advanced recently in relation to airline rates and charges. The Government then said that the high standard of service and facilities given to the travelling public must be broken down, because people in no other country enjoyed a comparative service. What will it be? We will not have air transport arrangements which are of fair average quality, or a little below. We will not have meals and free transport to airports, but will have instead the privilege of obtaining drink at the airport. Is that the balance that the Government wants to strike? Travellers by air are in a different position from travellers by any other form of transport. In railway trains there is a reserved section for women and children which enables them to avoid men who are affected by drink. I have no quarrel with men who drink, but women and children who travel must be protected.
– Would you exclude- ?
– I would exclude you, if I were the President, because you are too stupid to stop interjecting. A person on a train can always go into another carriage to avoid a person who is obnoxious. There are people in the railway service who ensure that an inebriated man does not injure himself or damage railway property. Such a man may be removed from a train, but if he were on an aircraft he could not be put off with a parachute. If a man is objectionable on an aircraft, the women and children sitting near have to suffer him until something can be done about it. There is no comparison in this respect between air transport and any other form of public transport. On a ship, about 5 per cent, of the ship’s amenities are set aside for people who drink, and these people generally carry their liquor like gentlemen. There are lounges and sports deck accommodation for women. They may also go to the library, perhaps, and the children may go to playrooms, but children are not allowed where liquor is sold and consumed. There is no analogy between these conditions and the conditions on aircraft.
The Government will obtain rental from people who are put in the privileged position of being able to trade in liquor and other commodities and services at airports. The Commonwealth is in a special position. It has resumed property ostensibly for the purpose of providing aerodromes, landing grounds and other facilities for air-travel purposes. It cannot improve safety. If drink is to be made available to the ground staff as well as to the travelling public, efficiency must deteriorate to some extent. I do not object to a man having a drink, but there is a time and place for it. I do not think that a man who has a drink is objectionable, but there are some who do. and if they had available to them some means of avoiding such a person, it would be a different matter. For instance, a woman travelling on a train with her children can move away if she wishes. She cannot do that on a plane. I repeat thai the Government is ignoring all the important considerations merely for the purpose of gaining economic advantage out of air transport.
– I rise to support the bill and to oppose the proposed amendment. 1 am very glad that 1 am on the Minister’s side on this occasion, because I should hate to have to depend on such weak arguments as those adduced by the Opposition. I have a very healthy respect for the ability of the Leader of the Opposition in debate, but I do not think the Senate has ever had before it a more pitifully weak case than that presented by the Opposition on this occasion. I deplore the fact that the whole of this debate seems to have centred on only one of the twenty-two amenities which the Minister proposes giving to the travelling public.
– There is no objection to the other amenities.
– I have said that the whole of your objection is directed at one out of twenty-two proposed amenities. Senator McKenna spoke of all the terrible things that would happen if facilities for obtaining liquor were provided at airports. I remind him that there is nothing to prevent any prospective traveller from doing at a nearby hotel exactly what Senator McKenna says would happen at an airport. Such a person could hurry straight from the hotel on to the plane, and I can see no difference between that and his having a drink at the airport.
Senator McKenna also referred to the staff. We have a bar at the airport in Western Australia, and the rules applicable to it are very strict. Members of the staff are not permitted to drink at that bar when on duty. We have been asked who other than travellers would be drinking at the bar. The rules governing the one airport bar that I know state that a person must be a traveller. They also provide that the person managing the concession may ask for presentation of a ticket for a flight current for the particular day on which the drink is sought. I have heard people being asked to present their tickets. I have also heard guests of the traveller asked if they could identify the traveller with whom they were attending the bar. I am sure Senator Cooke knows that this happens at the bar at the Perth airport.
– What about the 4,000 employees at Melbourne whom the Minister mentioned?
– I shall come to that. I really want to have a go at you on that one. I should have thought that the Opposition would have produced some evidence to support its case. I expected to hear evidence of unseemly conduct that has occurred as a result of the granting of a licence at Perth. No such evidence has been forthcoming, for the truth is that the bar at Perth has operated successfully for three years. If all the terrible things referred to by the Leader of the Opposition had in fact occurred as a result of the operations of that bar, I suggest it would have been only logical for him to submit evidence of it. That has not been done.
– But we do not know.
– You have been travelling for many years now, and I am sure you would know. Are we the only nation that is in step in providing facilities at airports? Are all the other nations mentioned by Senator Scott out of step? Why, bar facilities at airports are the accepted thing throughout the world.
I come now to the 4,000 workers at Melbourne. I am sure they will be interested to know that Senator Cooke thinks they should not have the facilities that are available to the ordinary person. I emphasize that at the Melbourne airport these employees are a fair distance from the shopping centres. Yet the Opposition argues that they should not have these facilities! Senator Cooke said that we did not want these 4,000 people as customers. The taxpayers of Australia will be interested to learn that the Labour Party is opposed to our proposal to reduce the present £9,000,000 burden upon them.
– You are removing it from direct taxation to indirect taxation.
– The point is that the Minister is making an honest endeavour to relieve the taxpayers of that burden. I think this is an excellent bill, for three reasons. The first is that it reduces the £9,000,000 burden which the taxpayers are asked to bear to-day. Secondly, it provides a very necessary service to the public; thirdly, it has a definite advantage so far as tourism is concerned. During his secondreading speech, the Minister asked whether honorable senators knew what other people throughout the world were doing. In the United States of America, the major airports are becoming virtually self-supporting, and in its report for 1955-56, the United Kingdom Select Committee on Estimates recommended that more urgent measures should be taken by the Minister to develop amenities and concessions at airports. Two of the world’s leading nations agree that this type of facility is necessary. But the Australian Labour Party says it is all wrong!
– But this proposal seeks to take advantage of the travelling public.
– As an example of the advantage of such a facility, 1 point to the Tacoma airport at Seattle. It has a traffic density comparable to that of Sydney or Melbourne and is associated with a city which has a smaller population than that of Sydney or Melbourne. In 1957, the nonaviation revenue of that airport was 79,300 dollars. Its total revenue exceeded total expenses, including the cost of maintenance, by 70,200 dollars. If the Minister “can achieve that for us at Sydney and Melbourne, he will be really doing something. This excellent result at Tacoma was due largely to the fact that the non-aviation revenue of the aerodrome represented 57.5 per cent, of the total revenue. If we could achieve that here, we should be doing very well indeed. Larger airports in the United States such as Los Angeles, reported profits exceeding 2,000,000 dollars. I can only wish our Minister luck. I hope he can achieve something like those figures for us.
I come back to the 4,000 employees at the Melbourne airport. At Perth I think there are about 600 employees at the airport. Not all of the employees at Melbourne could work for 365 days a year but, if they did, they would make a customer potential of 1,500,000 for the year. Add to that the 1,000,000 passengers who would go through the airport, plus the 2,000,000 friends who would go out to see them off and welcome them back, and we have a customer potential of 4,500,000 a year. Those are big figures, and I am confident that the Minister can achieve the very result he is setting out to achieve because these concessions will be valuable. I agree with Senator Cooke that they will be valuable, but I emphasize that they will give valuable service to the travelling public.
The third factor that I think is of great importance is the advantage that the proposed amenities will give to the tourist industry in Australia. I should like to quote from a publication, issued by the United States Department of Commerce, called “ The Tourist Business “. It states -
Its economic impact on the country as a whole, and on many communities in particular, has been terrific. In 1956, the amount of money spent by tourists in the United States was almost twice the retail value of every automobile manufactured.
That is indicative of the potential of the tourist industry. We must try to attract tourists to Australia. This bill suggests one of the methods by which we can develop our facilities to world standard.
– By installing drink bars at airports.
– Not only drink bars. I deplore the fact that some members of this chamber are putting the emphasis on drink. There are 22 other facilities that the Minister intends shall be provided.
– You have said that tourists will not come here because there are no drink bars at our airports.
– I did not say that. I said that the introduction of these 22 kinds of amenities will be a step towards attracting tourists. If any honorable senator wants to place the emphasis on drink, let him say so; I am finished with that subject. I support the bill that has been introduced by the Minister. I was quoting a passage from “ The Tourist Business “ showing the amount of money that was spent by tourists in the United States in 1956. The article continues -
It just about equalled the annual gross sales in recent years of 10 of the nation’s leading corporations.
These are big figures -
Agriculture is one of the major industries in the United States. Yet, in 1956, the tourist business grossed about two-thirds as much as the total cash receipts from all crops, live-stock and other agricultural produce turned out in this country within the same year. Moreover, the trend in the tourist business is up, and if it continues to rise, the tourist business may soon surpass agriculture as a major money-maker.
One of the important aspects of this bill is that it will enable the provision of the type of facilities - despite what has been said about liquor - to which overseas tourists are accustomed, and which they want. I have referred to the position in America. Let me now turn to England. According to the latest figures I have been able to obtain - those for 1955 - the expenditure by British holiday-makers, businessmen and others travelling away from home amounts to £769,000,000 a year. That is equivalent to almost one-half of the amount of money that the Commonwealth Government has to find annually for its purposes. That figure shows clearly that travel represents one of the biggest single items in the national economy of Great Britain, even excluding local or utility type services. It approaches in value the total national spending by individuals on housing. It is larger than the revenue of utility industries supplying power, coal, gas and electricity for personal consumption. In relating this to what the Minister proposes, it is interesting to refer to a report that was furnished by Mr. Wheatcroft, in which this passage occurs -
The airlines may bring about the next great step forward that must take place in the travel world - making long-distance travel a mass commodity.
If we are to be successful in attracting to Australia some of the very large amount of tourist business that is offering, we must improve the standard of our amenities to the standard of the amenities that are available to tourists in other parts of the world. As my friend, Senator Vincent, has said, the amenities provided at airports in Australia still lag far behind the standard of those provided in some of the most backward nations of the world.
I cannot understand why the Labour Party has picked out for criticism the proposal to establish liquor facilities at airports. I should like some one on the Opposition side to tell me what will happen in connexion with the existing licences at Perth, Sydney and Darwin if Labour’s amendment is accepted. Would the licensees be thrown out, or would they continue?
– They will have the same right as they have now. There is no need to have this legislation in order to supply liquor at airports to international travellers.
– The Perth airport is used by interstate travellers as well as international travellers. I still have not heard the answer to my question. Will the existing licensees be wiped, or will they be permitted to carry on? Tell me that.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMuIIin). - Order! The honorable senator will address the chair.
– I am sorry, Mr. President. The Labour Party, in addition to criticizing the proposal to provide liquor facilities at major airports, contends that the fact that it will be possible to buy consumer goods at airports will be detrimental to the local traders. I am not convinced that that would be the position.
I congratulate the Minister on his characteristically businesslike approach to this important matter which will result in a saving of money on behalf of the taxpayers. I feel that the sensible approach that is made to the problem by this bill will result in the standard of the amenities provided at our airports being equal to world standards.
– The Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Paltridge) has clearly set forth his ideas on how the annual expenditure of £9,000,000 on the maintenance of certain services at the airports of the Commonwealth can be offset. I shall examine briefly the economics of the operation of our air terminals and airports to see how this annual expenditure is actually incurred. We know that the total amount of money that has been invested in our aerodromes by the Commonwealth Government is £52,000,000, and that each year it is necessary to make appropriations for additional capital expenditure. If we are to continue to enjoy efficient air services in the Commonwealth, we must continually improve our airports. That is understood.
Let us consider how the existing airport facilities were constructed. We know that the runways at Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and other airports differ. The airport at Darwin eclipses in quality those in the rest of Australia. I had the pleasure, Mr. President, to witness some of the construction work on the runway at Darwin by the Army. In some places, the foundations of that runway are 3 feet deep and in others 4 feet deep. The project was very costly indeed, but I think it is worth every penny that was spent on it, because it was necessary to make preparations for the time when the runway would be used by pure jet aircraft. As the Minister is aware, we shall in future have to incur an expenditure of millions of pounds upon the major airports at Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, so that the pure jets may use those airports.
Turning to airport buildings, we know that they have been proportionately more costly to establish than other buildings in the adjacent cities. Some of the buildings are not first-class. As a matter of fact, no one gets a really good impression when visiting the various airports in the Commonwealth. I have visited Essendon airport on several occasions. Perhaps it was fortunate for me that on each occasion the airport was enshrouded by light fog, or it was raining.
– What is the implication?
– I could not get a good view of the airport, but I believe it is indistinguishable from other airports in the Commonwealth. They are all rather shabby. The airport at Adelaide perhaps differs from other airports. I should say that Adelaide has the best air terminal of all. One gains the impression when visiting Perth that Western Australia is a major mining State or that dairying is carried out throughout its length and breadth. When you land there and look at the air terminal you are immediately reminded of a cowshed or a store room at a mine. Some millions of pounds have been spent on the terminal at Mascot and yet it is not comparable with some of the terminals overseas. When you have a good look at the buildings at Brisbane you think that a group of Eskimos live up there because the buildings are in the shape of igloos. Some one told me that they were constructed in that manner for psychological purposes. Brisbane is said to have a very unpleasant climate in the middle of the summer and when visitors come to Brisbane from overseas and see these igloos they are reminded of Eskimos, mutton birds and seals in the Antarctic region, and immediately feel cool.
Let us see how this £9,000,000 is incurred annually. Only recently we dealt with the Estimates and this sum came up for review. When sums are quoted to me as items of expenditure by the Commonwealth Government, I like on occasions to check to see what they are all about. We find in Division No. 262 - Maintenance and Operation of Civil Aviation Facilities - thai the sum of £6,023,000 has been voted for this year. That is in respect of the maintenance and operation of civil aviation facilities. Some honorable senators may like to have that sum broken up to sec the various items that make up that total. We find that for aerodromes the sum of £2,125,000 is to be spent this year; air route and airway facilities account for £1,975,000, search and rescue services for £85,000, and electric energy for £396,000. There follow various items which total in all the sum of £6,023,000. The present Minister has been in charge of his department for a number of years and if he tells me that that sum is warranted - that every penny of it is required - I would not doubt him for a moment.
I mentioned a while ago the array of premises which may be seen when one visits the various air terminals throughout the Commonwealth. No one is impressed with the sight that confronts him. Yet we have listened to speeches that would make one believe that Australia was embarking upon a tremendous international tourist trade, and that if we do not have up-to-dat= terminals established immediately where liquor can be obtained with the greatest of ease - where in fact the terminals are flowing with champagne or cheap wine - it would not be much use to look for traveller1; from overseas. When speaking of the substandard premises that one sees at these air terminals it is interesting to learn something of the history of them. The present Minister was a member of a committee that investigated this matter, and what I am going to quote to him now will remind him of the investigations that he himself made a few years ago. The Minister was a member of the committee which made this report. I quote -
We were informed that the current statement of policy was drawn up in 1949-
That is the policy relating to facilities on Commonwealth aerodromes. The paragraph I am reading appears under a special heading “ Buildings on Aerodromes “. The report continues -
That was the Menzies Government - and has continued in force since then. The policy is that, on its own airports, the Commonwealth should acquire all buildings, whether they are passenger terminals or hangars. New buildings would be constructed by the Commonwealth and leased to operators. The Director-General explained to us that - “… the original idea was that the Commonwealth would acquire a piece of land and it would lease part of that land to a person who wished to operate an aircraft. He would erect his own building on it. That is why we see a collection of shanties at most of our airports, and I think it is a very poor show so far as Australia is concerned.
Even at this hour in 1959, I endorse those remarks. We still see the shanties. Later in the report we read -
Insofar as buildings on airports are concerned there are three main types of structures, namely-
Structures for the purpose of housing D.C.A. operations and traffic control, and for the maintenance of D.C.A. ‘s own facilities;
Traffic terminals and passenger handling facilities for the various operators;
Structures for housing the engineering stores and freighting activities of the various operators.
I mention these few things so that the Minister will at once understand that there has been expense incurred over the years in establishing the facilities which exist at the airports and air terminals.
What we have to deal with at the moment is the proposal that the Minister has set forth in his second-reading speech - to make good the deficiency of £9,000,000 in revenue. This £9,000,000, according to calculations, has to be spent annually upon the maintenance of aerodromes and air terminals. A while ago two speakers from the Government side told us that profits were being made from general business carried on at air terminals in the United States of America and elsewhere; and they compared the airports in those countries with airports in Australia. What they forgot was that the United States of America has a population of 170,000,000, whereas Australia has a population of 10,000,000. Australia has not the flying public to allow it to pet a revenue anywhere near the £9,000,000 that is required. Even with the sale of liquor it would be absolutely impossible to obtain that amount. The Minister was far too ambitious when he said that by establishing 22 facilities he would be able to make good in some way this sum of £9,000,000.
– I did not say that. I mentioned half a million.
– I shall come to the Minister’s figures later on. He did propose to improve the position, but he is still faced with a deficiency of £9,000,000. I wish to make that fact very clear at the present time. Even if some airports in other countries are self-supporting and do provide 57 per cent. or 60 per cent. of their running costs, to do the same sort of thing would be beyond Australia’s capacity. I do not think that any airport in the Commonwealth could provide even one-fifth of its maintenance costs.
When one examines the amenities that exist at the airports to-day, one is not impressed with them. They must be extended and enlarged. How is that to be done? To extend these premises the Government must incur further capital expenditure. It will then be looking for a greater return. If the Government is going to limit its proposition to the number and type of businesses mentioned in this bill, I would say that the position is hopeless, and that it will find itself in debt instead of making a profit on the sum that is spent.
What has an airport to offer in the way of advertising possibilities? Baggage rooms and lockers are mentioned, but they are already provided free of cost. Usually people are travelling through and have little need to avail themselves of such services. Banks also are mentioned. I have no doubt that there will be a branch of the Commonwealth Trading Bank and of the Commonwealth Savings Bank at every air terminal. I have no doubt that those banks will be given preference over others if banks are established at those centres. The person who opens a barber shop at any air terminal in the Commonwealth to-day is a man of courage, because many of the people going through the airport are residents of Australian cities, or are coming from overseas or are leaving for overseas, and will not require the services of a hairdresser while they are at the terminal. Beauty parlours have been mentioned. I have no doubt that they will do a great deal of business, because the ladies of the community will patronize them freely. The Minister also referred to the possibility of establishing coffee shops, and an agency for conducted tours. If the Government is going to embark upon a money-making venture, I could suggest more profitable avenues of activity.
– lt could establish a casino for gambling.
– I would not suggest that, because it would put the whole thing on a very low level. But why not establish a big drive-in shopping centre, on land adjacent to the airport, where residents of the area and those who visit the airport could park their cars and obtain groceries and other supplies? That would be possible at some airports. What the Government is suggesting is mere chicken-feed, and not worth bothering about. The proposals include the setting up of a gift shop. Such a shop would sell a few toy koala bears, some Christmas cards, and some pictures of Canberra. That is all. It is simply not worth talking about. Does the Government expect to get high rents from people who are selling a few things like that?
News-stands are mentioned. Who wants to buy a newspaper from a news-stand at an airport? The Minister has taken the trouble to give me photographs showing what has happened in other countries. I have seen them before and they are worth examining. I have visited Idlewild and San Francisco airports. I repeat that the Government could build a drive-in shopping centre. It might then get some return for its outlay. There could be shops for grocers, drapers, haberdashers, butchers, fishmongers, greengrocers and sellers of sports goods. There could be boot and shoe shops, hardware shops and a bottle department, if necessary - though I do not suggest that seriously.
There could be a swimming pool and a shop where lottery tickets could be sold. There could even be an S.P. joint, if necessary, so that people travelling on Wednesdays and Saturdays could be accommodated. There could be a peanut stall and a picture show. Then you would have a business centre near the air terminal, and would have a reasonable chance of getting a return on your outlay, but if you are going to spend money on constructing new premises for the class of trader that has been mentioned, you are doomed to disappointment.
The present rate of revenue has obtained for a number of years. The Minister has clever officers, and I have no doubt that they have examined the trade potential of the various airports on various occasions. The existing rentals are fairly substantial, but could not be considered satisfactory when related to the cost of maintaining airports and terminals. I note that the sum of £9,000,000 for maintenance is to come out of Consolidated Revenue. There is no escaping that fact. It means that public money will pay for the maintenance of services at air terminals - money that has been paid to the Treasury by way of taxation. It was not so long ago that one of the private airline companies recommended that Trans-Australia Airlines be wound up, so that the other airline could have a monopoly in the field of civil aviation. Let us picture what would happen then. The people of Australia would still be required to provide £9,000,000 annually for the maintenance of airports, though they would be used by only one airline, lt appears to me that at present the people of Australia are subsidizing the general services provided by the two domestic airline companies.
– The bulk of the maintenance would be on the airstrips.
– If the honorable senator had been listening to me, she would have discovered that I said that the £9,000,000 is spent on the airstrips as well as upon the terminals, the cost of maintaining the latter being infinitesimal by comparison.
– Perhaps, as a result of the bill, some of that maintenance cost might be recouped.
– Perhaps the honorable senator would like me to give the breakup of the figures. They are worthy of study. I turn now to the question of sites. Will the Government go outside the air terminal sites in order to provide the business premises mentioned in the second-reading speech? I shall repeat that question at the committee stage. The existing areas may not be sufficient, and if the Government goes outside them it will have to exercise its powers of acquisition. This could grow into very big business. If the Government adopts my suggestion that drive-in centres be established at the various air terminals, it will be well rewarded within a very short period for its trouble. The sum of £9,000,000, no matter how you turn it over, is provided through taxation - by the people of the Commonwealth. If the Government establishes big trading concerns at air terminals, it will take business away from people, either in those areas, or in the cities, who are conducting existing businesses. People have only so much money to spend, and they spend it only once whether the businesses are at the air terminals or in the main streets of the cities,
At whose cost will these establishments be constructed? For instance, if cool beer is to be supplied, refrigerators costing thousands of pounds will be necessary. If draught beer is to be kept over the weekend, cellars will be needed. Therefore, if the bill is passed, the country will be put to considerable expense in making these facilities available to the travelling public. That is one of the things that I would like to bring out. The Minister has not said that the sale of alcohol at air terminals is essential. He has not said that the travelling public is asking for liquor to be sold there. What he has said is that the sale of liquor is essential so that the profits may be devoted to defraying the cost of maintaining air services. That is the Minister’s story. He has not been able to support the contention that liquor should be sold at airports. We on this side of the chamber intend to vote against the bill because it contains provision for that to be done. The Minister is not concerned in the slightest degree about whether or not the travelling public is supplied with liquor. As a matter of fact, if he were speaking in a fatherly way, he would say to the members of the public that they were better off without liquor. I always tell people that myself. It is proposed to provide this facility, not for the purpose of quenching the thirst of travellers on the thirsty Mount Isa to Darwin run, for instance, but merely for the purpose of making a profit, so that the £9,000,000 deficiency can be met. Whether the Government should embark on such a programme, I do not know, but I do not approve of it, and therefore I propose to vote against the bill.
I have been wondering who will provide the patronage for the liquor bars. Will it come from the staff employed at the air terminals, such as the experts, the tradesmen, the fitters, the precision workers and others who are there, or will it come from the travelling public? I should say that the members of the travelling public, including tourists from overseas, do not care twopence whether this facility is provided or not. I believe that they are not even seeking it, and I repeat that they are better without it when they are travelling, although I realize that it is not for me to decide that matter. When a person boards an aircraft to travel between the capital cities of Australia it is possible for him to obtain a drink of alcohol. The shops that are to be established at the airports will create another difficulty, another problem, because if you go into one of them and buy an electric toaster or something of that kind, you will have to carry it with you on to the aircraft, and you may even be charged for excess baggage. We do not know what the situation will be, although we do know that passengers on aircraft are restricted to luggage of a certain weight.
There appears to be some conflict about the trading hours which will apply to the various businesses. The Minister, in his second-reading speech, referred to such tinpot businesses as coffee shops, conducted tours, delivery services, flower shops, gift shops and insurance machines. I have to admit that I have never seen an insurance machine. However, it seems that the goods . to be sold from those shops could be purchased in many other places. I know that in the States some goods are classified as exempt and others non-exempt. The goods to be sold from the shops at airports no doubt will be of the exempt type which may be purchased at any hour. Presumably, the Minister has obtained advice from experts on this matter.
I suggest that there will need to be a considerable increase in the volume of traffic passing through air terminals if they are to return to the department a profit of even £1,000,000 per annum. There will need to be a considerable consumption of champagne, wine, and other alcoholic beverages if the Government is to achieve its ambition. The Minister indicated in his second-reading speech that the sale of liquor would be confined to seven air terminals in the Commonwealth. I suppose that those air terminals would be at the six capital cities and at Darwin.
– There are seven capital cities.
– Yes, but I do not think that it would be necessary to establish a bar at Canberra. For my part, I should be more inclined to install a fireplace. We must have regard to other matters, such as the cost of hangars, terminal buildings and runways, in respect of which we are faced with additional capital expenditure in the future. The Government may have to increase taxation to meet such capital expenditure, so I suggest seriously that instead of opening up liquor bars at airports, it should close those that exist, so that the taxpayers will be able to meet their tax liabilities.
An honorable senator mentioned earlier to-night that he and somebody else had taken a gallup poll on this subject - I understand that the “ somebody else “ was a native of Western Australia who had not attended school. He said that the poll has disclosed that 57 per cent, of the travelling public was in favour of liquor bars at air terminals. I accept his statement, but I am quite sure that there are many people in the Commonwealth who would not do so. This matter of the serving of liquor at air terminals is being over-stressed. lt appears that the Government is trying to establish that it is essential to do so in order to improve the tourist trade. That being so, it is a wonder that we have had so many tourists coming here by sea, because there are no liquor bars at the wharfs throughout the Commonwealth. The people who have travelled here by sea over the years have got along without them. When I am travelling towards an airport I am always pleased to get there and to leave as quickly as I can for the city. I am sure that most other travellers have the same attitude towards air terminals. It is not imposing too much of a strain or a hardship on the air traveller to ask him to wait for twenty minutes or half an hour after he alights from the aircraft before being taken to the city, where there are hotels to provide him with all the liquor he requires. I shall vote against the bill for the reason that I am opposed to the sale of liquor at air terminals.
– I support the bill, and I ask the Senate to reject the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna). We have listened for about half an hour to Senator Benn. His speech went from the sublime to the ridiculous and stayed there for the most of the time he spoke. The purpose of this bill is to provide for the granting of leases, licences and trading rights in connexion with Commonwealth airports. If this bill is passed, it will go some way towards bringing Australian airports into line with those overseas. The Government claims that it has power under section 52 of the Constitution to make this provision. Under that section, the Commonwealth claims exclusive power to make laws relating to places required for public purposes. I do not intend to traverse that position to-night. I believe that the Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick) has advised the Government most extensively on this matter. I should say that power resides in this Parliament for the purposes of the legislation now before us.
Throughout my speech, I shall use the Adelaide airport for the purpose of illustration, because I know that airport very well. It occupies between 600 and 700 acres of land, and is situated about four miles from the centre of the city and midway between the city and the sea. At that airport a fine terminal has been constructed. I agree with Senator Benn that it is possibly the finest aerodrome in Australia. It has been constructed during the last ten years or so with moneys made available by this Parliament in successive budgets. Throughout Australia airports have been constructed. I understand that up to date about £52,000.000 has been expended in their construction, and that about £9,000,000 a year is needed for the maintenance of runways, buildings, and other requirements, including the servicing of ‘planes. As I have said, we have in South Australia this fine airport, but it has to be maintained.
I compliment the Government on doing first things first. It has provided excellent airports throughout Australia and it has an unequalled record for safe air navigation. Indeed, it may be said that Australian air navigation is the most efficient in the world. All that the Commonwealth Government has undertaken in connexion with civil aviation is well up to world standard. Qantas, the well known overseas airline, is in front of the average standard throughout the world. In the provision of airports and facilities for air travel the Government has not only put first things first but in addition has set such a high standard that other major airlines - I refer particularly to Ansett-A.N.A. - because of the competition in air travel, also have provided a service of a high standard. We must admit however, that facilities for the travelling public have been lacking at our airports, and consequently the Government proposes to provide them, and at the same time develop the business potential of the airports. I said earlier that it costs about £9,000,000 a year to maintain the aerodromes throughout Australia, and as the Government receives only about £2,000,000 a year from the air companies there is consequently a gap of about £7,000,000. I am not suggesting that the passing of this bill will go any measurable distance towards bridging that gap in the near future, but I compliment the Government on making a start in tha: direction.
In considering this matter we should look at the facilities that are available to air travellers in other parts of the world, because if we are to conduct a great international airline service, as we intend to do, and thereby attract to Australia travellers from all over the world, we should provide at our home bases facilities equal to world standards. It was my privilege recently to represent the Senate at a conference in South America, and in my journeying I , missed through some of the largest airports of the world. I wish to refer to some of the airports I saw in the Americas. Senator Benn has already referred to the New York airport, which is one of the largest in the world. At that airport there is on sale every conceivable type of goods, and in addition passengers can change currencies, purchase clothes, arrange hotel bookings and transact banking business, as well as buy food and drinks. I sat at the terminal in New York for a good many hours waiting for connecting ‘planes, and never once did I see any unseemly behaviour duc to the consumption of alcoholic liquor at the small bars there. Virtually tens of thousands of people pass through that great international airport at Idlewild every day. At Sao Paolo, in South America, there is one of the best airports in the world. Planes leave there for Rio de Janeiro, the capital of Brazil, about 300 miles away every quarter of an hour. The airport handles between 400 and 500 planes a week. On the other side of the world airports arc treated in the way that we in Australia treat railway stations. Why does the Opposition make such a song and dance about providing facilities at airports when it is well known that all sorts of goods can be purchased at railway stations, and also that food is obtainable and liquor provided with meals without any objection on the part of the people? So far as I am aware, that is true of the railway services throughout Australia. I know that it is true of the railway system in South Australia. These facilities are provided by the State governments, and the privilege is not abused.
If members of the Opposition were to travel more overseas they would realize that what they are making such a fuss about is normal procedure in other parts of the world. As one who is a constant air traveller, I can assure the Senate that I have not observed any cases of rudeness, drunkenness, or misbehaviour that would justify the stand taken by the Opposition in regard to this measure. If we remained calm and normal, and thought of airports as being in the same category as railway stations, there would not be the same fierce opposition to this bill as has been shown here to-day. Referring again to the Adelaide airport, I point out that it is attractive, clean, well lighted, and well controlled, and its officials are neatly and tidily dressed. Because of the competition between airlines, high, standards are maintained; and with that in the background, all associated with air travel appear to be on their best behaviour. That same satisfactory background and the high standards that have existed hitherto underlie the decision of the Government to introduce the controversial clause 9 (3) which provides -
An authority under this act to sell or supply intoxicating liquor shall contain terms and conditions under which the holder is subject to requirements, prohibitions and restrictions (including restrictions as to the days on which, and the times during which, such liquor may be sold or supplied) corresponding, as nearly as possible, to those that apply, under the law of the State or Territory in which the airport is situated, in relation to the sale or supply of such liquor in pursuance of a licence under that law of the kind that most nearly corresponds with the authority under this Act.
Against that background of present airport facilities, the Government proposes to allow the sale of intoxicating liquor, subject to existing laws applicable to the locality. I submit that nobody could object to the Government’s approach. Why the Opposition sustains its attack on that provision in the bill, while admitting that no other part is really offensive, is quite beyond me. One should examine the provision for the policing of the sale of liquor. Clause 10 (2.) provides -
The Governor-General may, for the purposes of this Act, arrange with the. Govenor of a State for the performance by means of the Police Force of the State or by persons employed in the public service of the State, for the Government of the Commonwealth, of any work or services, and for the payment to be made by the Commonwealth for any such work or services.
That provides for normal police supervision of the supply and consumption of intoxicating liquor at airports. This provision will continue arrangements that have existed in South Australia for 110 or 120 years, whereby the police supervise the supply and consumption of intoxicating liquor in public places. I predict that there will be no trouble with regard to that matter.
Finally, I invite attention to clause 14 (1.), which reads -
The Minister may, either generally or in relation to a matter or class of matters and either in relation to all airports or a particular airport or particular airports, by writing under his hand delegate to a person or persons all or any of his powers and functions under this Act (except this power of delegation and his power to grant an authority to sell or supply alcoholic liquor).
That exception is important. The bill retains in the hands of the Minister power with regard to the authority to sell or supply liquor. So the greatest possible safeguard is thereby retained by the Minister, who under our Constitution must be a member of either House of the Parliament. The delegate of the Minister cannot control such matters as the authority to sell or supply alcoholic liquor. This control must be exercised by the Minister himself. So my examination of the bill shows that this matter, controversial as it has been made to appear by the Opposition, is dealt with in the best possible way by the bill.
I was rather alarmed to hear this afternoon the opening speech of Senator McKenna, who gave the classic illustration of a man who had consumed a quantity of liquor, which had a delayed action upon him. Senator McKenna said that such a man might become irresponsible and go into the cockpit of the aircraft. He was asked whether he could cite an actual case, but we have yet to. hear from him or his colleagues of an actual case. The Senate has not before it any case such as that upon which the Leader of the Opposition based his main attack on the bill. Taking his submission at the value which I always give to anything he says, I made some inquiries and discussed the whole matter with a very senior officer of the Department of Civil Aviation. He gave me some very interesting particulars relating to the implementation of the proposals contained in the bill. As a result of my discussions, I believe that anything but moderate, civilized drinking will be discouraged. There will be no stand-up bars. I understand that there will be no service unless a person is seated, and that there will be proper furnishings and fittings in the rooms in which the drink will be served.
I deplore the way in which the Opposition raised a matter in relation to the likelihood of employees of airlines companies becoming intoxicated and not doing their duty. Opposition speakers asked whether the availability of liquor services at airports would not encourage the consumption of liquor by aircrews and maintenance personnel. One after another Opposition speakers stressed that suggestion, snowing, I fear, very little faith in the conduct of the very fine body of personnel working at the main Australian airports. There is already a very strict statutory provision to prevent such happenings. I understand that under air navigation regulations crew members cannot, if intoxicated, enter an aircraft. I understand that they are prohibited from drinking any alcoholic liquor less than twelve hours before going on duty. I understand that many crew members arc teetotallers, and so do not consume alcoholic liquor at all and that very strict supervision is exercised over maintenance personnel. Of course, an odd person may break these regulations and laws, but such breaking of regulations and laws could possibly occur in the consumption of liquor obtained from sources near to the airport and not necessarily at the airport. I have said that I understood that there would be no standing up at bars. If I am wrong in this respect, the Minister may correct me. I felt it my duty to make inquiries because of the slurs expressed this afternoon and this evening by Opposition speakers.
As far as I can see, one has to ask three questions about this bill: Is it a sensible bill and worthy to be passed in view of the obligation of the Parliament to pass legislation for the peace, order and good government of the Commonwealth? I think it is, for the reasons I have already given. The next question that I, as a South Australian senator, ask myself is: Does the bill infringe State rights? I believe that no State rights are overridden by this bill. Six months ago, when a similar bill was before the Senate, we saw, in effect, I believe, the use of a bulldozer by the Minister with regard to State rights, but as the bill defers to the requirements of State laws with regard to hours and conditions of supply, I believe that it does not infringe State rights. In fact, it goes the other way. It encourages the State to lay down the law which it wants and invites the State police to police the law laid down. Instead of being negative to State rights, the bill is positive and cooperative, and, in effect, forms a partnership with the State to cope with this matter of liquor at airports. Why, for perhaps 100 years, South Australia has coped with the question of the supply of liquor at railway refreshment rooms after normal trading hours. I suggest that this proposal is nothing more than a slight extension of a practice that has been in operation in South Australia for well nigh 100 years.
This bill seeks to create a positive partnership with the various States in which airports are situated. It does not infringe State rights in any way. A further question I ask myself is whether this proposal will encourage unpleasant conduct by travellers. From the investigations I “have made this afternoon, thanks to the courtesy of senior officers of the department, I am satisfied that it will not encourage people to act in a way which causes inconvenience or discomfort to their fellow-travellers. In those circumstances, I feel it to be my duty to support the bill and to submit that the proposed amendment be rejected by the Senate.
– So much time has been devoted to comparing Australian air terminals adversely with those of overseas countries that we have completely lost sight of the fact that, despite any short-comings they may have in this respect, our airlines are the safest in the world, and that the main concern of our Department of Civil Aviation is and has been the maintenance of high safety standards. It is stretching the matter rather too far to compare facilities at air terminals in Australia with those of the more thickly populated countries overseas.
At the international air terminal in Perth, there is a bar which apparently is availed of also by some of the passengers transported by Ansett-A.N.A. That is because the Ansett-A.N.A. terminal is situated in close proximity to the international terminal. That leads me to ask whether it is the Minister’s intention thai two or more liquor licences shall be granted at those air terminals where the premises of the various airlines are dispersed over the terminal area. At South Australia, where the facilities of all companies are grouped in one very fine building, the difficulty could be overcome quite easily, but it is my opinion that many other improvements are urgently needed for the real comfort of the travelling public before liquor bars are opened.
Much has been made of the fact that liquor licences have been granted to railway refreshment rooms, and that liquor may be obtained on trains and ships. .1 point out that if one is travelling on a train and anything unpleasant is occurring one may pull the emergency communication cord and stop the train. But one cannot stop an aeroplane. Again, on an oceangoing liner, one is not in such a confined space as when one is in the cabin of even the largest aircraft.
Further, I should like to point out to those who have mentioned sea travel that when the ocean liners arrive at our ports their liquor bars and trading shops are closed for the duration of their stay in port. Liquor may be served only with meals, and then only to through passengers on the liners. Our customs regulations and the liquor laws of the various States require this to be done. Here it is appropriate to mention the need for some uniformity in our liquor laws. They vary from State to State. At the moment there is a move to obtain uniformity in respect to another matter, and I submit that there is an urgent need of uniformity in respect to our liquor laws, also. 1 should like to hear from the Minister, if he can supply them, figures relating to those airports where liquor licences have been granted already. To what extent are the facilities availed of by the travelling public? Quite recently, I spent three days meeting almost every plane that landed at the Perth airport. It was the occasion of the arrival here of delegates from overseas to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association conference. I did not see any of the passengers from overseas, or their friends, making use of the bar facilities at the Perth terminal. The only people I saw having a drink there were one or two journalists who were waiting to get a story. My reason for watching was that I knew that this legislation was in the offing.
I believe, too, that we owe something to those people who have built up businesses from small beginnings at our air terminals. For instance, I remember the time at Parafield, in South Australia, when there was only a very small tea room conducted by a man and his wife. Often I helped them to serve tea and sandwiches to passengers from aircraft. I have seen such small businesses as that grow into big undertakings, and that is all to the good. I do urge that in our reconstruction of these businesses at airports we keep in mind the work done by those small kiosks that catered for the needs of the travelling public when the business was not as profitable as it is to-day.
I have been travelling for many years now, and I do not see very much change in the stock kept by the various stalls at airports. I do not know what the turn over in souvenirs and so on is but, looking at them fairly regularly, I have seen little change. I still see some of the things that I saw there years ago. I have never yet seen any one buying anything more than perhaps a morning paper, a cup of coffee or a packet of cigarettes.
That brings me to another point. Senator Vincent has suggested that the main purpose of this proposal is to encourage tourists. Does he really think that one extra tourist will come here or go to Perth merely because he can get an extra drink at the airport? The majority of people rush to get their luggage in a desire to get away from the airport as quickly as they can because, generally speaking, they are tired out after their trip and want to get a rest at the earliest possible moment. It is true that some hous may have to be passed between the cessation of one flight and the beginning of another, but I point out that if the travellers are from overseas they usually want to see as much of the country as possible, and they will utilize that waiting time to see what they can. It is only when the planes arrive at inconvenient hours, such as during the night, that travellers remain at the airport.
– But what about when they want to leave and the planes are delayed?
– They can get suppers at airports now. In any case, if they were waiting in the middle of the night not too many people would want to patronize liquor bars.
– But who are you to refuse the people a bar?
– I am not refusing them anything; I am merely saying that many other things are needed before bars. In my opinion, bars come very low on the priority list. I should like to see such other facilities as provision for sitting down to have a cup of tea. After all. seating in bars is one of the facilities stressed by honorable senators on the Government side. I should like to see seating in refreshment rooms tried out first. T do not think one person in ten would be dissatisfied because he could not get a drink until he boarded the aircraft.
Once a passenger boards the aircraft, he can order what he likes to drink. The important point is that drinking on the aircraft is regulated in a civilized manner. Passengers show proper respect for the hostesses, and for women and children who may be travelling. They do not drink to excess in the planes. On the whole, I think that a great deal more will need to be done to improve the existing amenities at the air terminals before the amenities to be provided under this bill will become necessary. I should like to know whether it is contemplated that at airports where the buildings of the various companies are scattered, one building will be constructed to house all the companies. If that is contemplated, who will have to bear the cost of providing the building? I should also like the Minister to inform me whether it is proposed to let by tender the bars and shops that will be established under the provisions of the bill. Will persons who have built up existing businesses be considered when these grander things come about?
I should like to see a much better terminal building provided at the Canberra airport. In addition to tourists - I do not for a moment decry tourism - many important visitors from overseas come here on important missions. They must wonder what on earth they have struck when they reach the Canberra airport. I know that it has been improved a lot lately, but there is still plenty of room for improvement. A couple of weeks ago, when I was at the Canberra airport to welcome some of the visitors associated with the recent Commonwealth Parliamentary Association conference, the terminal building was absolutely packed. Nobody could say that on that occasion the ordinary civilized amenities were available for the large number of people at the airport. I think that we ought to get on with the job of providing decent terminals before seeking to add other facilities, for which I do not think the general public are clamouring. I could not imagine that if a plane were delayed many women waiting at an airport would go to a beauty salon to have a perm or a face lift, or would do their shopping there.
– It would be rather awkward for a lady with her head in a dryer to respond to a call from the desk to board an aircraft.
– It would be dreadful. I do not think that there is a big demand for the amenities proposed to be established.
– Why should not there be a demand for them here? There is a big demand for them in other parts of the world.
– As I have said, there is a demand for the establishment of tea rooms and so on, and perhaps for a wider range of reading matter. I do not object to the provision of these facilities. As to Senator Vincent’s interjection, I think that other countries could well take a leaf out of Australia’s book by adopting more rigid safety regulations. They may have better facilities at their airports than we have, but I think the paramount consideration is to ensure the highest possible degree of air safety. I think we should continue to concentrate on that, and I believe that people overseas could learn a lot from Australia in that regard.
– in reply - The Government does not accept the amendment that has been proposed by Senator McKenna on behalf of the Opposition. In the debate, which has lasted for some hours now, I have sometimes thought that some honorable senators have lost sight of the purpose and intention of the bill. Let me re-state it, because it is simple and direct. The purpose of the bill is to enable us to bring our airport facilities up to the standard of the facilities provided at international airports in most countries of the world. It is designed to do that, Mr. President, not only for the benefit of the traveller himself, but also for the benefit of his friends who meet him at the airport, and of those who have legitimate business at the airport.
Any one who listened to this debate could be forgiven if he drew the conclusion from what he heard that it had to do with nothing else but liquor. The bill makes provision for cocktail lounges, among a number of other facilities. One of the regrettable but, I acknowledge, necessary features of the debate, in view of the nature of the amendment, is that those people who have listened to it to-day might not have got the right perspective of the bill, nor, indeed, have grasped its real purpose. This proposal, I repeat, is to bring our air terminal facilities up to international standard by providing the conveniences and amenities which are common at overseas airports, and which are looked for, and expected, by most international air travellers, and, indeed, by most air travellers, whether they be domestic or international air travellers.
The bill also has the purpose - stated quite unblushingly on behalf of the Government - of providing a return to the Department of Civil Aviation, having regard to the huge capital expenditure which it has undertaken and to the annual expenditure that is necessary to maintain our airports.
I want to refer briefly to one or two matters about which Senator McKenna asked particularly. I shall do so before, unfortunately, I have to come back to the big question in dispute - that of the provision of cocktail lounges. Senator McKenna, after pointing out that this bill is an amended version of a measure that was introduced during the last sessional period, asked what representations I had received on the matter, particularly from, the States. 1 did not receive any representations from the States, but it is a fact that for a number of years past, at the official level, projects such as those that are now envisaged by the bill have been discussed with the various State departments. Although I have not made an official approach to any of the State Premiers, the view being taken that this was a Commonwealth activity, I have had informal discussions with the two Premiers who are most directly or immediately concerned - indeed, in other circumstances, I could well say the three Premiers.
asked particularly about the establishment of the cocktail lounge at Perth. The story is quite interesting. My department took up the matter with the appropriate department in Western Australia. Simultaneously, Mr. Ross Hutchinson, the Liberal member for Cottesloe in the Western Australian Parliament, was, without our knowledge, pressing the then Government of Western Australia to introduce a bill to provide that liquor could be served at the Perth airport. Our representations and Mr. Hutchinson’s representations - he is now, incidentally, the Minister for Health in Western Australia - were heeded by the then Labour Government of Western Australia, which introduced the requisite measure. It adds a touch of piquancy to our consideration of this matter to know that a Labour government in Western Australia did not have the same apprehensions or fears to which expression has been given to-night by the Labour Opposition in this place.
– Did I understand the Minister to say that the measure was introduced into the Western Australian Parliament by a Labour government?
– Yes. I have said that I have not had any formal negotiations with the States. May I now say that should the bill be passed, as I confidently expect it will, nothing will be done at any airport without the closest negotiations proceeding with the State concerned.
asked which airports had facilities at the moment. Perth and Darwin have these facilities and at Sydney a meal licence is operated by both Ansett-A.N.A. and Trans-Australia Airlines.
– Two separate licences?
– Yes, two separate licences.
– Did the State Government grant those licences?
– They are operating under State law. The airports which will be considered for the introduction of these facilities will naturally be the mainline airports first - the main international airports of Sydney, Melbourne. Brisbane, Perth, Darwin, Port Moresby and Rabaul. As to the others it may well be - let me emphasize this point - that while there may be some facilities provided, there may never be a cocktail lounge for the reason to which my friend, Senator Benn, referred. At some airports there just will not be sufficient patronage to support an amenity of that type. In that case, of course, no tenders will be called.
I want to refer, if I might, to that aspect of the Labour Party’s criticism of this measure - albeit the hours will be strictly limited to those applying to ordinary hotels in any State - that had to do with safety.
One might well ask, if safety is involved: What is the record where these facilities have existed, whether it be at Perth, Darwin, or any overseas airport? You find a record completely free of any incident arising as the result of the partaking of liquor. Most obviously straining at the gnat, the Leader of the Opposition to-day painted a picture of what could happen in respect of safety if a man under the influence of liquor boarded an aircraft, forced his way on to the flight deck and grappled with the pilot. Good stuff! I asked him, by interjection, whether he had ever seen such a thing done and he said, “ No “. I asked him by interjection whether he had ever heard of such a thing having been done and he replied, “ No “. That was the one case that he could quote as to how safety might be jeopardized. He did mention an unspecified report. I certainly hope that he will be able to give me the reference to that report at some time.
He seemed most concerned that the department would not control the liquor licences. In point of fact that is just what will happen. The department will not operate the liquor licences, but it will control them with the same sense of responsibility that has enabled the Australian Department of Civil Aviation to boast the best safety record in the world. The Leader of the Opposition, and the Opposition itself, might keep well in mind the fact that the Department of Civil Aviation has set standards for the rest of the world and will not lightly lose its reputation nor jeopardize those standards.
Senator Laught, in a speech which I very much appreciated if I might say so, because it was very helpful to me, referred to some of the provisions in respect of liquor and safety. He pointed out some of the things that cannot happen. He said crew members cannot enter an aircraft intoxicated and that they cannot perform any duties if affected by liquor or drugs. He said further that crew members are prohibited from drinking alcoholic liquor within twelve hours before commencing duty. May I tell the Leader of the Opposition that in the lengthening history of civil aviation in Australia, on not one occasion has a commercial airline pilot been convicted of turning up for duty affected by liquor. That is the measure of the implied criticism which was levelled at this splendid body of men by at least one member of the Opposition.
Now let me turn to those men who work on the ground. They are not a lot of nitwits or irresponsibles. The men who work in the airline industry are highly trained and highly skilled with a well-developed sense of responsibility. Of course, that does not mean that among the thousands who are employed on the ground there are not a few men who occasionally might take rather too much liquor. However, those men are not going to be affected by the provision of a cocktail lounge at an airport. Those men at the present time, if they feel so disposed, will go down the street in their lunch hour to the nearest local hotel and have a drink. They will come back and if detected, by reason of departmental regulations, will be instantly dismissed. That is the sort of thing that will continue.
Senator Laught referred to the proposed layout of these lounges. They are not liquor bars in the ordinary sense of the word. They are cafes or restaurants in which you sit down - continental style, if you like - and are served at a table. Indeed, if you are not seated,, you just will not be served, and there will be careful and close supervision to see that adequate standards are preserved. Senator Vincent drew my attention to the fact that State standards would not always meet our requirements. I agree , with him that they will not. We have not in mind the creation of anything like railway refreshment rooms, but rather places in which travellers can be comfortably seated and attended to in a proper manner, under the proper conditions.
There has been talk about persons being drunk, or under the influence, on planes. In point of fact, a person under the influence is, by regulation, prohibited from boarding an aircraft.
– You cannot put him off once he is on.
– I remind the honorable senator that a few years ago a person not unknown in this locale was put off an aircraft in San Francisco when he was under the influence of liquor. A similar regulation operates in Australia.
– And it is policed.
– That is so. Senator Benn rather sneered at the suggestion that these concessions might be worthwhile for businessmen, and referred especially to the prospect of attracting advertisers. I am no public relations expert but I know that, one way or another probably 2,000,000 people go through Melbourne airport in a year, and I should think that for that reason it would be a very advantageous site for advertisements. The honorable senator suggested that we proposed building substantial structures at the expense of the taxpayers. That is not proposed at all. The concessionaire will take a lease of floor space within an existing building, or of a site at the airport, and will provide his own building, fixtures and fittings.
Senator Tangney wanted to know what would happen to people who had struggled over the years to build up a small business at airports. The bill specifically provides, in clause 12, for the saving of those leases which will continue in the hands of the present lessees until the normal expiry dates. The honorable senator was also interested in where cocktail lounges would be placed. Where airports have more than one terminal building, the lounge will be placed in the international terminal building, but, as the Senate is probably aware from what is happening at Melbourne, in the course of time we will have common-user terminals: all the airlines will use the same terminal then.
– As they do in Adelaide.
– Precisely. That will happen soon in Melbourne and in Perth. In such cases the lounges will be in the common-user terminal.
Senator McKenna was interested in the result of the survey concerning the desirability of having these businesses at airports. It was conducted in a way which, I confess at once, was deficient in one respect, inasmuch as people gave positive answers to the questions asked. It cannot be assumed that if 80 per cent. said that they wanted something, the other 20 per cent. were against it. As a census, it was deficient in that respect. It did not register for us those who were for and those who were against - only those who were positively in favour. Nevertheless, it is interesting and does at least establish priorities. The figures are as follows 80.1 per cent. of the passengers were interested in newspaper and bookstalls; 69.8 per cent. wanted a quick service buffet; 57.4 per cent. were in favour of a cocktail lounge; 52.8 per cent. were in favour of a chemist’s shop; 48.7 per cent. were in favour of a coffee lounge. The remaining preferences were in the following order - restaurant, gift shop, bank, hairdresser, children’s amusements, children’s nursery, automobile service station and flower shop.
As I have said, the Government cannot accept the amendment. We believe that the passage of the bill will do for Australian airports something that really should be done. It cannot fail to add to the splendid record which we have acquiredin the civil aviation field. We have developed the flying side first by the provision of airfields, signalling equipment, lighting and that sort of thing. Not until now have we turned our attention to the development of the amenities which can add so much to the attractiveness of airport terminals and, at the same time, provide us with a legitimate source of income to help recoup the outlay of the taxpayers’ money which occurs each year.
Question put -
That the words proposed to be left out (Senator McKenna’s amendment) be left out.
The Senate divided. (The President - Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin.)
Question so resolved in the negative.
Question put -
That the bill be now read a second time.
The Senate divided. (The President - Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin.)
Majority . . 10
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clauses 1 to 4 agreed to.
Clause 5 (Application of Act to Territories).
– I should like the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Paltridge) to indicate the difficulties, procedural or otherwise, that have caused the Government to exempt from the application of the act the various Territories referred to in sub-clause (1.) I note that the two following sub-clauses provide that the Governor-General may, by proclamation, apply the provisions of the act to Territories that form part of the Commonwealth, as well as to those which do not form part of it. Is the Minister in a position to indicate the reason for those provisions, and why the usual course of applying a statute to the Territories, as well as to Australia, has not been followed?
– The reason for the provision in regard to proclamation in the Territories is merely to provide time for negotiations to be completed with the appropriate Minister and his department for the granting of concessions at airports in the Territories. It is not proposed to delay long the commencement of business at the one or two places - possibly only one place - that may be affected. The provision is in the bill to cover whatever slight delay may occur while arrangements are being made as to staffing and things of that nature.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 6 (Leases and licences).
– This clause gives the Minister power, on behalf of the Commonwealth, to grant leases and licences in respect of land within an airport, on such terms and conditions and subject to the payment of such rent or other considerations as the Minister thinks fit. In other words, under the clause the Minister has a completely unfettered discretion as to the purpose for which he may grant leases. He may specify any conditions as to the length of lease or term of licence. That provision drew from me this afternoon several criticisms, one of which being that the Ministetr was enabled to dispose of leases without the obligation to call for public tenders.
I am delighted that the Opposition has scored so far in relation to this matter that the Minister has now conceded the principle, as shown by the amendment he circulated at half-past nine this evening. That is a decided improvement. I shall have queries for the Minister as to the particular form of amendment proposed, but at least the Minister has acknowledged the proposition for which the Opposition contended, which should have been covered in the bill from the beginning.
The Minister, throughout his reply to the second-reading debate, referred to cocktail bars as being the only arrangement for the supply of intoxicating liquor that was contemplated by this bill. I invite the Minister to say where in this clause or, if you permit, Mr. Chairman, where in any other clause provision is made for the supply of liquor at airports, pursuant to this bill, to be confined to cocktail bars. The Minister, in his reply, left the clear impression that it was to be so confined. And he certainly indicated that to do that and that only was intended. But pursuant to this clause, coupled with clause 8, the Minister may give a licence for the erection of an hotel, with accommodation, bars and cocktail lounges. It is quite obvious, from the amendment that he has circulated, that he is contemplating granting leases for 99 years in cases where a concessionaire or licensee is required to build. I merely point out the vast scope of the powers that are to be taken.
Since the Minister accepted the criticism in relation to the term of the lease, and as he has now delimited himself as to the term for which a lease may be granted and accepted the principle that the bill should require him to let these concessions only after calling for public tenders, I invite him to take the third step and consider an amendment that will limit the supply of liquor to the cocktail bar type of establishment that he talked about. It is of no use to tell the committee that that is all the Government will do. We are asked to legislate to give him a complete power to build anything he wishes, or to authorize a licensee to so build. I should like the Minister to tell the committee where, in this clause or elsewhere in the bill, there is anything that ties his authority down to providing the cocktail bar type of establishment. Apparently he regards that type of arrangement - possibly rightly so - as a restriction upon drinking, because people must be seated and attended to by waiters and there is no breasting of the bar. I imagine that that would be more orderly and civilized and could be better controlled. If that is all that the Minister proposes, why should not the power he will obtain under the bill be restricted to providing that type of thing.
Sub-clause (2.) of clause 6 provides that the clause will have effect notwithstanding anything contained in the Lands Acquisition Act. I take that to be a provision that debars the Department of the Interior from having the right hitherto enjoyed of being the sole authority to grant leases and licences of this nature. The bill elsewhere vests that power for the future in the Minister for Civil Aviation. As I said earlier, I concede that it would not be right for the Department of the Interior to be able to lease any property at an airport for a purpose not approved by the Department of Civil Aviation, which is the department charged with air safety considerations. I asked the Minister to justify his statement that the fact that the Department of the Interior was in the field along with the Department of Civil Aviation meant a wastage of time and increased administrative costs. I asked whether he was in a position to give information to the Senate to justify that statement. I take it that as his time was cut short he had not an opportunity to answer that question when replying to the second-reading debate. I invite him to take the opportunity now. At this stage it may be appropriate to refer to another matter I raised earlier. I suggested that when wide powers of this type were being provided for the Minister he should be compelled to make to the Parliament a regular report upon the operation of the legislation. I recognize that the Minister is responsible to the Parliament.
– That does not arise under this clause.
– Not necessarily. I recognize that, but if I dispose of it now I do not have to advert to it again. I think it is pertinent as a form of qualification upon the absolute power conferred by this clause upon the Minister. At least it would be a form of protection in relation to such a relatively unlimited power. I should be interested to know whether the Minister was prepared to accept an obligation of that type.
– I shall take first the last point as to the report to Parliament on the activities of myself and the department in connexion with these concessions and leases. It is proposed that when the Air Navigation Act is amended, as it will be in the autumn session, that act will contain such a provision. That act is regarded as being the appropriate act to contain such a provision.
– It will appear in legislation?
– Yes, we shall put it in the Air Navigation Act. There will be provision for a general report embracing these activities and, of course, a number of others. As to the attitude of the Department of the Interior to this bill, and the new authority of the Department of Civil Aviation, I am happy to be able to inform the Leader of the Opposition that both departments, after conferring, reached a decision that there was in fact a saving to be made by adopting the proposed new arrangement. As to staff, I point out that we shall save at least the salary of threequarters of a man in each State division, and we shall also save a great deal iri time. The Department of the Interior was quite happy that the proposed new power should be granted to us.
It has been stated that cocktail bars, as such, are not specifically mentioned in the bill. A practical difficulty arises from the fact that what would be an appropriate cocktail bar in Moresby might not be anything like the cocktail bar which would be considered appropriate for places like Sydney and Melbourne. The difficulty is one of definition. I made it quite clear during my second-reading speech, and in my speeches since, that each authority issued to each concessionaire covering each cocktail bar will contain specific conditions as to what the concessionaire must do in providing a cocktail bar appropriate to the particular locality.
– I take it that there is no such thing as a cocktail bar licence in the States.
– That is another point. In none of the State acts can we find a definition of “ cocktail bar “ or “ cocktail lounge “. In view of what I have said, I think the Senate can justifiably look upon the department - not me - as being committed to the provision of the type of cocktail lounge drinking accommodation to which I have referred. Again, I assure the Senate that provision for that kind of accommodation will be made in each authority.
– As the Minister has known for some time, and as the Senate now knows, there is a licensed liquor bar at the terminal used by Ansett-A.N.A. at Perth. As the terminal used by Trans-Australia Airlines is half a mile away from that terminal, will the Minister say whether he proposes that two licences shall be issued for the Perth airport?
– The honorable senator is in error. No licence has been granted for a liquor bar at the Ansett-A.N.A. terminal in Perth. The only liquor licence for a bar at the Perth aerodrome is that granted for the international terminal.
– That is the terminal used by Ansett-A.N.A.
– It is nothing of the sort. The Ansett-A.N.A. terminal is in a separate building.
– I thank the Minister for the explanation he gave in answer to my questions a moment ago. Am I entitled to conclude from what he said that no hotels will be built, and that there will be no bars to be breasted? Is the Minister conveying to the committee the clear statement of the Government that nothing but cocktail lounges or bars will be provided? If that is to be the case, why the need to provide for building leases for 99 years as he now proposes to do?
– The Government has no intention to build hotels at aerodromes. As enthusiastic as. I am for the development of aerodromes in Australia, I can assure the Leader of the Opposition that we are a long way indeed from that yet. lt may not be within my term as Minister for Civil Aviation, or perhaps within my lifetime, that we shall even be considering that sort of thing. This provision referred to will be for hangarage and buildings of the type which cost many thousands of pounds. I have in mind the building recently erected at Melbourne by Ansett-A.N.A. and the one which TransAustralia Airlines propose to build. They will cost many thousands of pounds, and the airlines concerned will require long leases of the ground on which they are erected.
– 1 have still not received an answer to my question whether the Minister proposes to issue two licences at Perth airport. <one for Ansett-A.N.A. and one for TransAustralia Airlines.
– 1 do not wish to be rude to the honorable senator, but if he had followed the debate intelligently he would have heard my reply to Senator Tangney in which I made it quite clear that where there was more than one terminal the liquor licence or cocktail :bar licence would have application to the international terminal.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 7. (1.) Except in accordance with an authority granted under the next succeeding section and the terms and conditions of that authority, a person shall not, within an airport, either personally or by his servant or agent, or as the servant or agent of another person -
– I move -
After “ authority “, second occurring, insert “ or as otherwise prescribed “.
Clause 7 contains a prohibition against any person within an aerodrome supplying any service or any goods without an authority. I repeat the arguments I adduced during the second reading, when I said tha: this provision would require any taxi-driver within the vicinity of any airport who is asked to take a fare to the terminal building to obtain an authority from the Minister. Is it contemplated that every taxi-driver entering an. airport and performing the service of driving from the boundary of the airport to the terminal building will be required to obtain an authority from the Minister?
I point out further that under this clause, even a private individual if he drives a friend from the city to the terminal building on an airport provides a service. I am sure that neither the Minister nor his delegate would want to be bothered with the issuing of an authority to any taxi-driver who might be booked for a service of that kind, and I am sure he did not contemplate that it would be within the bounds of this prohibition that a person driving a friend under those conditions, and so supplying a service without fee or reward, should be caught up and become liable to a fine of £100 for the first conviction. It seems to me that both those aspects were overlooked when the bill was drafted.
There are various ways in which the position might be corrected. It might be corrected either by exempting persons who provide transport services for passengers to the airport, or by reserving that matter for prescription in a regulation. Some uneasiness was caused in my mind by the gap in the legislation and I thought that my purpose might best be achieved if the matter were covered by regulation. For that reason, I have suggested that the words, “ or as otherwise prescribed “ be inserted after the word “ authority “. The clause would then read -
Except in accordance with an authority granted under the next succeeding section and the terms and conditions of that authority, or as otherwise prescribed, a person shall not, within an airport, either personally or by his servant or agent, or as the servant or agent of another person -
sell, for delivery within the airport, or supply, any goods or services;
– What do you mean by prescribed?
– I mean prescribed by regulations, of course. That is what it means in fact. I have put it in that way, in case there are other things in the category I have mentioned, so that there will be machinery available to enable the Minister, without issuing a flood of authorities or without catching up many people concerned in the innumerable services that go on about an airport, to issue a regulation to cover a whole class of persons or activities. Sub-clause (3.) makes it perfectly plain that the prohibition does not apply to transport services conducted by operators of air transport services; they are let out. I am not concerned about that. I see that a very proper effort has been made by the Minister, in the bill, to keep their normal every-day activities outside the prohibition, butI suggest to him either that he adopt a course such as I have proposed - I am not wedded to it, if there is an alternative method that would achieve the same result - or that he include transport operators generally in the class of exempt persons now specified in the bill.
– We have no objection to the principle which Senator McKenna has expressed in his amendment, but we believe that there is a more simple and direct way of achieving the objective than that suggested in the amendment. The method that could be adopted, where appropriate, would be to give a general blanket authority for taxi drivers to operate at the airport.
– All private transport operators?
– Would a notice be inserted in the “ Gazette “?
– I presume that that could be one way of making it known.
– Do you propose to amend the bill for the purpose?
– No. I would use my power to issue a blanket authority to exempt these people, where appropriate.
– The other matter I raised - admittedly it was a technical matter - concerned the question of one private individual transporting another. Technically, that is an offence under this provision.
– There again, if the point were ever raised, I would issue a general authority covering the users of private transport.
– I am obliged to the Minister. In the light of those assurances, I will not press the amendment, I ask for leave to withdraw it.
Leave granted; amendment withdrawn.
– I should like the Minister to clarify a doubt that has arisen in my mind following his answer to the question that was asked by Senator Cant. I think he said that a licence at an airport would apply to the international terminal. At Essendon, in Melbourne, the buildings occupied by Trans-Australia Airlines and Ansett-A.N.A. are half a mile apart. Does the Minister’s reply mean that the liquor facilities will be located at one point- not at both?
– Yes, that is the present intention. The liquor licence at Essendon will be in respect of the international terminal, but by that time, or shortly afterwards, both AnsettA.N.A. and Trans-Australia Airlines will be using the same building - the international terminal building.
– I am very pleased to hear that.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 8 - (2.) An authority under this section -
– I move -
At the end of sub-clause (2.) add “, but shall not authorize the sale of intoxicating liquor at an airport “.
The amendment raises acutely the question that has been discussed all the afternoon and most of this evening. I do not propose to traverse that ground again, but I shall take up one or two matters, in view of the comments that the Minister made when replying to the second-reading debate. It is quite correct to say that I did express the fear that intoxicated persons could enter a cockpit and that a drunken person could easily bring about a major air disaster. I indicated that I had been told that in America there was evidence of that type of thing having happened. The Minister challenged me to produce the document or to give him a reference to it. After a great deal of difficulty, I have been able to locate it. It contains most illuminating information and reports in relation to the very matter we are discussing this evening. I am looking now at the report for 13th and 15th August, 1957, of the hearings before a sub-committee of the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce of the United States Senate, 85th Congress, First Session. The sub-committee was considering a bill to ban alcoholic beverages on board aircraft, whether civil or military. I have been unable to get, desspite efforts made throughout the day, the final report of the committee or of the sub-committee to the Congress, so that I could ascertain its conclusions. But I need only what is in my hand to indicate that the kind of fears that have been expressed by honorable senators on this side of the chamber during the day have real confirmation. It is interesting to note that the bill that was being considered was promoted at the instance of the Airline Pilots Association (International) in the United States. One would expect that the members of that association, more than anybody else, would have a realization of the dangers that could be occasioned to aircraft through drink. The association was the prime mover in sponsoring a bill for the purpose of banning liquor on aircraft.
– The bill was never passed.
– Unfortunately, I cannot say what happened to it. I assure honorable senators that I have had the Library staff trying throughout the day to trace the matter to its conclusion, but I have not yet been able to obtain the result.
– Possibly I can help you. The bill lapsed.
– I have no knowledge of that. I can only say that, in the time available, the Library has been unable to locate the rest of the material and make it available to me. The American bill might have lapsed, but I suggest that the Minister go further and say why it lapsed. I can imagine a hundred and one reasons why it lapsed. I should be interested to know the real reason.
On the question of what goes on in aircraft, I refer the Minister to the evidence that was given by Clarence L. Sayen, the president of the Airline Pilots Association. It covers very many pages. He was chal lenged to submit to the committee specific instances. They appear on page 190 and many following pages of the report. They appear under very interesting headings and complete details of the incidents are given in each case. The first heading is -
Attempts to enter the flight deck and interfere with the operation of the aircraft by the crew.
I will come back to that in a moment. Other headings are -
Creation of disturbances in passenger cabin requiring pilots to leave flight deck.
In-flight emergencies requiring unscheduled landings to remove inebriated passengers who are hazardous or creating disturbances.
Inebriated passengers inadvertently actuating or damaging exits or pressurization devices in flight.
Fire hazard from inebriated passengers and refusal to comply with safety regulations.
Social and moral problems.
The Minister will find a most informative series of records illustrating the type of thing that can happen. They are recounted in rather racey language. I shall take a moment or two to quote some which occur under the first heading, “ Attempts to enter the flight deck and interfere with the operation of the aircraft by the crew “. This is a report of the National line made on 8th March, 1956, and the incidents cover a period of two years from 1955-57. The report, apparently from the pilot, reads -
I remember when a large man under the influence of liquor started to come up to the cockpit, yelling that he was going to kill the captain because he was going to make an emergency landing in an open field instead of an airport. The only emergency was with him. We happened to have a sixth crew member on board who, with other male passengers, stopped him at the cockpit door. He put up such a struggle that they had to take his belt off and wrap it round his neck and tie him down. The captain got out of his seat and took his large flashlight to use as a weapon, I suppose, and went back to help.
There is another incident in regard to the London airline -
About fifteen minutes after reaching cruising altitude, the cockpit door swung open and a lady rushed in and wanted to talk to me. She pushed by the engineer and sat down on the floor. The steward had seen her rush up to the cockpit and followed her to inform me of her inebriated condition. I returned her to the cabin and she sat down in a seat in the tourist compartment. I went back to the galley to find out where she belonged. In that length of time the tourist passengers were objecting to her presence. Hence, I removed her to her assigned first-class seat. The lady’s seat mate was an unaccompanied child. I later found she had been offering him beer.
Here is another report referring to a trip from New Orleans to Dallas -
On a Convair trip from New Orleans to Dallas one night, and while on final approach to Alexandria Air Base, a short, well-inebriated man wandered into the cockpit and began to berate me for being “ mandatorily angry with him, and just what did I have against him anyhow? “ A circle of the field was necessary while a hammerlock was applied to convince him that the captain was not mad at him and that he should return to his seat.
There are also instances that were summarized from this report by one of the temperance bodies. I do not agree with the exact way they have been set out, but this body summarized them in this way -
Four instances of drunken passengers forcing their way into the cockpit.
Eight cases where flight crew members had to abandon their cockpit duties to quell disturbances created by inebriated passengers.
Three unscheduled emergency landings to remove drunken passengers whose behaviour was threatening their plane’s safety.
Three intoxicated passengers inadvertently actuating or damaging windows, doors and pressurization devices in flight.
Five cases of drunken passengers creating fire hazards in flight and refusal to comply with safety regulations.
Three instances of carrying arms and in one case a stewardess was threatened with a pointed revolver when asking for coffee.
– A revolver!
– Yes, a revolver. The summary continued -
Another case involved an assault on a stewardess by a gun-carrying drunk. The offender told the passengers boastfully “ not to worry if anything happened to the crew because he would and could fly the aircraft”.
– Did these incidents occur in Australia?’
– No, they occurred in America. I am recording the fact that they occurred in America.
– Could you give me the period over which they occurred?
– The two years from 1955 to 1957.
– Where did these people consume the liquor? At the airport?
– Mainly at the airport. The matter is very largely under control in the air. On that point it is very interesting to look at one other thing. Among the documents that were presented to the House of Representatives Committee was one dated 1st December, 1955. It is a memorandum from the Chief of the Safety Projects Branch to the Chief of the Medical Division, both being officers of the Civil Aeronautics Administration of the United States Government. The subject is, “ Comments on serving of alcoholic beverages to passengers by the airlines “. It is a fairly brief memorandum and I propose to read it. It reads -
The number of incidents attributable to alcoholic intoxication, which have been reported in the injury, unconscious, and death reports of domestic scheduled airlines is as follows: -
I pause to say that this particular record only mentioned instances in which somebody was injured, became unconscious or died. In quoting succeeding years the document sets out that the number of incidents in 1947 was 1, and in the succeeding years the numbers were, 1, nil, 2, 4, 4, 7, 4, and 2, making in all 25. I admit they are not large numbers. The memorandum continues -
These reports were submitted because unconsciousness occurred. In many of these incidents the drinking appears to have occurred prior to boarding the flight.
Although the individuals responsible for these incidents made a nuisance of themselves, they apparently did not generally endanger the safety of the flight. However, in one instance, the person involved was using oxygen and then decided to smoke. This conceivably could have caused a fire, if the hostess had not noticed this and turned off the oxygen.
We do not have any other special sources of information on airline experience with intoxicated passengers: However, it is common knowledge that the. release of inhibitions and impairment of judgment in the intoxicated individual can lead to very ill-advised, impulsive actions that can endanger safety in almost any situation.
I ask the Minister to note that. The memorandum continues -
The probability that the intoxicating effects of alcohol are potentiated by altitude is also relevant to this problem.
The Minister may also look at something that occurs on page 24 of the report that is before me, where there is set out a House of Representatives report of the subcommittee to the Congress. The” extract I propose to read refers to a bill to prohibit’ the use of alcohol in aircraft. It is as follows -
H.R. 8,000 was introduced as a result of appeals made by the Air Lines Pilots’ Association and the Air Line Stewards and Stewardesses Association after efforts to get relief by regulation or agreement within the industry failed! The two associations amply documented the need for legislative action in testimony before the Subcommittee on Transportation and Communications, Witnesses cited numerous instances of hazards to safety and unnecessary annoyances to other passengers resulting from excessive drinking by passengers. In addition to eliminating the potential safety hazard, Congress has an obligation to protect passengers in interstate commerce from annoyances and inconvenience such as cited by witnesses.
The report proceeds -
The serving of intoxicating liquor by the airlines results in these three problems: The unregulated consumption of liquor by airline passengers is a compromise with safety. There is always the danger that a passenger who has over-indulged can interfere with the crew.
What I have read so far confirms the fears that 1 expressed on behalf of the Opposition - that when too-free opportunities for access to liquor are provided there will be a temptation to the people involved. The second problem is expressed in these words -
The serving of liquor to airline passengers places an unnecessary burden on flight crews. Crew members have more important tasks than policing unruly passengers. Instances were cited where the pilot was forced to subdue unruly passengers . . .
The third problem is -
Drinking on passenger aircraft creates a social problem, in that even though no safety hazard develops, the passenger who over-indulges may offend or annoy other passengers.
– Order! The honorable senator’s time has expired.
– I am not going to reiterate my remarks of this afternoon, or provoke a debate on this subject. Millions of passengers are carried by the airlines of North America each year. If those are the only instances of possible danger to life to which the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McKenna) can point, they fortify this Government’s attitude. There is no real evidence in any of those reports that any tribunal has found, as a fact, that there has been danger to passengers of an aircraft, or to the drunken person concerned.
It is pertinent to this discussion to remind Senator McKenna that no legislation exists in America to confirm his fears, by denying alcohol to aircraft passengers. It is a wellknown fact of life in America that one can still get alcohol, not only on aerodromes, but in aeroplanes. Therefore, the instances cited by Senator McKenna did not impress any one in America, and certainly should not impress us either.
This afternoon Senator McKenna left us with the impression that he was going to cite an accident that was the result of the consumption of liquor, as distinct from some one becoming drunk in a plane and misbehaving - which has happened, and will doubtless happen again. I thought he would produce evidence of an actual accident as a result of insobriety on the part of a passenger or crew member. All that he has given are expressions of opinion by crew members that certain conduct could lead to an accident. No one will contradict that. Such a thing is always possible, but does that warrant our refusing to serve liquor at an aerodrome, when, in fact, it can be obtained on the aircraft itself? The suggestion is so silly that I do not wish to comment upon it further. I merely ask the Minister whether the Air Pilots’ Association has ever brought to his notice the desirability, because of the conduct of passengers, of ending the practice of serving liquor on aircraft. Is it the Minister’s considered opinion that that association would not wish this bill to go through, and that it believes that liquor should not be sold on aircraft or at aerodromes?
– I can tell the honorable senator categorically that the Air Pilots Association has not made any such approach to me. I have always considered that both pilots and passengers have taken for granted the serving of liquor on aircraft. I am very interested to note that the inquiry to which Senator McKenna refers had to do with the serving of liquor in flight only. That is a different proposition from the one that we are discussing, and certainly it has a different connotation in Australia. No one under the influence of liquor is allowed to board an aircraft in this country. I cannot recall ever having had referred to me any disturbance which arose as the result of a passenger obtaining, on an aircraft, more liquor than was good for him, and becoming intoxicated.
– Or, worse still, endangering the aircraft.
– I am coming to that. What Senator McKenna has said does not add up to evidence of an accident - a possibility of which he spoke earlier. Only 24 instances of misconduct of this kind were reported in America during a period of two and a half years. As the North American airlines lift some 30,000,000 passengers in a year, that works out at an average of about one in 3,000,000.
From a brief glance at the report from which Senator McKenna has quoted, it seems that the evidence offered was not sufficient to achieve the desired result. 1 am informed that the bill lapsed. I should like to see - and no doubt Senator McKenna would also - the publication following the one to which he has referred. I should very much like to know whether the evidence to which he referred was actually tested by cross-examination to see whether the statements made were correct in detail. In any event, the incidents have no relevance to Australian flying conditions. The Australian airline pilots have certainly made no representations to me in this connexion, and the record of passengers over a long period does not suggest that we are going to be troubled in this way in this country.
The CHAIRMAN (Senator the Hon. A. D. Reid). - Order! In conformity with the sessional order relating to the adjournment of the Senate, I formally put the question -
That the Chairman do now leave the chair and report to the Senate.
Question resolved in the negative.
– I thought I had made perfectly clear, Mr. Chairman, that my reference to the American report related specifically to the supply of liquor in aircraft. I am not suggesting that there is difficulty, in that respect, in Australia. The matter is under the control of competent crew, and I have never in fact seen any trouble develop in an aircraft owing to the supply of liquor by the operating crew to a passenger. However. I refer to the fact that the report of the chief of the American air safety projects, from which
I quoted earlier to-night, indicated that real dangers could arise from the partaking of liquor on the ground.
It is perfectly clear that a person might imbibe a considerable quantity of alcohol in a short period and not show any effects of it for a time. However, if he boarded an aircraft, trouble might develop.
– Has any tribunal held, on the evidence to which the honorable senator has referred, that an aeroplane has in fact been placed in jeopardy in such circumstances?
– The honorable senator has only to refer for his answer to the cases I cited. I could have cited scores of such cases to him. I should say that in every case there was danger to the safety of the aircraft.
– Who decided that?
– Instances are given in the official publications, as taken from the records. I could cite more alarming cases than those to which I have already referred. The case I am making is that the dominant consideration from the viewpoint of the passenger, and also from that of the Department of Civil Aviation, is air safety.
The remarks of the Minister may have left the impression that we of the Opposition are doubtful of the capacity of employees of the Department of Civil Aviation to control the position that may arise. 1 thought I had made it quite clear in my earlier remarks that we have the utmost confidence in. them. I suggest that one reason for their outstanding record in world aviation is the fact that liquor has been kept away from airports.
– lt has been served on aeroplanes for twenty years.
– I am speaking of airports. The difficulty is that temptation is something that few people can resist. If you put facilities in front of people, they are liable to succumb. The mere fact that liquor has not been gracing the festive board of the airports of Australia would, I should think, be one of the main reasons why we have not had a duplication of the American incidents to which I have referred. We of the Opposition are primarily concerned with two things, the first of which is air safety, and the second, the convenience of passengers, particularly women and children.
I take the opportunity, Mr. Chairman, to refer to what the Minister said a few moments ago when he attributed to me, asI understood him, criticism of the splendid body of men constituting the air crews of Australia. If he has based that opinion on anything I have said to-day, he has no justification for doing so.
– No, I did not attribute criticism to the honorable senator.
– I accept the Minister’s denial. I could not pay a higher tribute to any body of men than that which is deserved by those who constitute the air crews of Australia. So long as the Minister has not attributed such criticisms to me, I need not pursue the matter further.
Question put -
That the words proposed to be added (Senator McKenna’s amendment) be added.
The committee divided. (The Chairman - Senator the Hon. A. D. Reid.)
Majority . . . . 8
Question so resolved in the negative.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 9 - (3.) An authority under this Act to sell or supply intoxicating liquor shall contain terms and conditions under which the holder is subject to requirements, prohibitions and restrictions (including restrictions as to the days on which, and the times during which, such liquor may be sold or supplied) corresponding, as nearly as possible, to those that apply, under the law of the State of Territory in which the airport is situated, in relation to the sale or supply of such liquor in pursuance of a licence under that law of the kind that most nearly corresponds with the authority under this Act.
– I move -
After “liquor”, first occurring, insert “shall be granted only to the Director-General of Civil Aviation and”.
As it stands, sub-clause (3.) reads -
An authority under this Act to sell or supply intoxicating liquor shall contain terms and conditions under which the holder is subject to requirements, prohibitions and restrictions (including restrictions as to the days on which, and the times during which, such liquor may be sold or supplied) corresponding, as nearly as possible, to those that apply, under the law of the State or Territory in which the airport is situated, in relation to the sale or supply of such liquor in pursuance of a licence under that law of the kind that most nearly corresponds with the authority under this Act.
I propose that, since the Committee has rejected the exclusion of liquor altogether, we should confine its distribution to the Department of Civil Aviation. That would be the effect of the amendmentthat I now propose.
I put it to the Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Paltridge) that that would have two of the purposes that he desires. It would ensure air safety because the mattter would be under most rigid and proper control. In addition, by taking all the profits of this lucrative activity, the Government would be able to go very much further in reducing the financial gap between revenue and expenditure in civil aviation.
.- I only wish to say that this is a typical example of the way in which the Opposition can insinuate its policy of socialization, even into a bill of this sort. This is an attempt to give the operation of liquor licences to the Director-General of Civil Aviation. To combine interest in the expansion of sales with the responsibility of supervision and control is to combine two inconsistent elements. If the Opposition is genuinely interested in safety it .will leave the DirectorGeneral and his department to attend to that matter exclusively. The department has ample scope, under this clause, as the adviser of the Minister, and the Minister may impose the most stringent controls on liquor sales. I cannot concede that there is anything but an undisclosed purpose in the Opposition’s motion.
– The Government cannot accept the amendment.
Question put -
That the words proposed to be inserted (Senator McKenna’s amendment) be inserted.
The committee divided. (The Chairman - Senator the Hon. A. D. Reid.)
Majority . . 9
Question so resolved in the negative.
– Since this measure was discussed on a previous occasion, the requirement has been introduced -that the liquor licences that the Minister is authorized to issue should correspond as nearly as possible to those issued under State laws. The words “ as nearly as possible “ obviously provide a loophole. I therefore move -
Leave out “ requirements, prohibitions and restrictions (including restrictions as to the days on which, and the times during which, such liquor may be sold or supplied) corresponding, as nearly as possible, to “, insert “ requirements, prohibitions and restrictions as to the days on which, and the times during which, such liquor may be sold or supplied corresponding to, and to ‘Other requirements, prohibitions and restrictions corresponding, as nearly as possible, to,”.
I believe that that would bring consistency between liquor licences at airports and licences issued under State laws to a degree where there would be no division whatever in the administration of State liquor laws. The amendment will ensure that the State liquor laws will remain undivided and will therefore not be undermined. The amendment requires absolute correspondence as to the days and times when liquor is sold at airports and those under State licensing laws. Correspondence as nearly as possible in regard to all other conditions should be a further strengthening of the measure.
– I am pleased to accept the amendment, and I thank Senator Wright for his assistance in tightening up the clause. It was always the intention that the licensing hours should be precisely those that obtained in the State concerned. The amendment certainly makes that quite clear.
– I appreciate the significance of the amendment and I am pleased that the Minister has accepted the proposal. I still am in trouble with the clause amended as proposed by Senator Wright, because it will still include the escape words “ as nearly as possible “. The committee will note that I have already circulated an amendment proposing that these words be left out.
I direct the committee’s attention to the fact that licensing laws throughout Australia vary. In some States hotels close at 10 p.m. and in others they close at 6 p.m. In the terms of the proposal there will be no uniformity. In the evening hours in particular, some travellers will have the benefit of liquor if they want it, while others will be denied it. The position will remain untidy. If we accept the position for which I contended, namely that the matter be left to the States, even in relation to determining the grant of a licence, the need for one, the qualifications of a licensee and his fitness in every respect, we do not need the words “ as nearly as possible”. Senator Wright has proposed that these words shall not apply to hours and days on which facilities will be provided, but that they shall apply to terms and conditions other than that.
– The question is-
That the words proposed to be left out be left out.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– The question now is -
That the words of the amendment be inserted instead of the words left out.
– At this point, for the reasons I have already adduced to the Senate and as an amendment to the words proposed to be inserted, I move -
Leave out “ as nearly as possible “.
– I am advised that the clause, amended as proposed by Senator Wright, takes us to the point at which we want to arrive. The substance of the amendment is covered, I believe, by the words that provide for the days on which and the hours in which liquor may be sold. These tie the position up very tightly. There may well be a provision in a State licensing act in relation to a matter other than the hour and day, which could not be met by the licensee of a cocktail lounge at an airport. I refer particularly to the older provisions in some acts. I know that in Western Australia there is provision that a light shall be hung over the door at night and that stabling shall be provided for horses. These are relics of the past, but they are conditions that could not be met. My advice is that the clause, as amended in accordance with Senator Wright’s proposal, ties the matter up as tightly as possible.
– It will be noted that this is a contingent amendment, moved after the defeat of the second amendment I proposed. I do not propose to divide the Senate on this amendment, but I shall propose a further contingent amendment providing for the deletion of sub-clause (3.). Having commented upon the amendment, my purpose will be achieved if the next amendment I move is carried. I ask for leave of the committee to withdraw my amendment, which proposes the deletion of the words “ as nearly as possible”.
Amendment to the words proposed to be inserted - by leave - withdrawn.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I move -
Leave out sub-clause (3.), as amended.
– Order! I cannot accept the honorable senator’s proposed amendment.
– Under what standing order do you reject it?
– Under Standing Order No. 145, which reads: -
No amendment shall be proposed to be made to any words which the Senate has resolved shall not be left out, or which have been inserted in or added to a Question, except it be the addition of other words thereto-
– I shall not contest that ruling, but I shall divide the committee upon the whole clause.
Question put -
That the clause, as amended, be agreed to.
The committee divided. (The Chairman - Senator the Hon. A. D. Reid.)
Majority . . 9
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Clause 10. (1.) An authority under this Act shall contain such terms and conditions in relation to the inspection of premises, the keeping and inspection of books and records and the inspection and sampling of goods as the Minister considers necessary for the purposes of this Act.
– I move -
After “ records “, insert, “ the making of reasonable charges for goods or services “.
The effect of that is to oblige the Minister to include in an authority certain conditions that will enable him to see that the prices charged for goods or services at an airport are reasonable. I addressed argument to the Senate on that point during the second-reading debate. I do not repeat it; I merely summarize it by saying that a concessionaire at an airport will have a privileged position. He will be free of municipal rates unless some special provision is made, and he could undercut other traders in the vicinity. Further, being open at hours when no other premises are open, he may be able to charge undue high prices. I think it should be obligatory upon the Minister to have in his leases conditions which will enable this matter to be looked at and regulated.
– The Government does not accept the proposed amendment. I am very confident that when these concessions are established trade will be conducted on fair and reason’ able terms. I would hesitate at any time to impose anything which might be in the nature of price control. The experience of these people will undoubtedly be that if they attempt to charge excessive prices they will pay the inevitable penalty and will not get the business.
– Would you mind telling us the general purpose of inspecting books and records? Is that not directed in some way to prices?
– It is merely to ascertain what business is being done. It is for the purpose of obtaining general information, and of establishing fair rentals for the ensuing leases.
Question put -
That the words proposed to be inserted (Senator McKenna’s amendment) be inserted.
The committee divided. (The Chairman - Senator the Hon. A. D. Reid.)
Majority . . . . 9
Question so resolved in the negative.
Clause agreed to.
Proposed new clause 10a.
Amendment (by Senator Paltridge) proposed -
After clause 10, insert the following new clause: - “ 10a. - (1.) Subject to this section, a lease, licence or authority under this Act, other than a lease, licence or authority for purposes directly related to the operation of air transport services, shall not be granted -
– I took the opportunity earlier to speak to this amendment, really, when I expressed my pleasure that the Minister had agreed to delimit his authority in some such way as this. I am pleased that he has not adhered to the period of five years that was originally mentioned in respect of leases for which he is not obliged to call tenders, and has reduced the period to three years, but I ask: What good reason is there for specifying a period of three years? One can imagine that these concessions will grow into very valuable things and become much sought after. I merely indicate to the Minister that even a three-year term for this purpose may get the Government into trouble.
.- It does not detract at all from the value and the wisdom of Senator McKenna’s secondreading argument, but it should be known that considerations of this sort were engaged in before that debate commenced. As I interpret the amendment, it is an attempt on the part of the Minister to recognize that contracts by way of leases or licences affecting Commonwealth Crown property should be subject to some limitations in their disposal. The limitations imposed by the new clause are satisfactory to me, having in mind the provisions incorporated in the State Crown lands acts with regard to the control of the Crown lands of the States.
With regard to the suggestion that the three-year period is too long, I suggest to Senator McKenna that some casual lettings and grantings of licences and minor leases must be allowed without the inconvenience, and sometimes the impracticability, of offering them by public tender or by public auction. I suggest that if that period is looked at in the light of legislation such as the State Crown lands acts, wherein tenants for life, as trustees, and limited owners are given power over the whole freehold, one can find some degree of satisfaction and a considerable measure of security in the acceptance of this measure of delimitation.
Proposed new clause agreed to.
Remainder of bill - by leave - taken as a whole, and agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments; report adopted.
Motion (by Senator Paltridge) put -
That the bill be now read a third time.
The Senate divided. (The President - Senator the Hon. Sir Alister McMullin.)
Majority . . . . 9
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a third time.
Debate resumed from 12th November (vide page 1412), on motion by Senator Henry-
That the bill be now read a second time.
– I say at once that the Labour Party supports the measure. The Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Henty) in his second-reading speech very briefly, but factually, gave the reasons for this bill. Honorable senators will remember that during the war years we had rationing of motor car tyres in Australia because we were unable to obtain the rayon cord that was necessary for the making of tyres. Following the war we tried to induce both British and American firms to come to Australia and establish the rayon industry here. The British firm of Courtaulds came to Australia soon after the end of the war determined to set up this industry in New South Wales.
At the moment this firm has something like £6,000,000 or £7,000,000 worth of plant in the district of Tomago just outside Newcastle. The firm was assured by the government of the day that if it came to Australia and assisted this country in the production of raw rayon, the Government would see that the industry was protected and that the firm would have the chance to set up this very important industry in this country. After the factory was established the firm of Courtaulds (Australia) Limited applied to the Tariff Board for some assistance to protect it against over seas competition. Following the Tariff Board report the government of the day granted the company a certain bounty. Since that occasion the company has approached the board on two or three occasions. The board has recommended the continuance of the bounty and the government of the day has accepted the recommendation of the Tariff Board.
While the Labour Party feels that big industries ought not to receive subsidies in order to enable them to carry on their business in a competitive economy and at the same time make profits, it does feel that this particular organization in coming to Australia did render this country a national service. Under the circumstances the Labour Party is prepared to agree that assistance should be given to this industry, following the recommendation of the Tariff Board, in order that the company might be in a position to trade profitably and so establish itself in Australia.
In June of last year the subsidy recommended by the Tariff Board lapsed and the present Government decided to carry it on until the next Tariff Board report on the industry was available. That report has been available now for some time. The board conducted a very thorough inquiry; and I wish to pay a compliment to the board. Over the years it has done a remarkable job in recommending to different governments the type of protection that ought to be given to industry. The Labour Party feels that reports of the Tariff Board must be respected and that the government of the day should give those reports serious consideration when deciding whether to carry out the board’s recommendations. On this occasion the board made recommendations to the Government, and the Government has seen fit to carry out those recommendations. The board conducted a very thorough investigation and the Government has now introduced this bill which will have the effect of carrying out the board’s recommendations by giving to this industry a bounty that will afford it protection and enable it to carry on until 1962.
There are many side issues that we could discuss, but the basic point about the legislation is that over the next three years it will implement the recommendation of a body that has made a thorough investigation and recommended that this industry should be assisted. The Labour Party feels that the Government has wisely brought this bill forward and it agrees to support the measure.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.
Senate adjourned at 12.1 a.m. (Thursday).
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 18 November 1959, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1959/19591118_senate_23_s16/>.