VOCA

An aviation researcher, writer, aviation participant, pilot & agricultural researcher. Author of over 35 scientific publications world wide.

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Regulatory reform investigation – Forsyth tries to allay concerns

In ProAviation, the following in part is to allay confidentiallity concerns.

But is this enough??

The industry requires parliamentry priviledge for the best results to come to the surface.

The industry would not be happy to have [which it appears from the terms of reference] everything swept under the carpet by an industrious Departmental head.

Safe to report to us, says Forsyth

…..

Aviation Safety Regulation Review (ASRR) Panel Chairman David Forsyth has responded briskly to concerns over the confidentiality of submissions to the review and the possibility of regulatory retribution.

Several industry stakeholders had contacted us with worries that the present legal framework provides ample opportunity for the regulator to harass its critics administratively and financially to a non-survivable extent, and they quote numerous credible current and past examples of where, when and how this has been achieved.

Although senators had sought parliamentary privilege for people and organisations who lodge submissions, it has been explained that under the parliamentary rules, privilege can only be conferred on proceedings that are in fact part of the Parliamentary process, whereas the ASRR’s review is at the behest of the Minister, not the Parliament but is not an instrument of the parliament.

Mr Forsyth says: “We’ve been to the Attorney General’s Department and ask them about what can and what cannot be done in terms of parliamentary privilege, and the legal advice it came back is as follows:

Parliamentary privilege cannot be conferred by Parliament or the Senate or a Senate committee, on proceedings or activities which are in fact not part of the proceedings of Parliament. So parliamentary privilege only applies to proceedings in Parliament. If a statutory invested protection which applies under the Act to parliamentary proceedings, it means all words spoken, acts done in the course of, for the purpose of, or incidental to transaction of the business of a house or of a committee.”

However that, says Mr Forsyth, doesn’t mean that security and anonymity can’t be protected, and formidable security safeguards have already been put in place at the ASRR’s office:

It may not make your readers totally happy, because some would have been seeking parliamentary privilege. But what we’ve done – and we’ll be telling GA people this when we talk to them as well – the ASRR is now set up with its own offices, its own email addresses, its own files and its own security. It’s a totally separate office in a separate building, separate from the normal Department network.