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“I’ll lug the guts into the neighbor room.” – Auntypru forum version.

What a jolly good idea; I wonder, will our DPM follow the same course; or, will he allow the ghost to roam free, creating mischief and mayhem while all look away? Aye, whimsical enough to set teeth on edge, despite the clear message within. Yet the mischief is wrought, aided an abetted by the denizens of the Sleepy Hollow smoke and mirrors control room. Not even Dante could have envisioned such a Hell; Illich in leather costume, wielding the whip; his acolytes, sweat drenched, toiling to fuel the furnaces which generate the smoke to mask the ICAO mirrors. “Steady on – boy” P7’s sturdy voice interrupts the dream state – the spell broken; the tattered remnants of the Ministerial SOE lays on the workbench – reality arrives, with a thump, along side a glass of restorative Ale. Heigh-Ho; is the fool rambling again? Then, perhaps not.

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“My Oberon! what visions have I seen!”― William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

I’d drifted off to sleep, reading (for my sins) the Act, part 12 to be exact. The reason – to establish whether or not a Ministers ‘Statement of Expectations’ (SoE) could be legally binding on the CASA. Much would depend on the argument counsel could put up; but, essentially the answer is in the affirmative. So with that in mind, an examination of previous SoE defined a format which basically provided enough wriggle room to allow the ‘Authority’ to do exactly as pleased it best. The latest weak wrist-ed effort signed by our unlamented McDonaught – 24 hours after he was unceremoniously dumped from office. Now, there may well be some ‘technical’ reason for this; or, CASA desperately wanted the latest easement signed off, hoping it would slide past the keepers and become the latest ‘get out of goal card’. Passed off as an insignificant document, well beneath ministerial notice or care. Stealing Barnaby’s thunder another small landmine. And so it is – unless BJ sets about drafting his own SoE, signs it and – importantly – makes it bloody well stick. We have some suggestions which really should be included; to wit:-

Back in 1998 we had adopted a ‘rules by reference’ policy, into law, which incorporated the ICAO compliant FAA rule set. Despite ‘tinkering’ around the edges to mask the fact; this is still alive and kicking. All we need do was follow the FAA rules and the upgrade of those ‘best’ regulations would have been ‘ours’ – at no cost. In short; the mechanisms and regulations are in place (slightly muffled) and remain freely available to allow Australia to adopt the gold standard FAA rules – even the improved NZ version, which the USA is adopting. This of course comes from mutual respect and commonality of ’cause’.

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“The farther I travel, the less I wonder at anything: a few days reconcile one to a new spot, or an unseen custom; and men are so much the same everywhere, that one scarce perceives a change in situation.” ― Horace Walpole, The Letters of Horace Walpole.

It is well within the gift and authority for the DPM to ‘persuade’ the CASA to change tack and set course toward ICAO compliance (and sanity). Simply write it and sign it:- 1 CASA will define, within 90 days, a system which supports a change over to the NZ rules. 2 CASA will establish training for staff in understanding the NZ system and its rules. 3 The government will request assistance from the NZ CAA and FAA to facilitate the approval of revised operations manuals as compliant with the new rule set. Instant revitalisation of a moribund industry – no government money required – outside the current allotment. There will be howls of protest from the ‘establishment’ who have created the biggest, most expensive, counterproductive rule set in existence. The most noise from those who have, by stealth and ministerial disinterest, placed Australia beyond the pale of the modern aviation world, in some vainglorious attempt to make ICAO compliant with the Australian ‘dream-time’: perhaps?

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“Vainglory, however, no matter how much medieval Christianity insisted it was a sin, is a motor of mankind, no more eradicable than sex.” ― Barbara W. Tuchman, A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century

There’s a little more BJ could achieve; with a stroke of the pen – after his minions had redrafted the SoE to the ATSB releasing them from the devious, some say illegal, all say deceitful ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ (MoU) between CASA and the ATSB. Free the ATSB to be what it was before this hideous chimera emerged from the bowls of a deluded, dishonest, warped mind. Free the ATSB to fulfil it’s role as the arbiter of ‘safety’ through closed loop analysis of exactly what, why and how there was life lost.

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“Any doctrine that will not bear investigation is not a fit tenant for the mind of an honest man. Any man who is afraid to have his doctrine investigated is not only a coward but a hypocrite.” ― Robert G. Ingersoll, Famous Speeches Complete

Which brings us to the latest, in a long weary Conga line of Senate ‘inquiry’ into matters aeronautical. There only seems to be two paths for the new minister to take on this. One is to ‘can’ that inquiry and start once more on the long, tedious circular pathway, only to, once more, begin again. McDolittle’s lightweight foray into Sleepy Hollow is discredited and tainted by political machinations. A scant 50 submissions define not only industry weariness with the never ending demand for ignored advice (supplied gratis) but a lack of faith in any meaningful outcome. We’ve been at this game for too long. If McDolittle wants to play on, then we suggest she dig out the recommendations made by a Senate inquiry and the Rev. Forsyth; rigorously apply them and ‘persuade’ the minister to include both Senate and ASSR recommendations as part of his own, not McDonaught’s very own, brand new SoE. That may, just, provide industry with ‘a candle in the window’.

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A great flame follows a little spark. ― Dante Alighieri, Paradiso

Of course, my ramble is based on the hope that Joyce realises he has been ‘gazumped’ by the witless wannabe; the developers friend from Wagga Wagga. We can only hope that man is not BJ’s role model – gods help us if he is. You see, dear minister, the PM&C are worried about ‘the election’ – they don’t want an aviation scandal blowing up in their faces. There’s one in the offing and it’s a beauty – fair warning, but no quarter given; no clues bar those offered (think Choppers); not this time around – nope; no way. 

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“Lord, what fools these mortals be”― William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Anyway – The workshop is back to it’s usual state of amicable scruffiness; I’m making a ‘first’ for me; an old fashioned ‘cradle’ of the rocking variety. Customer arrived with the necessary ‘lumber’ – hard to come by stuff. Of course it is ‘in-the-rough’ so a solid day to cut, size and square it; but it is lovely stuff. It may seem, at first glance, to be a simple matter to make a box on ‘rockers’ – but it ain’t. Not if it all has to fit together at the end and be robust. For some strange, unfathomable reason, it seems to prefer being ‘made’ later in the day – early starts make the lumber ‘cranky’ while the evening light and lamp light seem to soothe the timber. Don’t ask me why – NDI – but it seems to work. But: I have a question for you. What does one say to an overgrown hearthrug, with amber eyes, looking at you with a boot in it’s mouth? “OK – drop my boot and away? Ayup; that did the trick – now if I could only find the t’uther – all would be well.