Of Mandarins & Minions.

Penny drops on Barry O attack - Rolleyes    

Have been monitoring the recent Labor Party assault on Barry O in regards to his legitimacy to be a Senator (under section 44 of the constitution), due to his alleged business interests in a company that has been awarded a QLD government tender with commonwealth government funding.

Quotes via the SMH article - Government senator Barry O'Sullivan under a cloud over business interests:

Quote:Turnbull government backbencher Barry O'Sullivan has rejected suggestions he is in breach of the constitution, after questions were raised over his eligibility to sit in the Senate – not because of his citizenship status but his business interests...

...On Thursday, it emerged Senator O'Sullivan had a stake in a family construction company, the Newlands Group, which has been awarded $25 million worth of contracts for a Queensland infrastructure project that is 80 per cent funded by the Commonwealth government. 

...Infrastructure Minister Darren Chester said he did not believe Senator O'Sullivan was in a "great deal of trouble", but there was an "issue that he needs to explain in terms of section 44." 

"I'm sure he has fulfilled his requirements there as he is expected to do," he told Sky News...
Obviously this is part of the BS political citizenship bun fight surrounding the National's Leader DPM Barnaby and deputy leader Senator Nash... Dodgy

I think it extremely tedious and a distraction from bigger issues but I can understand the attacks on BJ & FN, with a government one seat majority in the HoR and with both being ministers in the Turnbull cabinet... Dodgy

However in terms of Barry O I was struggling to fathom why it was Labor was going so hard after a backbencher Senator, who if rolled by s44 would simply be replaced by another QLD LNP nominee??

Then perusing Hansard on this full frontal assault, led by Senator (Just wrong) Wong and declared Commie Senator Dougy (RED) Cameron, the Penny dropped (so to speak - Big Grin )

Reference Senate Hansard: 14/09/2017 - QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
Quote:The PRESIDENT: Point of order, Senator Wong.

Senator Wong: Direct relevance—the question is this: is it appropriate for the chair of a committee to interject and offer comment on a project in which they have a commercial interest?

The PRESIDENT: On the point of order, Senator O'Sullivan?.

Senator O'Sullivan: Mr President, I seek leave to make a personal statement now.

The PRESIDENT: Is leave granted?

Senator Wong: We will give him leave after question time.
Leave not granted.

Senator O'Sullivan: I seek leave now to table a transcript of the speech I'm going to give and the accompanying evidentiary document that will put this to bed.

The PRESIDENT: Is leave granted?

Senator Wong: Mr President, I haven't seen the documents.
Honourable senators interjecting—

Senator Wong: If he provides them, we'll consider it, and he may well get leave when he stands up after question time.

Leave not granted.

The PRESIDENT: Senator O'Sullivan, leave has not been granted. Is this a further point of order?

Senator O'Sullivan: Yes, it is; in response. At four minutes past 12 today, nearly three hours ago, the Chief Government Whip formally went to the opposition to hand them the document, and they rejected them.

The PRESIDENT: That is not a point of order.

Honourable senators interjecting—

Senator O'Sullivan: They've seen the documents.

The PRESIDENT: On the point of order, Senator Brandis?
Senator Wong interjecting—

The PRESIDENT: Senator Wong, I give you a lot of latitude about points of order, and I'll give the same courtesy to the Leader of the Government.

Senator Wong: What's the point of order?

The PRESIDENT: Senator Wong, you get a lot of latitude on points of order, and I'm extending the same courtesy to the other leader.

Senator BRANDIS: Thank you very much, Mr President. Senator O'Sullivan has taken a point of order on which you are yet to rule. I wish to speak to that point of order. What has been disclosed to the Senate by Senator O'Sullivan is that, although Senator Wong asserted a few moments ago that the opposition had not had the opportunity to consider the documents which will show that there is absolutely no substance in allegations against Senator O'Sullivan, it is now apparent that these documents were offered to the opposition for inspection by them some three hours ago. The Leader of the Opposition should apologise to the Senate for seriously misleading the chamber.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Cameron, do you wish to contribute?

Senator Cameron: Yes, on the point of order. I happened to be on frontbench duty when the documents were handed to me—a bunch of documents without—

Honourable senators interjecting—

Senator Cameron: Senator O'Sullivan was seeking to immediately table the documents and speak on them. I had not seen the documents; I had not had time to look at the documents. Then, after consideration, I said the documents could be tabled and we would give Senator O'Sullivan an opportunity to speak. That was not accepted.

Senator Wong: Leave is granted. Table them now and, as I said, we will give you leave after question time to make a personal explanation.

The PRESIDENT: You're directing your comments to me, Senator Wong. Leave has been sought. The Labor Party is not objecting to leave. Senator Di Natale, are you objecting to leave being granted?

Senator Di Natale interjecting—

The PRESIDENT: I need your position. I'm going to put the question. Leave has been sought. Is leave granted?

 Senator Di Natale: No, leave is not granted.

The PRESIDENT: Leave is not granted. We will now proceed with question time.
Senator BRANDIS: Going back to Senator Chisholm's question, Senator Chisholm suggests that there is something inappropriate about a senator who lives in Toowoomba, whose electorate office is in Toowoomba, making on observation during the hearings of a Senate committee about the progress—

Senator Wong interjecting—

The PRESIDENT: Senator Wong! Is there a point of order, Senator Williams?

Senator Williams: Mr President, I ask you to ask Senator Wong to be quiet while we listen to the answer instead of screaming across the chamber at Senator O'Sullivan, please.

The PRESIDENT: I remind all senators not to interject while other senators are speaking.

Senator BRANDIS: Again, this is the absurdity of Senator Chisholm's question: he suggests that Senator O'Sullivan, who lives in Toowoomba, whose electorate office is in Toowoomba, has done something inappropriate by making a remark during the course of the hearings of a Senate committee about the progression of the largest capital works project in the history of Toowoomba. According to Senator Chisholm, by his own benighted lights, there is something unusual or inappropriate about that.

The fact is that this government is extremely proud to have funded the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing. We are very proud of the fact that, going back to the days when Mr Ian Macfarlane was the member for Groom, Mr Ian Macfarlane and many other coalition members and senators from Queensland have urged the government to fund the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing. We are very proud of the fact that we are the government who are delivering on the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing. If Senator Chisholm had the slightest interest in or knowledge about the interests of the people of Toowoomba, which obviously he doesn't, rather than take cheap political points, he'd be applauding it.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Chisholm, a supplementary question.

Senator CHISHOLM (Queensland) (14:58): I look forward to being in Toowoomba on Sunday with the Premier. Senate standing order 27(5) states:

A senator shall not sit on a committee if the senator has a conflict of interest in relation to the inquiry of the committee.

What action will the government take to ensure Senator O'Sullivan has not breached that standing order?

Senator BRANDIS (Queensland—Attorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:59): I have seen no evidence whatsoever that Senator O'Sullivan did have a conflict of interest, and I don't believe that Senator O'Sullivan does have a conflict of interest. If the Labor Party hadn't denied him leave to make a statement, we wouldn't even have this question because Senator O'Sullivan would have been given the opportunity to clarify the matter and demonstrate, before now, why the innuendos and insinuations against him coming from this man on the other side of the chamber are utterly false and unworthy.
Senator Cash interjecting—

Senator Brandis: Yes.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Chisholm, a final supplementary.

Senator CHISHOLM (Queensland) (15:01): Given the department responsible for the Commonwealth's involvement in the project reports to the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee, can the minister explain to the Senate why it is appropriate that Senator O'Sullivan continues as chair of the committee despite his commercial interests?

Senator BRANDIS (Queensland—Attorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (15:01): It's because he's a fantastic advocate for regional Australia. That's why. He's a better advocate than you are, Senator Chisholm. It's not a secret, Senator Chisholm. It is not a coincidence, Senator Chisholm, that the Australian Labor Party does not hold a seat, federal or state, west of Brisbane. Do you know why? It's because the people who live in Toowoomba, like Senator O'Sullivan, know that people like you, Senator Chisholm—creatures of the Labor Party machine—haven't the slightest interest in them. You don't have the slightest interest in them; you don't have the slightest interest in their wellbeing. You couldn't care less about representing them. You come into this chamber to mock the greatest capital works project in the history of Toowoomba which every man, woman and child in Toowoomba would be glad of, but not you, Senator Chisholm, because you don't deserve to represent the people of Queensland. I ask that further questions be placed on the Notice Paper
Passing Strange - Huh

So it would appear that the Labor attack is designed to try and force the Turnbull government to unseat Senator Barry O as Chair of what would have to be (historically) one of the most effective and non-partisan Senate Standing Legislative Committees in the history of the Federal parliament - I wonder why? Rolleyes

Right then back to my internet trolling - Big Grin

MTF...P2 Tongue

Ps For the record here is Barry O's speech in response to the Wrong Wong led Labor attack:

[Image: 247871.jpg] Senator O'SULLIVAN (Queensland) (15:07): I seek leave to make a personal statement.

Leave granted.

[Image: 247871.jpg] Senator O'SULLIVAN: In recent days, I have been the subject of assertions made under the protection of parliamentary privilege, directed at myself that in effect say that either myself or companies which I currently have an interest in, or have historically had an interest in, have or have had either a direct or indirect pecuniary interest in the agreement with the Public Service of the Commonwealth of Australia.

These assertions are designed to make the argument that I am somehow in breach of section 44 of the Constitution of Australia and therefore assert, by their inference, that I am ineligible to sit in the Senate, representing my state of Queensland.

I have decided to make this personal statement to respond to those assertions, notwithstanding that I have released a number of statements indicating my position previously. In this chamber on 11 September, an assertion was made, and I quote the Hansard:

Newlands Civil Construction, a company in which Senator O'Sullivan has an interest …
That statement was and remains materially incorrect. At the end of my statement I will seek leave to table extracts of publicly available records from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission confirming and negating that assertion.

On the same date in this chamber, when referring to the aforementioned company Newlands Civil Constructions Pty Ltd, a statement was made, and I quote from the Hansard:

Senator O'Sullivan has, as part of the O'Sullivan family, controlling interests—
of Newlands Civil Constructions Pty Ltd. That statement is false. I have not now nor have I never had, either in my own capacity or in concert with anybody else, an interest in or control of the corporation Newlands Civil Construction Pty Ltd.

At the same time, a question was presented to the Senate that said:

We need to ensure that Senator O'Sullivan is not using his privileged position as a senator to influence contracts and that he is not benefitting from these contracts ...

I can only assume that the burden of that question was directed to contracts with the Public Service of the Commonwealth of Australia. In response, I can say that I have not now, nor have I ever, used my position to influence any contract establishment or negotiation with the Public Service of the Commonwealth of Australia. Again, to avoid any confusion in my answer, I can inform the Senate that I have not now, nor have I ever had, a contract or an interest in a contract with the Public Service of the Commonwealth of Australia in any capacity, either directly or indirectly. Additionally, I have not now, nor have I ever had, shares in a company that has shares in other companies, even through multiple structural relationships where those other companies have had a contract with the Public Service of the Commonwealth of Australia.

Further, and notwithstanding the strength of the aforementioned declarations and in the interests of absolute completeness, I state, in order to bring clarity to deal with the commercial or corporate illiteracy of those challenging these facts, that I have never had a conversation with any person, partnership, trust or entity or their representatives, legal officers, administrative officers, contract officers, engineers, agents or persons of extended interest, or their next-door neighbours, about any agreement between any person, corporation or entity who, in turn, has had an agreement with the Public Service of the Commonwealth of Australia.

The next assertion was a reference to the company named Newlands Civil Construction Pty Ltd. That was—and it was made by Senator Cameron—that this is a company whose managing director between 1991 and 2013 was Senator O'Sullivan. Inconveniently, that company wasn't registered until the year 2008, some 17 years after the date stated in Senator Cameron's assertions. I want to repeat for effect that I have never been the managing director of Newlands Civil Construction Pty Ltd nor its predecessor company, Town and Country Industries Pty Ltd, nor have I ever been a member of either of their boards. Accordingly, when it is asserted that I have been a shareholder or a director in these companies, or indeed the managing director, as was the burden of the statement, those claims are absolutely false.

I will quote further from Hansard. The government was asked to state the contracts that Senator O'Sullivan's company has benefited from. For the benefit of those making those statements, I can categorically state that it is not my company and it has never been my company, and the extracts that I will table here today from the Australian Securities and Investment Commission will verify that fact beyond any doubt.

This, of course, now puts those making the statements in a rather serious and invidious position. This is their challenge. If they have contracts, a piece of paper, an affidavit or something on the back of a napkin that says that I have a direct or indirect interest in anything to do with contracts with the Commonwealth of Australia, I call on them to table those documents or supporting evidence in this place. I can say that it would not make sense for anybody to have made these allegations, as they have, without having seen some supporting evidence themselves. So now is the time for them to share it with the Senate, as I am with all of the documents that I have at my disposal. I make the call with the confidence of knowing that they do not exist. It will then follow that, if such a document is tabled, the person tabling it should also present the publicly available transcripts from ASIC showing the relevant shareholdings, either directly or indirectly, with the corporation concerned.

The primary focus of these people is the corporation named Newlands Civil Construction Pty Ltd. To put matters beyond any reach, I corresponded with the Minister for Finance, the Hon. Senator Mathias Cormann, and the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, the Hon. Darren Chester, to ask them to search all Commonwealth records and confirm to me what I personally know to be true: that this company has not currently or historically had any agreement with the Public Service of the Commonwealth of Australia. Both ministers have confirmed that position in writing. I will, with other documents, seek leave to table that correspondence to the Senate.

In closing, I can't be any clearer. Every document and record that I can access, records that have been publicly available, that anybody could have searched at any time, would have determined that the assertions being made were false. I can do no more than make this statement. I do not intend to respond anymore to any allegation made by the opposition or anyone else in this place. This has had a serious effect on my family. It's had a serious effect on the reputation of a company that employs well over 120 people—something that many of the people over there have never done.

I seek leave to table documents that include—inconveniently for some—the ASIC company extract of Newlands Civil Construction Pty Ltd, a letter to the Minister for Finance and to the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, a letter from the Minister for Finance, a letter from the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, questions to answers on notice from Minister Nash, a Hansard of questions without notice from Senator Watt, a Hansard of questions without notice from Senator Chisholm, a Hansard of take note of answers contributions from Senator Cameron, a Hansard of take note of answers contributions from Senator Watt, and a Hansard of take note of answers contributions from Senator Chisholm.

Leave granted.

Senator Cameron interjecting—

[Image: YW4.jpg] Senator Ian Macdonald: Apologise, you grub.

Honourable senators interjecting—


Albo with the pot, kettle & the black - Dodgy

In another of a long line of pollies and Alphabet luminaries, the former Minister for Non-Aviation, Anthony Albanese writes for the Oz:  

Quote:Anthony Albanese: Coalition masters art of budget underspend
[Image: 2e2b75d04e9adb8b9b51781ec66f4fa7?width=650]
Artwork: Tom Jellett.
  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM September 25, 2017
It’s one of the oldest tricks in the political playbook. And the Turnbull Government is turning it into an art form.

It’s known in budget parlance as the underspend — the practice of governments announcing big-spending commitments on Budget night, when Australians are focused on politics, but then failing to deliver the promised investment and hoping no-one will notice.

Underspend is the polite term. What we are really talking about here is cuts.

Nowhere is this practice more widespread in the Coalition Government than in infrastructure.

In its first three years in office, the Coalition Government underspent its announced infrastructure budget allocations by $3.7 billion.

These cuts affect a wide range of infrastructure programs.

Take, for example, the successful Black Spot road safety program, under which the Commonwealth makes grants to fund safety upgrades in the nation’s worst traffic accident hot spots.

In its first three Budgets, the Government committed to invest $220 million on this important program.

Each Budget night the Abbott-Turnbull Government presented new allocations to the Black Spot program as evidence of its commitment to road safety and nation building, especially in rural and regional Australia.

However, Budget documents showing how much was actually spent, rather than what was promised, reveal that the Government in fact cut its investment by more than half, investing $105 million, not $220 million.

If investment had been delivered as promised, the Government could have improved safety on hundreds of traffic accident hot spots around the nation, based on 2012 research by the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics showing the average project cost was $157,000.

This investment would have made motorists safer. Indeed, the BITRE analysis showed that after Black Spots were upgraded under the program, the incidence of accidents causing deaths or injuries fell by 30 per cent.

The Government has also cut its investment in the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program (HVSPP), created by the former Labor Federal Government to build or improve roadside facilities like rest stops and parking bays for truck drivers on major highways.

Australians who drive interstate will have noticed the increase in roadside facilities delivered under this program in recent years.

In opposition the current Government backed the HVSPP and, in its first three budgets, vowed it would invest $171 million.

In fact, it spent $64.6 million — a cut of $106.9 million, or almost two out of every three dollars.

The Coalition went to the 2013 election promising to create the Bridges Renewal Program, under which it would work with local communities in rural and regional areas to improve the safety and carrying capacity of bridges.

It’s a good program. It improves road safety and also boosts productivity by making it easier to move products from farms to market.

The Government promised it would invest $180 million on the bridges program in three years. But it has spent $100 million — an $80 million cut.
Cuts are everywhere.

The biggest infrastructure program of them all — major road projects — has been cut by an incredible $1.3 billion.

Likewise, in 2016-17, the Government promised to invest $100 million in the Northern Australia Roads Program.

Actual spending was just $12 million.

As a former Minister for Infrastructure, I know from experience that sometimes there are good reasons for money allocated in a particular Budget year not being rolled out in that particular year.

For example, sometimes weather delays or difficulty finalising contracts with construction firms can cause spending allocated one year to be carried forward to the next year.

However, three consecutive years of failing to deliver promised investment indicates this Government is either completely incompetent or is serially misleading Australians.

I suspect it’s a bit of both.

Australians have a right to expect that when a Government commits funding to projects on Budget night, it will actually follow through and deliver those projects.

But that is not happening in infrastructure.

It is also important to note that whenever the Government talks about the total value of its infrastructure program, the figures used are not actual investment, but the investment promised on Budget night.

Next time you hear the Prime Minister or any of his infrastructure ministers give a figure on their overall infrastructure budget, treat it with a grain of salt.

Indeed, based on the examples I have found, halving the figure nominated would take you much closer to the truth.

The annual frenzy that surrounds the presentation of the Federal Budget each May understandably focuses on big-ticket items that make for great headlines.

But based on the record of the current Coalition Government, comparing the previous year’s Budget night promises with actual spending levels would provide a far better indication of its progress.

Anthony Albanese is opposition spokesman for infrastructure, transport and regional development.

 (Hint - Albo mate, don't give up your spot on the trough i.e. don't give up your day job... Rolleyes )  

Like Chester, notice how Albo also (ref: SBGDick Smith) skirts around any mention of the "A"- word, IMO the cartoon is worth a thousand words i.e. where's the aircraft??

Anyway here is Sandy with a pot, kettle, black comment... Wink :


Mr. Albanese surely you jest. As former Minister of Infrastructure you authorised a "one off" increase in an aircraft fuel levy which was to produce $89.9 million over 4 years. Rationale? special safety studies by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) who promptly put on almost another 200 staff.

Well great job, General Aviation (GA) is much safer now that the industry has shrunken under a barrage of impossible rules and fee gouging by the out of control regulator CASA. No, not all your fault but didn't you love to add more Labor voters to the ever growing numbers in Can'tberra, pop. now near 400,000. Pity help the billions of lost economic activity, businesses and jobs and don't worry about the outback where they've had to give up their planes.

PS the increase levy is still there, the $600,000 pa CEOs of CASA don't remind their Minister that it was supposed to stop in 2013. Alex in the Rises.

Hmm...I also wonder how much is Albo's contribution to the at least half a billion spent on the RRP?


What about the PelAir debacle, somewhere between 50 to 100 million dollars was being bantered around by the BRB? All for what? - zilch, nada, zero... Huh

MTF...P2  Cool

No shame and short memories.

“Sorcery is the sauce fools spoon over failure to hide the flavour of their own incompetence."

Albo and his mate McConvict did more to bugger up aviation than almost anyone in history. The ‘thing’ in the Australian’ speaks volumes on the piss poor performance of Darren 6D. The situation is so bad that a creature like Albo can slither out from under a rock and, with impunity and some justification attack on a transport line says it all.

What a bloody shambles. How cynical; the Albo’s of this world know how short memories are. Mind you compared to 6D, Albo was a star.

Toot -

In harmony we all thrive - Wink

We all know that in sport - cricket, rugby, netball in particular - that there will always be a healthy rivalry with our Cuz'ns across the dutch... Wink

However in other things like trade and tourism there should be no such animosity and all diplomatic and bureaucratic barriers should be pared back to help maximise the benefits to our two economies.

From Tourism & Transport Forum CEO Margy Osmond, via the Oz today:  

Quote:Common border with NZ is way off, but let’s use common sense

[Image: 0984711751568fc57f840d5d74f0db2d?width=650]Pre-clearance of passengers is the key to streamlining the customes and immigration process.
  • Margy Osmond
  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM September 29, 2017
As Australia enters a new golden age of tourism, which is delivering record numbers of international visitors to our shores every month, the visitor economy is our next super-growth sector.

However, there is a very real risk that we could become a victim of our own success. With more and more people touching down at our international airports than ever, the rate of growth in visitor arrivals is rapidly overtaking the capacity of our airports to deal with the higher volumes and, unfortunately, the first impression for many of our new arrivals is a long wait in a long queue.

If you ask most travellers, they would say that the Customs and immigration queue is the worst part of the journey.

The answer to this problem is not about continually building or expanding terminals to absorb the growth. That is impractical and it is unaffordable. We need to find other ways of reducing the queues, improving productivity and continually enhancing the visitor experience, without compromising security.

So what if the solution lay in removing seven million passenger journeys from the arrival queues of Australia and New Zealand’s international terminals each year?

This very attractive idea is at the core of a new report, “Fast Forward: Streamlining trans-Tasman air travel”.

It is all about reform that if implemented could potentially remove millions of people from international arrival queues and cut at least an hour off trans-Tasman travel time.

New Zealand and Australia are not only geographically and culturally close, but also deliver more visitors to each other than any other market, with more than 47,000 aircraft movements and close to seven million passengers each year. So it is certainly the most logical place to look for efficiencies.

With border processing being such a bugbear for travellers, the Tourism & Transport Forum commissioned this paper to get the discussion going on what a different future could look like.

We asked the global aviation consultancy Airbiz to look at scenarios to make air travel between Australia and New Zealand as easy and safe as possible. So are we talking about the much discussed development of a common border with New Zealand?

The report looks at this option of a single border allowing common visa, entry permit and customs arrangements and procedures for the two countries.

While admittedly this a highly complex and a less likely option, in theory it would produce the simplest, most streamlined outcomes for trans-Tasman passenger journeys.

Key to the more likely options is a pre-clearance model. This would mean the use of advanced biometric screening technology to enable immigration and quarantine pre-clearance by passengers prior to departure combined with sharper information collection on passengers. This gets rid of any further formalities for most passengers when they reach their destinations. Basically, it is faster and easier for passengers and does not compromise security.

This pre-clearance could either be by individual passenger or by flight. New facial recognition technology such as “Face on the Fly”, means pre-clearance is possible. Individuals can be identified and screened without ever needing to be stopped for passports, travel documents or even boarding passes. Using information provided before departure, this system would also enable the majority of passengers to collect their luggage from a “domestic-like” reclaim area, and leave without any further hassles.

Not only would this create a more seamless travel experience for passengers, it would potentially free up gates in international terminals, reducing arrival and departure queues, and streamlining flight connections for passengers transferring between trans-Tasman and domestic flights in both Australia and New Zealand.

Our vision is to see full pre-clearance of international passengers so that their arrival at the destination airport is similar to that of a domestic traveller — a whole lot easier and much more pleasant. There would be no apparent border check and baggage would be reclaimed in a domestic-like environment, whether arriving into an international or integrated domestic and international terminal.

We have to start the conversation about streamlining the trans-Tasman journey and delivering highly effective and efficient pre-clearance for most or all passengers now.
While we might be unable to achieve a common border solution, we should be able to achieve a common sense one.

New Zealand is our closest and most trusted ally and it is time the onerous and archaic constraints currently in place are relegated to the dustbin of history.

Margy Osmond is Tourism & Transport Forum chief executive.

Perhaps harmonization in aviation safety regulation and oversight should also be on the agenda for cutting costs for the mutual benefit of the tourism, trade and aviation industries in the Asia Pacific region? - Nah..that sounds like too much common sense for our dopey NFI miniscule... Dodgy    

MTF...P2 Cool

(08-22-2017, 08:56 PM)Peetwo Wrote:  Sandy on War & Peace - Wink   

Via one or two IOS/PAIN email chains... Rolleyes

Quote:Recently I had occasion to make an incident report to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB).

I rang and spoke to an officer about the procedure which is either an online form or a written report.

Having explained the nature of the incident I was advised not to make my explanation into "War and Peace" (1st. ed. 1225 pages by L. Tolstoy).

If the advice had been given in a light hearted or joking manner then maybe think nothing of it. But no, it was given in a condescending tone in order to display superiority and the classical learning of this clever person compared to an ignorant peasant pilot.

Nothing new here, typical Commonwealth public employee. Years ago we would have said 'public servant' but now the many that are employed by Commonwealth corporate bodies are not in fact public servants. Moreover they eschew the term public servant for that denotes lower status. Status in Canberra is everything, it's not for nothing that remuneration is 42% higher in Canberra (pop. near 400,000) than the average nationwide.

Commonwealth corporations, independent and largely unaccountable bodies were designed to regulate and administer with little or no cost to government or to make money and contribute to general revenue. A unique "user pays" hybrid design experiment off the back of the Thatcher privatisation reforms. Unfortunately the user pays only if there are users, and only if there is real value. Without a free and competitive market there can be no acceptable standard and therefore the model is, and with irrefutable facts in hindsight, a failure.

Unfortunately being monopolies they perpetuate themselves with make work programs, the never ending and outrageously expensive rules rewrite (now unworkable rules of  strict liability criminality) by the Civil Aviation body (CASA) being a perfect example. Monopolistic fee gouging for completely unnecessary permissions or licences along with runaway wages and uncontrolled expenses add to internally bloated budgets.

An interesting exercise would be to make an overall cost benefit analysis of the unique corporate body administration of civil aviation in Australia which began some 29 years ago. Having lived and worked in General Aviation (GA) for more than 50 years it is obvious that the costs to community in lost businesses and jobs far outweigh the sums gained by the fees that are extorted by the regulator. 

A department controlled by a responsible Minister overseeing and administering with a rational, internationally compatible rule set is needed. This would be effective and efficient with tax revenues from a healthy industry much greater than the industry destroying fees and massive ever churning paperwork burdens which are currently imposed.

The bureaucratic War on GA should cease, CASA will resist at every turn, therefore only action by Parliament can bring a new and prosperous Peace.

Sandy Reith 

The War & Peace saga continues: Hoody gets precious - Rolleyes

Via PAIN/IOS email chains... Wink

Quote:On Mon, 16 Oct 2017 at 09:12 Leahey Trish <Trish.Leahey@atsb.gov.au> wrote:
Quote:Dear Mr Reith
On behalf of Chief Commissioner Greg Hood, please find attached a letter from the ATSB.

[Image: Precious-Hoody.jpg]

To which Sandy responded:

Quote:Hi Trish,

Thank you for sending the Chief Commissioner’s email letter. 

Please pass this reply to him. An open email. 

Hello Greg,

Thank you for writing to me of your concerns. I can certainly understand your wish to protect staff from unfair criticism and in future I might well take up your offer of a direct personal consultation before going public. Perhaps this might lead to your staff member apologising directly to me. On the other hand being a public body your staff would well and truly understand that they are open to public scrutiny and criticism. 

In addition, as you would be well aware, General Aviation has been under severe and debilitating attack from Canberra for many years and we are inclined to push back. 

In this instance in your letter you refer to an “interpretation” of “War and Peace”. In the conversation with your officer there was no interpretation needed because they were the words she used, and I as I say, in a condescending manner. This is in the scheme of things a small instance of a pervading problem that we find time and again dealing with Canberra authorities of all stripes. Authorities like ATSB are publicly owned monopoly corporations and have accrued a great deal of power. It shows. 

The flavour that we experience is well illustrated by your general email disclaimer and threatening admonishment, in part quote:- 

.....”The information transmitted is for the use of the intended recipient only and may contain confidential and/or legally privileged material. Any review, re-transmission, disclosure, dissemination or other use of, or taking of any action in reliance upon, this information by persons or entities other than the intended recipient is prohibited and may result in severe penalties.”....  



Also of interest (off the email chains) is a discussion related to Adam Smith's article on the 'Concept of Justice' with the parallels to the governance and big "R" regulation of the aviation industry... Confused   


....This article goes to the heart of the problems in the governance of aviation in Australia. 

In particular the commentary about “unintended consequences” or in other words the ill effects of the law going beyond controlling in the manner desired by Adam Smith. 
Our current strict liability aviation law is counter to  Smith’s sound philosophy.

Adam Smith's Concept of Justice - Foundation for Economic Education - Working for a free and prosperous world


It also goes against the regulation making policies of the Parliament, the A-Gs, the Office of Parliamentary Council, the Productivity Commission and the OBPR, and the Senate Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances (or whatever it is called now) but it all makes no difference, such is the “Mystique of Air Safety”, and the apparent total disinterest of the Minister.
At its core, just two determines people in CAA/CASA have driven this since the late 1980’s --- with plenty of willing accomplices, including in industry, but just two have driven the philosophical underpinnings of Australia having to have complex prescriptive aviation law, all in a criminal law format, with as good as makes no difference, all being strict liability.
To almost destroy civil aviation as a major and viable industry in Australia.


Bill Hamilton

Hi Bill,

Just who are those two people?? 

Here’s an interesting Article from BCA magazine. Interesting the divergence from Australian “Policy”.

Quote:Time For Innovation: Grandfatherly Flying Is So Yesterday
Sep 22, 2017William Garvey  | Business & Commercial Aviation 

This year my car turned 17, making it a senior four-wheeled citizen since the median for flivvers is less than 10. However, the average age of a general aviation aircraft today is roughly 40 years. Think about that for a moment. An ancient iPhone is one purchased way back in 2014. Sofa beds get tossed after five years‘ worth of guests, kids and cats. A giant panda is gone after 20. And cars are deemed “classic” at 25. So, that a fleet of mobile machinery now averages two score — and many are a lot older than that — is quite a testament to durability and upkeep.

But there are other reasons for that impressive seniority. Today I pulled BCA’s 1987 Purchase Planning Handbook from the shelf (yes, I’m a bit of a hoarder), and found these stats for the then-new Beech Bonanza A36: seating — 1+4/5; engine — 300 hp; max ramp weight — 3,663 lb.; max speed — 176 kt. Compare those numbers with the G36 Bonanza in our 2017 Handbook: seating — 1+4/5; engine — 300 hp; max ramp weight — 3,663 lb.; high-speed cruise — 174 kt.

So, while the cockpit instrumentation has been markedly improved on the G model, the 2017 machine delivers almost exactly what its A model predecessor did back when Ronald Reagan was exhorting Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall.

Oh, and another point. The 1987 Bonanza sold for $263,000, which admittedly was a chunk of dough back then. But the 2017 version is listed at $815,000, which is, respectively, a whole lot bigger chunk. In fact, that’s double the rate of inflation.

The foregoing factors combined to move just 25 Bonanzas off the production line last year, one in which single-engine aircraft failed to break the 1,000 mark . . . for the eighth year running. So, the post-Recession general aviation recession vexingly continues. But there are some encouraging developments that could produce positive results.

My Aviation Week & Space Technology colleague John Croft notes, “The convergence of four factors — electric engine technology, powerful lithium-chemistry batteries, automatic control systems and flexible new regulations — is opening new ‘degrees of freedom’ in aircraft design.” Arguably of those, the key is regulatory, specifically the new FAR Part 23, which contains the airworthiness standards for light aircraft.

FAA is supposed to review all its major regulatory sections every decade. However, by the time it got around to eyeballing Part 23 in the early 2000s, 30 years had passed. And when the review began, the discussions and areas of interest were based on how things had always been. Greg Bowles, who was the General Aviation Manufacturers Association’s participant, thought the process was ripe for radical change. As it happened, the FAA agreed.

The process that followed was deliberate and slow, but the results are formidable. In the rewrite of Part 23, which came into effect at the end of August, the rules are prescriptive rather than performance based, allowing manufacturers to use consensus standards to show compliance. The 
European Aviation Safety Agency has adopted light plane rules that are virtually identical, and other aviation regulatory bodies are expected to follow suit, which was one of the goals of the process.

According to Bowles, now GAMA’s vice president for global innovation and policy, the new approach enables manufacturers to “actually design and innovate and put the cool stuff in the field.”

That “stuff” is for others to imagine and bring to the fore but could conceivably range from electric and hybrid-electric power to pilotless aircraft to who knows what? The hope is that by adapting rapidly evolving technology to general aviation, prices and complexity will diminish, while safety and general appeal increase. All of those would be welcome developments considering the steady decline of the pilot population and apparent lack of interest in general aviation by millennials in general.

Supposedly this is a generation that doesn’t drive, let alone own cars. So, they’re not likely to embrace expensive, complex flying machines designed when their grandfathers were young. “That’s why this stuff is so important,” says Bowles.
We’ll see. As he says, “Now it’s in our hands.” Or not in any hands.

Barry Justice, the president and CEO of Corporate Aviation Analysis & Planning Inc., a well-regarded business aviation consultancy, who is a former director of flight ops for a Fortune 100 outfit, says there’s heavy investing ongoing to advance flight control technology quickly and business aviation is involved.

He reports that in the past two years, he knows of three flight department managers who were informed that their companies — two insurance providers and one utility — were buying unmanned aerial vehicles and that “The drones now report to you.” More will follow that pattern; it makes sense.

As for flying in pilotless urban Ubers, we’ll see. Justice queried associates and got a Never! response. But he says, if proven safe, he’d hop aboard. As for me, I’d consider trading in my M Coupe only after Google releases its 2,000th FAA-certificated passenger drone. 

Finally and very much in context with the above, Sandy on the concept of 'Just Culture' in the Oz GA environment:

Quote:Is the much touted “Just Culture” the answer to the woes of General Aviation? 

“Just Culture” is a confidence trick that no one should fall for because it is simply an excuse for the injustice of regulation by whim and fancy of a bureaucrat who may be influenced or biased by a myriad of unknowable and unstated (improper?) circumstances. 

This utterly obnoxious concept, sanctioned and promoted by Ministers and their top minions, is  perfectly suited to our highly prescriptive strict liability aviation criminal law that is so convoluted and dense with contradictions that a faceless bureaucrat may decide the definition of “justice” which is completely at odds with the real meaning. 

For example from the CASA website (my underlining and italics):-

“ASICs (Aviation Security Identification Cards) and AVIDs (Aviation Identification) show that the holder has a current security check but only an ASIC can be used at security controlled airports. ASICs are normally valid for up to 2 years and AVIDs are normally valid for up to 5 years.

While an AVID and an ASIC are both evidence that background checks have been undertaken, the background checks for the AVID are not equivalent to the checks for the ASIC.

At a minimum, all pilots must undergo the background checks for an AVID and ASIC. Only those pilots who require frequent access to a secure area of a security controlled airport will need to undergo the more robust background checks for an ASIC.

To streamline processes and remove any duplication, pilots who undergo the background check for an ASIC do not have to undergo the background checking for an AVID.

If you plan to frquently fly into a security controlled airport that has RPT services you need to have an ASIC.”

(Question:-   If one does not frequently fly into a security controlled airport will an AVID suffice? Plenty of small regional towns get an Regular Public Transport flight, a few times per week, why not the AVID? Who will say what is legal?)

The only safeguard for true justice is straightforward practical and commonsense law that is rational and reasonably acceptable. The law must be understandable by the average person to whom it is directed, not be too intrusive on the rights of others and be respectful of our freedoms. 

Were this the case with the laws governing aviation, and particularly General Aviation, there would be no quarrel and justice could be left where it rightly belongs. 

Justice, and most especially the justice of citizens against the might of the State, should be the prerogative of the proper independent Courts of Australia. 

Sandy Reith 

To which Stan replied:

The above goes some way to illustrating how well “just culture” works in the CASA world. It is designed that way and like all legislation open to [their] interpretation. We should finally concede that unlike most first world cultures, Australia consists of two separate systems, an out of control bureaucracy and a very acquiescent populace separated by an embarrassing group of politicians mostly unemployable in the real world with a few exceptions. When we consider that it takes programs like The ABC 4Corners to expose ground water pollution by the RAAF or illegal diversion of precious water etc. etc. where does the actual management of the country come into play.  There is absolutely NO accountability on any ones part except for aviation’s “strict liability” implications. The ballot box won’t change anything because it’s always the same faces or promises. Maybe time for quite a few more (political) parties before an election, instead of the splinter groups now within the majors. Coalitions formed on exacting terms before an election which they can then be held to account for in terms of unity.
Stan van de Wiel
MTF...P2 Cool

The PC war game - and how to play it

Tolstoy’s manuscript ‘War and Peace’ has a meagre 587,287 words (American version) even less in the English version 561,093. It is ‘longish’, but a mere midget when compared to likes of ‘Men of Goodwill’ which ran to a mighty 2,070,000 words – in French. The top rated contender in English  ‘Clarissa’ and weighs in at 943,000 words.

Hoody's sensitive crew having a ‘sook’ about the public mention of a lightweight ‘novel’ like W&P which runs to 1440 pages seems a little petulant, when you consider the Pel-Air report is about one third the size. At least Tolstoy refrained from gilding the Lilly, did work from factual data and did little harm to man nor beast.

“Having explained the nature of the incident I was advised not to make my explanation into "War and Peace" (1st. ed. 1225 pages by L. Tolstoy).

"If the advice had been given in a light hearted or joking manner then maybe think nothing of it. But no, it was given in a condescending tone in order to display superiority and the classical learning of this clever person compared to an ignorant peasant pilot.”

The Hi Viz response is a classic; the way he redefines the ‘War and Peace’ slight into being a helpful, touchy-feely, warm and fuzzy placebo for a disparaging remark is ‘delightful’. Then he adds to it - now read this bit – “We understand that pilots are often extremely busy people etc.” Which is load of bollocks – pilots are obliged to ‘file’ reports, under threat; a bird strike for example – is a pointless, time waster. Engineering must be informed, the company needs to know, particularly if the damage prevents further operation; but what bloody use is the report to the ATSB?  Will the data be used to prevent a ‘re-occurrence’? Have ATSB really got the god like powers they believe they have and able to control the behaviour of the bird population; or, will the good fairy godmother descend and admonish those pesky birds? Is there an educational ATSB publication on the migratory bird species which make their ways to our shores each summer, from as far away as Siberia? Does ATSB provided data to pilots on when these birds fly in; or, the route they take; or, whether they travel at night; or what heights they operate at; or, in what quantity? Not too many pilots been made aware that little ‘hazard’ to navigation has there. Perhaps ATSB could use some of the time available to mention these things, do something of use and value, instead of bleating on and being 'upset' about the War and Peace 'incident' and being ‘miffed’ at Sandy’s well founded beef.

[Image: images?q=tbn:ANd9GcR33t_kSuNwGDji5I2Rz1U...WOLnW_rC6Q]

Quote:"Migratory waterbirds include species such as plovers, sandpipers, stints, curlews and snipes.

These incredible birds make round trip migrations of up to 26,000 kilometres each year between their summer breeding grounds in the northern hemisphere and their feeding areas in the south. These trips are made in several weeks, with brief stops at staging sites along the way to rest and refuel for the next leg of their journey.

The corridor through which these waterbirds migrate is known as the East Asian - Australasian Flyway.

• It extends from within the Arctic Circle, through east and south-east Asia, to Australia and New Zealand.

• Stretching across 22 countries, it is one of eight major waterbird flyways recognised around the globe.

At least two million migratory waterbirds visit Australia each year during our summer.

More ‘data’ pages and words are generated, each year on accident and incident than Tolstoy ever wrote; and yet we wait years for the ATSB to pen their reports and issue safety recommendations. Then after a long wait we get the milk and water, PC reports which essentially say little, mean less and do sweet sod all to prevent reoccurrence. Safety recommendations are almost a thing of the past, a myth, a tale to scare the children. Tell you what – for homework, look at the last decade of SR issued, then look at say the CASA ‘adoption’ rate of those SR, it’s pitiful. Coroners have no chance either, their calls and recommendations are quietly suffocated in the storage cupboards of Sleepy Hollow, before being tipped into a common grave.

I'll have whip round at the pub tonight - see if we scrape up enough for a box of Kleenex (the soft ones), wrap 'em up with a pretty ribbon, tied in  bow and have a bicycle chappie deliver them; there now sweetums, all better now.

Toot (quack) toot.

6D AGAD update on ASRR - Dodgy

There was no official proclamation from our 'do nothing', miniscule for non-aviation AGAD but I just happened to stumble across the DoIT ASRR webpage today and noticed that yesterday an official update had been made - Huh

Quote:In October 2017, the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, the Hon Darren Chester MP agreed to the release by the Department of an update on progress with implementing the Government's response to each of the recommendations of the Aviation Safety Regulation Review Report as at 31 July 2017.

The progress report adopts the terminology of ‘Completed’, ‘Completed— Implementation Ongoing’, and ‘In Progress’.

‘Completed’ means the action requested by the Government has been taken whether in terms of the production of new or revised documentation, or the completion of a required review or report.

‘Completed —Implementation Ongoing’ refers to circumstances where the action requested by the Government has been taken, but giving practical effect to the changes requires the adoption and ongoing use of new arrangements through policies, procedures and practices, largely by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

‘In Progress’ means the action requested by the Government is currently being undertaken. A timeframe for expected completion has been included for those items.
  • Implementation Progress Report as at 31 July 2017 PDF: 422 KB [Image: readspeaker_listen_icon.gif]
Read it and weep Undecided

Just a suggestion but perhaps the department should consider adding lines like...

"..Obfuscation ongoing.."


"..Completed - Recommendation officially obfuscated.."

MTF...P2 Tongue

Just ask the Minister - Rolleyes

From reviewing parts of the elongated STD - Surface Transport Division Big Grin - I get the distinct impression miniscule Chester is just as useless and inept, not to mention totally insincere, on his supposedly pet subject of roads and road safety... Undecided

Extracts from the STD:
Quote:Senator GALLACHER: Why don't you as the department get out in front?

Ms Zielke : In the US they have had their companies sign up to a process. As you said, they're not all following the same standard. They are doing it on a voluntary basis. And that's the same as we find—

Senator GALLACHER: Because they were threatened with legislation. They were threatened with regulatory change. Accepting that the regulatory change takes a long while, that regulatory change was put on the industry. (Hmm - why does that sound so familiar Huh ) They then came up with a voluntary date and they came up with competitive pressures in which Toyota has hit the lead by saying all their vehicles will have AEB in 2017. But we don't see any evidence of that leadership in this area from your department in Australia. I struggle to understand why, because no-one wants to see 1,300 people killed and enormous numbers of people seriously injured, let alone the $30 billion plus cost to the economy of road safety. I think this is a really urgent and important issue, but it seems to get avoided. You have 12 people in the whole department looking in this direction? For a $30 billion cost to the economy? For 1,300-plus deaths and enormous numbers of seriously injured? Thirteen people, or 12 people, is the evidence. I really can't be critical of anybody in there because there are not enough of you to make a difference. I just want to know why.

Senator STERLE: You should ask the Minister. Big Grin

Senator GALLACHER: I want to revisit road safety, and I'm just trying to do some fact finding here; there's no right or wrong in all of this. The National Road Safety Strategy 2011 to 2020 targets a reduction of 30 per cent in both fatalities and serious injuries. It's easy to count the deaths. How close are we to being able to measure serious injuries at a national level using a nationally consistent definition of serious injury, given that 2017 is all but gone?

Ms Zielke : I'll pass to Mr James to respond to that.

Mr James : As you mentioned, it's been—

Senator GALLACHER: I don't need a recap; Big Grin I just need to know when we're going to get a nationally consistent measuring stick.

Mr James : Currently there is a pilot project with the states and territories, a national project led by the department, and it is close to finishing its report.

Senator GALLACHER: This year?

Mr James : Yes, in time hopefully for the ministers' meeting in November. And then if that pilot shows it is possible to use a single definition and to match the data properly between health and crash sources it would then proceed to do the full matching and a retrospective cast for 10 years next year.

Senator GALLACHER: So, we anticipate that in 2018 we will have a nationally consistent definition of serious injury, which is seven years after we started.

Mr James : That is the aim.

Senator GALLACHER: Thank you. Now, in 2017 the minister announced that two pieces of research would be undertaken—one to look at drug driving and one to look at distracted driving. I understand that the research has been completed. When do we expect the results to be released?

Mr James : Soon. Ministers will consider those reports at a road safety ministers meeting on 9 November, followed by the ministerial council meeting on the 10th.

Senator GALLACHER: And a question on notice: can you provide a history, since the disbanding of the former Federal Office of Road Safety, which I think was in 1999, of resourcing from around 1998 to today? I want to see a trajectory of how many people used to be there and how many people there are now, on notice.

Ms Zielke : I'm happy to take it on our best endeavours in that regard.

Senator GALLACHER: Best endeavours is fine by me.

Ms Zielke : But we'll do whatever we can in relation to that.

Senator GALLACHER: What level of funding do you currently provide to the Australasian New Car Assessment Program?

Ms Zielke : It's somewhere in the order of $1 million a year. I will confirm that for you, though.

Senator GALLACHER: Is that funding guaranteed through the forward estimates?

Ms Zielke : I think the current arrangement is that the current contract expires next year and will be reconsidered again at that stage. But it's been funded for many, many years since it was started.

Senator GALLACHER: But your evidence here tonight is that it's the pre-eminent mechanism for consumers to make a judgement about road safety.

Ms Zielke : About the safety of a vehicle.

Senator GALLACHER: Okay. Are you aware that they conducted a test very recently of an 11-year-old Toyota versus a new Toyota in a head-on collision? Are you aware of the results of that test?

Ms Zielke : Yes. It clearly showed how much our standards have improved over the years. I'm sure you've seen the photographs as well, and watched the footage. It was extremely confronting to see the difference in the standards.

Senator GALLACHER: And are you aware that the vehicle that was used in the test—the 11-year-old vehicle—was being marketed by the retailer or motor vehicle reseller as a car suitable for a young driver?

Ms Zielke : This is one of the issues Minister Chester has particularly—

Senator GALLACHER: But are you aware of that?

Ms Zielke : Yes.

Senator GALLACHER: So, we know that 11-year-old vehicles are not as good as today's vehicles. Everybody gets that. But those 11-year-old vehicles are being marketed to the most vulnerable road users as a good car for a young driver. And we know from the result of that test that the young driver will be dead and the person in the other vehicle will have survived.

Ms Zielke : Have you seen the work being done on the used car safety ratings and the alignment with the ANCAP safety ratings as well?

Senator GALLACHER: With $1 million worth of federal funding you're trying to crack a nut that's costing the economy $32 billion, killing 1,300 people and injuring an unquantified number of people in serious injuries. That's the sum total of the federal department's $1 million, plus 12 people battling the world in another section. Big Grin

CHAIR: I think it's hard for the witness to respond to these things.

Senator GALLACHER: I'm pretty sure it is!

CHAIR: Well, so—

Senator GALLACHER: But is the funding of $1 million guaranteed over the forward estimates?

CHAIR: I understand that, but he needs to draw it out in questions.

Ms Zielke : It will be reconsidered by government at the end of the contract.

Senator GALLACHER: Okay. Given that there are a number of really professional, well-regarded research groups in the community—two would be the Australian College of Road Safety and the other would be AAA—both of those entities have published comprehensive reports and suggestions for improving road safety, many of which are simple and non-regulatory and could be introduced without waiting for the current review of the NRSS. Has there been any government response to these recommendations? Do you, as a department—did you receive the AAA—

Ms Zielke : We did, and there have been exchanges between the department and the organisations, and they've of course written to the minister as well.

Senator GALLACHER: So, is there an official response? The Australian Automobile Association presented me with a copy of their proposals. It's been presented to the department and the minister. Is there an official response? Do you pick the low-hanging fruit—things that could be introduced simply without regulatory impact? Do you do that sort of stuff?

Mr James : Of course we look at these submissions and we provide advice on them, and a number of the ideas—many of them in those submissions—are certainly being considered by the states and federal government in the context of developing the next national road safety strategy action plan. That's a process obviously of negotiating what everyone can commit to for that exercise.

Senator GALLACHER: Does the department, having concluded a research program on distracted driving, facilitate or encourage field trials or tests of devices that would limit access to text and emails while driving in the Commonwealth fleet?

Ms Zielke : Not that I'm aware of, but suggestions such as that in all vehicles is part of what's canvassed in the report Mr James was talking about.

Mr James : And certainly work I'm aware of with the states and territories—again, there is some active research that's being done on these types of technologies and work between us all on what might be the most promising ones going forward. But that's work in progress at the moment.  Dodgy

Senator GALLACHER: So, work related to road safety is a really significant issue for all organisations that employ people in Australia. You see many of the leaders in mining introducing really smart, up-front policies and procedures to limit distraction in vehicles. Does the federal government have a policy position in respect of this? I mean, can I get a job with the Commonwealth and go out in a Commonwealth car and happily text and email all the way to wherever I'm going? Or do you have a policy position that says you don't do that?

Ms Zielke : It's currently illegal to do that. So, if I was driving a Commonwealth vehicle and was doing that I would be acting illegally.

Senator GALLACHER: Yes. So, you're relying on the police; you're not switching it off in the vehicle.

Ms Zielke : We're not undertaking additional activities at the moment.

Senator GALLACHER: Why not?

Ms Zielke : Minister Chester is working with his state and territory colleagues at the moment to investigate what more could be done in relation to distraction. Part of that is talking with manufacturers about what other technologies might be used in vehicles.

Mr James : I would add that there is also the National Road Safety Partnership Program. This involves a number of mining companies and other firms interested in road safety and a number of states and other organisations to look at how to get road safety into fleet practices, corporate practices and business. I met with that group a couple of weeks ago in Perth.

Senator GALLACHER: So I could deduce from your answer that you don't actually have a policy in place about what people should and shouldn't do when they are driving a motor vehicle. Ms Zielke, you say, 'They should have known it's illegal and the police will catch them if they do it.' Is that the answer?

Ms Zielke : I was just stating the obvious—that it is an illegal activity at the moment.

Senator GALLACHER: We know that thousands of people are fined every day. We do know that people break the rules. So I'm asking whether your department has a policy on texting and emailing in a Commonwealth car.

Ms Zielke : Our department does not have a policy in addition to the current fact that it's illegal to do that.

Senator GALLACHER: Okay.

MTF...P2 Tongue

Via the Oz today:

IPA: cull needed to free firms from red tape
[Image: 018ccd0d625f2ccaa04a6460a8a30f29?width=650]
IPA researcher Daniel Wild.
  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM November 7, 2017
  • [size=undefined]GREG BROWN
    [Image: greg_brown.png]



Unelected regulators are hampering business with red tape, ­according to the Institute of Public Affairs, which is calling for a cull of government bodies to ­return power to the parliament.

The IPA, a right-wing think tank, has warned the growth of red tape in Australia is at a “crisis point” and puts much of the blame on regulators that impose rules on business with little public accountability.

“Urgent action is needed from policymakers to reduce the burden of red tape on businesses, ­individuals and community groups,” said IPA research fellow Daniel Wild. “Red tape is the key cause of low and declining business investment, which is currently lower as a percentage of gross domestic product than under the Whitlam government. Low business investment is the central cause of low labour productivity and slow wages growth.”

An IPA report, released today, finds red tape is caused by regulatory bodies and the overlap of state and federal regulations.

The institute previously has estimated that red tape reduces economic output by $176 billion a year, the equivalent of 11 per cent of gross domestic product. “This means each Australian household would be $19,300 better off each ... year (if there were no red tape),” the report says.

It argues unelected regulatory bodies are bad for democracy, with 497 public bodies involved in the design or enforcement of the federal regulatory system.

[Image: 109843d0f643df51c329ca02dbc526e5?width=650] 
“Regulatory agencies are increasingly able to implement regulation and impose red tape without requiring the approval of parliament, and, therefore, the Australian people,” the report says. “Australian governments have vested increasing decision-making power outside parliament and into ‘independent’ bureaucratic agencies.

“These undemocratic, unelected officials have enough discretionary power to effectively make government policy.”

The report labelled the banking, corporate and competition regulators as “monolithic organisations” that are statutorily independent from parliament.

“The idealised notion of independent regulatory authorities operating in a democratic system doesn’t match reality.
“The consequence is an increasing amount of public policy is determined outside of the Australian parliament by unelected regulators. Regardless of one’s thoughts about the policy implemented by these regulators, this undermines the Australia’s democratic policy process.”

The research noted surveys showing 69 per cent of small and medium businesses say dealing with red tape takes “a lot of ­effort”, whole 68 per cent think their industry is overregulated.

It found 55 per cent of company directors think red tape the biggest impediment to growth.


MTF...P2  Tongue

A -ducking- men, to that. P7.

All we want for Xmas is a JCPAA requested ANAO audit - Big Grin

Via this week's SBG: Quantity v Quality.  

Quote:...The side over which no one has any real control i.e. the ‘government agencies. The cost of maintaining ATSB and CASA is astronomical; yet we must have the agencies. For the class of money we spend it seems fair and reasonable that the service provided should be first class. Alas. Thirty years and an estimated cost somewhere North of $300, 000, 000. 000 has been invested into what is one of the worst set of ‘safety rules’ ever produced. We had a much better safety record back when the Air Navigation Regulations were a slim volume of practical application and the Air Navigation Orders sat on the book shelf about the same thickness as the telephone book. Since then nothing has improved, the regulation becoming more complex and difficult to comply with, which is bad enough. Now we see the distinct pattern emerging which is becoming unhealthy. CASA seem to believe they are a legal firm – or, the ‘police’ and ATSB seem to believe they are nothing more than a press agency for both airlines and CASA. These are not things from my imagination, the story of Dom James, John Quadrio and several others bear stark witness to the appalling state to which the Australian aviation regulatory and safety agencies have descended. The cost of achieving SDA in terms of ‘quality’ assurance is disgraceful...

Ever wondered why it is that CASA, the ATSB and/or the Dept seem to squeak past any real scrutiny from the Commonwealth Parliament and it's independent Auditor General's office? Well maybe it is because industry hasn't been bitching to the right pollies... Wink

By Bernard Keane, via Crikey:

Quote:When he’s not fighting homophobes, he’s fighting recalcitrant bureaucrats

Sick of hearing the same complaints about the Public Service over and over, one parliamentary committee is going after departments to crack down on bureaucrats who keep making the same mistakes.

[Image: Crikey_Website-Author-Bernard-Keane-140x112.jpg]
Bernard Keane
Politics Editor

[Image: Dean-Smith-Senate-784-495.jpg]

While Western Australian Liberal Dean Smith is currently best known for being the architect of the marriage equality bill that passed through parliament just last night, he has quietly and assiduously worked on another issue all year: Canberra bureaucrats who make the same errors over and over when it comes to the process of delivering billions of dollars in government handouts.

Smith made it a mission for the parliamentary committee he chairs, the innocuously named Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit, to go after departments that are found to have committed the same errors across multiple audits by the Australian National Audit Office, which reports to his committee. Between Smith and the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO), under Auditor-General Grant Hehir, there is a diminishing tolerance for bureaucrats offering pro forma responses accepting ANAO recommendations but never following through. The committee has encouraged the ANAO to conduct follow-up audits, and in a series of inquiries has itself followed up departments to check compliance.

The results are underwhelming, to say the least.

A particular target for Smith as well as the ANAO has been Mike Pezzullo’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection, which — disturbingly for a department intended to become the basis of a vast new paramilitary and security agency — has been the subject of repeated scathing audits. In September, the committee finalised an inquiry into two Immigration areas that had incurred the wrath of the auditors — its management of onshore detention health services (contracted out to IMHS) and its handling of offshore detention contracts, the subject of two high-profile audits in 2016 and early this year, finding in both cases that Immigration had no excuses for its failings and that it was going to force the bureaucrats to keep reporting back to the committee until they’d properly implemented the auditors’ conclusion. Immigration also took a whack from Smith and his colleagues in October over its ongoing — indeed, now long-term — failure to adequately implement the government’s own cybersecurity measures — which dates back to an ANAO audit in 2014.

Other departments haven’t been spared. An August report by Smith’s committee dug into recurring blunders by major departments in implementing grants schemes, including paying money to ineligible recipients, failing to keep proper records of grants, and not bothering to evaluate whether grants achieved what they were expected to achieve. The departments targeted were the Environment Department, which implemented the $70 million “20 million trees” program; the Attorney-General’s Department, which ran the $5 million Living Safe Together program, and Prime Minister and Cabinet, which ran the Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS) — a consolidation of dozens of Indigenous funding programs into a $5 billion single program by the Abbott government. The implementation of all three programs was criticised by the ANAO but IAS was the subject a damning audit office report early this year.

[Warning to public servants: auditors are coming, and you’re not going to like it]

Of particular concern was a bureaucratic practice of finding ways to hand money to applicants who plainly did not meet grant program criteria. “It is of ongoing concern to the Committee,” it reported, “that the Auditor-General found that departments: did not clearly set-out the eligibility requirements in the programme guidelines; treated applicants inconsistently in relation to the stated eligibility requirements; and did not conduct eligibility assessments in a transparent or timely manner.”

The Environment Department was particularly bad, handing tens of thousands of dollars to ineligible grant recipients for the Greg Hunt-era boondoggle 20 Million Trees, while AGD insisted its process for considering grants was robust despite dozens of applications being considered when they should have been binned. PM&C was harder to assess because of the timeless bureaucratic problem of poor record-keeping (also criticised by the committee in relation to the Immigration audits; the issue is so widespread the ANAO has flagged it wants to conduct a performance audit into record-keeping across the public sector).

While each of the departments assured the committee that they were putting in place better processes for assessing grants (the Commonwealth also now has two Grant Hubs, for community and for business organisations, that can enable departments to more easily achieve consistent processes), Smith and co were also unhappy about the fact that departments weren’t properly informing ministers of what they were signing off on when it came to awarding grants, and were poor at giving ministers a sense of what was administratively realistic. PM&C were again found to have failed basic record-keeping. PM&C were also particularly poor at what is, apart from record-keeping, the most frequent bugbear of ANAO reports: the failure to properly evaluate programs.

[How auditors get the goods on bureaucrats]

The context of the IAS is important here: one of the problems that has regularly been identified in relation to Indigenous programs across different portfolio areas is the lack of evaluation, so that policymakers don’t know what’s working and what’s not working. It’s an approach that Ken Wyatt, the Indigenous Health Minister, has sworn to change in health. It’s thus disturbing that, despite the fact that the government had provided PM&C with $40 million to evaluate the IAS, the committee found:

“… throughout the Inquiry, PM&C was not able to point the Committee to an approved, overall evaluation framework, nearly three years into the $4.8 billion strategy… At the public hearing, the department was asked to provide details on what formal processes were in-place to apply lessons learned from the IAS — that is, informing staff of these lessons and supporting staff to apply those learnings to other programmes across PM&C. The department advised that it is ‘developing a full implementation plan around the findings of the audit’.”

That PM&C is still “developing an implementation plan three years into the IAS” augurs poorly for addressing the most common criticism of Indigenous programs.

Plainly frustrated by the ongoing recurrence of the same problems, Smith and the committee demanded that there be more than just the usual agreement with ANAO recommendations:

“… the Committee wishes to highlight that the evidence received and reviewed in this area of grants administration shows that the issues are not just system or process related, but are also cultural. The Committee finds this particularly concerning, as departments oversee the allocation of hundreds of millions of dollars in public grants funding. Accordingly, the Committee considers there is a need for departments to instil cultural change, so that newly strengthened practices, in particular with respect to record keeping, are strongly embedded and applied by staff within a short time-frame …”

Expect Smith’s committee to keep the pressure on bureaucrats. The preferred strategy of the latter will be to wait Smith out and hope he moves on without them needing to undertake the kind of cultural change he is urging.

Why does last line (red bold) sound so familiar - Huh Dodgy

MTF...P2 Tongue

Vote 1 for Ben Cook as PAIN BRB committee member - Wink

Love this from BC's LinkedIn webpages... Big Grin


Politicians, perks and professionalism: when good things don’t come in threes

Published on March 16, 2017
Ben Cook

Chief Executive Officer at Human and Systems Excellence

In the many years I’ve spent working to enhance the performance of elite teams and high reliability organisations I’ve learnt one key lesson: When it comes to rules, what’s more important is the culture of the workplace rather than the rule itself.

A well-written rule or policy for a diverse team can only provide broad guidance in a workplace. Around the rule itself, the culture of the workplace is what really shapes how people interpret and apply that rule.

This leads to a tried and tested adage: truly professional workplaces need fewer rules. Fewer-rule workplaces lead to more empowered and engaged staff with higher levels of trust and an ability to get on with the job. Staff are allowed to think for themselves and make good decisions, which fosters innovation.

And yet, recent headlines from our politicians highlight what appears to be a deeply ingrained culture of entitlement and reckless disregard for rules in their workplaces. In my experience, this is a by-product of sloppy professionalism at best, and rampant malpractice at worst.

“Victorian premier Daniel Andrews asks High Court to block inquiry into MPs' rorts.”

“MPs used chauffeured ministerial cars to get to and from a Bruce Springsteen concert.”

“Speaker Telmo Languiller to repay $40k over 'second residence' allowance perk.”

 “Minister Sussan Ley billed taxpayers for a “spontaneous” $795,000 real estate purchase.”

 “Foreign Minister Julie Bishop charged taxpayers $2,716 to attend the Portsea Polo.”

Every time I see these headlines, I wonder who is actually taking charge of these situations? How are they allowed to happen? I have worked in the public sector enough to know that people there are hard-working and serious about their jobs; so in many ways I just don’t get it. But unlike other people I’ve heard talking about the hallowed halls of Canberra, I am not content with the view (it really exists) that ‘just because they’re politicians different rules apply’. In my view whether it's the politicians themselves or their administrative assistants, the bottom line is that people are making these mistakes all too easily, and frankly they should know better.

In essence, we have been fed the line of an incompetent bureaucracy for too long. I can tell you from experience that these errors are not the result of the rules not being followed; they are the lack of a strong workplace culture that stands up for, and lives by those rules. As we know, these errors are not one-offs, they are fairly regular. To this end they are representations of a habitualised lack of staff empowerment and a culture of apathy towards professionalism in the public service and beyond.

These are not just the views I believe - they are views I have experienced first-hand. Not so long ago, I was required to sign a declaration for myself and a small team at a government agency to travel in Economy class instead of Business. That’s right, you read correctly, we had to fill forms out to downgrade our expenses, rather than upgrade them.

I needn’t tell you the reasons to do so were obvious. Travelling Economy meant we could send a team of three to a specialist training course rather than just one person, significantly speeding up the time to deploy a culture program for our organisation.

It didn’t end there. As a team, we got together to consider the excessive food and travel allowances available to the staff who were to go on the trip. Believe it or not, again we were required to fill out paperwork to reduce these entitlements, in order to enable us to do more for our organisation with less. I couldn’t believe this was the public purse that we were talking about; the money of Australian taxpayers that was pre-assigned to allow these perks. It made my blood boil.

So I ask the  politicians, and indeed anyone else with this sense of entitlement at work: it’s time to be honest with yourself. Are you the type of person that uses the rules to get all of your workplace entitlements? What about when those entitlements well exceed your out-of-pocket expenses? If you answered yes, you’re part of a process that means someone in your business is missing out on their opportunity to do their best for you and your team. Your possibly self-centred work ethic could be moving you in the same direction as our politicians! And I can guarantee it's breeding a culture that inhibits your organisation from being the best it can.

Practising deliberate professionalism in your workplace means your staff, including senior management, are not always chasing perks. It also saves you time because you don’t need to set out the rules step-by-step. People in a professionally-led workplace are empowered and actively seek to meet the intent of your policies, not because the rules are there, but because people believe in them before they go looking. That is what it means to be truly professional.

I want the businesses and public sector agencies of Australia to get back to basics to tackle our deeply engrained cultures of entitlement. Stop taking our public funds for granted, and start focussing on setting clear personal and ethical standards regarding what it means to be a true professional in your workplace.

For further information on Level III professionalism: http://www.hse3.com.au/wp-content/upload...ro_WEB.pdf. And for those poor 'pollies' that feel lost in this space I’m happy to help you get you back to where you need to be

MTF...P2 Cool

Along the same theme... Rolleyes

By Clare Bickers, via the Daily Telegraph... Wink

Quote:[Image: 2a850fd91b055e77cf5fafff4f2c9004]
Public service corruption: Misuse of government resources doubles in 2016-17
Claire Bickers, National Politics Reporter, News Corp Australia Network

January 10, 2018 1:41pm

CALLS for a federal anti-corruption watchdog are mounting as new figures show the number of public servants who misused government resources more than doubled last year.

The number of public servants who say they saw colleagues engaging in corrupt behaviour has also doubled in three years.

Australian Public Service Commission figures show 126 government employees were found to have breached rules around the proper use of Commonwealth resources in 2016-17, up from 50 the year before.

The number of employees who had improperly used inside information or misused their power, status or duties also rose, up from 31 to 64.

And the number of staff who said they saw colleagues engage in corrupt behaviour soared from 2.6 per cent of the total workforce to 5 per cent from 2013-14 to 2016-17.

[Image: b3bc6997fd9f42a69fbf8b52e05125eb?width=650]

Australian Greens Leader Richard Di Natale has again called for a national anti-corruption watchdog in the wake of the latest figures. Picture: AAP

Sixty-four per cent of public servants who said they witnessed corrupt behaviour saw cronyism, 26 per cent reported that they had seen nepotism and 21 per cent reported that they had witnessed ‘green-lighting’ — making official decisions that improperly favour a person or company or disadvantage another.

Australian Greens leader Richard Di Natale has again called for a national anti-corruption watchdog in the wake of the latest figures.

“The idea that somehow the federal government is immune to corruption is laughable,” he wrote on Twitter.

“No wonder people have lost faith in their elected representatives.

“We need a national anti-corruption watchdog. Now.”

[Image: 58b6481105246f91c7132f9cccc25dfe?width=650]

Former NSW Supreme Court Judge Anthony Whealy believes the instances of corruption in the public service are higher than being reported. Picture: John Grainger

Overall, the APSC investigated 1720 Code of Conduct violations in 2016-17 and found 1494 breaches.

While the total number of investigations and breaches were down from the previous year, when there were 1999 investigations and 1672 breaches, there was a higher percentage of investigations that found misconduct (89 per cent).

Eighteen per cent of employees who were found to have breached the Code were fired, 76 per cent were reprimanded, 22.9 per cent were fined and 44.85 per cent had their salary slashed.

The APSC highlights the strong culture of ethical behaviour in the public service in its latest State of the Service report, reporting that fewer than 0.3 per cent of the total workforce were investigated for misconduct.

Former New South Wales Supreme Court Judge Anthony Whealy, who is the president of Transparency International, told the ABC the actual instances of corruption in the public service were likely higher given many workers would be afraid to report their colleagues.

Mr Whealy also called for a federal anti-corruption watchdog.

Via 9 News:


Calls for federal watchdog to police politicians and bureaucrats

The number of suspected corruption cases within our public service has doubled over the past three years.

MTF...P2 Cool

Definitely related and for mine the following has to be my nomination for TWOTM (tweet of the month): https://twitter.com/benny55au/status/953834750380134400

...You can beat an egg but you can't beat a politician to their entitlements trough.pic.twitter.com/TiE40cH7su

[Image: DTyzngPVQAAtSEg.jpg]
2:41 PM - 18 Jan 2018

Big Grin - P2

AMSA quiet achiever in the DoIRD

While the Federal agencies for Aviation (i.e the three Stooges) continue to trip the self-serving light fantastic on obfuscating all responsibility and liability for anything remotely resembling transparent administration and oversight of aviation safety, seemingly without controversy AMSA quietly get on with doing their job... Wink

Via the News Tribune online:

Quote:[Image: Australia_Indian_Ocean_Rescue_44586.jpg]In this Monday, Feb. 19, 2018, photo, Australian search and rescue coordinator Rick Allen, second from left, trains foreign rescue officials in the Australian Maritime Safety Authority control room in Canberra, Australia. Officials from Mauritius, Maldives and Sri Lanka visited the authority's headquarters this week as part of a regional training program that began in 2015. Rod McGuirk AP Photo

Australia boosts Indian Ocean travel safety after MH370
By ROD McGUIRK Associated Press

February 21, 2018 01:01 AM
Updated February 21, 2018 01:02 AM
CANBERRA, Australia

Australian authorities say they have helped make the Indian Ocean safer for air and sea travelers since Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 vanished in the vast expanse four years ago through search and rescue training with island nations.

Search and rescue officials from Mauritius, the Maldives and Sri Lanka are visiting the Australian Maritime Safety Authority headquarters in Canberra this week as part of a regional training program that began in 2015.

Rick Allen, an Australian search and rescue coordinator who is taking part in the training, said five Sri Lankan fishermen were rescued faster and more efficiently after their boat sank in 2016 thanks to the three countries having an Australian online broadcast system to alert merchant shipping to emergencies.

"We're all about strengthening the response options that are available in search and rescue. We're particularly dealing in that remote northwestern part of the Indian Ocean," Allen said.

Sign up today for unlimited digital access to our website, apps, the digital newspaper and more.

"Already we're seeing benefits. So the program not only involved work-shopping, meeting together, it also involved delivering systems and delivering tool that enable our partners to work more effectively in search and rescue," he added.

Australia has developed particular expertise in search and rescue operations that test the limits of the distances that search planes can stay airborne.

Because of Australia's isolation, the nation of just 24 million people has search and rescue responsibility for around 10 percent of the Earth's surface.

From a downtown second-floor control room in land-locked Canberra, the authority coordinated a massive multinational search by air and sea search for Flight 370.

The plane is thought to have crashed in the remote, far southern Indian Ocean on March 8, 2014.

The Boeing 777 with 239 passengers and crew on board was initially thought to have crashed on its flight path from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing. Subsequent information confirmed the plane had flown far off course.

Aircraft based in the west coast city of Perth searched for more than a month across more than 4.6 million square kilometers (1.8 million square miles) of ocean.

An aviation official from Mauritius has been attending the training sessions since they began in January 2015. A wing flap confirmed to be part of Flight 370 was found on a Mauritius beach in May 2016, brought by ocean currents from the presumed-but-still-not-found crash site.

"The great thing about this program is the human-centered approach," said Mohammad Karimbocus, chief officer in the Mauritius Department of Civil Aviation.

"It is also concentrating on getting people competent enough to deal with the unexpected and unlikely disaster scenario — all in the light of the MH370 tragedy," he added.

While Flight 370 motivated the program, officials worked on more mundane scenarios this week in Canberra's Joint Rescue Coordination Center, where maritime and aviation incidents are managed side by side.

The maritime officials handled the imaginary rescue of a merchant seaman who fell overboard from a cargo ship deck off the north Australian coast near the city of Darwin. Aviation officials dealt with a scenario of a light plane that reported smoke in the cockpit while flying toward Darwin.

The training program is funded out of Australia's foreign aid budget and aims to strengthen cooperation and capability with the three countries which border Australia's search and rescue region in a vast and remote part of the world.

Read more here: http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/natio...rylink=cpy
 ... Wink
MTF...P2 Cool

Quote:McCormack’s rise shows paucity of talent within politics

[Image: 469e1dde6f12841d2ffea8fd3ccb2e53?width=650]

New Deputy Prime Minister and new Nationals leader Michael McCormack in his office at Parliament House in Canberra. Picture: Kym Smith

The Australian12:00AM February 27, 2018

[Image: dennis_shanahan.png]


When the first Abbott government ministry was named after the Coalition’s election victory in 2013, the last person listed in ­descending order of importance was Nationals MP Michael ­McCormack, named as the “parliamentary secretary to the minister for finance”.

That was less than five years ago, and yesterday the former newspaper editor and MP for Riverina in southwest NSW vaulted to No 2 on the ministerial list as Deputy Prime Minister and ­Nationals leader.

Looking like a vacuum in the space left by the larger-than-life Barnaby Joyce, just eight years after entering parliament, the see-through McCormack has become Deputy Prime Minister and the man to hold the reins when Malcolm Turnbull is absent.

But this is not because of some meteoric rise or undeniable brilliance that has pushed McCormack to the top of his party and into the most senior and secret councils of Australian government; it’s a result of paucity of ­talent within the Nationals and, unfortunately, a symptom of a wider diminishing experience and talent in federal politics.

The churn of leaders, ministers and MPs on all sides since the fall of the Howard government and the beginning of a dismal decade of political power plays and ­voracious publicity has dramatically reduced the experience of our federal parliamentarians and the quality of government.

There are now only four ­Coalition ministers with experience from the Howard government, all Liberals: Turnbull, Julie Bishop, Christopher Pyne and Peter Dutton. There are only 12, including those four, from the first Abbott ministry of 2013 in frontline positions. The other eight surviving Abbott ministers are Nigel Scullion (the only National), Greg Hunt, Scott Morrison, Mathias Cormann, Mitch Fifield, Marise Payne, Michael Keenan and Michaelia Cash.

[Image: 2ab3c00a3b00d32528a90ac28b154a48?width=650]

In 2013, even after seven years in opposition, Tony Abbott, who had become leader of the Liberal Party after 15 years in parliament and prime minister after 19 years’ service, named 22 ministers and parliamentary secretaries who had served under John Howard.

After running on a record of “experience” in government and demanding Labor give government “back to the adults” in 2013 the Coalition is looking decidedly short of long-term experience.

Since Turnbull became Prime Minister there are or have been sitting on the backbench a former prime minister, a former deputy prime minister, a former treasurer and more than a dozen former senior and junior ministers.

The biggest single loss of ­Coalition ministerial experience was after the Turnbull removal of Abbott as prime minister in 2015 when Abbott, Joe Hockey, Kevin Andrews, Eric Abetz, Ian Macfarlane and Bruce Bilson — all Howard ministers — were dumped to the backbench.

Joyce’s move yesterday from the frontbench to the cockies’ corner of the Nationals backbench in the House of Representatives is just another bleeding of political talent and experience from the Coalition and the body politic.

[Image: 08c2d73788e48fe583b328e73504ee16?width=650]

New Nationals leader Michael McCormack in question time yesterday. Picture: Gary Ramage

But McCormack’s rise to ­leader after less than 10 years in parliament and five years on the frontbench is not an aberration: Joyce himself was elected in 2016 as ­Nationals leader less than 10 years after entering the Senate and less than three years after being elected to the House of Representatives. In contrast his predecessor, Warren Truss, was in parliament from 1990 and elected leader only 17 years later.

Instead of long-term ministries building experience in governance, the turmoil of leadership challenges creates a ministerial turnover that leaves governments in exile sitting on the backbench and ripe for retirement and further loss of experience.

On the Labor side, Mark ­Latham, Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard and Bill Shorten were elected Labor leader with barely 10 years’ experience or much less, and with virtually no experienced ministers to call upon.

Rudd, who joined parliament the same year as Gillard, became prime minister in less than 10 years, and Gillard replaced him when she had barely more than 10 years’ ­experience.

When Rudd was elected in 2007 — after Labor was in opposition for more than 11 years — there were only two MPs with any experience in the former Keating government he named in his first ministry: John Faulkner and ­Warren Snowdon.

Today, after five years in opposition, there are 15 members of the Labor frontbench, including Shorten, who can boast relatively long ministerial experience in the Rudd and Gillard governments, including Anthony Albanese, a former deputy prime minister, Tanya Plibersek, Penny Wong, Chris Bowen, as a former ­treasurer, Tony Burke, Richard Marles, Joel Fitzgibbon, Mark Butler, Mark Dreyfus, Jenny Macklin, Brendan O’Connor, Julie Collins, Catherine King, Jason Clare and Ed Husic and Shayne Neumann as parliamentary secretaries.

It is now Labor’s strategy to portray the Turnbull government as being in chaos, divided and unable to govern as ministers are pushed aside or forced to resign.

Sandy as ususal never lets an opportunity go by... Wink


To Dennis’s contention that Ministers lack experience one could add that they have deliberately distanced themselves from the responsibilities of government. As just one example, but a common practice from both sides of politics, Mr. Albanese relinquished control of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau by turning it into yet another statutory Commonwealth body. In a long winded speech (mid 2009) he explained that the move would eliminate any political interference and that the ATSB’s independence would ensure a high standard of work, reporting as it does particularly on aviation safety. Many would now question it’s performance since ‘independence’, not least being it’s tarnished report into the ditching of a Rex subsidiary aircraft at Norfolk Island.

This move away from Ministerial responsibility was again recently highlighted by Barnaby Joyce attempting to excuse the movement to his electorate from Canberra of a Commonwealth bureaucracy, another independent statutory body, Not his business says Barnaby, being independent it goes and presumably does just about whatever it feels like.

You name them, Meat Australia, AirServices (OneSky fiasco), the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (ruination of General Aviation) and numerous others all paying their CEOs more than the Minister that once had direct responsibility for their functions. We have to pay commercial rates say they.

Even the basic function of Parliamentary representatives has been severely downgraded, the proliferation of Ombudsmen in place of your MP. The theatrical Parliamentary farce known as Question Time another example. Dennis is quite right, our democracy is diminished, the trend is clear and has been for many years. Alex in the Rises.


P2 comment: The 2009 Albo speech (and context) mentioned by Sandy features in this 'dots and dashes' post -  The beginning of the end for the ATSB

"...Enhanced independence will result from a combination of factors. The ATSB will alone be responsible for administering the functions of the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003 and exercising its investigation powers. There will be the capacity for the Minister to provide notice of his or her views on the strategic direction for the ATSB, to which the ATSB must have regard. However, other than the ability for the Minister to require the ATSB to investigate a particular matter, the ATSB will not be subject to a direction from anyone with respect to the exercise of its powers and functions.

The creation of a statutory agency will also give the ATSB discretion and responsibilities in its own right under the Public Service Act 1999 and Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 with respect to the management of its staff and resources. The ATSB will, therefore, have operational independence with respect to the exercise of its investigation powers and functional independence with respect to the administration of its resources..."

MTF...P2  Tongue

Regulatory reform stuck in limbo since 2014 - WTD?

Come across a little known (and not ever referred to, that I can remember - Huh ) M&M era department webpage, which paints a very disturbing picture of aviation safety regulatory reform stagnation, that dates back to 2014... Undecided :

Regulation in the Department

Listen to this page

Regulatory Reform

The Australian Government has established a regulatory reform policy that aims to improve growth and enhance competitiveness across the Australian economy.

Having delivered $4.5 billion in red tape savings within two years, the Government is starting a new chapter in its approach to regulatory reform. On 12 November 2015, the Hon Peter Hendy MP, Assistant Minister for Productivity, announced that from 1 July 2016 the Government will broaden its Regulatory Reform Agenda to focus on reforms that directly enhance innovation, competitiveness and productivity.

The Infrastructure and Regional Development Portfolio is vigorously pursuing regulatory reforms, with a particular focus on achieving efficiencies through administrative improvements and harmonising international and domestic regulatory requirements.

This will maintain our high safety and security standards for Australia's transport systems, whilst removing compliance costs for which there are no commensurate safety or public interest benefits.

Regulator Performance Framework

As a key Commonwealth safety regulator, continuous improvement is already at the core of the portfolio's regulatory vision. The Government's Regulator Performance Framework (RPF) establishes a common set of performance measures that will allow regulators to comprehensively assess their regulatory performance and their engagement with stakeholders.

Regulators within the Department have developed key performance indicators, measures and metrics to enable them to assess their regulatory performance on an annual basis.
The portfolio will continue to build on best practice regulation standards to improve transparency, accountability, clear communications and risk-based approaches to regulation.

Regulatory Audit 2014

In 2014, the Infrastructure and Regional Development portfolio conducted an Audit of its regulations as part of the Government's Red Tape Reduction Programme. The Regulatory Audit Results by Transport Sector Paper provides a summary of the results of the Audit in the context of value to the Australian economy.
  • Regulatory Audit Results by Transport Sector Paper PDF: 188 KB [Image: readspeaker_listen_icon.gif]
International standards and risk assessments

As part of the Government's broader Deregulation Policy all Portfolios are seeking opportunities for greater acceptance of international standards and risk assessments. This will mean that Australian regulators should adopt relevant and accepted trusted international standards, unless there is a good reason to impose additional Australian-specific requirements. To that end, the Department has developed a flow chart to assess the appropriateness of international standards and risk assessments that might apply to the Australian context when developing and adopting new policy.
Starting with the 2014 reg audit it is obvious that the former M&M and his minions tried to spin the light fantastic when it comes to the troubling facts & figures of the aviation sector:

A strong, competitive and safe aviation sector is vital to Australia’s continued prosperity. The aviation sector is regulated by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and the Department, including within it the Office of Transport Security, and the Aviation and Airports division. Airservices Australia also has an important role in the aviation sector, including managing air traffic operations and providing aeronautical data.

The 2014 Audit of regulations found that, of 335 regulatory frameworks across the portfolio, approximately 101 apply to the aviation sector and of these 71 are managed by CASA. The total cost of regulation across the aviation sector, including costs to business and individuals, is estimated to be approximately $403.69 million.

There are over 3,031,248 flights in Australia each year, bringing the average cost of regulatory requirements by aviation regulators to around $132.62 per flight, including airport and airline safety and security requirements. Costs per flight would be lower for smaller aircraft with fewer passengers than for commercial airliners. The range of costs reflects the portfolio’s approach of ensuring regulations are fit for purpose and regulatory burden is commensurate to safety and public interest.

The estimated gross value added (GVA) of the aviation transport sector is approximately $6.53 billion, excluding broader productivity benefits. The cost of regulation as a proportion of GVA is estimated to be approximately 6.2 per cent. Given the excellent safety record of Australia’s aviation sector and the high priority placed on safety and security, the cost of the regulatory frameworks is considered low in contrast to the economic value added by the industry.

The part in bold is seemingly a justifiable, bureaucratic, word weasel, motherhood statement, which brings into sharp focus the old chestnut of 'affordable safety' if (the big IF) in fact the statement were true.

Where this statement falls down is when you refer to the comparison to all other Federally regulated transport sectors, which presumably also fall into the 'excellent' safety record category -  Huh :

[Image: Transport-1.jpg]

Okay, so my understanding of that (in simple terms) is that the regulatory impost  (enforced mostly by CASA) on the aviation sector, is over 200% higher than the next closest transport sector (i.e. maritime).

This disturbing tale of red tape purgatory by our disenfranchised big "R" regulator CASA, only gets worse when you examine the complete 'up yours' consideration that our 'law unto themselves' regulator has given to another former Abbott government initiative:

 "...This will mean that Australian regulators should adopt relevant and accepted trusted international standards, unless there is a good reason to impose additional Australian-specific requirements..."    

[Image: International-standards-flowchart.jpg]

Is it any wonder that this stuff has been lost - apparently not to be revisited - on some obscure department webpage - UDB! Dodgy

MTF...P2 Cool

Not a good start to the day…

P2, you’re a lovely fellah; but why did you have to post the information above? Hell’s teeth man, I was enjoying a second coffee when I read through what is probably the most disturbing, depressing piece of information I’ve seen in a good long while and the gods know we get enough dark stuff to read through here.

The information presented is enough to make a stone idol weep; but, to me the complete lack of ministerial interest in such matters is the heart breaker. Millions upon millions have been thrown at the reform program, the current rule set is destroying the very fabric of the aviation industry : time, money and much effort all down the tubes; the CASA out of control and beyond reason, untouchable, unaccountable and a massive sink hole into which billions have been poured – for naught - except for the massive damage inflicted.

All of this is bad enough, but worse is the complete lack of political interest, in any way, shape or form. The senate estimates did, until recently at least, try to get the brakes on the runaway juggernaut. Although they, despite their best efforts, have been about as effective as a chocolate firewall. Despite the questions and rhetoric they have achieved exactly nothing of either practical or intrinsic value to aid the industry.

The industry should look about themselves and count the improvements made over the past decades; then count the cost of it all; then, on one hand, count the benefits delivered by government ministers, senate and CASA. It’s an easy enough equation –

Aye, no doubt it will continue unchallenged on the way it has for the last 30 odd years; on the merry road to perdition.

Toot- we wuz robbed- toot.

Perjury, Penury; or, Plenty o’ nuttin.

Dear Minister.

Welcome to the blood covered aviation ministers throne; we have moved as much of the clutter (dead ends, wasted effort, false hopes and CASA pony-pooh) as possible and hidden the poison chalice in an attempt to at least make the throne room fit for habitation. As a gesture of goodwill to  a new chum, we would like to provide you with a glimpse of some of the beasts ravening at your back door. Now then, there are those who will whisper ‘all is well’ and you may relax as the appointed experts have matters aeronautical under control. You will, if not careful, be persuaded that the highly paid ‘experts’ actually know what they are about and have, in fact, done a wonderful job thus far. Alas, good Sir; this simply ain’t true; it is in fact about as far removed from ‘the truth’ as its possible to get, without landing up in goal, for perjury and creating industrial penury.

One of the ongoing, major catastrophes, created solely by the ‘experts’ is the attempted introduction of a new rule related to pilot fatigue; to wit, Civil Aviation Order (CAO) 48.1.

"CASA releases final report of review of new fatigue rules
March 22, 2018 by australianaviation.com.au"

This Chimera has been hanging about for almost a decade. The cost of supporting, feeding, redrafting has been through a monumental sum of money, provided, one way or the other, from the public purse. As the rule set stands today, it not only costs the public significant sums, but places a huge impost on the operating companies. All this mark you, for no significant improvement in either safety or efficiency. The rule is however rather good at trapping those who, in utter confusion, unintentionally breach the rule. When this occurs, ‘the experts’ gleefully rub their hands together - fines for cost recovery, prosecution in the name of safety; and, they can brag about improved safety through compliance at Estimates. So much for the ‘safety’ case – unless of course its related to ‘safe’ conviction.

These same experts are the ones who discarded a 2009 special report, prepared by two preeminent experts, within their employ. Of course that report focussed on the Pel-Air ditching and had to be buried. Almost a decade ago, the ‘right’ answers were being provided. Only now, at great expense, has CEO Carmody deferred the introduction of 48.1 after an independent expert review; now awaiting ‘industry’ comment. Time and money – money and time – time, after time, after time. Ad tedium ad nauseum.

Perhaps dear Sir, you could have one of your minions peruse the link – HERE – which may provide an insight and an update on the state of play. Then consider the last decades fiscal cost to arrive (return to?) at a point where ‘industry’ operational experts may reconsider the impact this proposed legislation will have on safety, operational efficiency, administration and the bottom line cost of doing business.

P2 – “Good QoN you ask Thorny... However; shouldn't we at least give Carmody a choccy frog? Because by default (with the release of the report) he is admitting (for once) that the CAO48.1 project was a waste of time, money and resources?”

P2 just about sums it up in a nutshell. It serves as a caution to the new chum not to place too much reliance on ‘his’ hand fed experts – when the real wisdom and knowledge is freely available from ‘experts’ within the industry – who actually live in the real, cold world.

L&K – from the houseboat crew

Toot – toot – (Next)…...

Red tape embuggerance continues unabated at Aviation House - Angry

Continuing on the theme - of red tape and the 30+ year, $500+ million, aviation safety bureaucracy's embuggerance of the regulatory reform program - I note that Sunfish has started an interesting thread on the UP:

Quote:Barriers To Prosperity: Red Tape And The Regulatory State In Australia

Quote:Australia has experienced 26 years of unbroken economic growth. However, this aggregate figure masks stagnant wages growth and a deterioration in the living standards of many in the Australian middle class. The central cause of this deterioration is low and declining levels of business investment, which is approaching historic lows.

Overregulation and red tape are two key causes of weak investment. The regulatory burden on private enterprise has grown unabated for decades at the state and federal level, and under both Labour and Coalition Governments. Red tape reduces economic output by $176 billion each year. This means that if previous attempts to eliminate red tape were successful, the Australian economy would today be 11 per cent larger and the average household would be $19,300 better off each year.

From the report:

Quote:....Red tape arises when more regulation is in place than what is needed to achieve a given stated objective. More formally, red tape can be defined as 'rules, regulations and procedures that require compliance but do not meet the organization’s functional objective for the rule.'......

............Red tape imposes a range of costs on individuals, families, communities, and businesses. These costs can be broadly categorised along the following lines:

1.Administrative costs: costs incurred to demonstrate compliance with a given regulatory requirement. This includes the direct costs of compliance such as reporting requirements, paperwork, and keeping and producing records.

2.Substantive costs: costs incurred to meet the regulatory requirements, such as hiring or training new staff, or purchasing new equipment.

3.Opportunity costs: activities forgone or delayed as a result of red tape, such as delayed implementation of a new project.

4.Financial costs: payments of fees by private actors to government, such as through cost recovery
Amen brother.


And some recent posts on the theme of overburdened, non-harmonised regulations etc.:


Quote:The AIP USED to be very succinct, practical, logical and well organised.


How true. In my "historic collection", I have a complete AIP from the mid-1960s, simple, straightforward, and all the IAPs with coloured terrain contours were really something.

From the same era, the Air Navigation Act 1920, and associated Air Navigation Regulations (now CAR/CASR) was an A5 book (standard size of publishing legislation) about 1.5cm thick, plain language, generally unambiguous.

The ANOs (now CAO/MOS/AC) were A4 and for most of us, one 5cm binder not stuffed full. There was a bit more if you were a maintenance org.

BUT --- It was all PLAIN ENGLISH.

AND --- You could talk to an "Examiner of Airman", or an Airworthiness Surveyor, and ask questions, and get binding answers, without triggering an "aggressive audit".

Tootle pip!!

PS: I also have a copy of the ANRs from mid-30s, it would, in this day and age, make you cry, it is less than 30 pages of standard A5 format.

thorn bird:

Anyone counted the total number of pages of Australian Reg's?

Understand the US regs are 1000 pages of A5, NZ about the same.


Thorn Bird,

Somewhere I have a complete but a bit out of date (Jep) copy of FAR1-199, I will have a look for it. It fits in one big (3 inch, not the usual 2 inch) binder.

Tootle pip!!

PS: The total of ALL material of a legislative or associated nature for Part 61 alone is now put at 6000+ pages. Some claim as high as almost 9000.

About six or so lines of regulation for Limited Cat in the CARs became Part 132, hundreds of pages?? I haven't counted them, but the huge expansion addresses NO new or existing risk that was not already covered. An eruption of volcanic proportions of irrelevant excess regulation.

Lead Balloon:

Thorn bird: Pages of regulations (1988 + 1998) plus civil aviation orders plus manuals of standards plus determinations, permissions, approvals and exemptions?

My estimate, based on a page count of the more substantial bits of the dog’s breakfast: Around 30,000 pages and growing.

I doubt whether anyone could reasonably be confident of knowing and understanding the entirety of the current Australian civil aviation regulatory regime. I would presume any claimant of that knowledge and understanding to be a psychopath or insane.

"...total of ALL material of a legislative or associated nature for Part 61 alone is now put at 6000+ pages..."

While on Part 61, there is a very strong possibility that the Part 61 page count will be added to yet again... Blush

From the FF twitter guy:

We are calling for comments on our proposal to improve the #Part61 flight instructor rating.  To have your say, go to our Consultation Hub: #avsafety https://consultation.casa.gov.au/regulatory-program/part61-flight-instructor-ratings 

[Image: DY8WIMAVQAMriJN.jpg]



CASA is proposing to improve the Part 61 flight instructor rating.

The improvements have been developed and refined via ongoing consultation between CASA and the aviation community since the introduction of the flight crew licensing regulations in September 2014.

The proposed improvements aim to support flight training operators and trainers to develop and deliver their flight instructor training courses, amend the privileges and limitations of certain training endorsements and enhance the guidance material.

The proposed improvements would:
  • enhance and extend flight instructor training guidance material
  • introduce a new single unit of competency, FIR4 (flight instructor rating – general), amalgamating the three generic practical units of competency  FIR1, FIR2 and FIR3, thus reducing the complexity of course development.
  • introduce separate units of competency for each training endorsement 
  • expand the grade 1 training endorsement to include additional training and assessment privileges
  • add basic instrument flight training (BIFT) as a privilege of the grade 3 (aeroplane) training endorsement
  • remove the grade 3 (helicopter) training endorsement limitation on conducting simulated engine failures with the activity to be managed by the flight training operator
  • make BIFT optional for the grade 3 (helicopter) training endorsement.
Implementing the proposed improvements will involve amending the flight crew licensing regulations. An interim approach may be considered.

Why We Are Consulting

To continue the collaborative approach with the aviation community, we are seeking feedback on the consequences and benefits of implementing the proposed initiatives.

This consultation is particularly relevant to:
  • flight training operators and flight instructors who conduct training for the grant of a flight instructor rating and training endorsements
  • pilots who undergo training for a flight instructor rating and training endorsements
  • flight examiners who conduct flight tests for a flight instructor rating and training endorsements
  • pilots and operators who conduct flight training.
If you are using an iPad to complete the survey you will be asked to 'download the relevant PDF'.  Depending on the software you have on your iPad you may need to download the free viewer to review the single document PDF files.  Where a file is a 'multi-file or portfolio PDF you will need to source the Adobe free view  - available from iTunes.  More information on the 'how to' is available below in 'related' section below.

Provide your feedback
Online Survey

Hmm...maybe we'll be looking at a 2nd A4 box to contain the Part 61 behemoth... Rolleyes

[Image: PE-Section-3-Pg16.jpg]

Which would be funny if it wasn't so bloody depressing... Undecided

MTF...P2  Cool

Welcome to the Bureaucratocracy of Australia -  Dodgy

wren 460 & jonkster quotes off the UP... Wink

Quote:wren 460:

Democracy not working for GA

Originally Posted by Dick Smith [/url]

Quote:So here we have a Deputy Prime Minister basically stating a lie and getting away with it.

Have a look at Mr Anderson’s
[url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Anderson_(Australian_politician)]Wikipedia entry.

It raves on about what a fantastic Deputy Prime Minister he was and how he was praised when he eventually retired. There is not one mention in the entry of him actually doing anything for the aviation side of the Transport portfolio.

As we know, he propagated these “lies” that you don’t need to have affordable aviation regulations. He got away with that and by the look of it, the next Minister has been advised (by bureaucrats earning $600,000 or $700,000 per year) to do the same thing.

It is almost as if our democracy is not working any more.

By degrees and by definition it is not working as it should because Ministers have been giving up their responsibilities by creating independent Commonwealth corporations to govern in their stead. The great ‘independent umpire’ idea so fancied by politicians and it seems the sports loving populace.

It is also a much beloved and coveted prize for a bureaucracy moving out of the more salary restricted mainstream Public Service into the wider Pubilic Sector and where ‘commercial corporate’ rates of pay are the norm.

When CASA was set loose from direct Ministerial control, some thirty years ago, none of us foresaw the looming disaster, death by a thousand cuts for GA.

As for John Anderson, dishing up the notion that affordability has no place regarding safety was always mindless and completely illogical. That the notion was made into law shows how, for all our supposed educated sophistication, our democracy is far from perfect and the old saying “eternal vigilance,” to keep our freedoms, remains just as true as anytime in the past.

Inroads into our freedom of speech have occurred and the whole apparatus of government has become extremely top heavy thanks in no small part to the handout mentality. In consequence there’s as many voting for a living as working for same making it very difficult for governments to move.

GA has got a battle on it’s hands.


1. A regulation rewrite by a government body that has taken decades longer than anticipated and is still ongoing (and NZ who did similar achieved and implemented decades faster). At what cost? To achieve not a simpler system but a more arcane one.

2. An aviation industry that is struggling to survive. Closures of maintenance, charter and training organisations across the country. Loss of facilities, skills, corporate knowledge. Loss of public benefit that having a viable GA industry provides.

3. A shortage of pilots in the airlines. Australian flying schools disappearing and talk of having to get overseas pilots to fill vacancies because we are not able to train our own. We used to train not just our own pilots but large numbers of overseas pilots.

4. Regional aviation industries, jobs and services disappearing. Higher costs to regional residents for transport and closures of local business and loss of employers.

5. The body responsible for overseeing the industry keeps growing larger and is imposing more and more onerous restrictions on the industry and there is much doubt within the industry about the actual safety value of those restrictions.

6. Huge antipathy and distrust between the regulatory body and the industry it serves.

7. An industry in crisis that wants a regulatory body that includes in its charter some responsibility for assisting maintain the viability of the industry it serves instead of its current narrow focus on imposing regulation without any need to consider the practical impact of those regulations on the viability of the industry.

8. An industry whose health and viability depends on maintaining a high level of safety but that feels it is having onerous and often poorly thought out regulations imposed on it that are not so much about practical safety outcomes as the appearance and ease of enforcement by the regulator.

9. Governments over decades that have washed their hands and allowed the regulator to continue to act without regard for the viability of the industry because they are too scared to make decisions that may impact safety (or the perception of safety).

10 Handing over of commonwealth aviation assets that have served a vital role in the aviation industry (and its benefit to the community) to private hands who then develop and those assets to maximise their profits in ways that reduce or remove aviation from the facility.

Surely this would make for a great 4 corners program. Particularly close to an election.

Speaking of 4 corners, have just read the transcript from last night's 4C program 'Mongrel bunch of bastards'...

[Image: 9635028-16x9-thumbnail.jpg?v=2]

Press play then disable your screen reader. Use space bar to pause or play, and up and down arrows to control volume. Use left arrow to rewind and right arrow to fast forward.

'Mongrel bunch of bastards'
Posted Mon 9 Apr 2018, 8:31pm
Updated Mon 9 Apr 2018, 6:57pm
Expires: Sunday 10 April 2033 8:31pm

"Mongrel bunch of bastards": Taking on the extraordinary powers of the Tax Office.
"You might say that murderers have more rights than tax payers." Tax barrister
The Australia Taxation Office is a formidable enforcer with extraordinary powers. It can raid your home or business without a warrant, it can compel you to answer questions and treat you as guilty until proven innocent.

"(It) can effectively act like a judge, jury and executioner all rolled up into one. That's the problem." Tax barrister

While there's strong public support for a crackdown on major multinational corporations to force them to pay their fair share, there is growing concern that the Tax Office is targeting people a long way from the big end of town.

"They chase low-hanging fruit, people who are being honest and upright, and they whack them with a huge bill and then chase them." Small business lobbyist

In a major joint Four Corners/Fairfax investigation, reporter Adele Ferguson puts the actions of the Tax Office under the microscope, examining how it uses its extensive powers.

"How can you describe someone who's trying to destroy your livelihood and destroy your way of life? I'd call that evil." Business operator

Months in the making, this investigation shows what happens when a taxpayer finds themselves in the cross hairs of the ATO.

"There's an agenda that's going on in there, and the Australian public know nothing about it." Business operator

It examines whether the ATO is playing by the rules and acting fairly and ethically.

"Dealing with the ATO, I've never come across such a mongrel bunch of bastards in my entire life." Business operator

...to which I was struck by the disturbing similarities between the ATO and CASA's seemingly duplicitous persecution of the 'little guy' small businesses and operators... Dodgy

Here is some quotes for comparison - Hint: Just swap ATO for CASA:

Quote:...ADELE FERGUSON: Any developments with the Tax Office?

ANNETTE PIKE, OUTSCRIBED: No nothing final we're still in the thick of it, we're still waiting for an outcome so everyone is still in limbo.

So we need to have an answer we need to be able to go forward because we can't sustain this.

ADELE FERGUSON: How would you describe the tax office?

ANNETTE PIKE: In one short word I would call what they're doing evil.

There's an agenda that's going on in there, and the Australian public know nothing about it.

We knew nothing about it.

We were naive. How can you describe someone who's trying to destroy your livelihood and destroy your way of life? I'd call that evil...

...ADELE FERGUSON: She made around $700 a week. Now that was in jeopardy

KATHRYN LITTLE: No one could give me a reason why the ABN had been cancelled. No one could tell me what part of the legislation or what part of the guidelines or what part of the regulations I did not comply with. I actively asked them, what do I need to do to comply with the regulations behind the decision that you're making?...

...ADELE FERGUSON: Ken Phillips believes the Tax Office deliberately targets small business.

KEN PHILLIPS: They set targets, they chase low-hanging fruit, people who are being honest and upright, and they whack them with a huge bill and then chase them.

The big end of town and high wealth individuals can afford to get a whole lot of lawyers out and line the lawyers up at $800 an hour and defend themselves properly against the tax office, small business person doesn't have that.

ADELE FERGUSON: What are some of the complaints you get from small business about the ATO?

KATE CARNELL, SMALL BUSINESS OMBUDSMAN: Look, a lot of the issues surrounding the ATO is that they're complex, they're difficult to deal with, they don't know who to talk to, but some of the real concerns are when there's a problem with an assessment at the ATO, what the ATO says you owe them isn't what you believe you owe them.

Trying to get those things sorted out is still very, very difficult...

...ANNETTE PIKE: If I had read this as a film script, I would say I was in an Eastern Bloc country in the 1950s behind the Iron Curtain because It's the government controlling the way people live in a way that's malicious.

There's no other word for it. It's malicious and it's vengeful. We're supporting the Australian economy. How do you make sense of that?
ADELE FERGUSON: The Australian Taxation Office is one of the most powerful institutions in Australia.

If the ATO suspects you owe it money, you are guilty until proven innocent.

It can raid your home or business without a warrant, and compel you to answer questions.

GRAEME HALPERIN, TAX BARRISTER: You've got tremendous power invested in an organisation which, because of its powers, can effectively act like a judge, jury and executioner all rolled up into one. That's the problem...

..ADELE FERGUSON: The watchdog could do with more bite. Its recommendations aren't binding.

KATE CARNELL: Not much point in having an independent entity if it doesn't have the powers or the capacity or the size to actually deal with the issues that we're talking about.

If you're going to have an independent entity, it's got to have teeth, and it's got to have size.

DEBORAH JENKINS: We have so much scrutiny in the ATO.

We've got various committees, so Senate Estimates, other revenue committees, we've got the Inspector-General, and there's a whole other range of people who are doing various reviews, so yeah, absolutely, we have got enough scrutiny of the work that we're currently doing...

...GRAEME HALPERIN: At the end of the day what we're talking about is raising revenue all governments of all persuasions are desperate for revenue.

Business is an obvious target, small business is the best target, because they haven't got people there, out there, to protect them the way big business has.

They don't have the barrage of lawyers. They can't afford them.

RON SHAMIR: The Tax Office generally produces an estimate of how much revenue it's going to collect in the financial year, we refer to it as the Plan, we call it the Plan at leadership meetings when we discuss it and when staff discuss it amongst themselves.

ADELE FERGUSON: Ron Shamir worked in the ATO's serious evasion branch in Melbourne where he says the pressure to meet revenue forecasts put the focus on small business.

RON SHAMIR: If halfway through the financial year it appeared that we were short of that target that was supposed to be just an estimate, then a lot of pressure would be put on for cases to be done more quickly procedures would be changed, even staffing changes would occur in order for senior management to deal with, to address, the shortfall compared to the Plan.

You would be looking at taxpayers who are less able to resist the might of the tax office.

Taxpayers that are more vulnerable and that often-meant individuals and small businesses rather than larger businesses.

ADELE FERGUSON: Ron Shamir turned whistle-blower in 2015 accusing the ATO of breaching taxpayer rights.

He was eventually sacked over non-performance.
RON SHAMIR: Unfortunately, the culture that I saw at the ATO is what you would expect in a powerful, large agency that has very little effective scrutiny.

There's not much of somebody looking in from the outside into what's happening...

...RICHARD BOYLE: So it shows here through negotiation I collected $300, 000 through payment arrangements I collected $130,000 through garnishees I collected $3,000.

ADELE FERGUSON: So what does this data tell you?

RICHARD BOYLE: well that data shows me that blindly issuing standard garnishees and potentially damaging certain sections on the community is not a very effective way to collect the debt.

ADELE FERGUSON: He describes a culture where staff were encouraged to notch up garnishee notices, allowing them to seize money from taxpayer's bank accounts.
In May an email was sent to staff towards the end of the working day encouraging them to issue more garnishee notices before their shift ended.

The last hour of power is upon us...That means you still have time to issue another five garnishees... right?

RICAHRD BOYLE: I was horrified.

ADELE FERGUSON: As the end of the financial year approached, Richard Boyle says his team was told to use standard garnishee notices almost all the time.

A standard garnishee notice gives the ATO ongoing access to funds in the taxpayer's bank account.

RICHARD BOYLE: We were essentially ordered and directed to start doing standard garnishees on every case, and I was absolutely shocked. I started taking copious minutes because I was really concerned that taxpayers were going to be adversely affected by what I could only say is an unethical decision of the Australian Taxation Office...

...ADELE FERGUSON: The following week, there was an email on how to escalate debt recovery from taxpayers who owed money:

"These clients are not entitled to any additional time and shouldn't be granted any unless they have unbelievably exceptional circumstances."
ADELE FERGUSON: And what do you think was the motivation?

RICHARD BOYLE: The motivation appeared to be that we were just collecting revenue before the end of the financial year and it didn't matter if we hurt members of the community.

ADELE FERGUSON: A cash grab?

RICHARD BOYLE: That's probably a good summation that's what my colleagues were saying on the floor.

ADELE FERGUSON: Sorry what were they saying?

RICHARD BOYLE: That that this was a cash grab. My colleagues were saying, this is a cash grab, clearly a cash grab...

Those 'standard garnishee notices' and the 'cash grab' statement sound a lot like the many suspicions and hard evidence of 'cost recovery' through 'fee gouging' by CASA ... Huh

The following is a de-identified email correspondence to CASA from an operator trying to renew an expired exemption instrument:

"...Thanks (CASA Officer),

I’m sure you get push back on this stuff a lot, I recall a similar amount the last time I applied, and I recall the exact reaction the last time I applied.

There is absolutely no way that it could take 2 hours to prepare this 1 sentence letter or that the ‘cost’ is $160 per hour… this is a money grab far beyond the ‘cost’ to prepare.

This hourly rate implies the total cost to employ someone in CASA is $1.6m per annum, I hope you’re getting your fair share! How is this possible? As a tax payer I actually want to know the answer to this…

I hate to imagine what the regulatory cost is for commercial operators with more complex unique circumstances. They should be putting more money into maintenance and pilot training than this crap.

The impact is the opposite to what CASA sets out to achieve, I will not be renewing..."

MTF...P2 Cool

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)