Of Mandarins & Minions.

Sandy to the Mandarin -  Wink

Quote:Dear Editor,


Firstly thank you for the Mandarin by email. Many informative articles of value to myself and my group which is focused on the plight of Australia’s aviation community, particularly that of the declining General Aviation sector, beset as it is with extreme over regulation. 

I have one query, why is it that what used to be called the Public Service is now almost universally referred to as the ‘public sector’?  

This represents a shift from the notion that those who are employed by Government instrumentalities are paid to serve the needs of the general public, to some other undefined purpose which might well be in competition with private enterprise. 

One third of Australia’s workers, quoting Philip Lowe Governor of the RBA about the “public sector” (employed directly or indirectly) are paid out of the public purse and are possibly better paid than the average taxpayer. Commonwealth statistics show, for example, that Canberra’s working population is paid some 40% higher than the national average. Therefore it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to imagine that perhaps half of national output is controlled and distributed within the ‘public sector.’ If true this could be said to be a very large shift away from the efficiencies of a market economy. 

Will we reach a tipping point where the interests of the Public Sector outweigh the interests of the greater national good? Or have we reached that point and is that one fundamental reason why the general populace has little faith in the political system? 

Kind regards,

Sandy Reith 


Pretty sure it's just a passing coincidence but that email wouldn't be out of place as a comment to the following interesting Mandarin article covering an address by DFAT Secretary Frances Adamson to the IPAA:


Quote:Frances Adamson: trust, cooperation and inclusion are fundamental to policy and delivery
[Image: Stephen-Easton_colour-150x150.jpg]
By Stephen Easton
Tuesday August 13, 2019


[Image: trust.jpg]

Addressing the growing crisis of faith in democracy and public institutions is not easy but it is a key responsibility of public servants, says Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade secretary Frances Adamson.

The highly experienced diplomat sees the world in a state of “profound transition” with geopolitical, technological, demographic and economic forces pushing and pulling in directions that often run counter to Australian interests. In times like these she thinks it’s especially important that public servants keep trying to work closely together across portfolios and work towards every one of their colleagues being equally valued and respected.

The big trends shaping the world, spelled out in her department’s 2017 foreign policy white paper, are accelerating and a big one is the “growing disillusionment at what some see as the empty promises of liberalism and globalisation” around the the world.

[Image: adamson-kennedy-230x300.png]
Steven Kennedy is taking over the IPAA ACT
presidency from Frances Adamson. Image: RLDI.


Public servants must resist the urge to look around and think it’s unfair or irrational for members of the public to view the organs of the state with such cynical eyes, she said, in her final speech as president of the Institute of Public Administration Australia ACT division, a role soon to be taken up by incoming Treasury secretary Steven Kennedy.

Any person or organisation can try to influence public opinion, but there’s no sense ignoring widely held views because they seem incorrect.

“Around the world, trust in democratically elected governments is at a low point. That is now well known,” Adamson said.

“We can debate how fair that is from a personal standpoint; as a public servant who’s worked with successive governments, I can say that ministers, MPs and public servants take their duty seriously and think deeply about the effects of their decisions. But we need to appreciate that as public servants living in Canberra, our perspective is not necessarily the same as that of many Australians.”

The DFAT secretary accepts that various surveys and studies show “Australians are less inclined to trust their elected representatives, are sceptical of institutions, and are somewhat disenchanted with democratic processes” — about half of us don’t trust members of parliament in general and only about 38% trust public servants, she said, based on research by local academics who want to help turn the tide.

Satisfaction in Australian democracy had “more than halved in a decade” according to that report, by the Democracy 2025 project based in the Museum of Australian Democracy, while a slightly more positive poll run by the Lowy Institute found about 30% of Australians unhappy with how their system of parliamentary government works.

“As the interface between people and government, it is incumbent upon us as public servants to seek to engender trust in government. That means providing astute advice and demonstrating unity and a driving sense of purpose in implementing the government’s agenda. The Australian people expect no less, and the Prime Minister has made that explicit.

“It means striving for excellence in all that we do, whether that is frontline service delivery or writing policy recommendations. And it means ensuring we remain worthy of the trust of our fellow Australians and of each other.”

Collaboration

Adamson’s practised eyes see the nature of relationships between nations, organisations and individuals changing rapidly and significantly, as international tension rises with each passing day.

She said bureaucrats in different parts of the public sector should continue trying collaborate and focus on “drawing on a spectrum of views and experiences to shape and implement policy” in these challenging times.

“The big story in our own [nearby] regions, with reverberations beyond, is of course the changing balance of strategic power. The relationship between the United States and China is strained — increasingly strained, and more obviously so almost with every passing day. Trade tensions between them are putting the entire global economic system under pressure.”

As trust in democratic institutions falls and the superpowers jostle for position in the Asia-Pacific, “technology is drastically changing how we live and work”.

“The confluence of these forces raises the stakes for governments, and across our region, for the officials who advise them and who implement policy. As changes grow more complex and more difficult to meet, … the ways we address them must become more sophisticated.”

For the Australian Public Service, she believes more collaboration is the answer, and a continuing focus on overcoming the persistent barriers to workforce diversity that see some citizens — people with disabilities or Indigenous Australians, for example — less likely to work in the federal public service and climb the ladder to senior executive level.

In support of collaboration, she endorsed the idea that public policy challenges such as climate change are increasingly “wicked” or multi-dimensional, meaning they can’t be “easily compartmentalised” and addressed by a single department in splendid isolation, as they more often were in the past.

She said this also meant departments had to become less insular. A traditional view might be that recruiting to relatively senior roles from outside the public service or even from outside the one department is a bit risky. Adamson thinks the opposite is true.

It is a “work in progress” but DFAT is changing from an organisation “once dominated by foreign and trade policy generalists, and consular and passport service providers” into a multi-disciplinary group of program managers, economists, subject-matter experts, industry specialists and secondees from other parts of the APS.

“As a result, we are a more flexible organisation better able to collaborate across government to deliver solutions to the problems the government faces in its international engagement — but of course, still needing to do more.”

She said DFAT had been “been slow to recognise” the value of experience outside its own walls but that was changing.

[Image: adamson-audience-768x364.png]


Diversity and inclusion

All secretaries are firm supporters of workforce diversity and inclusion, Adamson added, pointing to the immense value that comes from having a workforce where all members “feel empowered respectfully” as she moved into her third key point.

While a lot of APS employees would agree with the general thrust of their leader’s diversity and inclusion strategy, she noted that the challenge is making all people feel welcome and equally respected.

“In DFAT, we have trouble retaining indigenous officers who tend to leave us after they reach APS 5 [level], many drawn to attractive roles in the private sector, or promotions elsewhere in the public sector.”

This is an issue right across the APS; last we heard there were only about 25 Indigenous SES officers — about 1% of the thousands of senior executives and roughly 0.5% of all federal public servants of Indigenous background — and that figure has not gone up for at least a decade.

“While I encourage our staff to broaden their professional experience and seek opportunities, I’d like us to do better on retaining our future Indigenous leaders,” said Adamson.

“And while we have reduced barriers to employment for people with disabilities in recent years, only 2.9% of our staff identify as having a disability, compared to 3.7% in the broader APS and 18% in the general population.

“We want all our staff to feel included, whether they’re sixth or seventh generation Australian or first, whether their parents were lawyers or labourers, whatever faith they follow, or don’t, and whomever they love. And we want to ensure that we include people who may not identify with any of those groups, to make sure that they feel they belong, too.

“It’s about creating a workplace where people can bring their best selves, their unique experiences, perspectives and thinking, and apply all of those attributes to the problems they’re solving.”

As always, the full event can be viewed on video at the IPAA ACT website
 

MTF...P2  Tongue
Reply

The past few weeks there has been an extraordinary amount of media attention being paid to freedoms, both personal and business. Much criticism of the vast volumes of red tape that not only impinges on our personal freedoms but places a very heavy burden on business to the point where the most vulnerable are in serious peril of becoming unviable.

I wonder if those that signed our Federation document back in 1901 ever envisioned what our federation would grow into, an ever-evolving tangle of intermingled bureaucracies competing against each other for power and influence.

Simplistically we once paid taxes. In return, the various governments supplied us with services, the states had their specific responsibilities, and the Federal Government had theirs.

In today’s world, we still pay our taxes but also for almost every service governments provide as well, at almost obscene amounts of money when the actual work required providing that service is infinitesimal.

Particularly since the end of the Second World War those separate responsibilities have been blurred and merged. Increasingly the Federal government has intruded into state affairs, perhaps because the States shirked their responsibilities or acquiesced, but only to a point, never entirely giving up on “State rights”. This has resulted in a hog podge of duplicated bureaucracies, each a perfect foil against criticism or ineptitude, each blaming the other when things go wrong. I imagine the costs of this duplication would be eye watering, but of course the public would never become aware of it.

Australia has become the most secretive democracy in the world, no doubt heavily promoted by the Mandarins to conceal their own errors or ineptitude.

The Public Service, as it was known, was exactly that, it served the public interest, without fear or favour, administering the governments business and the will of the parliament. To be a public servant was generally not a highly paid job compared with the private sector, but it was a job for life, if security was what you wanted, with a few “perks” thrown in to sweeten the pot.

In todays world it’s called the Public Sector and as it has grown, its influence and power has grown exponentially, its union becoming perhaps the most powerful in the nation resulting in remuneration expanding to rival and surpass the private sector, the “perks” still remain however. The Public Sector’s power and influence has grown to the extent where they can and do defy the will of the parliament. Increasingly the public are being governed by unelected mandarins, weak, incompetent ministers abrogating their responsibilities to these mandarins who, hidden behind a veil of secrecy, wield their power regardless of the consequences or the intent of the parliament.

To the Mandarins it would seem, the public who they are supposed to serve have become the enemy. Considering many of these Mandarins are paid not only huge salaries, but also Bonuses, not for competent administration, rather on how much money they can save. It becomes their self-interest that usurps the will of the parliament.

No better example of that observation is the terrible way our bureaucrats have treated our service personnel. Also the extraordinary way the NDIS has been mal-administered against our most vulnerable.

The bureaucratic failures of poor management display some remarkable examples of ineptitude that would never be tolerated within the private sector.

In our own industry we see a prime example of what can happen when accountability is ignored and free rein given to inept self-interested bureaucrats.

The slow death of an entire industry.
Reply

ScoMo sacks COAT M&M -  Rolleyes  

On one of our email chains the following distorted message under the heading of 'Dept Heads':

"..Not sure what u mean re COAT -finger trouble? -  many would agree he was a C- -T..."

Reply: "..C*** of a thing = COAT..."

Then after purveying the latest news from inside the Can'tberra bubble, the penny dropped....  Big Grin


Four departments and five secretaries cut while one returns, as PM reshapes the public service

[img=795x0]https://www.themandarin.com.au/content/uploads/2019/12/pieces-of-the-puzzle-592798_1280.jpg[/img] 
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has unveiled a massive Australian Public Service shake-up, which will see five secretaries out of their jobs, after a morning of confusion as rumours and leaks made their way into multiple major media outlets hours before the official statement.

After allowing various elements of the biggest story about the APS for decades to trickle out and flow through the filters of various news outlets this morning, Morrison released the following media statement shortly before 11.30am, confirming five secretaries will be gone when the changes take effect on February 1, 2020:
  • Department of Communications and the Arts secretary Mike Mrdak

  • Department of Human Services secretary Renée Leon

  • Department of Agriculture secretary Daryl Quinlivan

  • Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business secretary Kerri Hartland

  • Department of Industry, Innovation and Science secretary Heather Smith
One rumour that turned out to be wrong was the idea that Health secretary Glenys Beauchamp was in the firing line. She is not.

Another rumour was on the money: former APS secretary Andrew Metcalfe will return to the fold after working for Ernst and Young since 2013. He will head up the Department of Agriculture, which will also cover policy related to Water and the Environment.
Here’s the full statement from Morrison:

Quote:Today, I am announcing changes to the structure of the Australian Public Service (APS) as part of our reform agenda to put Australians at the centre of Government.
This morning, the Governor-General approved my recommendation to reduce the number of Government departments from 18 to 14, to ensure the services that Australians rely on are delivered more efficiently and effectively.
Australians should be able to access simple and reliable services, designed around their needs.  Having fewer departments will allow us to bust bureaucratic congestion, improve decision-making and ultimately deliver better services for the Australian people.
The new structure will drive greater collaboration on important policy challenges. For example, better integrating the Government’s education and skills agenda and ensuring Australians living in regional areas can access the infrastructure and services they need.
The following changes will take effect on 1 February 2020:
  • The creation of the Department of Education, Skills and Employment, which will consolidate:
o   the current Department of Education; and
o   the current Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business.
  • The creation of the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, which will consolidate:
o   the current Department of Agriculture; and
o   environment functions from the current Department of the Environment and Energy.
  • The creation of the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, which will consolidate:
o   the current Department of Industry, Innovation and Science;
o   energy functions from the current Department of the Environment and Energy; and
o   small business functions from the current Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business.
  • The creation of the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, which will consolidate:
o   the current Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development; and
o   the current Department of Communications and the Arts.
  • The Department known as Services Australia (formerly known as the Department of Human Services) will be established as a new Executive Agency, within the Social Services Department.
Ten departments remain unchanged.
I am also announcing today that the remit of the North Queensland Livestock Industry Recovery Agency will be expanded to include drought.  The Hon Shane Stone AC QC will lead the new National Drought and North Queensland Flood Response and Recovery Agency, providing national leadership and a whole-of-government response to support our farmers and regional communities as they respond to, and recover from, the drought and the north Queensland flood from earlier this year.
The Agency will sit within the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and report to the Minister for Water Resources, Drought, Rural Finance, Natural Disaster and Emergency Management, the Hon David Littleproud MP.
As a consequence of these machinery changes, there will be movement and change amongst the Secretaries of departments.  The following Secretaries will not continue to hold office in the new structure when it takes effect on 1 February 2020:
  • Ms Kerri Hartland;

  • Ms Renée Leon PSM;

  • Mr Mike Mrdak AO;

  • Mr Daryl Quinlivan; and

  • Dr Heather Smith PSM.
Each of these senior officials has served their country with dedication, commitment and a deep sense of public service over many years, and their advice, achievements and leadership have been valued by governments past and present.
On behalf of the Government and all Australians, I thank Ms Hartland, Ms Leon, Mr Mrdak, Mr Quinlivan and Dr Smith for everything they have done to advance Australia’s interests, and for their service, and I wish them all the best in their future endeavours.
Mr David Fredericks, currently the Secretary of the Department of the Environment and Energy, will move to be Secretary of the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources.
Mr Andrew Metcalfe AO will take up the position of Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. Mr Metcalfe was Secretary of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship from 2005 to 2012 and Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry in 2013. Since then he has been a partner at EY (Ernst and Young). He will bring considerable public policy leadership experience to the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment and to the Secretaries Board.
The new structure will be implemented before Parliament returns next year. A full list of the new departments and Secretaries is provided below.
I have a deep respect for public servants and their work in delivering the Government’s agenda. I look forward to continuing to work with the public service to achieve the best outcomes for the Australian people.
The new structure of departments and Secretaries, on 1 February 2020, will be:
Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment
Mr Andrew Metcalfe AO
Attorney-General’s Department
Mr Chris Moraitis PSM
Department of Defence
Mr Greg Moriarty
Department of Education, Skills and Employment
Dr Michelle Bruniges AM
Department of Finance
Ms Rosemary Huxtable PSM
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Ms Frances Adamson
Department of Health
Ms Glenys Beauchamp PSM
Department of Home Affairs
Mr Michael Pezzullo
Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources
Mr David Fredericks
Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications
Mr Simon Atkinson
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
Mr Philip Gaetjens
Department of Social Services
Ms Kathryn Campbell AO CSC
Department of the Treasury
Dr Steven Kennedy PSM
Department of Veterans’ Affairs
Ms Liz Cosson AM CSC




Plus from: https://www.themandarin.com.au/122204-ou...e=mandarin

Quote:Mrdak informed his staff of the changes shortly before the announcement, and said he was only alerted to the news himself on Wednesday afternoon.

“Our department will cease to exist and our functions and responsibilities will be incorporated into a newly established Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities, Regional Development and Communications,” he wrote on Thursday.
Quote:“I was told of the government’s decision to abolish the department late yesterday afternoon. We were not permitted any opportunity to provide advice on the Machinery of Government changes, nor were our views ever sought on any proposal to abolish the department or to changes to our structure and operations. At this time I understand that all of our functions, responsibilities, staff and programmes will transfer into the new department.”
He said he would keep staff updated on further news, but the changes would see the end of his 32-year career in the public service.
Quote:“I will do my best with our SES (executive) team to ensure that there is as much certainty as possible for all of you, and our agencies, and a continuity of services for the community we serve.”
“This has been the most wonderful opportunity I could ever have imagined in my career.
“I will miss this department, all of you and the APS terribly.”

Hmm...home to roost, we always new he was brilliant but definitely a wrong'n -  Rolleyes

Next I came across this rather amusing Annabel Crabb (via the other Aunty) article which IMO thoroughly sums up the achievements (or not) of ScoMo's govt over the last 7 months... Wink

 
Quote:For Scott Morrison, electoral triumph has brought a weirdly shrunken field of vision
Updated about 7 hours ago
And so ends Scomovia's first full political calendar year.
A year that began with the discreet departures of Coalition megafauna convinced the jig was up, and closes with a resurgent Prime Minister kicking away the last remaining crutch of Labor's parliamentary dominance — the medevac legislation.
It's been a year made remarkable by the frequency with which obstacles have disappeared from the Prime Minister's path.
In recent weeks, both Mr Morrison's Lodge predecessors bade farewell to their political careers: Malcolm Turnbull with a cocktail party at Point Piper's Cruising Yacht Club (hello, sailor!) and Tony Abbott with a thousand fans at the grand ballroom of the Miramare Gardens, where MC Alan Jones (who else?) sorrowed for the "hundreds" turned away, not including Margie Abbott who — Mr Jones gallantly explained — was at St Vincent's hospital "recovering comfortably" from a lumpectomy.
The Liberal Party, too, has had a double lumpectomy with the excision of both Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull from its parliamentary ranks. One was performed by the voters of Warringah on May 18, the second a DIY day procedure performed by Mr Turnbull's own hand — and the party is left resting comfortably for the first time in a decade.
Indeed, the Prime Minister is the first Liberal leader in all that time who is not obliged to sleep with one eye open.
Since approximately 7:25pm on May 18 this year, when ABC election druid Antony Green turned to camera and remarked that the returns from the voting booths were looking weirdly inconsistent with what the polls were predicting, Scott Morrison has been in the historically unusual position, as leader of the Liberal Party, of being able to confidently order his stationery in bulk.
Safest jobs in the country
The Liberal Party may be the only workplace in Australia where job security is in a purple patch right now.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports that redundancies in Australia have risen by nearly half over the past two years, but within the Liberal Party, you really have to work at losing a job these days.
Being — for example — the Energy Minister really seems to bring a remarkable robustness of tenure.
Twenty-eight years ago, Angus Taylor was one of Australia's Rhodes Scholars.
Born and raised in Nimmitabel, NSW, Mr Taylor crossed the ocean to seek intellectual adventure and to not quite meet Naomi Wolf, an encounter he would later relate in in-Nimmitabel style in his maiden speech, from which the listener might gently infer that a young Taylor had gone to war with Oxford's Wolfian hordes of New York-raised PC warriors to defend the common room's Christmas tree.
Now, everyone needs a foundation myth, and this is especially true of the crusading conservative. Oxford is the place where Tony Abbott arranged a pro-Thatcher rally during the Falklands War, after all, so it's more or less incumbent on an aspiring PM like Angus Taylor to have struck a few blows for freedom.
Tragically, fresh reportage of Mr Taylor's first speech seems to have coincided this week with an unusually fallow patch in Dr Wolf's diary.
The writer — who insists that she "loves Christmas" — has robustly sought a correction, including by means of a direct telephone call to Mr Taylor's parliamentary office, where — coincidentally enough — the phone was picked up by a staffer defiantly carrying on his boss's legacy of honouring Christmas, quite possibly with a few glasses of shiraz.
Dr Wolf, who thoughtfully filmed herself making the call over Skype, subsequently posted the footage on YouTube, where it remains as a lesson to political staffers of all persuasions that sometimes it's best just to let the phone ring out.
The Oxford factor
It's not like being a Rhodes scholar guarantees one the prime ministership, exactly, but it certainly doesn't hurt, as Bob Hawke, Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull could attest.
Mr Abbott described his time at Oxford as "golden", and borrowed the British poet Frances Cornford's lovely, elegiac line to aver that the place had left him "magnificently unprepared for the long littleness of life".
By contrast, however, Oxford seems to have left Mr Taylor perfectly reconciled to the long littleness of life.
How else would you explain a Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction whose two most widely-recorded achievements in office relate to the weed-wanding of a 30 hectare block of land near Cooma, and the apparent forgery of some local council documents?
I mean — fine. Fight the fight. Make the point about the eradication of Serrated Tussock, or preoccupy yourself with taunting the failure of various City of Sydney officials to observe an absolute zero emissions policy, in a political tactic that owes more to Student Politics 101 than it does to the dreaming spires.
But really — and the question needs to be asked — is that all there is?
The Prime Minister has clung defiantly to his minister, even making — in the presence of his Attorney General, Christian Porter — a phone call to the NSW Police Commissioner to suss out just how strike-forcey the Strike Force into Mr Taylor was actually going to be, ballpark.
A surprising move, you might think — especially given the supervision of Mr Porter, an Attorney with established expertise in governmental telephone etiquette, having one year earlier taken the rather extraordinary step of writing to the Solicitor General and directing him not to answer prime minister Malcolm Turnbull's phone calls.
PM's shrunken field of vision
Whatever the ethics of Call-The-Cops-Gate, the fact remains that the Prime Minister concludes the year wreathed in bushfire smoke, besieged by parched farmers, contemplating a summer of power outages and country towns running dry, all the while lashed to an energy and climate minister who seems — to put it ultra-mildly — to have a problem with detail, not to mention appearing in public without facing shouted questions about Naomi Wolf.
For the Prime Minister, too, electoral triumph has brought a weirdly shrunken field of vision.
Scott Morrison's mandate was one of the most straightforward in living political history.
No Tony-Abbott-style policy creatures from the deep for this guy; Scott Morrison is a man who explicitly promised to cut personal income taxes, definitely implied that he would continue to wear a peaked cap for casual occasions, and firmly assured us that he wouldn't do any of the stuff Bill Shorten wanted.
PROMISES KEPT!
Aside from tax cuts, this man was essentially elected NOT to do stuff. And to be fair, he's delivered in spades.
Viewed through the rear-vision mirror of history, the 2019 election tactic reveals itself as seriously brilliant; possibly the most diabolically ingenious piece of political strategy since Barnaby Joyce hit upon the idea of enhancing his family values appeal by the simple expedient of having more families.
But it's created — as the sun sets on the parliamentary year of 2019, crimsoned with bushfire haze — a political equation of unbearable poignancy.
A stash of political capital
The Prime Minister with the biggest stash of political capital in a decade turns out also to be the one with the narrowest field of ambition. What are the odds, hey?
On the Liberal Party's website, the Government crisply enumerates its headline achievements for the year, viz:
  • Delivered tax relief to 10 million workers.

  • Cut deeming rates for pensioners.

  • Installed permanent funding support for drought projects.

  • Introduced legislation to tackle union law-breaking.

  • Moved ahead with around 160 major infrastructure projects around Australia.
The inclusion in the list of the introduction of an anti-union bill that history records was brought down at the last minute by a one-night stand featuring Pauline Hanson and the Australian Labor Party (imagine the morning after — heavens!) gives you a feel for what the drafting process of the list itself might have been like.
Quote:
"What about religious freedom — shall we bung that in?"
"Nope, better not. We've delayed that bill. Turns out it's really hard."
"What about the Commonwealth Integrity Commission we announced a year ago? That done yet?"
"Ah, nope. Also hard."
"What about the thing we did banning the vegan farm trespassers?"
"Hmmm. Bit niche. Also they were already banned under state laws, so."
"What about delaying the scheduled increase to the superannuation guarantee?"
"SHUT UP!!! We haven't even SAID that yet you IDIOT! Right. I'm shifting this to Confide."
It's not been Labor's year
For Labor, it is fair to say that 2019 has not gone as intended.
Rather than gloriously deploying all the money Chris Bowen had planned to recoup from franking credits and negative gearing, the party has spent the year essentially packing away the policy Christmas tree, and gloomily retraining journalists not to ask them any more what Labor would do, seeing as they're not likely to be in a position to do anything any time soon.
So deep are the wounds that they've not even had the heart for the traditional post-election-loss orgy of recrimination.
Even when things have gone well, it's been in circumstances of unthinkable horror, such as this week's vote on the Ensuring Integrity Bill, which on one hand was a victory for Labor and the union movement, but on the other was the person Anthony Albanese loathes most in Australia (Pauline Hanson) teaming up with Anthony Albanese to save the hide of the dude at number 2 on the Albanese Most Loathed List — John Setka.
I mean — in politics you take the win, especially if you've had a ropey year. But it's not always fun.
Christmas surprises under the tree
The end of the political year always brings a few surprise Kris Kringles.
For the Government, it was Pauline Hanson executing a Senate-floor reverse ferret on the Ensuring Integrity Bill and voting to defeat it, a development gently suggestive of the possibility that Senate leader Mathias Cormann may have paid more attention to ensuring the integrity of the union movement than he did to ensuring the integrity of his Senate numbers.
The secret deal and the medevac repeal
[url=https://www.abc.net.au/triplej/programs/hack/what-is-medevac-bill-explainer/11764974][Image: malcolm-turnbull-data.jpg]
Triple J tracks how Malcolm Turnbull's rolling as prime minister set off a chain of events that leads right up to today.
For the Opposition, it was Jacqui Lambie voting with the Government to upend the Medevac legislation, a shocking reversal of the Labor-backed scheme to rescue unwell refugees from the offshore detention centres opened six years ago by … who was it? Oh yeah: Labor.
But who can stay angry with anyone, in a world which this week saw the reconciliation of Israel Folau and Rugby Australia?
Truly, it was a Christmas miracle. From their respective trenches, which have blazed all year with gunfire, rhetoric and GoFundMe requests, the two parties emerged, shyly unfurling the snowy flag of surrender; the football star who declared that gays and drunks were going to hell, and the rugby code that sacked him.
"While it was not Rugby Australia's intention, Rugby Australia acknowledges and apologises for any hurt or harm caused to the Folaus," the code declared, in a written statement that coyly avoided mention of the presumably colossal sum of money it had just agreed to shovel Mr Folau's way, but whose phrasing silently confirmed that none of the loot was spent on copy editors.
Mr Folau (who a fortnight ago ventured the opinion that bushfires were God's way of getting back at humanity for gay marriage), was anxious to clear up any lingering suggestions of homophobia.
"Mr Folau wants all Australians to know that he does not condone discrimination of any kind against any person on the grounds of their sexuality and that he shares Rugby Australia's commitment to inclusiveness and diversity."
Awlrighty then.
Life wasn't meant to be easy
All that remains is for the Attorney-General, Mr Porter, to employ his renowned legislative needlepoint skills to fashion this mess into a workable piece of legislation.
How hard can it be? After all, free speech is free speech.
And individuals should be able to express their views or live their lives according to their beliefs without other people getting all triggered and making a gigantic fuss, right? I mean, people should be more robust.
The fact that this freedom ride is captained by a man who is triggered by toilet signs is a complication — sure. But life wasn't meant to be easy.

MTF...P2  Tongue

ps More on the new mega-dept Mandarin in due course... Huh
Reply

ScoMo's M&M clean out etc - cont/.

From Stevie E, via the Mandarin:



Secretary contradicts PM over Thodey review while APS braces for more MoG changes

[Image: tenterhooks-edge-of-seat.jpg]

A federal department secretary has contradicted Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s claim that his dramatic and decisive changes to the Australian Public Service are “consistent entirely with the thrust of the Thodey Review” in a rare example of a top mandarin backgrounding the media.

The APS is on tenterhooks waiting for what comes next.

Morrison said his response to the Thodey report would come this week and “further changes” to the public service would follow, pending “some final advice” on the official response. But it’s clear that in well over a year of consultation, nothing in the process prepared public servants to expect anything like this.

A department secretary has confirmed to The Guardian that major restructuring is at odds with what the review recommended and never came up once in several rounds of consultation.

The confirmation will come as no surprise to those who participated in the consultations, read the submissions and open discussion on the APS Review website, or studied the independent panel’s interim report. The shock and disruption caused by such a dramatic machinery-of-government rebuild is only amplified by the long period of consultation and discussion that strongly suggested things were heading in a very different direction.

If anything, the Thodey review was leaning towards a slightly more independent public service, with a bit more job security for secretaries, and a return to its preeminent role in providing policy advice to government. But the review’s wide terms of reference and its interim report both suggest there is likely to be plenty of wiggle room in the report for Morrison to pick and choose ideas that justify his plans.

A lot of public servants at all levels have taken the time to participate in the extended process, since it began in May 2018, and it will be quite a task to convince them it wasn’t all for nothing.

The response is expected to include “a further cull of government agencies and boards” and outline how many millions Morrison plans to invest in the digital transformation of service delivery, The Age reports.

The cost was conspicuously absent from a big update on the progress of digital transformation, the development of new data-sharing legislation, and service delivery reform from Government Services Minister Stuart Robert.

“Having fewer departments will allow us to bust bureaucratic congestion, improve decision making, and ultimately deliver better services for the Australian people,” Morrison said last Thursday.

“The new structures … will drive greater collaboration. It will break down the silos. It’ll ensure that important policy challenges in which different parts of the public service are working on, can work more effectively on together.”



And for a slightly more humorous take on it all... Big Grin




MTF...P2  Tongue
Reply

The Iron Ring; the Minister or his (new) Mandarin?  Rolleyes

Reference (in particular the part in red bold):

(12-09-2019, 05:42 PM)Peetwo Wrote:  Hmm...penny drop moment?? I just worked out why it was that Sterlo was asking these questions:

Quote:Question on notice no. 390

Senator Glenn Sterle: asked the Civil Aviation Safety Authority on 8 November
2019—

How many Flying Operations Inspectors are employed at CASA?
On average how many hours of flying currency training was completed by Flying
Operations Inspectors last year?
How many applications for flying currency training put forward by staff have been
rejected by CASA in the last year? On what grounds?
Are CASA meeting the ICAO requirements to maintain the skills and currency of
their staff to the same level held by industry?
How many Flying Operations Inspectors are 'not current' (ie training not up to date)
on the aircraft types they are required to oversight?


Question on notice no. 391

Senator Glenn Sterle: asked the Civil Aviation Safety Authority on 8 November
2019—

Is it correct that any engineering/maintenance organisation that wants to conduct any
maintenance on the aircraft conducting high capacity regular public passenger
services needs an approval issued by CASA under Civil Aviation Safety Regulation
(CASR) 145?
What are the steps involved in assessing and approving Part 145 approvals? Where
are these published?
What is the normal practice for reviewing Part 145 applications to conduct onsite
inspections of overseas operators and facilities who are seeking Part 145 approvals?
In the last 2 years, how many physical site inspections have been conducted as part of
145 approvals within Australia?
In the last 2 years, how many physical site inspections have been conducted as part of
145 approvals overseas?
What are the risks posed by organisations not being properly scrutinised in the Part
145 approval process?
Were CASA regulations followed in the assessment and approval of EFW's Part 145?


Question on notice no. 392

Senator Glenn Sterle: asked the Civil Aviation Safety Authority on 8 November
2019—

Does CASA agree that there are serious issues with workplace culture?
What steps is CASA taking to improve workplace culture?
How many vacant positions exist in the technical workforce?
What is the impact on industry and aviation safety of these positions being unfilled?
When does CASA plan on filling these vacancies?
CASA's corporate plan recognises that staff lacking skill or not having the capacity to
perform their role is a risk to aviation safety, why has CASA allowed so many
vacancies to remain in the technical workforce?

Hmm...I note that those questions still remain unanswered despite going past the due by dateHuh

I wonder if now would be a good time to mention that a decade ago we had very similar issues that was exacerbated by the findings of both an ICAO and FAA IASA audits that almost saw Australia bumped to Category II:

Quote:5. (C/NF) A downgrade to Category 2 would be the worst-case
scenario, which would entail measures such as
freezing Australia-U.S. flight operations to current levels
and terminating code-sharing arrangements, such as the one
between Qantas and American Airlines.  CASA officials are not
taking this possibility lightly and seem committed to
resolve the shortcomings in order to avoid a downgrade.


7 December 2009: FAA/ICAO brief on 'next steps' after poor results/findings in the ICAO USOAP 2008 & FAA Nov 30- Dec 4 2009 Australian audits. (ref links - #53 & WikiLeaks cable PDF: http://auntypru.com/wp-content/uploads/2...ileaks.pdf

Ref: Pel-Air: A coverup: a litany of lies? - Version III


[Image: DmFkCEYVsAEYmMS.jpg]

Ref: https://auntypru.com/sbg-24-11-2019-thre...-fountain/

After some chasing up with the RRAT Committee Secretariat (thank you MH -  Wink ) I was able to establish the following from Estimates Research Officer MH :


Hi P2,
 
Apologies, I should have clarified in the below email.
 
The answers I sent through yesterday are everything the secretariat has received from the Department of Infrastructure so far. All the ATSB and Airservices QoNs have been answered.
 
However, of the seven CASA QoNs, there are still three outstanding. These are:
 
Senator Sterle
How many Flying Operations Inspectors are employed at CASA?
On average how many hours of flying currency training was completed by Flying Operations Inspectors last year?
How many applications for flying currency training put forward by staff have been rejected by CASA in the last year? On what grounds?
Are CASA meeting the ICAO requirements to maintain the skills and currency of their staff to the same level held by industry?
How many Flying Operations Inspectors are 'not current' (ie training not up to date) on the aircraft types they are required to oversight?

 
Does CASA agree that there are serious issues with workplace culture?
What steps is CASA taking to improve workplace culture?
How many vacant positions exist in the technical workforce?
What is the impact on industry and aviation safety of these positions being unfilled?
When does CASA plan on filling these vacancies?
CASA's corporate plan recognises that staff lacking skill or not having the capacity to perform their role is a risk to aviation safety, why has CASA allowed so many vacancies to remain in the technical workforce?

 
Senator Rice
On what dates has CASA met with Uber Air to discuss their Melbourne proposal?
What stakeholder consultation has CASA undertaken with other stakeholders in relation to the Uber Air proposal?
o Which Victorian government agencies have been consulted in relation to the proposal?
o What is the proposed approval and consultation process?
What analysis has CASA undertaken of:
o Safety concerns?
o Environmental impacts?
o Noise issues?
o Visual impacts?

 
The IT department here is currently working on fixing the numbering issue and will hopefully have it fixed soon.
 
In the meantime, if the secretariat receives answers to the above questions I will let you know.
 
Best regards,

MH.




Okay so the sequencing issue has now been sorted and the two unanswered Sen Sterle (questions of interest) now appear as numbers #389 and #391; to which I have an assurance from MH that as soon as the Secretariat receives the answers he'll send me a copy (thank you once again MH -  Wink ).

However this still doesn't address the issue of why those 2 Sen Sterle questions were not in the total package submitted by the Dept on the 6/12/19? The questions IMO seem fairly straight forward so what in hells, bells is the hold up; and who is responsible for the hold up?

This brings me to the next POI because apparently the new Mandarin of the Dept took charge only 3 days after the QoN would have been received.

Here is the Dept profile/bio of the new Mandarin (note the legal background):

Quote:Mr Simon Atkinson

[Image: simon-atkinson.jpg]
Secretary Mr Simon Atkinson

Simon Atkinson was appointed as Secretary of the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development with effect with effect from 11 November 2019.

Mr Atkinson has extensive government and public policy experience.

Prior to his appointment as Secretary, Mr Atkinson served as Deputy Secretary, Fiscal Group at the Treasury.

Since joining the Australian Public Service as a graduate, he has held senior roles in many Australian Government portfolios, including Infrastructure and Regional, Finance, Defence, and Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Mr Atkinson has held leadership roles delivering major policy reforms, including the establishment of Infrastructure Australia in 2007, the 2009 Defence White Paper and 24 Commonwealth economic updates. Mr Atkinson also led the Budget and Fiscal element of the Regional Assistance Mission in the Solomon Islands in 2003-04.

Before joining the Australian Public Service, Mr Atkinson commenced his career with the Queensland Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Mr Atkinson is an alumnus of the University of Queensland with bachelor degrees in Science and Law. He is a barrister and solicitor of the Federal Court and the Supreme Court of NSW. Mr Atkinson holds a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Essentially this means that ALL the QoN and their answers would have passed over the Mandarin's desk for approval to forward onto the RRAT Committee Secretariat. Which brings me full circle back to my original question who is responsible for the hold up and why the hold up? Also with an additional question; did that person/entity take advantage of the QoN numbering sequence issue because clearly the original Sen Sterle questions were submitted to the Dept and CASA as a total package?

These and other QoN? - MTF...P2  Tongue
Reply

Ah; P2 my boy.

Dustbins, again? You dabble in deep waters. Conspiracy or Cock -Up? Correct me, if you think I’ve got hold of the wrong end of the plank. It appears that questions – QoN (390 – 393) (written) have been presented; answers expected (on time).

It appears that those important questions have (i) been answered and not been included; or (ii) there has been some jiggery-pokery and those answers have been ‘lost’ betwixt the asking and the answering.

Either way, seems to me those questions were important and deserved answers. Can’t blame the Secretariat; they just put ‘em up as they come through (merry Christmas and thanks). There are four (4) QoN answers missing (390 to 393) in action the response therefore, by default, is also missing.

Don’t care what happened between ‘stirrup and crouch’ – let the Senators (and us) have the answers – tout de suite – the tooter the sweeter. Before departmental skulduggery creeps into play.

Toot – toot.
Reply

P2 – “Which brings me full circle back to my original question who is responsible for the hold up and why the hold up? Also with an additional question; did that person/entity take advantage of the QoN numbering sequence issue because clearly the original Sen Sterle questions were submitted to the Dept and CASA as a total package?”

Good questions. Reading through the Sterle ‘questions’, you can see that they are ‘pointed’ – important questions, well all bar one. The three remaining unanswered are worthy of consideration and IMO demand full answers. Given the usual management of QoN and the ‘gender neutral’ answers routinely delivered, you could be forgiven expecting the usual drivel to be framed in a response. No Sir, not this time. We know from past experience how efficient the hard working Secretariat is; I can’t remember a time when they have dropped even the smallest ball, so you have to wonder – where are Sterle’s answers?

To me, it seems just a little too convenient; last estimates, Christmas break coming up fast, CASA budget and other matters surfacing; good time to say “Oh Whoops, sorry Senator, we’ll address those questions after the long break”. Of course by then impetus and interest has waned, focus is on the ‘new’ Inquiry and the questions will be consigned to the history dustbin.

Like trying to pin a fart to the wall – Good catch P2 – Choc frog + Gold star (you must have quite a collection by now).
Reply

(12-14-2019, 07:38 AM)P7_TOM Wrote:  P2 – “Which brings me full circle back to my original question who is responsible for the hold up and why the hold up? Also with an additional question; did that person/entity take advantage of the QoN numbering sequence issue because clearly the original Sen Sterle questions were submitted to the Dept and CASA as a total package?”

Good questions. Reading through the Sterle ‘questions’, you can see that they are ‘pointed’ – important questions, well all bar one. The three remaining unanswered are worthy of consideration and IMO demand full answers. Given the usual management of QoN and the ‘gender neutral’ answers routinely delivered, you could be forgiven expecting the usual drivel to be framed in a response. No Sir, not this time. We know from past experience how efficient the hard working Secretariat is; I can’t remember a time when they have dropped even the smallest ball, so you have to wonder – where are Sterle’s answers?

To me, it seems just a little too convenient; last estimates, Christmas break coming up fast, CASA budget and other matters surfacing; good time to say “Oh Whoops, sorry Senator, we’ll address those questions after the long break”. Of course by then impetus and interest has waned, focus is on the ‘new’ Inquiry and the questions will be consigned to the history dustbin.

Like trying to pin a fart to the wall – Good catch P2 – Choc frog + Gold star (you must have quite a collection by now).

Just to clarify so we're all on the same page the 2 unanswered QoN, which IMO the potential answers are of particular importance, appear in bold red in this extract from my previous post and links for those particular QoN now appear below the letter from MH:

Quote:Hi P2,
 
Apologies, I should have clarified in the below email.
 
The answers I sent through yesterday are everything the secretariat has received from the Department of Infrastructure so far. All the ATSB and Airservices QoNs have been answered.
 
However, of the seven CASA QoNs, there are still three outstanding. These are:
 
Senator Sterle

1) How many Flying Operations Inspectors are employed at CASA?
On average how many hours of flying currency training was completed by Flying Operations Inspectors last year?
How many applications for flying currency training put forward by staff have been rejected by CASA in the last year? On what grounds? 
Are CASA meeting the ICAO requirements to maintain the skills and currency of their staff to the same level held by industry?
How many Flying Operations Inspectors are 'not current' (ie training not up to date) on the aircraft types they are required to oversight?

 
2) Does CASA agree that there are serious issues with workplace culture?
What steps is CASA taking to improve workplace culture?
How many vacant positions exist in the technical workforce?
What is the impact on industry and aviation safety of these positions being unfilled?
When does CASA plan on filling these vacancies?
CASA's corporate plan recognises that staff lacking skill or not having the capacity to perform their role is a risk to aviation safety, why has CASA allowed so many vacancies to remain in the technical workforce?

 
Best regards,

MH.



Okay so the sequencing issue has now been sorted and the two unanswered Sen Sterle (questions of interest) now appear as numbers #389 and #391; to which I have an assurance from MH that as soon as the Secretariat receives the answers he'll send me a copy (thank you once again MH -  Wink ).

However this still doesn't address the issue of why those 2 Sen Sterle questions were not in the total package submitted by the Dept on the 6/12/19? The questions IMO seem fairly straight forward so what in hells, bells is the hold up; and who is responsible for the hold up?

 Which brings me full circle back to my original question who is responsible for the hold up and why the hold up? Also with an additional question; did that person/entity take advantage of the QoN numbering sequence issue because clearly the original Sen Sterle questions were submitted to the Dept and CASA as a total package?
Reply

Gan aft agley.

Patiently, I finished reading the last ‘Hitch’ for this year. Now, don’t get me wrong – I like his stuff – he’s no Sandilands; but he tries hard and stays balanced, a glass half full man. Bravo. But, where there is light, there must be shadow. Herewith the ‘Dark side’ and you will need ‘the force’ to be with you to beat it.

Hitch – “Unlike the Aviation Safety Regulation Review (ASRR) of five years ago, this one is not sanctioned by the minister, which means after all the works is done and the report tabled, the government is under no obligation to respond to it.”

Oh ye of short memory; the ASRR and the Pel Air pantomime both clearly and unequivocally define the response we may expect. History and two compelling reasons back up this forecast – no crystal ball required. In primus, there is no way known in Hell that CASA will ever admit they are a shambles and responsible for the most expensive, ludicrous farce of a ‘regulatory reform process. That would make public a fact the entire aviation world knows. CASA owning the epic cock-up would bring the government into derision; once again. Whilst not publicly admitted, the world and it’s wife, behind closed doors ruthlessly take the Mickey out of the pathetic charade Australian politics have descended into. Not only is the government not under any obligation to respond – they will go to extreme lengths to avoid doing so and defend CASA against any and all criticism.

Hitch – “When the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) released an investigation report into an Angel Flight crash that focused on Angel Flight's management more so than the cause of the crash, the issue went feral. A disallowance motion against the CASA legislation was introduced into the senate, but was ultimately defeated by bipartisan opposition. A senate inquiry into the ATSB's handling of the investigation resulted in no recommendations against the ATSB, but two against CASA, raising questions about what was happening behind the closed doors of Canberra.”

For a long time now, ATSB has been an international joke; Dolan set that particular wheel in motion and Hood has kept it spinning. Catamite to CASA through the infamous MoU, slave to the DoIT and desperate to avoid illuminating their feeble investigative efforts. ATSB have become a supporting crutch rather than a fearless, independent investigator capable of discerning the nuances and below the bleeding obvious reasons for accident. One day this will come back to haunt; heads will roll – but the status quo will remain; deeply entrenched in covering ministerial arse, rather than promoting the tough love aviation needs. Look no further than the series of VARA ATR incidents to watch Pilate washing his hands of blood.

“According to the Gospel of Matthew, Pilate washed his hands in front of the crowd before announcing, “I am innocent of this man's blood; see to it yourselves.”

Hitch – “But there are more changes sticking their heads around corners; we just can't get a good sighting of them at the moment.”

The smoke and mirrors make it difficult to see mate; which is bad enough but the steaming piles of manure between you and a clear sighting make it nigh on impossible. Rose coloured glasses have no effect – no amount of Alphabet soup will heal the sick. A reform DAS, backed by the minister is the only solution; without anything other than an ‘internal’ attitude change and clearing out of paranoid delusions, we only face more of the same rubbish.

But Mousie, thou art no thy-lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men
          Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
          For promis’d joy!
Reply

It almost never surprises me when folk just give in and accept something wrong. Even our ‘mighty’ – allegedly fearless media just shrug and toddle off like good little boys and girls when the Govt. tells ‘em to piss off. They may rage in the pub about it - but that's where it will end.

From the ABC – HERE -.


“Persons in whom a crisis takes place pass the night preceding the paroxysm uncomfortably, but the succeeding night generally more comfortably.”

Oh boy: Ain’t that the truth – and it’ll all be forgotten by Wednesday.

Toot – toot.
Reply

Caught with our pants down.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

(Attributed to writer and philosopher George Santayana.)

As the world struggled to cope with the great depression in the nineteen thirties, clouds of war were gathering over Europe.

lessons learned from the end of the war to end all wars in 1918 were quickly forgotten.
The axiom “Plan for the worst, hope for the best” lost in the desperate times of the great depression.

In 1939 Australia was ill prepared for conflict, other than providing a pool of cannon fodder as it did in 1914 to defend the empire, we had little to add much else.

Manufacturing industries in Australia were in their infancy and struggling to gain a foothold against the might of the “Motherland”. Buy British was the mantra and most of our manufactured goods came from Britain strongly supported by government we survived from the wool off our sheep’s backs. Australia was not bereft of innovators or entrepreneurs but taking an idea from conception to a finished marketable product was almost impossible.

The Australian aviation industry, shackled by self-interested interstate squabbling, regulated by an authoritative defence department didn’t lack in enthusiasm. However, nobody in the ruling class or in defence saw much value in it. It was barely tolerated and never encouraged, unlike the USA which was rapidly developing a vibrant growing aviation industry.

Way back in 1939 my dear old Dad enlisted in the RAAF when war appeared imminent hoping to head off to Europe to fight. Australia was woefully unprepared for war; pilots were very thin on the ground. Already a licenced pilot and instructor dad was immediately tasked with training pilots for the coming war as a burgeoning bureaucracy developed within defence to administer the Empire training scheme. In the USA training was tasked to private industry funnelling vast amounts of money into development which paid enormous dividends for the civilian aviation Industry at wars end. In Australia vast amounts of money was spent but at wars end the civilian side of aviation saw little in the way of dividend.

Into the sixties Flying training was positively encouraged, the lessons from the war still at the front of the political elites’ brains. Airports were protected as vital infrastructure, scholarships provided for pilot training, pretty much everything was free of charge.

On the commercial side of the industry the pre-war shackles were replaced, industrial development and manufacturing stifled.

lessons of the war faded into history, from being vital for national security, aviation became a liability and as the user pays philosophy developed within the bureaucracy aviation and its necessary infrastructure became viewed as surplus to requirements or potential cash cows by bureaucrats with absolutely no understanding of how the industry worked. Competing interests of non-aviation entities seeking to push aviation aside in pursuit of the holy dollar has gradually taken precedence and aided by an at times complicit, self-interested, totally incompetent regulator, aviation in Australia is descending into a third world abyss from which it may never recover.

Given the current crisis facing aviation are we again standing on the precipice?

The drums of future conflict are almost audible, will we once again regret ignoring the lessons of history?
Reply

Of Golden Triangles, Minister and Mandarin unaccountability -  Dodgy   

Via the Mandarin:

Quote:The Briefing: ‘Unreliable’ due diligence, self-regulation at heart of Infrastructure Department’s ‘Leppington Triangle’ scandal

[Image: Chris-Woods-100x100.jpg]

By Chris Woods

Friday September 25, 2020



[Image: airplane-shadow-1.jpg] (Image: ANAO)

Crux of the issue

After finding that the Department of Infrastructure bought land in Leppington, NSW, from dairy farm operator Leppington Pastoral Company at 10 times the land’s valued price, the Australian National Audit Office found the department’s due diligence “fell short of ethical standards” and that its advice “on value for money was inadequate and unreliable”.


The debate: Why did the ANAO investigate?


On 31 July 2018, the Australian government purchased a 12.26 hectare triangular parcel of land, which its expects to need in about 30 years should a second runway be constructed at the Western Sydney Airport, from dairy farm operator Leppington Pastoral Company (LPC), for $29,839,026. The government then leased this part of the ‘Leppington Triangle’ back to the seller to maintain for agricultural purposes for 10 years, with options to renew totaling a further 10 years, and valued the land at $920,000 for lease-back purposes.

Following the release of the Department of Infrastructure’s 2018–19 financial statements, the ANAO found that the department valued the Leppington Triangle land at just $3,065,000 — one-tenth of the price it had paid 11 months earlier — and, unable to determine key aspects of the transaction from its financial statement audit, conducted an audit that it released Monday, September 21.


ANAO findings


Auditor-General Grant Hehir found that the department held nine valuations of the Leppington Triangle land and that its purchase price was four times higher than the next highest valuation; as Crikey’s Bernard Keane details, the department made a series of accommodations to LPC, including using one of its nominated valuers, MJ Davis Valuations, requesting just a “desktop valuation” — good for only an “indicative assessment” — and even asking the company what instructions to give the valuer:


Quote:LPC demanded that the land not just be assessed for “highest and best use” but “highest and best use, including industrial purposes”. Then the instruction to the valuer was upgraded by the department to “rezoned for industrial purposes, adjacent to an operating airport”.

Amazingly, it was the valuer who pushed back on that. It warned the department “the revised instruction sits far outside typical valuation methodology” which meant “a figure which would be significantly higher than current land prices being achieved for property with speculative industrial rezoning”. This forced the department to revise its instructions back to “existing planning parameters with highest and best use reflected in speculative industrial rezoning potential”.

During the audit, the department tried to tell the ANAO there had been no additional instructions to the valuer, completely at odds with what the records showed.

Even then, the valuer was unhappy with the department’s instruction, warning that the department and LPC “need to acknowledge the report should not be construed as a valuation report”.

The department also met with landowners several times in coffee shops “with only one departmental officer present and where there was no record of the discussion” and recorded telephone conversations in a “an ad hoc manner”, and dismissed a valuation from the NSW Roads and Maritime Services for land in the area at 1/20th the price as “misconceived”.


The ANAO’s conclusions were, relatively speaking, blistering:
  • The Department of Infrastructure did not exercise appropriate due diligence in its acquisition of the Leppington Triangle land for the future development of the Western Sydney Airport. In the course of this audit it became clear that aspects of the operations of the department, both during and after the acquisition, fell short of ethical standards.

  • An appropriate acquisition strategy was not developed. While a strategy was documented and approved:
    • it was focused on incentivising an unwilling seller to dispose of their land some 32 years in advance of when it was anticipated to be needed for the airport expansion, an approach at odds with the department asserting that early purchase allowed it to capitalise on “goodwill” from the landowner;

    • the underlying analysis overstated the identified benefits, did not quantify costs and did not address risks; and

    • the acquisition approach eventually employed departed from the approved strategy.
  • The approach taken by the Department of Infrastructure to valuing the Leppington Triangle was not appropriate. The approach inflated the value of the land, which in turn led to the Australian government paying more than was proper in the circumstances.
  • Decision-makers were not appropriately advised on the land acquisition. Formal briefings omitted relevant information, such as: the purchase price; that the price exceeded all known market valuations of the land; and the method of acquisition. Advice from the department on value for money was inadequate and unreliable.
  • Decision-maker approval was not evident for some of the actions taken. A subsequent departmental review of the acquisition process lacked rigour and did not provide a reasonable basis for concluding that the transaction was settled for an appropriate value.
  • The incomplete advice provided to decision-makers, and the inadequate response by the department when questions were raised by the ANAO, was inconsistent with effective and ethical stewardship of public resources
[Image: ANAO-comparison-of-the-price-paid-agains...24x725.png]
Comparison of the price paid against nine valuations of the land. Source: ANAO analysis of Department of Infrastructure records.

Recommendations and reactions

The auditor-general made three recommendations, all of which the department agreed to:

  1. The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications prepare comprehensive and balanced written analysis on the benefits, costs and risks of proposals to spend public money.
  2. The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications put in place meeting and communication protocols for when staff engage directly with individual landowners, developers or similar parties with heightened probity risks. The protocols should: include guidelines regarding suitable venues; require the presence of at least two departmental representatives; and require properly recorded minutes of meetings and conversations.
  3. The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications develop policies and procedures to govern its approach to obtaining purchase valuations.
The department has since launched both an independent review and management review of staff, but, curiously, argued in its response to the report that its valuation strategy was “unorthodox” but “the strategy was developed in consultation with the Department of Finance and the Australian Government Solicitor and was designed to mitigate the risk of costly and lengthy legal challenges.”

Quote:As the report notes, the land-holding company had previously challenged land acquisitions at the airport site with the Department spending over ten years in legal proceedings.

The politics: LPC and ministerial advice

Founded by Kolombo and Julia Perich in 1951, LPC is currently run by their sons sons Tony and Ron, who ranked 36th on The Australian Financial Review’s 2020 Rich List ($) with an estimated fortune of $2.05 billion.

As The New Daily reported at the time, Labor’s shadow infrastructure minister Catherine King immediately pointed to the fact the company donated nearly $59,000 to the Coalition in 2018 and 2019; as Crikey noted, this company donated a full $149,000 from 2002, and $28,000 to Labor between 2002 and 2007.

However there is no suggestion in the report of political interference, and a spokesperson for Urban Infrastructure Minister Alan Tudge in turn argued there “is no question of ministerial involvement” and the matter “goes to the administrative actions of the department, more than two years ago”.

Then-urban infrastructure minister and current Communications Minister Paul Fletcher has since stressed that the ANAO specifically found he was never informed of the valuation methodology or the fact the land would cost nearly $30 million, and has welcomed the report itself.

According to the ANAO, only one of the 10 relevant briefings to decision-makers and ministers contained a reference to value for money, a March 2018 briefing to a deputy secretary obtaining their approval to expend up to $31,780,000 to acquire the land, which included:

Quote:The purchase price has been agreed in-principle between the department and LPC as $30,000,000 minus the value of the 1.36 hectare portion of the parcel that RMS will acquire …, with an 8% per annum interest rate payable should settlement not occur by 31 July 2018. These terms form part of a set of commercial principles agreed in-principle by the parties …

The purchase figure is based on a July 2017 valuation report by MJD Realty Appraisals’ (MJD), which valued the land (then 13.62 hectares) at $30,000,000. We consider this figure reasonable and consistent with our own estimations, albeit reflecting the recent sharp increase in property prices in the area. WSU is satisfied that, after these reasonable enquiries, this procurement achieves a value for money outcome.

For comparison, ministerial briefing ‘‘Leppington Triangle acquisition update’ from the day of purchase, July 31 2018, advised the minister that the “July 2017 report valued the land at $30 million” and that the NSW government had commenced an acquisition process to acquire a 1.36 hectare portion; crucially, it did not state that $29.84 million had been paid to LPC for the 12.26 hectares on the expectation that the NSW government would pay $0.16 million for its 1.36 hectare portion, only that:

Quote:The eventual Triangle purchase was, therefore, 12.26ha, with a reduction in price from [the July 2017] valuation commensurate with the amount [the NSW government] pays to LPC for its 1.36ha parcel. As the Valuer General has not yet determined the final price of the NSW [government] parcel, an adjustment will be made post-settlement in favour of either the Commonwealth or LPC to ensure that LPC receives no more and no less than $30 million for the full 13.62ha.

Shadow attorney general Mark Dreyfus has since argued that Fletcher’s defence amounts to an admission of negligence and that the scandal demonstrates the need for a national corruption watchdog.

[Image: EikADVvU8AA97Ez?format=jpg&name=small]
What to look out for: evolution of self-regulation, land purchasing and the ANAO

Interestingly, the ANAO issued a review of the acquisition process as part of its performance audit, but that “there was no indication that any officer from outside the Western Sydney Unit had participated in the conduct of the review, which would have been prudent in the circumstances.”

Instead, the review-related activities were:
  • Officers from the Western Sydney Unit met with the relevant deputy secretary in August 2019 to provide a verbal update on the ANAO enquiries into the acquisition of the Leppington Triangle. At the meeting, the deputy secretary requested a minute providing a consolidated account and review of the process undertaken by the department in acquiring the land.

  • Officers who had been directly involved in the land acquisition drafted the 18 October 2019 letter to the ANAO (referred to in paragraph 4.72 above) and provided it for signature to their branch head. The branch head had joined the unit after the land was acquired.

  • Officers who had been directly involved in the land acquisition drafted the minute to the deputy secretary, providing the ‘consolidated account and review’ and attached a copy of the signed letter to the ANAO of 18 October 2019.

  • The signature block of the EL2 officer involved was unsigned and undated on the minute. A handwritten annotation said ‘8.11.19 Previously submitted October’, followed by the EL2 officer’s initials. The deputy secretary ‘noted’ and signed the minute on 13 November 2019. The Department of Infrastructure was unable to provide evidence to the ANAO that demonstrated this minute had been submitted to the deputy secretary in October 2019, or advise of the date on which this was said to have occurred.

Speaking to The Sydney Morning Herald, chair of the Centre for Public Integrity and former NSW Supreme Court judge Anthony Whealy QC says this self-regulation element reaffirms the need for a national corruption body:

Quote:“Those people who were charged with acting unethically then conducted a review into themselves and found they acted appropriately.

“If we had a body whose function was to examine corruption in the broader sense – I’m not necessarily talking about criminal offences – then such a body would have approached this matter quite differently from the audit office.

“They would be forcing answers out of people and compelling witnesses, even if those answers tended to incriminate people.”

The paper also reports that Liberal MP John Alexander has warned the sale is just the “tip of the iceberg” in terms of landholders making windfall gains from selling property around the Badgerys Creek airport, and stressed that reforms to purchase mechanisms — i.e. instituting a levy on gains — are needed to prevent a spike in billionaires as infrastructure spending grows post-COVID.

Finally, in a new series dedicated to the ANAO at Crikey ‘Is the public being served?‘, Keane recounts some of Hehir’s work since beginning to expand the ANAO’s purview in 2015,  mostly famously with the ‘sports rort‘ earlier this year and five separate, damning reports into Home Affairs, which range from “incompetence in running offshore processing; abuse of its powers; failure to monitor visa holders; and, most recently, a February 2020 audit that found its process for considering and granting citizenship applications was a disaster”.

As Keane notes, Hehir has sought to crackdown on “the tendency for departments criticised by the ANAO to promise to implement recommendations, only to not bother doing so after the publication of the damning audit.”

Quote:For example, a 2019 audit of the Agriculture and Infrastructure departments, Airservices Australia and the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority found “none of the selected entities demonstrated that they had effectively implemented all agreed recommendations”. Agriculture and Infrastructure had also not implemented recommendations made by the ANAO’s parliamentary oversight committee, the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit.

A particularly egregious example emerged this year when the ANAO looked again at the lobbyist register, which it audited in 2017 when PM&C ran it. The register has since been moved to the attorney-general’s department and the ANAO discovered not merely had this department failed to implement any of its recommendations, it had badly botched the transfer from PM&C.

This has meant stepping up its monitoring of the implementation of recommendations, “noting that in its 2018-19 audits, it made 146 recommendations, 131 agreed by agencies, some of whom “respond to external criticism defensively or dismissively (‘we are already aware of the issue’, ‘we are already addressing the issue’, ‘the report needs to be read in context’, ‘the issues raised are not material’)”.
Additionally, Keane notes that department heads are more than willing to criticise the ANAO, even when they nominally accept its recommendations:

Quote:When the ANAO discovered Australian Border Force had been abusing its powers, Pezzullo attacked the auditors as “unworldly” authors of a sub-standard report. Last year, Pezzullo mocked the ANAO’s recommendations for improved transparency and performance monitoring of his department’s citizenship applications as “cookie-cutter targets” that “drive poor behaviour”.

To spell out his displeasure, Pezzullo had a junior executive sign off on his department’s response to the ANAO. Pezzullo has also complained that his department is repeatedly singled out for critical ANAO attention in “a bit of a reoccurring pattern with the audit office”.

On the Leppington Triangle scandal, Keane ridicules the department’s argument that its “unorthodox” valuation process “was designed to discourage litigation — as though the Commonwealth should pre-emptively hand over taxpayer money out of concern than a billionaire will resort to litigation.”

Via the Dept: https://www.infrastructure.gov.au/depart...angle.aspx

Quote:Statement in response to the Australian National Audit Report: Purchase of the ‘Leppington Triangle’ land for the future development of Western Sydney Airport

The following statement can be attributed to a spokesperson from the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications.

The Department acknowledges the findings of the ANAO and has agreed to all recommendations contained in the report.

The key findings of the audit relate to the administrative activities of officials of the Department two years ago.

The Department has launched an investigation of staff conduct in the matter and will follow the due process of a formal investigation with an independent investigator. 

The Department is committed to implementing the changes outlined in our response to the audit to ensure this does not happen again. The Department's response to the Auditor General's findings can be found at Appendix 1 of the tabled report—www.anao.gov.au/work/performance-audit/purchase-the-leppington-triangle-land-the-future-development-western-sydney-airport#29-0-appendices

Via the other Aunty: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-09-21/f...e/12686208

Quote:A spokesperson for Urban Infrastructure Minister Alan Tudge said the department would comply with report recommendations.

"The department has made a lengthy statement to the ANAO about its handling of the transaction and will comply with the recommendations of the report: noting, that their strategy was developed in consultation with the Department of Finance and the Australian Government Solicitor and was designed to mitigate the risk of costly and lengthy legal challenges," they said.

"There is no question of Ministerial involvement. It goes to the administrative actions of the department, more than two years ago."

The Federal Opposition is demanding Deputy Prime Minister and Transport Minister Michael McCormack and Mr Tudge explain what they knew about the deal.

"At the end of the day, this is taxpayers' money that has been spent clearly not wisely, or obviously with any proper approach undertaken," Shadow Infrastructure Minister Catherine King said.

"I cannot say how, as a minister, if something like this came across your desk that you didn't ask questions.

"To actually sign off on something, sign off on the sale of a piece of land that clearly is so excessively overpriced, and not ask any questions, I think really does go to the competence of both of those ministers."

MTF? - Yes much!...P2  Tongue
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PMC to reign in regulator red tape embuggerance? - Yeah right!  Dodgy

Via the Mandarin:

Regulator performance role to be established within PM&C


[Image: Shannon-Jenkins-100x100.jpg]

By Shannon Jenkins

Friday October 2, 2020

[Image: Ben-Morton.jpg] Ben Morton (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)

The assistant minister to the prime minister and cabinet wants the Australian Public Service to shift its culture by taking a stewardship approach to deregulation.

In an address on the government’s deregulation agenda on Friday, Ben Morton said a new regulator performance role would be established within the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet to drive that cultural change, as well as increase accountability, promote best practice, and build professionalism of regulators.


Morton noted that while regulators across the government face a number of common issues, the approach to setting expectations for regulators has been inconsistent.


With its new regulator performance role, PM&C will work with ministers and their agencies to “lift and lock in regulator performance across the board”. Morton said this would promote more systematic expectation setting, reporting, and monitoring, fostering a culture of “regulator excellence” across the commonwealth.


“This isn’t about being a ‘regulator of regulators’ … It is about better coordination and data sharing, more rational and ultimately effective, risk based compliance monitoring, and footprint mapping with a view to possible streamlining,” he said.


Quote:“It’s about measuring, benchmarking and evaluating regulator performance, and streamlining and consolidating performance reporting at a whole-of-government level … It’s also about providing forums for regulators to learn and share best practice, including new or agile regulatory approaches, developing approaches for professional development.”

PM&C will also lead a training pilot with the Australian Public Service Commission and the Department of Agriculture, Water, and the Environment to lift the performance of agricultural export regulators and to lay the foundation for regulator upskilling and training across government.

Read more: Cutting the red tape burden: where public servants come in

In August 2019, the prime minister tasked Morton with “revitalising” the regulatory reform and deregulation agenda through the establishment of a Deregulation Taskforce within the Treasury.
Morton said the Deregulation Taskforce has now moved from the Treasury to PM&C, so it is “co-located with and tightly integrated to the rest of our whole-of-government deregulatory machinery”.


Through the upcoming budget, the Deregulation Taskforce will receive additional funding to allow it to continue and in an expanded capacity. Following the budget, taskforce head Mark Cully will depart his role and Jason McDonald will take the lead.


Taking a stewardship approach

A process has been established through the Secretaries Board allowing government to take a stewardship approach to “regulatory excellence”, with secretaries reporting to Scott Morrison and Morton every six months on progress with deregulation and deregulation opportunities.

Morton said he wants APS leaders to “drive their own deregulation buses within their portfolios” by removing unnecessary regulation, streamlining regulatory processes across jurisdictions, and driving the “harmonisation” of regulation between different parts of the commonwealth and between the commonwealth and other domestic and international jurisdictions.

“When we’ve achieved this cultural change, we’ll know our ‘stewardship’ approach has really taken root,” he said.

He noted the combination of a stewardship approach, PM&C’s new role in lifting regulator performance, and the complementary work with the APSC would together improve regulator culture and client focus.

“While less immediately tangible, I feel it’s this measure which has the potential to deliver the most in the medium to longer term,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Secretaries Board, the Deregulation Taskforce, the national cabinet and the Council on Federal Financial Relations would act as “the vehicles which ministers and their agencies can use to streamline their stock of regulation”, and the Office of Best Practice Regulation would ensure “their flow of regulation is lightest touch”.

“The levers and the architecture we’ve established and we’re establishing at the centre of government can help departments and agencies bring a whole-of-government and coordinated approach to deregulation … This lean, but multifaceted architecture will make it easier for business, while fulfilling community expectations of providing proper safeguards,” he said.

(10-12-2020, 02:39 PM)Peetwo Wrote:  Via Oz Flying:



 [Image: moorabbin_park.jpg]

Aviation Regulation in Government Sights
9 October 2020
Comments 0 Comments



Indications coming from Canberra are that the Federal Government may be investigating ways to reduce the burden of aviation regulation.

In a speech delivered to the Business Council of Australia on 2 October, Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister and Cabinet Ben Morton outlined the Morrison government's agenda of deregulation designed to support economic recovery.


"To be clear, deregulation isn’t about getting rid of all regulation," Morton said. "It’s about getting rid of unnecessary, disproportionate, and inefficiently implemented regulation. It’s about the ease of doing business.


"Well designed, efficiently implemented regulation has always had a place in Australia. It is essential to good government, a safe community and a growing economy."


Morton also said that the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet would establish a taskforce to ensure a consistent approach across all regulators.


"Regulators across the Government face varying issues and their stakeholders can be quite different," Morton said. "Nevertheless, there are a number of common issues regardless of the complexity of the regulatory framework or the stakeholder group.


"These include ensuring that their interactions with the community they regulate are clear and that they assist with compliance where appropriate."


In answering questions posed by 
Australian Flying, the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) declined to specifically state that aviation would be included in the new deregulation agenda, but did say that all regulators in all industries would be involved.


"PM&C will work with all Government policy departments, providing a consistent and coordinated approach to how they share and embed improved regulator performance," a spokesperson said. "It will cover all Commonwealth regulators, across all sectors.


"The new function will focus on identifying and sharing best practice, ensuring transparency of expectations, and building capability."


However, the power to regulate aviation safety lies not with any governmental department, but in the hands the CASA Director of Aviation Safety (DAS), a safeguard against political interference. Consequently, any deregulation agenda put forward will need the co-operation of CASA for it to succeed.


The impact of the regulatory burden on general aviation was also recognised on 1 October, when the Federal Government published the issues paper 
The Future of Australia's Aviation Sector: Flying to Recovery. The paper focuses largely on airlines, but singles out GA as one area that stands to benefit from reduced regulation.


Citing the 2017 General Aviation Study conducted by the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE), the paper acknowleges the challenges faced by GA in Australia.


"Recent data from the General Aviation Survey shows stagnation in certain sectors such as private flying and sport and recreational aviation," the paper states. "However, other sectors, including aerial work, are experiencing periods of growth.


"The Study outlined key challenges facing the industry such as fluctuations in the cost and availability of [avgas] and maintenance of an ageing fixed-wing VH-registered fleet.


"Stakeholders ... suggest that improvements to safety regulation would increase prospects for the sector's growth,and that assistance to build a broader skill set in areas of business management could support increased viability."


The paper notes that the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport's General Aviation Advisory Network (GAAN) is already charged with identifying improvement opportunities in regulation and that the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport (RRAT) is conducting an inquiry in the GA industry.


"This Issues Paper is not proposing to duplicate these processes," the paper says. "However, stakeholders are welcome to put forward options to further enhance GA's contribution to the economy and the community."


The full issues paper is on the 
Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications website.




MTF...P2  Tongue

(10-12-2020, 07:33 PM)P7_TOM Wrote:  Long as I can see the light – or;

Did you ever watch the 'real deal' at work? Proper masters of their craft; the LAME with fingers like a muscular centipede fixing a thing within heartbeats; or, a cabinet maker chop out a two inch deep mortise within a thousandth of an inch, dead plumb, and make it look simple; or, any master of their craft 'nailing it'? Well, watch this space – HERE - . PM&C are the 'real deal' not to many apprentices or worker drones get to be in that crew. IF and it's not too big an 'if' they can see a way to relieve the intolerable burden loaded onto the aviation donkey – then maybe the true masters of the political 'craft' will show their skill. Before this bloody virus turned up, aviation was struggling; to return the industry to its former glory – creating jobs and opportunities, returning revenue and generally being bloody handy it needs a serious hand to 'rationalise' the rules under which the industry must operate to be 'trimmed'.

The wording is 'fluffy' – but if the PM&C weigh in – the excess may just be trimmed off. Up to those with access to the political system to speak up – not for their 'own' agenda but for every struggling man-jack out there trying to earn a honest crust. Fingers crossed children – this is like a movie where the 'hero' manages at the very last minute to save the damsel in distress. (NO GD – I am not wearing dis dress; fool) . Let's all hope that this is not some smoke and mirror placebo.

"PM&C will work with all Government policy departments, providing a consistent and coordinated approach to how they share and embed improved regulator performance," a spokesperson said. "It will cover all Commonwealth regulators, across all sectors. "

Said it a while ago – the only true hope lays within the ambit of the DAS.

“However, the power to regulate aviation safety lies not with any governmental department, but in the hands the CASA Director of Aviation Safety (DAS), a safeguard against political interference. Consequently, any deregulation agenda put forward will need the co-operation of CASA for it to succeed. "

If we are gifted another 'Bum' DAS – its time to toddle off, buy a fishing rod, rent a caravan and make a pilgrimage to the nearest pub every dole cheque day. I shall make a votive offering to the pagan gods which reside in 'K's' old fridge, right next to the keg; they're as good as any and often work small miracles. Expect the worst – hope for the best. That's it.

[Image: single-frothy-pint-beer-burning-600w-483277990.jpg]
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While you've got the chopping block out ScoMo - Rolleyes

Perhaps a significant moment in time? Could this be the beginning of the end of (what Sandy would say) the wretchedly failed model of the GBE (Government Business Enterprise)??? 

Via Parlview and Hansard, from the 22/10/20 HofR QT:



Quote:Mr MORRISON (Cook—Prime Minister and Minister for the Public Service) (14:40): The accusation that the Leader of the Opposition just levelled against the government is false. Earlier today, when this was brought to my attention by the report of Senate estimates, I was appalled. It's disgraceful and it's not on. And so immediately I spoke with the shareholding minister, the Minister for Finance, and the minister responsible, the Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, and from those discussions the following actions ensued: that there had to be an independent investigation done by the department, not by Australia Post; that the chief executive should stand aside immediately; and that the independent investigation should look into the conduct of the board members and their governance as well as the actions of the management and the executive. That report will come back to me and the members of my cabinet, and if there are issues to be addressed with board members then they will be addressed then.

This all happened within an hour. So appalled and shocked was I by that behaviour—any shareholder would in a company raise their outrage if they had seen that conduct by a chief executive, a management or a board; they would insist rightly on the same thing. Now, we are the shareholders of Australia Post on behalf of the Australian people, so that action was immediate. The chief executive has been instructed to stand aside and, if she doesn't wish to do that, she can go.

Here's a 9 news video segment which summarises how the ScoMo answer to the Albo QWN came about... Wink

 
 
I also liked Sky News Andrew Bolt's take on this... Wink 

Quote:Public service has turned from ‘serving public to serving yourself’: Bolt
22/10/2020|4min


Sky News host Andrew Bolt says the idea of public service has turned from “serving the public to serving themselves” amid news Australia Post spend $12,000 on luxury watches as a reward for employees who secured lucrative banking deals.

Australia Post Chief Executive Christine Holgate defended the purchases, saying tax-payer funds were not used, claiming as far as she could recall four people received a Cartier watch valued at about $3,000 each.

“I have watched in amazement as Australia Post has turned into what sometimes seems like a golden trough for some lucky little piggies,”
Mr Bolt said.

“If you won’t do a decent job for the public for your decent wage and you need to bribed with a Cartier watch to put in the effort, you are not a public servant, you are a public leech.”
 
So ScoMo, while you've got the Butcher's knife out. how about cutting the throats of a few more piggies gorging from the 'Golden GBE Trough'... Rolleyes

[Image: aviation-safety-fatcats-1024x890-1-e1601945859211.jpg]

MTF...P2  Tongue
Reply

Classic Sterlo - not a fan of AJ (or Senator Stoker)  Big Grin

Via Youtube:



MTF...P2  Tongue

Ps "..The Prime Minister is lacking guts. He's too busy flicking money. He's hand in hand with Mr McCormack and their mates at Rex..."

TICK..TOCK miniscule McDonaught -  Rolleyes

[Image: EKD0blqU0AEKa7r-1.jpg]

Ref: https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Bus.../&sid=0000
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Alan Jones, Kevin Andrews, de Tocqueville on COVID and Liberal Democracies -  Wink

Via Sky News Australia:





Alan Jones: Daniel Andrews cannot ‘get away with dictatorial behaviour’
11/02/2021|8min



Sky News host Alan Jones says Daniel Andrews can “boast dishonestly about higher standards” but those apparent standards have led to 11 cases out of hotel quarantine and re-introduced border protocols.

Premier Daniel Andrews told the press Victoria has “had the rest of the country copy what we’re doing”.

He also confirmed Victoria’s hotel quarantine facilities will not increase their capacities because “we have a different model and I believe higher standards”.

“Aren't we glad of that, because the bloke with self-proclaimed ‘higher standards’ is now forced to acknowledge that the hotel quarantine cluster in Victoria has grown to 11 cases,” Mr Jones said.

“When are Australians going to wake up that Daniel Andrews can boast dishonestly about higher standards, but he joins a long line of so-called leaders in this coronavirus response who aren't really a leader's bootlace.

“Surely we cannot allow Daniel Andrews and his Government to get away with this dictatorial behaviour.

“The cult of Dan seems to excuse and defend anything the Premier says and censures and disparages any criticism of him.”






In Victoria veritas
Living in the ‘State of Fear’
Kevin Andrews

[Image: cover_3-oct_post.jpg?auto=compress,enhan...=820&h=550]


And: 


Quote:[Image: 465.jpg]

“Society will develop a new kind of servitude which covers the surface of society with a network of complicated rules, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate. It does not tyrannise but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.”

― Alexis de Tocqueville

Well said those MEN! -  Wink

Hmm...me thinks the de Tocqueville quote absolutely nails the current relationship between, the Iron Ring led, Big R-regulator CASA and most of the remnants of the Oz Aviation industry -  Dodgy


MTF...P2  Tongue
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Thanks P31..

Ordinarily, the following article by Robert Gottliebsen – in the Australian would sail past the 'matters aeronautical' waypoint without even a wave from the crowd. However, there are some interesting parallels drawn which relate directly; take note of the AAT involvement and the money spent by an evangelistic, untouchable arm of government – which is NOT governed by those who are elected to protect their constituents; and, their ministerial portfolios. Anyway – FWIW:-

Robert Gottliebsen – in the Australian..

The Australian Taxation Office had already spent $40m of taxpayers’ money on the ‘gold case’. Picture: Bloomberg

Three cheers for the High Court of Australia! Faced with one of the most outrageous appeal requests ever made by a government body, Australia’s highest court declared: “No, we will not hear that Australian Taxation Office appeal.”

I am not surprised. There is no way the High Court I respect would allow itself to be party to a continuation to what appears to be one of the biggest cover-ups in our recent history — the fact that more than $3bn of state GST had vanished because of ATO mismanagement.
And, as I explain below, in that appeal was a secret agenda to further damage Australia’s poor taxation appeals system.

The High Court made the ATO pay both its own and its opponent’s costs, which adds to the $40m of taxpayers’ money the ATO has already spent on the “gold case” as part of the cover-up.
At the same time it was another blow to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, which was unable to fathom what the “gold case” was all about. Top marks to the full Federal Court which exposed the AAT mistakes.

The ATO wanted the High Court to interpret the law of the land to allow the Australian Taxation Office to undertake actions that, in my view, would be regarded as totally abhorrent by most taxpayers.

READ MORE:Taxman defied own expert to ruin refiners|Risks in taxman’s ‘gold case’ appeal|New chapter in ATO gold case|No silver lining in ATO’s gold fiasco

What the ATO wanted to be able to do was submit in an appeal case tens of thousands of documents — in the “gold case” it was 44,000 documents covering 13 volumes — and declare that every one of the words in the documents could be used to bankrupt taxpayers without any court debate or cross examination. Had the High Court heard the ATO appeal and upheld it, only action by the parliament of Australia would have been able to protect its citizens against what is increasingly looking like a government body where elements have gone feral.

It’s worth recalling some of the facts in the “gold case”.

Among the 44,000 documents submitted were two internal emails between persons who were not a direct party to the case. In those emails there was a reference to “GST loopholes”, which the Federal Court said were unexplained and possibly ambiguous.

A director of the former gold refining company that had been bankrupted by the ATO and a key witness, Phillip Cochineas, was not a party to these emails and in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal was not cross-examined on them. The emails were not the subject of any submissions by the parties during the case hearings but were referred to in the ATO’s final submission to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

When the tribunal prepared judgment on the case they plucked these two obscure emails from the volumes of evidence and used them as part of the reasons why they found in favour of the ATO and against the bankrupt gold refiner.

From a community view this was a very dangerous precedent and so not surprisingly the full Federal Court said it “constituted a denial of procedural fairness”.

In the ATO application to appeal this part of the Federal Court decision, the tax collector claimed that it was incumbent on the taxpayer to have addressed the documents in its own evidence without having been taken to them by the commissioner.

If that view was declared law by the High Court then it would have meant that in any tax case involving vast volumes of material, the taxpayer would have to comb through every word because the court could pick out an obscure statement from third parties to find against the taxpayer.
This would have ended any pretence of a fair appeal process in taxation in Australia.

What is disturbing is that the Administrative Appeals Tribunal upheld the ATO’s right to use this horrible practice.

It’s important to remember that all the actual evidence that the ATO had put forward on the gold refining industry was trashed by the Federal Court. Accordingly, the ATO’s entire case to bankrupt the Australian privately owned gold refining industry was declared invalid. It faces huge damages claims.

The ATO did not appeal these findings.

Instead, it selected an area where it believed it could use the gold case to substantially widen its power over the entire business community. It is part of a very disturbing trend developing in the ATO which was gaining momentum — at least until the High Court stopped it.

Now the parliament of Australia must do its job and provide proper rights and systems to collect tax via legislation. Regulations have no impact on a delinquent ATO.

As I pointed out earlier this week in the article headed “Hand grenades lobbed at our taxation system”, the Inspector General of Taxation has concluded that the methods used by the ATO to garnishee taxpayer bank accounts — as applied in the Reid case, which is separate from the “gold case” — were different to what the tax commissioner had told the parliament of Australia.

Misleading parliament is a very serious accusation to be made against a public servant and if there is a guilty verdict it carries heavy penalties. The tax commissioner, of course, will have his chance to explain his position to the parliament.

The inspector general also reveals that the ATO discovered in March 2015 that $2.45bn was missing from state GST revenue. It took the ATO two years to block the loophole.
Instead of chasing the thieves or blocking the loophole, after that $2.45bn discovery the ATO began bankrupting gold refiners, apparently as a cover-up.

The administration of taxation in Australia via parts of the ATO is deeply flawed.
The nation can be very grateful that the High Court of Australia has not substantially increased ATO powers but we now need the parliament to finish the task.
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[Image: AMROBA_MB_KCDF_8266B760-65E6-11E3-94E8005056A302E6.jpg]
Ref: http://www.australianflying.com.au/news/...ism-amroba

There was movement at the station, for the word had passed around??Rolleyes

Via the latest AMROBA Newsletter: https://amroba.org.au/wp-content/uploads...ssue-3.pdf



Acts of Parliament & Civil Aviation

“Treaties: Once ratified, treaties are binding on signatory States – known as Contracting Parties. A “Contracting State” is a State which has consented to be bound by the treaty and for which the treaty is in force.”. The Chicago Convention is one such treaty.

Any foreign nation reviewing the Convention Annexes differences lodged by Australia would conclude that Australia does not meet minimum treaty Annexes Standards.

These Standards state “shall adopt”. – So why can’t we adopt these standards?

If government had simply maintained the (Convention) aviation treaty’s standards and recommended practices, instead of creating unique and costly requirements post the creation of CAA, then Australian civil aviation would not be in the mess it is today.

If aviation Acts had been written correctly in 1988, we would still be a compliant State.

A basic misunderstanding is that we no longer live in an open world of free trade in the aviation industry. Being compliant with the Convention is not enough to trade globally.

The EU and USA stopped that in the late 1990s when they decided that they needed an EU
– USA aviation trade agreement. That meant all other contracting States needed similar agreements with either or both the USA & EU as well as each other.

Implementing/Expanding BASAs
As CASA experienced, under Leroy Keith & Mick Toller, when you focus on developing globally harmonised regulations that also assist international civil aviation trade agreements, then the need to adopt wording, interpretations & intent of ICAO SARPs, and the country with whom we intend to have a BASA with, become much more focused. This was experienced with Part 21.

If we move to include maintenance in the USA BASA, then the operational FARs should also be adopted. This then raises the issue for the non-airline sectors, do we need a FAR based LAME? Do we need a Direct Supervision AMO?

Australia also needs to remove “Minister’s Directions” from Acts and replace with changes to the Act as they do in the USA. An Act or Acts must clearly clarify the responsibility of portfolio Departments to negotiate civil aviation foreign trading agreements.

The Civil Aviation Act needs re-writing to include a new dedicated CASA “Foreign Office” responsible for developing and maintaining, under civil aviation trade agreements (BASA) with other nations, the Certification and/or Maintenance Implementation Procedures or Technical Agreements with the best outcome for the Australian industry to trade globally.

Benefits:
Expanding the current USA-Australia BASA to include maintenance is fundamental to implementing FAR based performance regulations that will improve safety and lower costs.

Changing the Air Navigation Act to make Infrastructure and DFAT primarily responsible for negotiating trade agreements in the form of BASAs would also benefit civil aviation from GA to airlines. Australian modifications/repairs should be accepted.

The Convention states we shall adopt as close as practical the Standards & Recommended Practices of the Annexes. Treaties are binding on a State.


[Image: sbg-3.jpg]

Hmm...popcorn ordered - batter up?? - MTF...P2  Tongue
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Doing a CASA, or Fantasy mirroring reality?

The war didn’t last that long, our allies eventually turned up to save us.
The navy was all sunk in the first three days of the war and all that was left to defend our coast was lots of small boats and pleasure craft many of which required boat ramps from which to launch to fulfill their “Dunkirk” moment. The panicked government nationalised existing boat ramps and initiated a frantic building program to construct more.

With wars end the government found itself owning lots of boat ramps and ports and the cost of maintaining them was adding up.

The big ports were not such a problem as large commercial shipping utilised them, generating huge cash flows making them very attractive assets to sell off the big banks or foreign capitalists to make huge tax-free profits.

The smaller ports and multiple boat ramps, once considered vital national assets, were a problem however. Nobody seemed to want responsibility for them as they were only used by recreational boat people and small commercial operators and cost a lot of money to maintain.

They were however very valuable as real Estate, prime riverfront/harbourside land ripe for development, the only impediment was the pesky boaties who used them.

It wasn’t until a devious Murky Mandarin had an epiphany during an extended lunch with his minister one day.

“Eureka minister” he shrieked “I have the answer, we could do a CASA”.

“Please explain” the minister replied drolly.

“Do you remember how we got rid of all those pesky aviation people so we could unload all those secondary airports to development sharks. We could do the same with boats”.
The Mandarin explained excitedly
“My god! we could probably get away with it for national parks as well”

his brain singing as it considered the possibilities.

“I fail to see your reasoning” the minister replied.

The Mandarin rolled his eyes and thought;

“Daft prick, its true, he really is the village idiot”

He explained;

“ Minister leave it all to me, we will need to follow the CASA protocols. Get the press to blow up any and all the boating incidents and accidents to convince the public that boating has become very dangerous and must be federally regulated.
We then form an Independent Statutory Authority to regulate boating, that makes sure you are not responsible for anything they do, then let them loose.
I guarantee within a few years boating will be so bound up with compliance issues that it will be too expensive to float a rubber duck in the bath”

“ Good grief, I see what your getting at Murky, hundreds more bureaucrats into my portfolio” said the minister dollar signs in his eyes “And think of the political donations. We made a poultice out of the airports, I want a plan for cabinet by next week”

‘Yes Minister” Murky replied trying very hard to supress the smirk spreading across his face.
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