Quote:P2 – “PS. Expect the “K” Sundy ramble to be quite colourful.
Colourful will follow; I assure you, just whetting the knives now. MTF? You can bet on it. Sunday ramble first though.
Being a happily self confessed political ignoramus has certain advantages and had it not been for the dreadful performance of the aviation oversight bodies, such as ASA, ATSB and CASA I reckon the choice between chewing my leg off and attending any form of ‘political’ rally would have been a close run race. However, due to circumstances ‘beyond my control’ as they say, in recent years I have been obliged to pay attention. One of the great benefits of my political ignorance has been the need to develop my own way of sorting wheat from chaff; a yard stick if you will; against which I may measure progress for industry. Actions and results have always been stalwart companions; whereas words and promises have never held much sway. Another part of creating a satisfactory yardstick has been a need, for many years now to weigh up ‘the man’. Strange creature the human being, certainly one of the most difficult, the political version particularly so. Now animals also have particular character traits; you need to be able to work out what flavour a horse is before you use it, same-same dogs, it is a fact that if you cannot do this then danger and trouble may result; often both. So, what did I have against which I could measure the political version? I reckoned, stripped of rhetoric and the trappings of public life under the suit there was a basic man (yes, yes I know: or woman).
The flaw in my home made remedy was that my first encounters with the Political Animal (PA) were all positive. Glen Sterle and Bill Heffernan for example; both full on PA and on opposite sides of the ‘political’ divide. Both sound as a bell, then Xenophon, Nash, Fawcett; in fact with a few notable exceptions, nearly all who appeared in Estimates and Inquiry won my respect, a modicum of affection, a degree tolerance and forbearance for the political ideology they belonged to. The less savoury side of politics was easily discerned; stood out like dogs balls, the Wong performance being an example of my yardstick at work. Overall I reckoned if this Senate committee is government at work, then I am pleased to see my tax dollars at work. I never really came to grips with the gutter dwellers, my mistake was writing off the Wong’uns as aberrations, a minority which could be dealt with by the ‘honourable’. Not so, my education was about to be completed.
Tamworth is not a place I’d have ever figured as being the place to have ones political education finished; but it was. Bear with me, I will try to explain and perhaps my meandering preamble will make sense: lesson one began with the arrival of the PA and entourage. There were some of our front row milling about in the Aero-Club, Cannane, Forsyth, Lewis, Smith etc. a smaller group of the AOPA board; Reece, Ferrier etc. and the Chester cohort. From my vantage point it was possible to observe nearly all as they arrived and mingled. Strange are the ways of tribes. Our front row grabbed a BBQ sausage sandwich and dispersed, greeting people they knew and meeting those they did not, easy, relaxed and enjoying the easy camaraderie of aviators. The AOPA crew disappeared to the back of the club, taking up a position between the bar and food and forming a close, closed cabal, occasionally acknowledging the odd individual but engaging only with others selected from the herd. Then there was the miniscule, on approach to the club gate, the face was pale, tense and clearly not pleased that the ‘suit’ was to be sullied in this lowly place; then the gate was entered and the smile turned on; just like that. Enter Darren – stage right – an audience, nay, his audience awaited. Snag sandwich, lights. Camera. action; game on.
I didn’t realise it at the time, but a life lesson in politics awaited me. This is a ramble, so I may digress slightly; Ben Morgan did a sterling, first class job and IMO made only a few errors, non of which was of significance, I doubt very much he even realised he had made the first one which, happily, worked to some advantage; wait, I’m getting there. The ‘closed door’ session was due at 1400 LMT; Joyce (DPM) was scheduled for 1400. About 1345 those involved were in the room and settling down, when Chester stole the march. Without BJ in attendance. Now I’ve no idea of proper protocol, but, it seems to me that if the DPM was due any tick of the clock, then it would be polite to wait and pay the respect due to the title. None of that for Chester; Ben (bless him) tried to put the brakes on, but our miniscule would have none of it “Barnaby can catch up” says he as he rode rough shod over Ben’s first class notion. That was one lesson learnt; the second arrived in the form of one Barnaby Joyce DPM on the dot @ 1400. I was embarrassed for the man, everyone (Chester) kept talking as BJ, ignored, clearly unhappy looked for a seat. One of the company had the good manners to stand, shake his hand and indicate where BJ my plonk his DPM arse. Dunno about politics, but I know bad manners when I see ‘em and I can tell when a man’s pissed off. I wish GD had been there with a hidden video camera; the next BRB/IOS/PAIN indaba would have enjoyed it immensely; alas. Anyway – when BJ did take control he had little enough to say and played the hand as best he could; I’ll paraphrase “ OK you wanted a meeting, you got it, now WTF am I doing here” he went on to explain he had NFI about aviation but was well used to dealing with outraged folk and noisy minority groups; clearly frustrated by the time it took and the problems it caused, none the less, he would listen and see what could be done – fair enough. It would have ended right there, but one thing led to another and a discussion ensued between BJ and those attending; a petulant miniscule tried desperately hard to break up the flow of discussion and kept on bleating about the people (votes) waiting for him in the hanger; he couldn’t wait to get in front of an audience – potential voters although it was wrapped up in terms of not wanting to keep folk waiting. And so boys and girls; that was the end of the mysterious closed door meeting. I can only speak for the several PAIN associates sitting at the big table: WOFTAM will suffice. Curtain, intermission music, new coffee for me.
Scene two – The hanger.
I reckon there was close to two hundred people attending; the ‘heavy mob’ seated facing the audience; Ben Martin acting as MC took the microphone and kicked it all off. Some say he talked too much, for too long; others understood the need to make it abundantly clear and repeat the message long enough and often enough so even the dimmest politician (oh yes he was there) could understand it. The real game started when Q&A began; there were some good questions and statement from the audience, several brought cheers and applause. Boyd copped a few and for a while disappointed many by sounding more like a Casamite than an industry champion; at one stage he defended CASA so strongly I though ‘hello – he gone over to the dark side’. I was a close run thing and left a bad taste in the mouths of many; this reflected in some almost hostile ‘please explains’. He managed to dance and shuffle his way out of the flack – but it was noted; later in the game he did start to seem and sound like the man we expected, but many were disappointed.
The highlights and lessons in politics will end this ramble. Lessons first; the fury and disgust of the audience had a minimal effect on the politicians, Darren deftly dancing about the answers, generally being bloody useless, Barnaby was over it and said as much, sighting previous shit-fights and angry mobs he’d dealt with and between the political efforts, the stonewall (or iron ring) remained un-breached – until three things happened. Pay attention now:-
1) Ben Morgan uttered the only sentence of the day worth quoting “You as Minister can issue a directive, now and have the ADSB rollout delayed until 2021, why not as an act of good faith do that, now, here in front of the industry”.
Duck me; the Chester face was a study, he had NFI if he was punched, bored or countersunk. He’s quick, I give him that, the face went feral for a moment, rat in a trap, then the little light came on and the answer arrived; just before he answered a voice at the back said – Caretaker made – and so it was. “Well, I’d love to” say’s our hero, “but you know we will shortly be in caretaker mode”. I reckon if I’d have shouted BOLLOCKS right them, the crew would have strung him up; as it was, Ben effectively said the same thing in a much more round about fashion, but the message was delivered. I think our Darren may have even gotten away with it, had it not been for lesson two.
2) About now a skeleton stood at the back of the feast stepped into a clear space and was spotted by dazzling, dancing Darren of the mane. Windsor, yup, AW in the crowd, listening, watching and now visible.
Sir Barnaby to the rescue of Damsel Darren – to late; lesson three, with impeccable timing arrived with a resounding Thump.
3) A missive from Sir Nicholas Xenophon arrived just then; it was read out to an appreciative audience which, once it was read in full, provided the most cheering and applause heard the entire afternoon.
So children, enough for today, my second coffee is cold, time to visit the galley. But the point of my ramble is simple enough. I have watched, learned and listened to the ‘aviation’ Senators long enough now to be able to separate the sheep from the goats, men of good will and intentions stand out from the run of the mill political halfwit. Their quality stands out from the mob, much as bloodlines in champion horses and dogs does; it’s easy to pick. Chester looks, feels and presents as a one of those fast talking real estate creatures, smooth, shiftless, lazy and venal. As I say, coupled with the Cash creature he’d do well as a judge in MKR or a competitor in dancing with the stars; but as the potential minister responsible for aviation; well, lets just hope Fiona Nash gets the nod to reform what’s left of our industry.
A scoreless draw? Perhaps not, at least not if Tony Windsor or Nick Xenophon have aught to say.
I should finish with a huge well done and thank you to the good folk at the Tamworth Aero Club, they did us proud and a splendid job. Thank you
A ramble continued:-
Boyd and his bored were, naturally, at the Tamworth rally. CASA had to be represented and Boyd did that handsomely. I’ll deal with the truly vomit producing first, get that out of the way; I forget her name but she is on ‘the bored’. ‘Bout halfway through the platitudes and waffle, rather than throw up over several pairs of polished RM’s I slipped out of the hanger door out of sound range. It was Boyd who piqued my interest but it was ‘she’ who killed it. A truly saccharine sweet confection which encouraged us to be aware of how many ‘tensions’ there are within the regulator and how, although ‘they’ cared (a great deal) about the plight of GA; it behoves us to be gentle, caring, patient and understanding of just how tough it is to be CASA. BOLLOCKS, retch, exit.
That left Boyd fair and square in the gunsight. As mentioned, I did truly think and am now almost convinced that he has been inculcated, well and truly seduced by the dark side of the force. Listening carefully – again, to what he had to say simply reinforces that notion, which is disappointing. I have not set eyes on the man for a twelve month, last I did, the eyes were bright, coat shiny, tail up and he was full of fight and running. Take a look at the montage provided by the Northern Daily Leader – HERE – . The tan has gone, the figure is starting to sag and the grey, strained face tells the beginning of the tale, the rhetoric at Tamworth the ending. The job is simply too much for him, too large and nebulous; he’d be a much better DAS than Chairman.
Make no mistake, I like the bloke; well enough to call it as I see it. Take a break mate and find some honest, honourable work, the dark side is not for you.
Oh. Take a look through the pics – #8 my own personal favourite… #20 is the Nanny state Mummy speaking –
Part III – BRB – over; thank you gods.
There’s little else of import to tell; certainly nothing of significant value. I expect those who believe ‘selfies’’ of you and your mates in the dunny, together, are cool will be happy . I accept it has a certain je ne sais quoi; but for the rest of us, those that made the effort, what can we take away? Jabiru and Brumby went home with empty pockets, followed by the blank stares of those who failed, totally and utterly to ‘get it’. Export markets are no where near as important as frolics in the bathroom and selfies’ of the same hi-jinx; no Siree. – Click – Selfy.
Who else was noteworthy; the Rev. Forsyth was not asked – by anyone – to say a word or two; maybe it’s just as well. I mean what could he have to say in the face of such comprehensive understanding of the situation. The toilet conference had it sorted; and, no awkward questions (on notice) from the likes of Senator bloody David blasted Fawcett was going to spoil the fun. The hide of the man; really!, asking exactly where the ministerial directive for CASA to get off it’s corpulent rump was up to is the height of poor form. Shame on you – Click – Selfy.
I did have a quiet smile when Karen Casey ambushed Barnbaby; much like the ghost at Hamlets feast; or, better still, one of the three who visited Scrooge; past, present and future. I thought and expected Barnbaby to be a ‘bigger’ man, the man his speech writer portrays, but when stacked up, face to face, against the courage and fortitude of KC in a brief moment, you see the inner man; this accountant turned ruler of Australia. Disappointing, no matter, he’ll always have Darren and that magic moment they shared in the Aero-club loo. Click – Selfy.
Tony Windsor both cracked and cheered me up; the face of doom, live, and very, very real; no semblance of a smile, grim as my boss, staring at Barnbaby obfuscating and slip-sliding. Priceless. If I lived up that way, I reckon I’d vote for him, just for that alone. There was a notable change in the Barnbaby delivery and energy level, he even stopped slurring his words and pretending to be a Truckie, not an accountant, for few minutes. I doubt Tony got invited to the man’s room photo opportunity party; too straight by half. Bravo Messrs Windsor & Duddy; bravo indeed. No Selfy required.
That’s about the end of the BRB/PAIN thoughts on the matter. In summary, Chester is a light weight, a hairdresser, a make up artist for TV ‘life experience’ shows; Barnbaby a model (one of many) for the Chester pin up of the month (Selfie add in) competition.
The Independents, Windsor, Xenophon etc. all seem to lack the arrogance, sense of entitlement and sense of self importance that these cosseted children of the Turnbull clan have. I don’t know much about politics. But I know engines and my sky and my ocean; I know horses and I know dogs; I know pilots – and their ways – but most of all – I know my fellow man. This pair have been weighed; they have been measured; and, I’d vote for my tea lady as PM before I’d walk up the hill to vote for this toilet dwelling heap of dross.
Here endeth, on Monday, the Sunday ramble. Flush.