The failure of the deputy PM Anthony Albanese, to take his responsbilities to act on the Pel-Air scandal seriously will bite him badly today when the coalition announces what will be an extremely serious review of air safety administration in Australia.
This is how the announcement is previewed in The Australian.
THE federal Coalition plans to bring in a prominent member of the international aviation community to conduct an external review of aviation safety and regulations similar to the Wheeler inquiry into aviation security.
It will announce the move today as part of its aviation policy that foreshadows a potential restructure of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and a strengthening of the CASA board by increasing the number of members from four to six.
Expect a restructuring of the ATSB and CASA to follow. The gross misconduct by both authorities in relation to the Pel-Air incident will be put into the spotlight by the review, as will the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport’s attempts to mislead the popular media over his inability to do anything about it because of the government being in caretaker mode.
However while there may be justified scepticism in the aviation industry at all levels over the attention span of the Coalition in relation to such matters the issue of a second Sydney Airport also threatens to boil over with disastrous electoral consequences for Labor in western Sydney.
This Newspoll points to the current high likelihood of Labor losing at least five western Sydney seats which are in desperate need of a jobs and economic circuit breaker from the construction of a second airport at Badgerys Creek.
While neither side of politics has been game to play a build-the-airport and get-the-jobs card up until now, the burden of incumbency is being carried by Labor which has constantly shied away from doing the obvious and getting the project rolling.
This report may or may not exaggerate the risk to Labor in the west of Sydney, where some political observers have calculated a loss of five seats, while the Murdoch media says it could be ten seats. But there is no doubt that assistant Treasurer David Bradbury and Treasurer Chris Bowen, face the gravest of risk from having no coherent, locally focused and convincing answer to the immediate needs of western Sydney for the level of economic recovery that would accompany the building and operation of the airport.
Like the Pel-Air jet that lies in on the sea floor near Norfolk Island, Labor has run out of fuel and will crash.
The writer doesn’t care who wins the election. He does care about the wilful abuses and failures of air safety administration in Australia and the bi-partisan lack of action over need for a 2nd Sydney airport.