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Or via the Aunty Pru Forum Opinions, Statistics and stacked decks. (feel free to comment)

Hitch – “I suspect we are about to see some of the TAAAF members taking their own path of advocacy rather than allowing TAAAF to speak on their behalf.”

I suspect Hitch is picking up the same ‘vibe’ as AP and there are several IMO valid arguments to support the desire for ‘self representation’.

History supports this need for self representation to a point where it becomes a requirement. There have been many such ‘consultations’ very few of which have resulted in a satisfactory outcome for ‘all’ parties concerned. The proposed ‘broad brush’ approach to the different problems faced by individual associations, each with differing needs, is too early in the piece This particularly so when ‘reform’ is on the agenda and the ‘detail’ of that reform is imperative to the survival of each association.

Trust or, more accurately, the lack thereof remains in short supply. Not only is there a deep distrust of CASA, which has historically been proven accurate so many times over now, that it has become deeply ingrained in the industry thinking. Then, there is no track record to support those who have been selected to take part, not of the detail – the ‘nitty-gritty’ of each associations problems. There is also a growing perception that the small TAAAF team will become captive and begin to understand the CASA problems and negotiations will become skewed. No one is saying this will happen – but the perception, based on historical fact exists. Look no further than the great white hope –  Boyd and the CASA board for confirmation.

Divide and conquer has long been an effective tool in the CASA bag of tricks; that and ‘control’, through overt and covert threat. Once the TAAAF team are engaged, there is no telling the outcome; and that adds to the worries of the folks awaiting those outcomes.

Hitch “ The reason TAAAF was taken onto ASAP is because CASA needs that united voice to be able to consult effectively.”

Therein lies the problem’s nub – a ‘united’ voice. Many would see that voice as being carefully selected to sing from the CASA hymn sheet. I doubt many in industry would believe CASA has any intention, whatsoever, of ‘reforming’. Leopards don’t change their spots; not in my jungle at least. The scurrilous, disrespectful treatment the Senate recommendations on Pel Air were given; added to the disgraceful attitude to Forsyth’s report lend serious support to the argument that CASA is, once again, dodging the bullets and reducing the noise level in the ministers office. It is a reasonable position to be concerned that ‘tame’ industry panel, which ‘understands’ how the game is played would suit the ministerial purpose.

Hitch – “It has been said many times before that GA is not united in what they want, and that has always provided CASA with the ammunition they needed to justify ignoring calls for reform.”

Only up to a point mate; and CASA has played a clever hand in fostering that disunity and promoting discord. But, if you talk to say – the Ag pilots and the Warbirds chaps – their ‘needs’ are similar; their wants identical. Talk to a regional airline operator and a parachute operator; their needs and wants are also similar. Talk to a flying school and an airline – same-same needs and wants. They are all united in one great need; reform of the regulator and the bloody awful regulations.  There may be different requirements in operational detail and commercial objectives; but they are all rock solid on regulatory reform and red tape reduction. If that were to be the sole topic of the ASAP, then perhaps the various groups could relax and rely on a united, trusted voice. But they can’t, can they. The groups are reliant on a small, unknown group negotiating on their behalf. If I ran an association I think I’d want to be there to make certain that we had a say; a long, loud say as part of a united push the reform the regulator and the regulations. Can’t find it in me to blame anyone for wanting to be there; just to be sure, to be sure.

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Hitch – “ You’ve all heard the old saying “divide and conquer”. It refers to dividing and conquering the enemy, not dividing your own troops in order to win the battle. Should GA advocacy divide in Canberra, winning the war for reform will become a whole lot harder. No-one wins a civil war except the common enemy.

The solution is simplicity itself: resolve the distrust, remove the doubt, let any legitimate association provide a couple of representatives – Mike Smith for AOPA; Ken Cannane for AOPA, Phil Hurst for AAAA; and, whoever else is responsible to an organisation for it’s well being. What’s that, about six more seats at the table adding credibility. Sound fair and reasonable to me./…

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There can only be one cynical response to the minister refusing to acknowledge and include those who can provide a life time of expertise, knowledge and responsibility to the industry outside of airline operations; it’s a rigged game involving snake oil, smoke, mirrors and the same old party hats. I think Chester has made a serious blunder and widened the increasing credibility gap – poorly advised by those who are masters of deflecting any and all reforms; let alone wanting to admit that in thirty years, they have wasted $399, 999, 999 and managed to almost decimate a thriving industry in doing so.

If it ain’t the industry who did this; then government must take a long, hard look who did. Then ask why can’t the victims be heard – should they wish to speak.

“Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.” (Yeats).

Toot toot.

Toot toot.

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