Monday, June 29, 2015

Dick versus Angus over air space reform in Australia

Ben Sandilands (below) is not the most reliable journalist and his outlet, "Crikey" is very Leftist but sometimes even Leftists have something reasonable to say and I think his account below stacks up pretty well.  I have read Houston's reply to Smith and he does seem to be cost-blind. All he does is praise his organization.  His background is military, not business  -- JR

Are we wasting millions, and destroying general aviation, by inadequately and unfairly introducing new air traffic control technology?

In recent months an important, if not broadly understood aviation issue has been pursued behind the paywall of The Australian by Dick Smith on one side and the air traffic control provider AirServices Australia on the other.

Paywalls are essential if professional journalism is to survive, but unfortunately, a model that works effectively in Australia in conjunction with broad readership hasn’t yet been proven, which means that  it is questionable as to whether there has been much connection between a crucial number of readers and the issues that have been raised by the newspaper’s detailed and perceptive coverage.

Yet that continuing argument, concerning new air traffic control technology  (ADS-B or automatic dependant surveillance-broadcast) is one in which ruinous costs could lead to the shorter term destruction of the already hard pressed private and general aviation sectors in this country.

GA operators and private pilots are being asked to spend substantial sums of money on equipment that makes them ADS-B visible,  yet not in practice be of use in many lower flight level situations, meaning that the money spent will not deliver improved safety outcomes in airspace and approaches to a wide range of secondary or regional airstrips where they are urgently needed.

These include airports where civil airliners, hobby ultra-light flyers, parachutists, private jets,  more conventional propeller light aircraft and helicopters might all  be using the same airspace, such as around Ballina or Port Macquarie.

While there are many voices canvassed by The Australian stories, and the twists and turns in the narratives do not lend themselves to bland summary, the twin focuses of the row have been on the opposing positions taken by Dick Smith and Angus Houston, who is the chairman of AirServices Australia.

Angus, as he prefers to be called, says everything is fine and Dick is wrong, and has in passing taken umbrage at criticism in the Senate of the amount of money being paid to AirServices managers, who are responsible for a public enterprise which supports itself from air navigation charges and makes profits which flow straight into Treasury.

My view is that Angus underlines a problem with the administrative and executive branches in Australia, in that there is a strong preference in Government to believe anything the Mandarins tell Ministers regardless of what party or coalition is in power,  and that there is sod all serious independent auditing of claims and budget efficiency.

Angus is very loyal to his organisation, and some very fine professionals within it, but perhaps insufficiently skeptical of its narrative over the application of ADS-B technology as it currently stands.

Dick isn’t the only prominent general aviation figure quoted by coverage in The Australian  as to the inadequacy of the airspace management in Australia today, and the more so, under ADS-B in the near future.

If Angus were to shift modes from defending the air traffic control establishment to dealing with the need to make the reforms work without further risking the survivability of the private pilot and general aviation interests in Australia we might have progress.


More nonsense from ratbag Triggs

Her track record of political bias ensures that even if she makes reasonable decisions they are unlikely to be respected.  She has condemned herself to irrelevance

Banking giant ANZ has refused to apologise to a man, despite the human rights commissioner's recommendations to do so, after the company withdrew their job offer due to his armed robbery conviction back in 1979.

The man who made the complaint to the commission, only known as Mr AN, alleged that the bank had discriminated against him as they chose not to hire him on the basis of his criminal record.

While ANZ admits in the report - handed down by Human Rights Commission president Gillian Triggs - that Mr AN's criminal history was a reason for the exclusion, another contributing factor was his failure to disclose his conviction for the armed robbery offence.

The report - handed down by Professor Triggs handed down in March - states that Mr AN was interviewed for a role at ANZ as an information technology project manager in June 6, 2013. He was later selected for the position with a start date of August 5.

Documents further reveal that Mr An thereafter signed a form, warranting that 'he had not been convicted of a criminal offence anywhere in the world and acknowledged that ANZ may obtain a police clearance check to validate this'.

A few days later, he was questioned by a recruitment consultant from Robert Walters - responsible for sourcing candidates for the position - about his prior conviction which he had not disclosed.

While Professor Triggs acknowledged that Mr AN was wrong for not providing this information, she states that he had provided an explanation behind his decision.

'There is no doubt that the offence which Mr AN was convicted of was a serious offence,' she wrote.  'However, the offence occurred in 1978, more than 35 years ago. This offence was Mr AN's only offence and he has had no subsequent convictions.

'Mr AN was 21-years-old at the time of the offence. He has provided some context around the offence stating that he had "fallen in with the wrong crowd".' 

Professor Triggs also recognised that Mr AN has been a volunteer fire-fighter for more than 10 years and received the National Emergency Medal for his services during the Black Saturday fire.

Her report further states that he had been employed full-time since 1982 and held senior management roles at various companies where he gained positive references.  'It is difficult to see what more Mr AN could have done to rehabilitate himself,' Professor Triggs wrote.

'With these factors in mind, I am not persuaded that there is a sufficiently tight or close correlation between the inherent requirement of the Position and the exclusion of Mr AN.

'I am not persuaded that Mr AN was unable to perform the inherent requirements of the Position.  'I consider that ANZ's decision not to engage Mr AN constitutes discrimination.'

While Mr AN does not seeking any compensation from ANZ, he requested the bank review its policies and procedures to prevent similar incidents from occurring.

He also requested the company to further acknowledge and apologise for the hurt and suffering they caused him.

An apology in written form was recommended by Professor Triggs as an appropriate remedy for discrimination.

Despite these findings, ANZ did not apologise to Mr AN but did review its Background Checks Policy.

'ANZ respectfully declines to provide a formal written apology to Mr AN,' the statement in the report read.

The bank supported its decision by stating that Mr AN did not disclose his criminal record during the recruitment process.

'ANZ holds its employees and contractors to the highest levels of integrity and honesty,' the statement said.

'It is ANZ's position that, due to the nature of the offence for which he was convicted, Mr AN could not fulfil the inherent requirements of the role, which included that he act in accordance with ANZ's Codeof Conduct and display honesty and integrity.'


Flag-waving protesters carry a PIG on a spit to demonstrate outside ABC offices against broadcaster's decision to allow former terror suspect on Q&A

Angry protesters cooked a pig on a spit outside the ABC's headquarters in Melbourne as they demonstrated against the broadcaster's decision to allow a former terror suspect to appear on their flagship show Q&A.

The far right group United Patriots Front marched to the office building in the city centre, waving Australian flags and calling on people to join their protest against Zaky Mallah, who was in the panel show's audience on Monday night.

As ABC staffers were told to stay away, some members of the group turned the spit outside the main entrance - an act designed to offend Muslims, particularly during the holy month of Ramadan.

'In here [the ABC] public opinion is shaped artificially. It's not democratic. It's not Australian,' one protester said, The Sydney Morning Herald have reported.  

On their Facebook page, The United Patriots Front state they are 'a nation wide movement, opposing the spread of Left Wing treason and spread of Islamism.'

In a video posted on their social media, the anti-Islam group have said they are 'asking the country to stand up and condemn the actions of the ABC because Zaky Mallah is a convicted criminal.'

'No one wants to realise the truth, everyone's too scared, man up,' one of the protesters angrily yelled while standing in front of the pig carcass.

The ABC have confirmed they have heightened their security since Monday night's episode of Q&A and have received several threatening phone calls.

'Dildos from the United Patriots Front protesting outside Abc Melbourne in great numbers. 5 memebrs and 1 pig. Total 6. Ha!' Mr Mallah tweeted on Saturday.

This comes after Mr Mallah told Daily Mail Australia that his reputation 'is pretty much screwed up' and 'my prospects of employment are zero'.  'My last job was at Luna Park, last year, and after three weeks they didn't ask me back, probably looked me up. But now, how am I even going to get voluntary work?'

The 31-year-old Sydney man has been under siege since he controversially appeared on the ABC's Q & A program on Monday night, and challenged Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Trade Steve Ciobo over the government's proposals to strip dual nationals involved in terrorism of citizenship.

In a heated exchange, Mr Ciobo suggested that Mr Mallah would have been convicted on terrorism charges but for a technicality.

Mr Mallah is the first person charged under the government's new new anti-terrorism laws in 2003. He was acquitted in a jury trial and pleaded guilty to a charge of threatening a government official, for which he served two years' prison.

After the program, host Tony Jones apologised on air to the government. Mr Mallah came under further challenge by Waheed Aly on The Channel Ten program, The Project.

Since Monday night, government ministers have attacked the ABC and its managing director Mark Scott for engaging in a 'form of sedition'.

The ABC has hit back, saying it supports free speech. From his flat in Parramatta in western Sydney, Mr Mallah has watched himself at the centre of a national debate on television and social media in which he has been branded ' a terrorist', a 'convicted terrorist', a 'pig' and a 'rapist'.

'I feel I have been used and I don't deserve it. I've said stupid things in the past and I'll probably continue to do so. I can be a d**k and I'll probably continue to be a d**k, but there's no law against that.'


University uses sport to promote literacy among kids

Monash University has partnered with the Melbourne Football Club to deliver the club’s Read Like a Demon literacy program, aimed to inspire a love of reading and improve literacy among primary school students.

The program offers students a chance to participate in classroom reading and writing workshops with players from the Melbourne Football Club (the Demons), and a number of best-selling children’s authors.

The University's Faculty of Education, together with the Casey-Cardinia Library Corporation, will now provide participating schools with children's literature and teaching resources linked to the Australian Curriculum.

Monash researchers will also investigate whether elite sportsmen as reading role models encourage reading and improve literacy among the more reluctant readers. The research will inform future program enhancements and give a snapshot of the program’s success.

Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Education, Professor Deborah Corrigan said supporting positive literacy values with sporting role models provided children with confidence and improved reading and literacy development.

“The program offers primary school students an opportunity to identify with an elite sports person as a role model to inspire them to enjoy reading,” Professor Corrigan said.

“The program is designed to complement classroom literacy teaching, through engagement with reading role models and the provision of an on-line book review platform.

“We hope the program will enable more independent reading practices that students will need for academic success as they progress into higher year levels.”

The Read Like a Demon program aims to increase the literacy skills of grades 3, 4 and 5 students by giving them interactive ways to engage with reading and writing.

The comprehensive program features lessons, student activities, videos, book reviews, writing activities and access to the Book Club. The program also encourages children to visit and upload their own book reviews and stories.

The program was introduced in 2009 and in 2010 it was extended to offer creative writing workshops.

The 2015 Read Like a Demon program runs until 18 August. It is hoped up to 20 schools in the Casey region will take part in the program this year.

Press release

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