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'The' Mandarin.
While the cat is away the mice will play - Rolleyes

An excellent article on the insanity of partisan politics and the damage it is rorting on this country... Dodgy

Via the SMH.. Wink

Quote:We need more politicians less obsessed with political games
  • Imre Salusinszky
Last week my Facebook timeline threw up an item by the federal employment minister, Michaelia Cash. It was a pretend media release and bore the heading, "Shorten's Comprehensive Plan for Australian Jobs." The rest was simply a blank page.

OK, maybe it wouldn't make the first cut on Fallon or Colbert, but it's a harmless lark ‒ or is it?

[Image: 1495289636047.jpg] Bill Shorten and his frontbench laugh as Scott Morrison approaches the despatch box during Question Time. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Let me answer that by revealing one of the biggest challenges in political media management is putting the brakes on government ministers and MPs who simply want to go on and on about their political opponents.

During the NSW Liberals & Nationals government's first term, between 2011 and 2015, there was a point, as well as political advantage, in reminding the electorate about the contrast between how things had been during Labor's spectacularly messy fourth term, and how they were going along now.

But once a government has secured re-election, the failings of its predecessor become ancient history for the voting public. They quite rightly take the view: You own it now, and if it's still broke, you've had the time to fix it.

Unfortunately, there is nothing most politicians, of whatever persuasion, would rather do than talk to and about each other. It's what floats their boat, justifies all those nights away from hearth and family and gives them a reason to crawl out of bed on four hours sleep to front another media conference or an interview with David Speers.

A further example of this the over-estimation of the importance of Question Time by political and media insiders, versus normal people. Hand-to-hand political combat is even more fun than slagging each other off on Sky News, right? The media humours this delusion, certainly in Canberra, by periodically writing that one of the party leaders is "back in town" after an especially feisty and aggressive Q-time performance.

But hang on ‒ people don't actually like "feisty and aggressive". Do you want a "feisty and aggressive" waiter serving your breakfast, a "feisty and aggressive" accountant doing your tax, or a "feisty and aggressive" dentist poking around in your root canal? No, you want civility, circumspection, and perhaps a touch of gentle humour on the way through.

There is a similar disconnect regarding the value of passion in politics ‒ that is, passion for one's party. When Anthony Albanese shed real tears over Kevin Rudd's first attempt to topple Julia Gillard, in February, 2012, the media was beside itself over Albo's "moving and dignified" performance. Well, voters would have noticed this performance from the corner of their eyes and thought: "Now we know what he really cares about: his silly political party."

If Question Time in Canberra is susceptible to over-estimation, its state equivalents are on a different level again. Sure, when I worked for Mike Baird, we'd put plenty of energy into preparing him for Q-time, trying to anticipate lines of opposition attack. But at the end of all that, I would remind my colleagues of the tragic fate of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

The black-box voice recorder from that aeroplane lies deep at the bottom of some ocean, but we don't even know which ocean. This is precisely the status of whatever has just gone down in a state parliament Question Time.

The love of talking about each other, or going "hand-to-hand" against each other, along with the over-estimation of party affiliation, reflects the narrowing demographic from which our political human resources are drawn.

Fewer and fewer of our parliamentarians have spent their lives doing anything but playing at the game of party politics. At university, while others were studying and having fun, they were already teenage mutant politics turtles, playing Spy vs Spy tricks on each other in Young Labor and the Young Liberals.

In that culture, where letting down the other side's tyres was regarded as a major exercise of statecraft, Cash's "media release" would rank as a masterstroke. And sure enough, Cash was vice-president of the WA Young Libs, back in the day.

She's merely a random example, and is perfectly entitled to her lighter moments. But switching from the substance to the party politics has become like a nervous tic for the political class, and is a free-kick to the populists.

How often have you heard Scott Morrison, at one of his four or five daily media conferences, turn on a dime and say something like: "But today's retail trade figures from the ABS also create some tricky questions for Bill Shorten ..."?

All of this political theatre, all of this chocolate soldier stuff, when what people really want to know is what you are doing to make their lives better. Isn't that enough to talk about?

Imre Salusinszky is a Fairfax Media columnist and was media director for former premier Mike Baird.
So the pollywaffles play their meaningless political games and continue to govern in absentia.. Angry

Meanwhile the Mandarins and their minions run riot feeding from an endless taxpayer funded trough, with little to no oversight from their political masters, while the country continues to slide into some bottomless black hole - God help us! Dodgy   

MTF...P2 Cool
Breaking the trail of obfuscation on recommendations - Dodgy

Q/ Is Senator Barry O the MAN??

Bit of a long tale here so my first reference goes to last Monday's excellent 4 Corners program (titled: Breaking the Brotherhood):

Quote:Moonlight State: The honest cop who helped blow the whistle on Australia's most corrupt police force
Four Corners
By Mark Willacy, Wayne Harley and Alexandra Blucher
Updated Wed at 3:16pmWed 14 Jun 2017, 3:16pm

[Image: 8607368-3x2-700x467.jpg] Photo: Journalist Chris Masters (left) with AFP officer Dave Moore, who was assigned to look after him. (Four Corners)

It was an unusual assignment, and Australian Federal Police officer Dave Moore wasn't happy about it.

"I had a call to go and visit the assistant commissioner," he recounted.

"He asked me to keep a lookout for a bloke by the name of Chris Masters from Four Corners."

[Image: 8607514-3x2-340x227.jpg]
"The Joke" was a system of protection involving illegal gambling, bookies and brothels. (Four Corners)

To Mr Moore, babysitting a journalist was not part of his remit.

"I'll be honest, I told [my assistant commissioner] I didn't want to do the job," he said.
But an order was an order.

It was 1987, and the AFP hierarchy had information that Masters was in danger.
He wasn't at risk from the criminal underworld, but from the corrupt members of the Queensland police.

"It was made very clear that they were concerned for Chris's safety," said Mr Moore, speaking for the first time about the AFP's secret role in protecting the Four Corners reporter.

"So we put the resources of the AFP, discreetly, behind keeping a lookout for Chris."
'We were being watched and shadowed'

Masters was getting too close to a brotherhood of bent cops and their network of graft and corruption, an arrangement known as "the Joke".

What was the Joke?

The Joke was a vast system of graft and protection involving illegal gambling, starting price bookmakers, brothels and massage parlours that stretched back decades in Queensland.

The dirty money flowed to the police, particularly to several senior members of the infamous Licensing Branch, who in exchange for regular cash payments turned a blind eye to vice.

In its later and most lucrative form, the Joke was administered by Jack Herbert, who, by the time it all came crashing down, was passing on nearly $60,000 a month in protection money to police.

Herbert was estimated to have received more than $3 million in payments.

In early 1987 The Courier-Mail ran a series of articles about unchallenged vice in Brisbane.

Then in May, The Moonlight State program was broadcast on Four Corners, revealing that police were being bribed to protect vice in Queensland.

The next day the acting premier Bill Gunn called a judicial inquiry.

The Fitzgerald Inquiry would run for two years and hear from more than 300 witnesses.

Evidence from the inquiry would lead to four government ministers and police commissioner Terry Lewis being jailed.

Other police would go to prison, while senior officers — including the assistant commissioner Graeme Parker — would give evidence in exchange for indemnity from prosecution.

The Fitzgerald Inquiry would also lead to the establishment of Queensland's first anti-corruption body.

Stretching back several decades, the Joke was a system of protection payments that flowed from brothel owners, SP bookies and illegal gaming operators into the hands of corrupt police.

It was worth millions, and the Joke's tentacles reached right to the top of the Queensland force.

In late 1986, early 1987, Masters had been sniffing around Brisbane's red light district of Fortitude Valley for weeks talking to pimps, prostitutes and disgruntled police.
His inquiries were making the brotherhood nervous.

"We were being watched and shadowed," Masters recalled.

"I didn't really know that until Dave started to point out people who were surveilling me."
Mr Moore says he first met Masters "up at the Tower Mill [Hotel]".

"It became quite apparent to me that there was someone paying quite a lot of attention to Chris across the road," he said.

"We later found out it was a hired vehicle which was being used by officers of the [Queensland] Police Force."

[Image: 8607450-3x2-700x467.jpg] Photo: Chris Masters had been investigating corruption in Brisbane's red light district. (Four Corners)

The plan to frame Chris Masters

As Masters got closer to cracking the Joke, the police brotherhood knew it had to destroy the Four Corners reporter before he destroyed them.

"They took him extremely seriously, to the point where they were on the brink of literally setting him up," said Matthew Condon, the author of a three-book series on police corruption in Queensland.

Quote:"The plan was that they would plant an underage boy in Masters' hotel room in the city and ultimately, whether they could prove it or not, the mud would have been thrown against Masters to discredit him."

Masters would only be told of the plan to stitch him up many months later, after The Moonlight State had gone to air.

"I learnt of it through [former rugby league player] Tommy Raudonikis. He'd heard of it from a police mate and he then tipped off my brother Roy who told me," Masters said.

"But when it was all supposed to happen I wasn't in Brisbane, I was back in Sydney."

The plan revealed the lengths the corrupt Queensland police brotherhood was prepared to go to protect the Joke.

It had flourished for years under the stewardship of a man known as "the Bagman".

The Bagman
[Image: jack-herbert-340-x-180-data.jpg]
Former Queensland police officer Jack Herbert (aka 'The Bagman') was at the centre of the state's web of cops and crooks.

Jack Herbert was a former police Licensing Branch detective who for years was the conduit between the crooks and the cops.

He doled out hundreds of thousands in bribes to corrupt police.

Masters travelled the state speaking to and interviewing people about the Joke.

On May 11, 1987, The Moonlight State went to air on Four Corners.

"The pivotal thing about The Moonlight State and why it caused an earthquake was that for the first time, what Masters achieved, was a link between criminal figures, the underworld and corruption and police," Condon said.

"That's what caused so much drama and why it was an astonishing piece of television journalism."

For Masters, the day after The Moonlight State would bring fresh drama.
"I wake up to the sounds of my own heartbeat," he said.

Quote:"These are scary moments, sometimes the worst moments because you've done your best, you're pretty much exhausted, but then a whole new battle begins."

That battle would become the Fitzgerald Inquiry.

It would run for two years, hear from 339 witnesses and see the police commissioner, Sir Terence Lewis, jailed and stripped of his knighthood.

Also convicted were senior police and Valley kingpin, Gerry Bellino, who was sentenced to seven years in prison for paying bribes.

As for Jack "the Bagman" Herbert, he escaped jail by rolling over and telling all to the inquiry.

Watch Four Corners' Breaking the Brotherhood on iview.

The Moonlight State, the 1987 report that prompted the Fitzgerald Inquiry, can be viewed in full on the Four Corners website.

[Image: 5903986-3x2-700x467.jpg] Photo: Tony Fitzgerald QC hands over the Fitzgerald Report to then-Queensland premier Mike Ahern. (State Library of Queensland)

My next reference goes to Nick Xenophon's (NXT party) policy webpage under Aviation: 


A safe and strong aviation sector is vital to Australia's needs. Having our aircraft maintained in Australia is an integral part of ensuring high safety standards and trust in the aviation industry. 

What needs to be done:
  • There should be an Inspector General of Aviation that acts as an impartial watch-dog over all aviation regulators -  in particular CASA and the ATSB - to ensure that they operate in the public interest.
  • Implement recommendations from Senate reports on aviation and safety. 
The 2nd bullet point above (in red) is perhaps the biggest bugbear for any Senators/members of parliament involved with aviation safety inquiries and nearly all industry advocate groups &/or stakeholders... Dodgy  
Now to the Barry O connection... Wink
Next reference is Senator O'Sullivans profile webpage (note the parts in bold red):
Quote:Senator Barry O’Sullivan

[Image: Bio-pic.jpg]Whether it be as a country police officer, grazier, business operator or member of the LNP executive, Barry O’Sullivan brings a wealth of experience to his role as Senator for Queensland.

During his first 100 days in the position, Barry has explained his clear objective is to advocate and initiate policies that lift the standard of living, including service-delivery and economic sustainability, across rural and regional Queensland, which has sustained generations of his family for more than a century.

Born in Gogango, Central Queensland, Barry was educated at St Joseph’s Wanda Convent and the Christina Brother College (now Cathedral College) at Rockhampton.

Upon leaving school, he was employed as an office boy at The Rockhampton Morning Bulletin and The Longreach Leader newspapers before joining a road construction crew building the Beef Development Road from the Five Ways north of Cloncurry to the Gregory River Crossing.

Barry joined the Queensland police in 1976, the same year he married Annie Van Lathum of Barcaldine.

His commenced his policing career in Brisbane serving in Inala, the City Beat, the Metro CIB the Burglary Unit, the Fraud Squad and the Drug Squad.

However, wanting to return his young family to regional Queensland, Barry transferred to the Rockhampton Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) in 1979 and later served in the Moranbah CIB region (a one man detective office), which included the districts of Nebo, Glenden, Dysart, Moranbah, Clermont and Charters Towers.

Among his achievements during this period was a research grant to attend the United States Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) National Academy to study the profiling of serial offenders.

Following the Fitzgerald Inquiry, Barry was appointed to be among the Queensland “change” agents to implement the recommendations in the Central Police Region, which stretched from Bowen to Gladstone and across to the Northern Territory border.

He was appointed Acting Staff Officer to the Assistant Commissioner in the central region, having the responsibility of supervising the project that restructured the framework of the Queensland Police Service in line with the Fitzgerald recommendations.

In 1990 Barry worked with the Corrective Services Commission by the Queensland Public Service to facilitate the implementation of the recommendations from the Black Deaths in Custody Royal Commission and the Kennedy Review into Queensland prisons.

Over some 15 years of police service, Barry was awarded – two imperial honours (Bronze medal for Bravery, the Police Long Service and Good Conduct Medal); a Commissioner’s Commendation for Bravery, an additional Commissioner’s Commendation for Service and two Commissioner’s Favourable Records.

Upon retiring from the police force, Barry established an Insurance Loss Adjusting practice which specialised in the preparation of briefs of evidence in civil litigation cases associated with world-wide catastrophic aviation accidents (principally international flights). He has worked on crash investigations all over the world.

Barry also established Jilbridge (currently NewLands) – a vertically integrated construction and development business (both civil and structural) based in Toowoomba, which currently employs over 100 staff.

Barry and his family have also operated livestock properties and contracted earthmoving services across leased and owned holdings at Cooyar, Ravensborne and Goondiwindi.
In the lead up to the merger of the Liberal and National Parties, Barry was asked to assist in overseeing the registration of the new entity, the LNP. He was appointed honorary Treasurer.

He served in role during the 2008 merger until his pre-selection to the Senate seat vacated by Barnaby Joyce, who had resigned to contest the House of Representatives seat of New England at the 2013 federal election.

Barry served on the Candidate Review Committee between 2009 and 2013, going on to be appointed Chair of the Committee in 2010, before winning pre-selection himself in 2013 to take over the senate seat made available following Current-Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce’s decision to challenge the Lower House seat of New England in regional New South Wales.

Barry was officially appointed to the Senate by the Queensland Parliament on 11 February 2014.

Barry used his maiden speech the following month to state his primary focus during his time in Federal Parliament would be dedicated to pushing for policies that enable the ‘rehydration’ of rural and regional Queensland.

As Barry said in his Maiden speech: “decades of progressive restructuring of government agencies with an emphasis on a corporatized model – compounded by the overarching principles of economic rationalism – have seen us significantly and aggressively reduce government based and government funded services to many parts of regional and rural Australia. 

“Whilst all levels of Government acknowledge community services obligations and a responsibility to distribute the wealth of our nation evenly amongst its citizens, we tend to struggle in the delivery of these commitments the further we get away from places where the postcodes end in three zeroes.

“During my time in this chamber, I will be applying the test of fairness and equity to policies and legislation that has the potential to impact the great people of regional and rural Queensland. 

“I will be particularly looking for things that support the rejuvenation of non-metropolitan communities, things that will help small family businesses and the family corporations – particularly those in agriculture and allied support industries. In short, I intend to support businesses that underpin this Nation’s wealth and economic security. Those enterprises that directly impact on the fortunes of our standard of living.”

Barry and Annie, who passed away in 2008, raised four children together. The extended O’Sullivan family now includes six grandchildren. He lives in Toowoomba.

Do you reckon there would be a more perfectly groomed candidate for the position of Chair/Deputy Chair of the Senate RRAT committee? - just saying... Rolleyes

MTF...P2 Tongue
In recent months I've been reading and learning about Carl Gustav Jung. He was a Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who founded analytical psychology. His work has been influential not only in psychiatry but also in anthropology, archaeology, literature, philosophy and religious studies. Interestingly, as a schoolboy Carl experienced a vision of God, seated on a golden throne, dropping ‘an enormous turd’ on a cathedral!!!

Metaphorically speaking, perhaps Sen Barry O'Braces will be our Carl Jung and have a vision of one of the Senators dropping an enormous turd on CAsA? He seems like a smart chap, bit of a bulldog and has a good work history to boot. Personally I like the no-nonsense bloke, along with NX, Sterle, a bit of Nash and of course the intelligent and eloquent Fawcett. So what does thou say Senator O'braces oh dear friend, would either you or a fellow Senator consider squatting over your Senate throne to drop a giant steaming turd right into the lap of CAsA? Please say yes......

"Safe copraphillia for all"
JFK said it best:-

“In a time of domestic crisis, men of goodwill and generosity should be able to unite regardless of party or politics.”

I wonder, does Australian aviation realise what a strange and unusual phenomenon we have been gifted; let alone the general public; in this Senate Estimates committee? I doubt it. We have “men of good will”, which, of itself is peculiar enough; but to have men of good will ‘united’ in the common good, despite ‘party’ is; IMO, remarkable. These are ‘true’ statesmen, those who have ‘seen’ the ‘facts’ and unlike the simple ‘political animal’, honestly seek to address the glaring waste, outstanding debt and monstrous deception, foisted on the public, thinly disguised as “aviation safety”; at their expense.

These are all ‘practical’ men, well versed in not only ‘real life’ but also in the ways of ‘politics’ for party benefit – ahead of the general good. They have put ‘party’ aside, their differing political ‘philosophy’ away – for the time being. A group simply united in doing what’s best, properly – for the benefit of the nation.

Now is the time for all good men and true to come to the aid of the nations aviation sector  and those outstanding Statesmen who have simply had enough of the platitudes, deception and obfuscation from what should be, a world class aviation safety system, not some bloody fool bureaucratic passing the parcel game. It used to be; and, gods know we have thrown enough money at it; so why ain’t it?

This committee has driven the thin edge of a wedge under a pivotal point, at just the right time. Now, it is time for this industry to speak out, put a shoulder to the wheel and push like hell. There may never be a better time to place your trust – just for once – in the democratic system of government we hold so dear. We are currently in the committee’s debt; time to pay. Facts, support and evidence are now required to back up these ‘men of goodwill’.  Whinging and whispering in the hanger tea room  achieves nothing. Hit ’em with the facts, hit ‘em hard - have some faith and put an end to the misery this industry has endured.

“Experience keeps a dear school, yet fools will learn in no other.” (BF).

Toot – and yus, - us had a couple with TOM – tooty. Sow hat?

P7  - Edit - Twas more than a couple – no matter; home safe and in one piece, again, it sleeps now. All Hitch’s fault. Courtesy of and with thanks to - Australian Flying.
(06-16-2017, 07:18 PM)kharon Wrote: JFK said it best:-

“In a time of domestic crisis, men of goodwill and generosity should be able to unite regardless of party or politics.”

I wonder, does Australian aviation realise what a strange and unusual phenomenon we have been gifted; let alone the general public; in this Senate Estimates committee? I doubt it. We have “men of good will”, which, of itself is peculiar enough; but to have men of good will ‘united’ in the common good, despite ‘party’ is; IMO, remarkable. These are ‘true’ statesmen, those who have ‘seen’ the ‘facts’ and unlike the simple ‘political animal’, honestly seek to address the glaring waste, outstanding debt and monstrous deception, foisted on the public, thinly disguised as “aviation safety”; at their expense.

These are all ‘practical’ men, well versed in not only ‘real life’ but also in the ways of ‘politics’ for party benefit – ahead of the general good. They have put ‘party’ aside, their differing political ‘philosophy’ away – for the time being. A group simply united in doing what’s best, properly – for the benefit of the nation.

Now is the time for all good men and true to come to the aid of the nations aviation sector  and those outstanding Statesmen who have simply had enough of the platitudes, deception and obfuscation from what should be, a world class aviation safety system, not some bloody fool bureaucratic passing the parcel game. It used to be; and, gods know we have thrown enough money at it; so why ain’t it?

This committee has driven the thin edge of a wedge under a pivotal point, at just the right time. Now, it is time for this industry to speak out, put a shoulder to the wheel and push like hell. There may never be a better time to place your trust – just for once – in the democratic system of government we hold so dear. We are currently in the committee’s debt; time to pay. Facts, support and evidence are now required to back up these ‘men of goodwill’.  Whinging and whispering in the hanger tea room  achieves nothing. Hit ’em with the facts, hit ‘em hard - have some faith and put an end to the misery this industry has endured.

“Experience keeps a dear school, yet fools will learn in no other.” (BF).

Toot – and yus, - us had a couple with TOM – tooty. Sow hat?

P7  - Edit - Twas more than a couple – no matter; home safe and in one piece, again, it sleeps now. All Hitch’s fault. Courtesy of and with thanks to - Australian Flying.

(ref: CASA Meets the press #378 )

To follow up your sentiments, on the 'men of goodwill' Senators, I happened to monitor the Drone Inquiry hearing in YMML yesterday and the tag team of Chair Sterlo & Deputy Chair was fully on display... Wink 

Unfortunately the hearing was audio only and not recorded (unless requested), so we'll just have to wait for the Hansard to come out for what I think will be some golden moments... Undecided

However I do have another example from earlier in the week at the 'Increasing use of so-called Flag of Convenience shipping in Australia' public hearing, which IMO more than adequately amplifies the effectiveness of a Senate tag team inquisition:
Quote:CHAIR: But I might do then, is go to Senator O'Sullivan. He is bursting to ask a question. I am sure Senator Rice is too. Would you like to have a go?

Senator O'SULLIVAN:  I just want to come back to the statement that there was an awareness that Captain Salas was in country at that time. I imagine that statement reflects an awareness that he was in country at that time prior to the request. I want to assume for the purposes of this exchange that the first notification you had formally was from either the police authorities or the coroner's court. When you say that, does that mean that that information—that Captain Salas was in the country—was in a system and available to you if you chose to search for it, or was it in the fore of mind of someone within the departments because a flag, an alarm if you like, had been triggered when the data went in that he would be in country on particular dates? Let us assume an intel officer had it on their desk that Captain Salas was on his way back, he will be here tomorrow and he will be here until Friday. They are two very distinct—do you accept the question?

Mr Wilden : Yes, and I will answer it in both parts. Certainly, the fact that he had a valid visa and had obviously advised he was coming in country is stored in the system, but what we do need is, exactly as you have pointed out, a reason to have that in the forefront of our mind. That reason may be a formal request, as Mr Price went to earlier.

Senator O'SULLIVAN:  Mr Wilden, the burden of my question is quite specific. Mr Price gave evidence that we were aware that he was here. I want you to tailor the answer around that awareness, if you do not mind.

Mr Wilden : I will get Mr Price to address that.

Mr Price : It goes to the earlier opening comments of Mr Wilden. You have the MCV process, which is the application for a visa to come to Australia, so that is the first step. Then there is a requirement for an impending arrival report which tells us what vessel is coming ahead of time—up to 96 hours—and included in that report is a list of all the crew and their biodata. This is happening for every vessel at every port.

Senator O'SULLIVAN:  Accepted.

Mr Price : So Mr Salas appears and it goes into our system. At the same time as it goes into our system, it goes across our alerts database. I do not want to go into too much detail except to say—

Senator O'SULLIVAN:  Sorry, not all of that data goes across an alerts database?

Mr Price : It goes to if we have an interest in particular individuals as well.

Mr Williams : To clarify: all that data is checked against our alerts, but there is obviously not an alert on everybody.

Senator O'SULLIVAN:  So Captain Salas was on alert?

Mr Williams : No.

Senator O'SULLIVAN:  Sorry?

Mr Williams : At the time of those entries that Commander Price referred to, no, he was not on alert.

Senator O'SULLIVAN:  So Captain Salas, who is a suspect for these murders and events, confessed to gun running, which I think is a very strong term.

Senator RICE:  No, gun running and two deaths on board.

Senator O'SULLIVAN:  He did not qualify for a red flag within this alert system?

Mr Williams : That is dependent upon advice from the relevant investigating authority. So, at the point of—

Senator O'SULLIVAN:  I do not want to talk theoretically, and this may help explain why he was not on alert; this is an actual question. At the time that is relevant to the time frame of my questions, was Captain Salas on alert? Was there a red flag?

Mr Williams : At the time of his entry, he was not on alert.

Senator O'SULLIVAN:  You have heard the commentary from all of the colleagues. What does it take to get oneself on the alert? If a couple of suspected murders and gun running does not make one eligible, what does one have to do?

Mr Williams : We would need to be aware of the concern or activity. So we would need to be notified by the appropriate authority, and then we would put the individual on alert.

Senator O'SULLIVAN:  Do you mean that no-one within your organisation had been aware of the Captain Salas episodes? We need to put the shovel down here, because that is even more serious than that you did know and he was not on alert. Are you telling me that, within the security framework of our nation—all of you who share responsibility for various parts of it—you did not know about a Captain Salas who was involved potentially in a couple of murders and gun running?

Mr Price : Can I just clarify? At the time of the deaths, there was a joint operation conducted with the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, as it was at the time, the New South Wales Police Force and the AFP. There were two days of activity on the vessel at on the vessel at the time of the deaths. All the information and intelligence collected was then forwarded for any assessment. So, of course—

Senator O'SULLIVAN:  Forwarded where?

Mr Price : To our intelligence holdings—

Senator O'SULLIVAN:  So intel gets this body of material, yes.

Mr Price : And we assessed the level of threat posed at the time. The assessment—I have got to be careful because we are getting into methodology here of how people—

Senator O'SULLIVAN:  No, I do not want to know the methodology, Mr Price.

Mr Price : And that is the issue.

Senator O'SULLIVAN:  What you are about to tell us is that, post an assessment, when all of this information—sorry, let me not make it descriptive. Any information that was available as a result of these investigations of deaths on board and gun running and the like is passed to your intelligence section. They assess it and then they make a determination whether something further should happen—such as, we will put Mr X or Mrs X onto an alert. So are you telling us that, post the assessment of the intel that had come from those other agencies in relation to these deaths and gun running, there was not a determination to put him on alert?

Mr Price : What I can say is that that is the case. The case is that the assessment, based on the available information and intelligence collected at the time—and we do not just place alerts for our own agency; any law enforcement agency can put out an alert if they wish to. So at that time it was not assessed, and I have to clarify—

Senator O'SULLIVAN:  So it was assessed, but it was not assessed to go on an alert.

Mr Price : It was not assessed as requiring that we needed to do an intervention. Remember, we had already done an intervention, quite comprehensively, and collected all the data, plus we had looked at the evidence provided to the coroner. What Captain Salas admits to is not the smuggling, and, in fact, he clearly states in his testimony he was not smuggling guns to Australia. What he was doing was taking commission from the crew, forcing them to buy weapons through him from a person who supplied those weapons to the crew back in the Philippines. So, it is certainly not—

Senator O'SULLIVAN:  Well, there is a bit of 'tomahto' 'tomato' in there, but—

Mr Price : But it certainly is a concern, we obviously take the information—

CHAIR: This may or may not assist, but I want to quote Hansard from 30 March 2016. Senator O'Sullivan, you and I were both asking questions. This is the answer that came back from the department:

'Yes, the department has holdings on Mr Salas'—I do not know what holding are but we will find that out—dating back to 24 December 1994.'  

This is you, Mr Williams, I believe.

Mr Williams : [inaudible]

CHAIR: 1994, I am quoting you:

These holdings relate to a range of interactions the department has had with Mr Salas and information we have received about his activities and movements.

I said:

So, he has been on the radar since 24 December 1994, is that correct?

You then said:

That is correct.  

Mr Williams : They were the routine transactions of entry and departure, and his signatures, for example, on the cargo reports and vessel reporting requirements that he made as master of the vessel. They were routine—

Senator O'SULLIVAN:  With respect, Mr Williams, that is not fit with him not being on the radar. The radar suggests that there is an alert looking for that little green blinking thing that is moving around; we know where it is at all times.

Mr Williams : I agree.

Senator O'SULLIVAN:  This is not going to end here for me. You have renewed my interest in this. This is not a question but an opportunity for anybody to comment: you have left me once more very concerned about the security arrangements in your agencies, if someone like Captain Salas does not qualify for a red flag. You might not want to know, but I suspect that ordinary Australians would want to know when the Salases of the world are in our ports, whether he is gun-running or he is clipping the ticket while someone else is gun-running or he bought guns. G-U-N-S—I do not give a rat's arse where they are coming from or where they are going. We need to know when these sort of people are in our company. I am happy for any of you to reflect on it.

Mr Price : Could I just add—

CHAIR: Yes, but before you do, let's not forget there was a man missing overboard and two days prior, when the ship was just out of Newcastle, one met an untimely death. So we had one missing and one dead as they were coming in to the port of Newcastle.  

Mr Price : When we talk about alerts, it relates to specific interest that an agency wants us to act on, to take some form of action or activity. When that incident first occurred there was a full operation. Subsequent to that and without being on alert, as an example, around January or February, again, when Captain Salas arrived on the coast, we ran the data through the system and the officers picked up the connection through our intelligence holdings of this previous history that Salas has. That initiated a further interdiction and examination of the cabin. So it does not necessarily require that there be an alert; it is to do with our intelligence holdings—and this is part of the assessment process we were talking about before—and when we put in the data on a vessel. A number of factors go into our risk assessment; it is not one individual necessarily, although that can be the case. It could be the vessel itself or the crewing agency—there is a variety of factors. In that instance, Captain Salas was subject to a further intervention where nothing was found. So that was post the initial event. We continued to have an interest once it came to our attention through the unfortunate deaths on board, the suspicious deaths; notwithstanding he was not on a formal alert per se.

Senator O'SULLIVAN:  In your own evidence before this committee on your intervention: you have this body of intel—and we all accept there that there is really nothing about Salas or the circumstances around the deaths or the allegations to do with the G-U-N-S, whatever they are; it is all at your disposal. It was not as if you were deprived of any of the intel; you have it all at your disposal. Is it your evidence that after an intervention that did not produce any further evidence that would promote concern for your agencies that that was it? That is what the evidence suggests to me. You have done your intervention, you have left Salas behind you on the boat, you have searched his room and there is no trace of anything—so Salas is no longer alive. Let me put it to you this way: if there were no coronial hearing and Salas did not do anything new to bring himself to the attention of other agencies with whom you have a relationship or your own people, you would never have known. It would have been in the system that Salas was in the country again for his bimonthly visit, but you would never have known. It was not: we will have a bow peep at Salas again in six or 12 months time to see whether he is a recalcitrant and may be back to his bad old ways. He just would never have come to your attention again.

Mr Williams : That is not our evidence.

Mr Price : That is not our evidence. As I said, he came clearly on the radar at the time of the unfortunate incident. We did the operation and collected the information jointly with New South Wales and AFP. There is an ongoing investigation into that—and not just into Captain Salas but into the entire crew—as part of the coronial. We are obviously interested in further intelligence or actions that—

Senator O'SULLIVAN:  You were at that time, yes.

Mr Price : Then, when the subpoena was issued for him to front to court, again, there was another intervention with Salas—a search of his belongings. That went ahead, so we had an interest then. Then, again, and this is through no other—

Senator O'SULLIVAN:  But that was not an interest generated by your system; an interest generated—

Mr Price : Yes, but just the third intervention—

Senator O'SULLIVAN:  Mr Price, we are going to run out of time today. But, I will tell you, one thing we have a lot of is time. We can come back again and again. I am not trying to trap you. I am trying to corner you. Just work with me on the burden of this question. If the coronial request had not come to you during that particular visit of Captain Salas, you would not have consciously known he was in the country. He was in your system, for certain. Had you typed in 'Salas' and clicked search, you would have gone: 'Bang! He's in Newcastle at 3 pm tomorrow.' But, without the subpoena request, you would not have consciously known. There was nothing in the history of Captain Salas nor in the body of intelligence that we have all agreed you have access to that warranted, 'We really want to know when this guy is in the country at particular intervals.'

Mr Price : Apologies, I have clearly not communicated clearly enough. On the third intervention, there was no subpoena; there was no coronial requirement.

Senator O'SULLIVAN:  No; I appreciate that.

Mr Price : It was an assessment done by officers in, I think, January or February, but we can clarify that date, and the information holdings that we had led them to believe we should search Captain Salas on that ship.

Senator O'SULLIVAN:  I agree with that. That is agreed. Let's get—

Mr Price : They did that, and that was not at the request—

Senator O'SULLIVAN:  No. So that is good.

Mr Price : That was from—

Senator O'SULLIVAN:  I will tell you something: that would give me great confidence if were happening. And it did happen.

Mr Price : It did happen.

Senator O'SULLIVAN:  You need to be congratulated. I think it was a good decision and a good manoeuvre. But, Mr Price, forgetting the subpoena request, after you did that action, he was not booked in the diary. Look, I am a retired detective. I used to keep a diary. If I came to search your house for drugs and I was not satisfied, I went back to my office and I put you in my diary for four months time so I did not forget you. I would find you again and I would come and pay you a visit. Salas was not in any system that would promote further action by any of the agencies, based on the intel you had at that time.

Mr Williams : No, because our activities and our interventions occur when the individual concerned or the vessel they are on comes back into our—

Senator O'SULLIVAN:  Which is what happened here.

Mr Williams : Yes. If, at some point in the future, he had come back in as a master of the vessel—

Senator O'SULLIVAN:  Which he did on this day, Mr Williams.

Mr Williams : Can I just finish the answer to your question? The same risk assessment process would occur and, it is possible—probable—that some intervention would have occurred as a consequence, similar to the one Mr Price was describing.

Senator O'SULLIVAN:  Hold on. You are perhaps hearing something I am not. Mr Williams, we already have evidence on the occasion when the subpoena was served. From information buried in your database with the other million bytes of information, your agency knew that Salas was coming back into the country. But you, Mr Williams, and you, Mr Price, and you, Mr Wilden, and you, Mr Chandler, and you, Ms Poidevin, would never have known, because there was no flag on him.

Senator RICE:  No red flag.

Senator O'SULLIVAN:  No flag, so you would not have known. Had the subpoena not been issued, there is every real chance—unless you want to give me evidence to the contrary—that Captain Salas would have made his way in, had his couple of days around port and left this nation without you ever having consciously known he was there. Does someone want to contradict me on this occasion? We know the subpoena prompted you to go to a keyboard—'Salas is here. We'll go and serve the subpoena.' But, without that, he was not in your detective's diary, he was not flagged, he was not in a bring-up system.

CHAIR: I am going to add something here.

Senator O'SULLIVAN:  Just don't let them off the hook for this.

CHAIR: No, I am not letting them off the hook. But this may become very helpful, Senator O'Sullivan. Captain Salas, after the third death in Japan, was transferred to an Australian FOC coastal tanker. Are you aware of that? You are. There is nod there. You said Captain Salas and the other crew were placed on a watch list or something like that. You had them all on that. But Captain Salas was able to remain in Australia on his dedicated domestic ship for nine months on a crew visa while he was a person of interest in the inquest and identified with gun issues. Am I wrong there?

Mr Wilden : I would have to check that last detail—

CHAIR: I am not wrong.

Mr Wilden : I do not have that off the top of my head.

CHAIR: Nine months, Senator O'Sullivan.

Mr Wilden : To perhaps try to assist, I think we are straying in and out of different lanes here about how the department does its business. I spoke earlier about preparing a chronology for the committee. As part of that chronology, we will go to these issues around at what point we were using—if you like—an alert list, which is a very formal mechanism where we have been advised we want to do things, versus intel, which is live information that we manage for anyone coming in and out. We will explain, as part of that chronology, the actions we took at each stage and what we were relying on, because I just think we might be bouncing across each other.

CHAIR: I will make it easier for you, Mr Wilden. What about, with my fellow senators here, we give you two weeks for the questions on notice, which is normal—27 June. So you take that back. But bear in mind—and, just so you are very clear, you are going to put your chronology out to us—if Owen Jacques had not flown at his expense from the Sunshine Coast to Sydney because he was following the coronial inquest and then, at the smoko break, walked up to, I think, the prosecutor at the time and said, 'Hey, this bloke's in Gladstone or coming in today or tomorrow.' If he had not said that, Captain Salas, by your own admission, the very next or the day afterwards, would have been on the plane and gone.

Mr Wilden : We will address that.

MTF? - Definitely, when I can get my hands on yesterday's Hansard...P2  Tongue
Another Politician Minnionaire!

Andrew Robb did not breach code of conduct by taking $880k consultancy role with Chinese billionaire, Scott Ryan says


Special Minister of State Scott Ryan has defended former trade minister Andrew Robb, who took an $880,000 part-time job as a consultant to a Chinese billionaire days after the 2016 federal election.

"We have to be careful where someone has a broad portfolio — particularly someone like Andrew who was a senior businessman before he came into parliament — isn't prohibited completely from work after they leave public work," Senator Ryan said.

His comments come after a Four Corners-Fairfax investigation revealed ASIO warned political leaders that the Chinese Communist Party may be influencing the Australian political system through multi-million-dollar donations by influential businessmen.

One of those businessmen was property developer Huang Xiangmo, who along with associates donated $50,000 to Mr Robb's campaign financing vehicle, the Bayside Forum, on the day the Free Trade Agreement was signed in 2014.

In a separate development, the investigation found Mr Robb began working as a consultant to yet another Chinese billionaire, Ye Cheng, on July 1, 2016 — the day before the federal election.

He had previously announced he was resigning from the Melbourne seat of Goldstein and ceased to be an MP on May 9.

Mr Cheng's company, Landbridge Group, was embroiled in controversy when it was awarded a 99-year lease over the port of Darwin.

No claim Robb breached code: Ryan
Senator Ryan said the former trade minister's $880,000 part-time position with the Landbridge Group did not breach ministerial code of conduct rules, describing the situation as "a complex issue".

"There is no claim that Andrew Robb has in any way breached the code because it does prohibit dealing with officials that you dealt with as a minister, on issues that you dealt with as a minister, or on knowledge you had as a minister," Senator Ryan said.

"There has been no claim about that."

When asked whether Mr Robb's position was "appropriate", Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said "that is really a question that Mr Robb should answer".

"I think it is only fair and reasonable that people are curious enough to want to know the answer and if further discussions need to be held in regards to people's roles, then I will always back in our nation," Mr Joyce said.

"I believe absolutely that there should never be any even implied undue influence."
Mr Huang also reneged on a $400,000 pledge to Labor in June last year, after its defence spokesman took a hard line on China's militarisation of the South China Sea.

The next day, Senator Sam Dastyari appeared with Mr Huang at a press conference exclusively for Chinese media, where he echoed Beijing's line on the disputed waters.

Senator Dastyari later lost his shadow cabinet position over revelations that Mr Huang and a second Chinese donor had paid for some of the Labor figure's expenses.

Article here;

OINK OINK! Naturally there is 'nothing untoward' in all of this. Mind you, I wouldn't mind earning $880k p/a to work 'part time'! My goodness, after all those years working so hard in Can'tberra Mr Robb must have gained some amazing skills to make him so valuable don't you think????

"Safe ex Ministerial Minnionaires for all'
M&M: Listen up minions - Rolleyes

This is probably going to make some on here want to vomit but anyhow... Big Grin

By Harley Dennett, via the Mandarin... Wink

Quote:Mike Mrdak shows how an experienced leader doesn’t mince words

Harley Dennett / August 25, 2017

  [Image: mike-mrdak-360x200.png]

Up and coming public sector leaders would find it time well spent to study the masters. Show, don’t tell is a writing technique — but quite valuable a skill for leaders, as demonstrated when Mike Mrdak took to the microphone for the latest IPAA ACT secretary address.

The secretary of the federal Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development opened with a crowd-pleasing promise: a uniquely Australian success story, one involving most members of the audience in some capacity, an opportunity to pat each other on the back. That success story was the Federation and its ongoing evolution.

What the audience got was a pitch-perfect demonstration of how to give frank and fearless advice — where the advice in this case was what the audience of mostly central agency types needed, but probably not what they wanted or expected to hear.

A view ministers need to hear

The untold Federation story, Mrdak began, is not the big dollars allocated by governments, but in long-term planning and investment reform. Rather than something unique to infrastructure, Mrdak sees that long-term perspective as a core responsibility of all public servants.

“Electoral cycles are very short, the focus of government tends to be very short,” Mrdak said. “We are the continuity and the people who have to understand what the future needs are to provide that long-term advice to government … often governments don’t want to hear our view.

“A view is not an opinion. I have lots of opinions — not worth much — but my agency has a view on the right outcome for the future. It’s informed by evidence, informed by good long-term research, and it’s all about what is the right outcome for the challenges facing the country.”

Be prepared to take forward-leaning steps to get there, ahead of the pressing public policy issues of the day. That focus is what differentiates this vocation from others, he said.

Politicians may not want to listen, acknowledged the secretary who has been appointed and re-appointed under both ALP and Coalition governments. But he had some tips for that situation — tips that revolved around the real theme of his talk: collaboration and coalition building.

Minister won’t listen? Could the same ideas get a better reception in the minister’s office if coming from an industry group? Mrdak thought it likely. So build up a shared vision with stakeholders, the minister start hearing a consensus, and  long-term goals start to also become viable as short-term steps. When done properly, he added, the community can enjoy quite substantial benefits.

‘Critical for public servants to make Federation work’

The Federation is like the APS, Mrdak observed, albeit too crisis driven. “Fragile, tired and needs care and attention but still world-class.”

The Constitution was drafted in a very different world. Rigidily built into it makes reform difficult. COAG and issues like rail coordination show that governments can make it work within the limitations of the Constitution. It falls of the wheels when governments fail to invest in COAG institutions.

“If you want to see a reform agenda killed early, hand it over to the PMO, PM&C or Premier’s departments.”

“If you want to see a reform agenda killed early, hand it over to the PMO, PM&C or Premier’s departments.”

“Too often governments look for the quick fix, place too much faith on financial incentives to deliver policy outcomes, or neglect the big picture in favour of local outcomes. In my view these short-sighted approaches are not investing in the Federation, actually erode the Federation and the nation. They leave the Federation fragile, and open to criticism that it is a model that does not serve Australians well.”

Australian governments will judged on how effectively they manage the federation, Mrdak notes. Good government is nine jurisdictions working together to deliver an outcome for the community, a clear understanding of the problems, and a commitment to the national interest. Above all, it requires public servants doing the hard policy work, building the evidence and sharing it freely.

“The states are not the enemy,” Mrdak says, they too can be committed to the national interest when shown good evidence, “but they’ve become experts in making the Commonwealth pay too much — we need alternative incentives.”

Where reform grows, and where it goes to die

The not-so-successful approach to Federation is reform announced by press release, Mrdak says, frequently driven from centre, particularly PMO or Premier’s offices. These “can’t bring the states territories, or community with them. Perhaps these days always driven by the need to be campaign mode, elected officials at every level of government are seen to be doing something, anything, even if it isn’t actually achieving a great deal.

“Also, the centralisation of these issues in my view kill the issue very early. If you want to see a reform agenda killed early, hand it over to the PMO, PM&C or Premier’s departments, and you’ll not see it ever come to fruition.”

“The only way you’ll see reform is when it’s driven by line agencies, and the coordination is done at the centre, but the hard work is done in the line area. Often the Commonwealth and also the state governments don’t draw enough value from the expertise of their line agencies. Reform led by central agencies usually founders quite early because it doesn’t have buy-in from line agencies across the jurisdictions and often driven too much by the Treasury focus on where the dollars go.”

“A central approach often doesn’t engage the states enough on agreeing to the problems.

It too quickly moves away from identifying the need for reform and valuing the state contribution, into a discussion around dollars. When you get to the dollars its often combative and not cooperative and that’s why we need to do much better in how we manage our reform agenda across the public service both federally and with the states.”

“That’s why line agencies must have a view, because only they have the relationships that make this work.”
My Grandad used to say: "Know thy enemy!"  Dodgy

MTF...P2 Tongue
I'm not sure where to post seems as good as any..
Full article

Quote:Infrastructure boss Mike Mrdak lashes Prime Minister and Cabinet and prime ministers' offices

The boss of the Department of Infrastructure has delivered a blunt assessment of some of Canberra's most powerful public servants and political staffers, calling out central agencies as dollar-driven policy killers.

In a speech to the Institute of Public Administration in Canberra this week, Mike Mrdak said sending reform proposals to Parliament House or the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet early was a sure way to have good policy ideas killed off, arguing line agencies were better placed to deliver development through constructive relationships and cooperation.

The comments have echoed through Canberra's public service circles, leaving some surprised by the at times undiplomatic tone.

A former PM&C deputy secretary and Commonwealth coordinator-general, Mr Mrdak said more long-term planning and evidence-based decision making was needed to overcome the short focus of governments.

He said "forward-leaning steps" were often needed on infrastructure planning, including sometimes ahead of public opinion.

Mr Mrdak warned reform proposals born in central agencies or prime ministers' offices often did not serve the public or the states and territories well.

"If you want to see a reform agenda killed early, hand it over to the PMO, PM&C or premier's departments, and you'll not see it ever come to fruition," he said to laugher from the room.

"The only way that you get long-term change and reform is when it's driven by line agencies and the coordination is done at the centre, but the hard work is done in the line area.

"Often the Commonwealth and also state governments don't draw enough value from the expertise of their line agencies. Reform led by central agencies usually founders quite early because it doesn't have buy-in from line agencies across the jurisdictions and is often driven too much by the Treasury focus on where the dollars go."

Citing heightened discussion about the Australian constitution during Parliament's citizenship fiasco, Mr Mrdak said fast electoral cycles and limited political agendas hampered good processes and the public service needed to provide a buffer.

"Electoral cycles are very short, the focus of government tends to be very short.

"We are the continuity and the people who have to understand what the future needs are to provide that long-term advice to government. We must have a view on the right outcome.

"Often governments don't want to hear our view - and a view is not an opinion. I have lots of opinions, they're not worth a lot, but my agency and my portfolio has a view about the right outcome for the future. It's informed by evidence, it's informed by good long-term research and it is all about what is the right outcome for the challenges facing the country."

He used the speech to call for line agencies to lead engagement with state governments and experts, because the approach of central agencies including PM&C and Treasury did not facilitate agreement on policy solutions.

"It too quickly moves away from identifying the need for reform and valuing the state contribution, into a discussion around dollars. When you get to the dollars, it is often combative and not cooperative.

"That's why we need to do much better in how we manage our reform agenda across the public service, both federally and with the states."

"That's why line agencies must have a view, because only they have the relationships that make this work," he said.

M&M: Reformation?-Forget it! We're all doomed... Confused   

A follow up to the last two posts, via the Oz:

Quote:‘Economic reform a hopeless cause’

[Image: 0d5613915d75aee5fb14b7eaee384bef?width=650]
Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development secretary Mike Mrdak

The Australian12:00AM September 4, 2017

Victorian Business Editor Melbourne

One of the nation’s most senior public servants has made an ­extraordinary outburst lamenting the inability of state and federal governments to deliver on economic reform, claiming the current public appetite for change is the worst he has seen in three decades in public life.

“I have not known a time in my 30-odd years in public policy when the authority of government, both at the federal and state level, to even raise a reform agenda is so cynically attacked,’’ Michael Mrdak, secretary of the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, said, adding that the current environment had made any discussion of reform almost impossible.

He told a forum convened by Infrastructure Partnerships Australia that such an environment made it “very hard as a nation to take hard decisions on the way forward’’.

A day later, in a speech to the Institute of Public Administration in Canberra, the former PM&C deputy secretary and commonwealth co-ordinator-general also criticised the centralisation of decision-making at the state and federal level. “If you want to see a reform agenda killed early, hand it over to the PMO, PM&C or premiers’ departments, and you’ll not see it ever come to fruition,’’ he said, noting it was the responsibility of the bureaucracy to focus on long-term planning and evidence-based decision-making to overcome the short focus of governments.

His comments echo those of Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe, who recently lamented the lack of economic reform in areas including tax, competition, education and the provision and pricing of infrastructure.

Business leaders have also questioned the federal government’s decision to abandon meaningful reform of the tax system after its company tax cuts for big corporations were opposed by Labor and the minor parties.

Mr Mrdak was commenting specifically at the IPA forum on the issue of road funding and whether fuel excise and registration fees should be scrapped and replaced with a system that charges drivers for how much they use the roads.

Transurban, the Australian Automobile Association and the IPA have been pushing road-user pricing as an alternative to the current system of funding new highways with petrol excise.

Dynamic road pricing has been implemented in some of the world’s major cities to ease congestion and improve the efficiency of road networks.

“The people will not get the information they need on an issue as complex as this through a tabloid headline or talkback radio,’’ Mr Mrdak said, before criticising the way “the tabloids’’ consistently portrayed discussions around tolls and road pricing as simply “new taxes’’.

The federal government has committed to hold an independent inquiry on the potential benefits and impacts of road market reform as an opportunity to build consensus within governments, industry and the community.

Mr Mrdak said the debate on road pricing was finally heading in the right direction after too often being “put in the hard basket’’. “This is no longer a theoretical concept, there is practical work happening across the country to provide the baseline information. Things are changing ... this is a reform that can have great social and economic benefit,’’ he said.

“We need to recognise for the community that the way we are operating is unsustainable.’’

He applauded Urban Infrastructure Minister Paul Fletcher, who has announced the government will investigate moves towards road-user pricing to manage congestion. He said Mr Fletcher had been prepared to argue to his colleagues that this micro-economic reform needed to be progressed.

At the same forum, Adrian Dwyer, executive director of policy and research at the federal government’s infrastructure advisory body, Infrastructure Australia, urged the government to introduce a road-pricing mechanism on electric cars before their uptake increased.

Stressing his comments did not represent official IA policy, he said the move was not about imposing a new tax on electric vehicles. Rather it was about moving to a fairer and more sustainable system of funding.

Retiring Infrastructure Australia chairman Mark Birrell echoed Mr Dwyer’s concerns about electric cars, telling the forum “the owner of a Tesla electric car pays no fuel excise at all, yet he or she shares the road with motorists paying hundreds of dollars a year in a tax that is meant to fund road maintenance’’.
M&M's doom & gloom attitude for reform coupled with the fact that the aviation industry has the most inept, self-centred, NFI, Muppet of a minister ever to pull on the jersey; all we need now is for ICAO to bump us down to category 2 and as Chicken Little said - "The END is NEAR!" Undecided

[Image: Chicken-Little..jpg]      

MTF...P2 Cool
Mr.Mrdak might have some credibility if he could show that he has ever taken any steps to reverse the fantastic waste and mismanagement in the Commonwealth's administration of aviation, and especially the General Aviation industry which is in disastrous bureaucratically caused decline.

Can'tberra is a black hole for the taxpayer's dollar and Mr. Mrdak's complaints smack of the arrogance and almighty smugness from what we used to think of as the public service.

If Mr.Mrdak would explain how he's tried to manage the handover of airports and maintain a semblance of responsibility and watchfulness towards the original intent to maintain the aviation priority then we might find some plausible cause for his extraordinary outburst.
We will hope that Parliament takes note that all the PR consultants fees wasted on coaching our senior public officials how to pull the wool over Senate committees is further proof that the bureaucracy needs to be firmly taken in hand.

Parliament might also come to realise that the unelected independent Commonwealth Corporate style of governance has failed, and that its not possible to relinquish responsibility away from the will of the people's representatives and maintain good governance or prudent use of taxpayer moneys.
The Murky Mandarin is the archetype of the self serving Bureaucrat.

His self promoting diatribe sends shivers down the spine in that his
words simply highlight the arrogance that infects the upper levels of
the so called public service.

If Mr. Mrdak considers himself a servant of the people, then he is deluding himself.
He is an abject failure.

Is there any member of the public that has benefited in the slightest from anything
Mr. Mrdak has had his sticky fingers involved in? I mean anyone but big banks and development sharks.

Has Mr. Mrdak, in any way, assisted or promoted the shaping and development of a vibrant aviation industry?

I would suggest Mr. Mrdak has actively and with malice aforethought, promoted the destruction of the general Aviation Industry in Australia.

Again I ask the question, is there anything Mr Mrdak has been involved in that has benefited the Australian people in any way?

Other than himself of course.

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