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Judicial Inquiry into CA$A called for by LNP Queensland Conference

On the floor of the 2017 LNP [Liberal National Party] Queensland on Sunday 16th July 2016, the following motion was placed and carried “……on the show of hands….”.

That this Convention of the LNP:

Calls upon the Federal Coalition to review recent air crash incidents and other matters, particularly in rural areas, with a view to developing and implementing changes to the Civil Aviation Act to:

1. Better manage aviation in Australia and
2. Implement a judicial inquiry to investigate existing problems of the Regulator.

This becomes a direction to the LNP of Queensland as to the wishes of it’s members.

Support came from the FNQ [Far North Queensland] branches represented at the Conference.

Two written submissions were made by:

  1. Shane Urquhart, who lost his daughter in 2005 at Lockhart River 

    Shane Urquhart statement 18/06/17

    On behalf of my family, thank you for taking an interest in our long-running fight for justice and the truth concerning the death of my daughter Sally in the Lockhart River plane crash on May 7 2005.

    We are no nearer now, 12 years later, to finding out the full and unadorned truth of why and how Sally died, and we are certainly no nearer to achieving justice for her and closure for us.

    You cannot understand what that is like – 12 years of anger and frustration on top of the initial disbelief and agony.

    We had not seen Sally for six months prior to May 7, but we knew of the wonderful future that she was working towards, most importantly her future married life with the man she loved, Trad Thornton, and also her future career with the job she loved with the Queensland Police Service.

    Sally and Trad were engaged to be married. All arrangements had been made for the biggest day of their lives, that coming September; the venue, the wedding dress, the bridesmaids’ dresses, the cake … then nothing.

    Constable Sally Urquhart was destined for greater things, having just completed an Honours degree in Law and Science and receiving public recognition from the police hierarchy. She volunteered to work in the Cape communities, and I know first-hand the enormous impact her work had. She was flying to Townsville on May 7 to complete her course for promotion to Senior Constable, and many others on that plane were fellow members of the Cape community who knew Sally and her work.

    The loss of Sally had a devastating effect on our family. My wife had a stroke soon afterwards, and my son developed severe depression, which had a significant impact on his young family. Of course for all of us there was the angst of knowing we would never see children or grandchildren from Sally, or cousins or nephews and nieces.

    We received hundreds and hundreds of cards and letters of condolence from all round Australia (which we set against the lack of compassion from successive governments, from CASA and from the aircraft owners and operators).

    I doubt that the Urquhart family will ever achieve closure – in fact having experienced what we have, I doubt that there is any such thing!

    Closure is impossible without knowing the full truth, and knowing that CASA and successive governments have done all they can to hide it. There have been three Senate inquiries, which achieved nothing for us and nothing for aviation safety.

    There has been a Coronial Inquest, which was a farce and a stitch-up from the start – counsel assisting was CASA’s pre-eminent defence barrister. Documents went missing or were not supplied. Witnesses demonstrably perjured themselves. Some vital witnesses were not called at all.

    At the heart of it all was CASA, an organisation that put its own interests ahead of the public interest by abusing its power and position, abusing the truth, and abusing the duty it had to our daughter Sally and us, and countless other families like us over a prolonged period of time.

    For these reasons, the Urquhart family’s faith in government and the legal system has been destroyed. We never stood a chance and neither did the families of the other 14 people on board.

    Thank you for hearing me out.

    The Urquhart family

    Metro operated by AeroTropics [owned by TransAir]

  2. Karen Casey – PelAir Nurse – November 2009

I kissed my three children goodnight and went to work as an Intensive Care Aero-Medical Nurse.

Job: Retrieve an Australian women from Samoa that needed to go to Melbourne Intensive Care.

If I knew that in November 2009, I was NOT protected by our lawmakers as I flew around the South Pacific many times in a Jet, I would have stayed on the ground.
In Australia, international air ambulance aviation has no direct, specific risk analysed regulations. This continues today.

The regulator leave that responsibility, dodging accountability, up to the operator. Therefore, no oversight of high risk Ambulance Policy being adhered to as there are none.

A glimpse of that night.

Close your eyes & imagine.
You’re in a private jet at night, in a storm over the ocean. Life-Vest on, ready to BRACE at any moment.
Watching your patient in a stretcher, helpless, holding her husband’s hands and saying goodbye to each other.
There is a calm chaos of emotion. You think of your family, your life. The reality of death is so raw. All odds are against you. You hope to die on impact.
BRACE is yelled.
You hit the water at 200km/h. The jet fractures under your seat on impact. Senses collect as instinct and training kicks in. The struggle to get out the sinking jet is second by second as water rushes in and the plane starts splitting.
In a rough ocean 1 ½ hrs with a ½ inflated life-vest, holding your patient who has no vest.
This really did happen.
I came home, heads turned the other way when I asked for truths, our mouths gagged, no support as a single mother. The truth about it all is still obscure.

No final report has been published.

8 years in November.

An inconvenient aviation accident at an inconvenient time.

Is this Safe Aviation Practice?
Pushed aside, not speak the factual truths.
My name is: Discarded Citizen 2009

Westwind – of PelAir in front of owner – REX

There it is, a totally unsatisfactory situation which needs immediate action by the Government, with a Minister who admits to Fran Kelly on ABC Radio in October 2016, that he does not understand aviation.


Lockhart River Reports

PelAir Reports

Motion for LNP Annual Conference

That this Convention of the LNP:

Calls upon the Federal Coalition to review recent air crash incidents and other matters, particularly in rural areas, with a view to developing and implementing changes to the Civil Aviation Act to:

1. Better manage aviation in Australia and
2. Implement a judicial inquiry to investigate existing problems of the Regulator.

Supporting statements and Identified issues:

 Section 9A of the Civil Aviation Act does not properly direct CASA to interact with the aviation industry;
 CASA routinely seek to avoid scrutiny eg. Senate committee’s;
 CASA failed to provide pivotal material for ATSB investigations eg. PelAir;
 CASA do not have the confidence of the aviation industry [In a wide ranging survey, Colmar Brunton found less than 38% were satisfied with CASA delivery]

Other aviation related organisations:

  1. AMSA have a direct mission to continuous improvement in provision of its safety and environment protection services and maintaining constructive relations with our stakeholders in government, industry and the community.
  2. AirServices has a direct action, which uses words such as “…foster…”.

Effect on aviation generally and rural communities in particular:

 By 2001, fourteen NSW country centres lost air services in an eighteen month period. CASA has played a major role in causing the withdrawal of these services.

It is understood that CASA “White Board” policy is to eliminate the use of piston engine aircraft from Regular Public Transport;

 Loss of training and maintenance facilities from rural areas;
 Loss of GA pilots [denied by CASA] of over 38%;
 Failure by CASA to 100% implement David Forsyth’s ASRR [Aviation Safety Regulatory Review] recommendations;
 With the amendments to the Civil Aviation Act 1988 to remove the word “commercial” from the Act, the statement is now commonly made by CASA to justify it’s actions:

“CASA is not concerned with the commercial or economic consequences of its actions, CASA’s only concern is air safety”

 This shows the incompetence of CASA, to suggest that any level of damage to the Australian economy is acceptable on the basis of a declaration by CASA that any action is for “air safety”.

Air Safety is an amorphous term and legislation should incorporate “risk management”.

Overseas jurisdictions:

The US has produced outstanding and steadily improving air safety outcomes, but not Australia. Little real (as opposed to erroneously claimed) improvements in the last twenty five years:

 Recent CASA propaganda to the contrary is completely misleading;
 The US experience is achieving better air safety outcomes;

The Solution:

The real power of CASA versus the industry, is very clearly an adversarial role and so over whelming that CASA is, for all practical purposed, law maker, investigator, prosecutor, judge and jury. Few in the industry have the power, financially, to resist a typical CASA onslaught.

Is this a matter of: “Power Corrupts, Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely?

In fact, CASA clearly fails the test of a structure to meet accepted and current standards of public administration, and as a direct result, the CASA system fails because it cannot succeed.

Policing roles are never popular or easy, that is why it is so fundamentally important that (subordinate) law making, administration, and policing of the laws be separate, and be seen to be separate.

The immediate introduction of the US-FAR’s would achieve this aim after the loss of an estimated $400m [$150m since 2010] in a crumbling and rambling, excessively bureaucratic regulatory set produced by CASA over a 25-year period.

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