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Aussie Federal Election Aviation Matters

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Aussie Federal Election Aviation Matters

Old 1st May 2013, 01:54
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Aussie Federal Election Aviation Matters

I hope the mods will allow this one thread regarding the upcoming Australian election. The ALAEA will be playing an active role rather than just copping whatever the two main parties hand us. We have just issued this draft policy paper to members but I would be interested to hear any broader thoughts.

I would like to have co-ordinated this with the Pilot and Flight Attendant unions but more important is making sure we are timed correctly. If you are not a member of ours and would like to assist in this cause feel free to send me a PM.


This SeptemberAustralians will decide which party will be running our Federal Government for the next three years. The ALAEA has not recently participated or donated to either of the major parties other than indirectly through compulsory ACTU levies that generally support the agenda of the Australian Labor Party. With the election of the Rudd Government it was expected the policies generally sought by all unions would be supported by what is nominally designated as the party created by unions and the ALAEA was well supported by the Rudd Government through a major dispute with Qantas in 2008.

In 2010 the Labor Party replaced their leader. As a consequence the support given to all unions, large and small, appears to have moved to those unions who supported the leadership spill. We took no part in any of the politics but appear to have become a victim in the factional games that have since plagued the Government. The biggest disappointment came after Qantas grounded their fleet and the Federal Government intervened to stop the Qantas action while also stopping the very mild actions being taken by the three unions. Since then hundreds of Aircraft Engineers have lost their jobs, a situation that hasn’t just affected Qantas employees, it affects all of us by flooding the market with excess labour.

Since 2010, theFederal Government has done nothing to support Australians being employed inaviation. In fact, they’ve openly supported alliances that are more likely to take jobs off Australians. At the same time, the Federal Government has rejected approaches to contribute to funding maintenance facilities and changed workplace laws to make it harder to protect the jobs our members hold. To top it all off, we’ve recently seen the spectacle of many of these same politicians unashamedly partying along withairline management as they herald a new era of Aviation that shifts growth to other countries.

It’s time to make it clear that the Association has had enough and the interests of the aviation industry need to be put above the interests of the few. It’s time to Stand Up for Aviation.

Stand Up for Aviation

Over the years we’ve seen our industry change; mostly for the better but some times not. The successes have come from teamwork, dedication and ensuring our traditionally-higher Australian standards are maintained. The problems have usually come when airlines and governments decide that only they know what’s right and ignore the advice of the people who know aviation better than anyone else – the people who work in the hangars, on the ramp and on board the aircraft.

With the Federal election less than five months away I think it’s time that Licenced Engineers gave the politicians a choice – if you want our support at the ballot box you need to do the right thing by the aviation industry.

The ALAEA has identified four key areas that we want you to consider as we all Stand Up forAviation:

• Maintaining a Strong Australian Aviation Industry;

• Support for Aviation Employers who Prioritise the Employment of Australian Workers;

• Keeping Qantas Australian; and

• Making CASA Effective.

Further on, the issues are expanded in detail but firstly there are two politicians who have already been extremely supportive.

Bob Katter and Nick Xenophon

There are two federal politicians who’ve given the aviation industry and its workers support over the last three years - Nick Xenophon and Bob Katter. Both men have championed our cause by proposing legislation (with Greens support), initiating Senate enquiries, questioning alliances and speaking publically about our industry. Putting aside their other policies on poker machines, milk pricing or the supermarket monopoly, these gentlemen continue tog ive us their full support and we’re grateful for it.

Both Nick and Bob have Stood Up for Aviation.

Our Issues

What we’d like members to do is think about the issues and give the Association some feedback and suggestions. Our Federal Executive meets at the end of this month by which time we will have offered all political parties a chance to demonstrate to us how they can support Aviation employees after the Election. As a small union we have often been overlooked by the major parties and we have learnt over the years that the smiles and handshakes in their offices mean nothing. We are seeking commitments to our causes, the matters that will ensure ongoing employment for our members.

Rather than be dismissed as an insignificant group, we will be advising all political parties that the ALAEA may be prepared to field candidates from our membership (no Federal Executive members) in key airport seats and will direct preferences at our discretion. We are also calling for members to express an interest in running in the upcoming Federal election so we can have a real say in Australian Aviation. We need to let the major parties know that we have had enough and if they want our support they need to Stand up for Aviation. You can express an interest in standing in the upcoming election by completing the expression of interest on the last page of this notice.

  • Maintaining a Strong Australian Aviation Industry
Aviation is anationally strategic industry with vital importance for a country the size of Australia. It is crucial that our industry grows and continues to facilitate our broader economy by underpinning, as it does, a wide range of business, trade and tourism activities.

In the past several years the industry and the people employed in it have been let down by many operators out to make a quick buck or a quick bonus and who are willing to let standards slip with scant regard to the people who’ve given their heart and souls to ensure our traditionally-higher Australian aviation standards are maintained.

On far too many occasions these operators have included large airlines with governments of all political persuasions being complicit in their actions.

We’ve also seen a downright gutless attitude from both Federal and state governments when it comes to planning for the expansion of aviation in this country. A growing industry – as aviation should continue to be – needs governments that demonstrate foresight and commitment. Take Sydney’s airport needs, for example.

Travel to Sydney can be a nightmare at the best of times and it is not uncommon to have to circle at 30,000 ft for half an hour waiting for a landing slot. This issue has been festering for over twenty years and it needs to be resolved. A second airport in Sydney will not only grow aviation employment opportunities but also the ability for people to holiday and do business in Sydney. Badgery’s Creek is the only practical site for the airport and work needs to start as soon as possible. Every day that politicians procrastinate over the decision takes away the opportunity to fix this long term problem.

Airport restrictions are not just limited to Sydney. A review of all airports should be undertaken to ensure that a suitable policy framework is in place and sufficient funds earmarked to enable the major metropolitan, regional and major rural airports to handle the growth that is expected overthe next fifty years.

And while we’re at it, in terms of airport planning, it is essential that future airports be integrated into the industry and are not just places where passengers come to board aircraft, be exposed to excessive retail prices and gouged on parking fees and other charges. Airport planning needs to consider all parts of our industry from training and the location ofmaintenance facilities as well as the passenger’s “airport experience”.

We believe that airports should be planned and developed as aviation precincts with space allocated for dedicated maintenance facilities and training. Encouraging young people to join our industry, whether directly from secondary school or otherwise, is key to developing a sufficiently skilled and motivated workforce to ensure those traditionally-higher Australian aviation standards are maintained.

It’s also clear that Australian airlines compete with many foreign carriers. Some of those foreign airlines receive funding and other special assistance from their governments that unfairly favours them in competing against Australian airlines. The Australian Government needs to urgently address this unfair competition through means such as allowing Australian airlines access to accelerated depreciation rates or examining Incorporationand Principal Place of Business criteria tied to employment levels oractivity.

Proposals such as these will assist our industry to prosper and ensure we encourage economic growth and keep skills, experience and good jobs in this country.

  • Supporting Australian Employment
Australian international air rights are a valuable asset belonging to this country and its people. The Australian Government routinely negotiates with other countries to allow Australian-designated international airlines and the corresponding country’s airlines to use those rights, such as for services between Australia and the United States.

But what happens when an Australian airline employs foreign Flight Attendants or foreign Pilots or carries out the majority of its maintenance offshore? This scenario is one that will see the valuable benefits of Australian air rights effectively leaked to other countries. In our view, Australian-designated airlines or those that are majority-owned or effectively controlled by Australians should be required to:

• employ all their technical crew and flight attendants onshore;

• carry out the majority of maintenance here; and

• have a locally employed Australian answer the phone when you call in to check flight details.

Employing Australians should not be limited to direct hire employees. Australian airlines that are allowed to exercise our valuable air rights should not outsource functions such as call centres, maintenance divisions, engine overhaul work or computer development to firms based offshore.

These are our air routes; they should be operated in such a way that the direct and associated benefits flow to all Australians.
  • Keeping Qantas Australian
Prior to 1995, Qantas was our Government-owned national carrier. Over the years, Qantas had been called upon during times of war and other emergencies to assist our national cause and our citizens – wherever they were in the world. Even today, Qantas remains a major player in servicing our defence forces and is likely to remain so into the future. When Qantas was sold conditions were placed on the new owners by legislation to see the Australian nature of the airline retained. Today, Qantas management see these conditions as nothing but a burden.

Qantas is not just a brand, it is not just a fleet of aircraft and it certainly is not just a name on the stock exchange. It is still our airline. Nearly all Australians own a little piece of the airline through either direct investment or part of their superannuation holdings. It’s clear that we need a government that is willing to enforce the terms of the Qantas Sale Act and, if necessary, update it to reflect the original intention.

One thing is for certain though - using the assets of the airline to create new offshore entities in an attempt to bypass Australian laws was not part of that original intention. The creation of airlines such as Jetstar and the concept of that airline (which is wholly owned by Qantas but not bound by the terms of the Qantas Sale Act) is nothing other than a diversion to reduce the security afforded to all Australians who love the carrier and still consider it our own.

  • Making CASA Effective
In terms of Australian Government departments or agencies the one probably most relevant to us, CASA, is bound by politics, bureaucracy and ineffectiveness. They are currently introducing a new licence scheme for Aircraft Engineers and many of the questions our Association has asked about the system’s operation have gone unanswered. We cannot advise our members what they can or can’t do legally because CASA don’t even know.

Instead, CASA surveyors are out hounding small Airline Operators because they have made paperwork errors whilst genuine complaints against major carriers in this country are left idle. There are problems with this organisation that is meant to be keeping our skies safe. Whether it is through lack of funding or corporate capture, a review of how they operate is well overdue. The current Government appear to be out of their depth in dealing with these issues, we need to ensure that the next Government isn’t.


The ALAEA FederalE xecutive will be considering the matters contained within this draft paper pertaining to the upcoming Federal Election. The following motion will be considered –

The ALAEA Federal Executive adopts the principles and content contained within the ALAEA Federal Parliamentary Election 2013 Draft Policy Paper and authorises the office to put those plans into effect


Federal Secretary

- - - - - - - - - -- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I would be interested in being available if needed to stand for a seat at the upcoming Federal Parliamentary elections to fight for our Aviation issues.

Name: ______________________________________

Your Suburb: ________________________________

The ALAEA will contact you shortly withfurther details.

Fax to (02) 9554 9644 or email to [email protected]

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Old 1st May 2013, 03:01
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Well said!
governments of all political persuasions being complicit

Good luck!
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Old 1st May 2013, 07:52
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When it comes to bob katter and nick Xenophon, sure I know bob katter comes across as a bit of a looney, but that proposal of his for airlines operating domestically must have all flight and cabin crew based in Australia and 80% of maintenance done in Australia is probably the best job saver for Australians in the airline industry and I'm kind of surprised the unions aren't jumping on the band wagon and trying to show strong support for this. At least it would possibly help secure more 787 work for qantas engineers and keep more jobs here in Australia.
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Old 1st May 2013, 08:04
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We have had dinner with Bob Katter and I must say, he could talk underwater with a mouth full of marbles. I think this may be where the looney thing comes from but sitting there listening to him I can say that a hell of a lot that he has to say makes sense.
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Old 1st May 2013, 10:25
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Has anybody asked any Party what their "Aviation Policy"is?

I believe Labor have a "White Paper" whatever that is. (it doesn't work anyway).

What about The Nationals, The Liberals, Greens, Independants and others who have tossed their hats in the ring both in The Senate and Lower House?

I can't believe anybody would be so culpable as to endorse Independants in a hung parliament, however they may serve a useful purpose if there was an overwhelming majority.

Any Independant would need to nail their preferences firmly to the mast before they got a look in with me.
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Old 1st May 2013, 10:59
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I doubt anyone will bother talking to the independents, if there are any left after the next election. And I mean in the lower house.

They will be powerless with the LNP very likely to have a good working, if not large majority in the lower house.

Katter may take a seat or 2 away. Even Clive Palmer if he does not self destruct before then, but without the balance of power, you are nothing in the lower house. You can flail away but it is meaningless without being inside the tent.

The senate maybe a possibility and requires less buck for the bang you get in the power game and that is what it is all about.

You would need to see who is up for re-election in each state and target the weaknesses ie Labor in general or maybe Lib states where they have had power in the state and are a bit on the nose by default.

Last edited by ampclamp; 1st May 2013 at 11:00.
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Old 1st May 2013, 12:47
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I agree about Katter. He may come across as bit of a loony however it is more a combination of energy, passion and a genuine love of all things Australian. He would never live in a toffee nose city and he absolutely gives a sh#t about anything and everything Australian, gotta give him credit for that. Both he and his old man haven't kept office for so long because of 'good luck'. The Katter family work hard and work harder for their constituents. The only trough Bob drinks from is the one on his farm, unlike the greasy political parasites elsewhere. Mt Isa is a tough town. I would love to see Abbott, Gillard or Swanny do a couple of years out there! That would toughen them up and give them a taste of how the average person lives and works.

Steve, if you get into politics you would get my vote I reckon. You have displayed over the years a pretty genuine passion for things Australian, I like that. You have also on many occasions displayed exemplary testicular fortitude and you have been willing to lay your dusters on the line, I like that also, so continue forth.
However Steve, a word of advice (or warning), do not ever lose sight of your grass roots and roll over (or bend over) and become a turncoat. Combet was a solid union man, so was Shorten. Now they are just spineless lapdogs to the most rancid P.M Australia has had the misfortune of having.
(The jury is still out on Cameron, he still seems to have his plums firmly intact?)

Good luck son

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Old 1st May 2013, 20:02
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Steve, if you get into politics
No this is not for me. I enjoy my job very much.

Combet was a solid union man, so was Shorten.
They were ok in their union roles but there was always a bigger job they had in mind. They'd both still be good except the ALP is about factions and power at any expense. They don't mind that as long as it takes them where they want to go and they don't care who they hurt to get there.

The jury is still out on Cameron
Lovely guy, very smart, loyal to his roots and he does not give a damn if he says something that the factional heads don't want him to say. He is a real ALP man.
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Old 1st May 2013, 22:04
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Well, you're certainly making the Press SP.

Air engineers cut ties with Labor Party

Only time will tell if you're crazy brave or just plain crazy!

Either way, it's good to see someone with real conviction. Best of luck to you.
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Old 1st May 2013, 22:21
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I am hoping that Steves work could set the foundations for a future 'Labor Mk 2'. The current labor is an atrocious embarrassment, and doesn't deserve the title of Labor.
If Steve can help garnish support for people like Nick and Mad Bob then I am 100% behind that. I mean lets be honest, look at the options? I also think this could well and truly aid a reinvigoration of the labor movement. There are numerous other unions containing a lot of workers who remain labor at heart, but will not vote for the puerile Gillard and Co. Now is the time to strike while the iron is hot, our current range of political options is so rancid that I would prefer to vote for a dog turd on the footpath.

Bring on Labor Mk 2.
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Old 1st May 2013, 23:16
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"Bring on Labor Mk 2."

Hopefully at least 12 years/4 terms away and I won't be a taxpayer!
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Old 1st May 2013, 23:35
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Although some of the unons within aviation maybe considered as a fraction of the voting public, the families and friends of those employees affected also count as voters (which does raise the numbers a little).

I will not be voting for a government that has shown little support to working Australians over the last 2 years, but I will also not vote for a government who I do not trust to keep "Workchoices" dead and buried.

What is the viable voting alternative here to give power to a government who will look after jobs in Australia whilst maintaining a fair balance between the employer and employee? This seems to be the main issue, and I see no clear avenue.
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Old 2nd May 2013, 00:11
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So what aviation policies do the main parties have? A quick google session comes up with this:

Labor. They’ve been in power for some time so there is quite a body of policy out there. Notably this:

Liberal. This is all that’s out there at the moment.
Fill your boots reading it- there’s zilch about aviation as far as I can see.
But in Victoria we have a real live Aviation Minister and what’s more he owns a Beech Bonanza.

National Party: traditionally a National Party MP has been given the transport portfolio when in power, so their policy settings are of interest:
See page 62: aviation transport policy concentrates on regional access to aviation services and supporting general aviation.

And The Greens:
Which includes: (my tongue-in-cheek italics)
13.Increased opportunities for the community to participate in and guide transport planning. ( so even less gets done??)
14.Public transport services to be provided under community service obligations. (That’s right, nationalise Qantas and Virgin)
16.Major airports located to minimise social and environmental impacts (Pick up Mascot, put it on a dump truck and sling it out to Badgery’s creek)
20.A national plan for passenger and freight transport which is ecologically, socially and economically sustainable and outlines a transition to net zero carbon transport. (trust me, I’m not making this up)
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Old 2nd May 2013, 00:54
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Gangster, I get your point. At the end of the day we all have preferences as to where we sit politically -Greens, Independents, Labor or Liberal, it is what makes life interesting!

Ngineer, that is exactly what my thoughts are!!!!

Wally Mk2, I am certain anything is possible mate (unless you are a member of Gillard's mob of nupties!)

Steve, good luck mate, we desperately need change so I hope your work pays off. Either way, at least you give a sh#t. That is the Australia I miss

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Old 2nd May 2013, 00:54
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I agree wholeheartedly (as, I suspect, do a great many people). The time is ripe for a new party to seize the day and take the "true" middle ground.

Just listen to these point-scoring lunatics slugging it out day after day with their self-interested garbage.

Last edited by ferris; 2nd May 2013 at 00:55.
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Old 2nd May 2013, 07:41
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The people of an area or district who vote for their congressperson and are represented by him/her for the congressional period.
In Australia we do not have congressperson nor Constituents. I notice this is creeping in to our Americanised media.
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Old 2nd May 2013, 08:27
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I am sure you WILL be a taxpayer if they get back in....Even in 12 years!!!
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Old 2nd May 2013, 22:19
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Cool Been busy Steve??

Caught this in the Oz this morning:
Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association may field candidates at election

THE union representing licensed aircraft engineers is considering fielding candidates in key airport seats during the federal election, and is seeking talks with political parties about which way preferences should be directed.

The Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association has warned Labor not to take its support as a given and says it will back only those parties prepared to support aviation.

It has called for members willing to become candidates as part of a Stand up for Aviation campaign that it warns could include Transport Minister Anthony Albanese's seat of Grayndler. It plans to offer preferences to whichever party best fits its bill.

The union said the campaign would cover four key areas: maintaining a strong local aviation industry; supporting employers who give Australian workers priority; keeping Qantas Australian and making the Civil Aviation Safety Authority effective.

It cited Independent Senator Nick Xenophon and MP Bob Katter as two examples of politicians who had stood up for aviation.
"As a small union, we are often overlooked by the major parties and we have learnt over the years that the smiles and handshakes in their offices mean nothing," ALAEA federal executive Steve Purvinas told members in a letter.

Mr Purvinas told The Australian the union's disillusionment with Labor, which he accused of being in "complete disarray", stemmed mainly from the federal government's actions to call in Fair Work Australia during the Qantas dispute. But he said there had been other factors, such as changes to engineering licences and a restructure of the Fair Work Act which made it harder for the union to pursue job security.

"We're shopping around for a party that's going to support aviation," he said. "The Labor Party pretty much automatically expects all of the unions to stand behind them for the election but we've found their love of us isn't unconditional and ours for them should not be either."

Mr Purvinas said political parties were being offered the chance to talk to the union and the executive would make a decision on how far it would go at the end of the month. He believed the seats where the union would run candidates would include "a hell a lot of airport workers who'd support the policies we've put forward".
Small but effective Steve!

Q/ Steve while you were talking to the Oz is that when you were asked to pass comment on the AG's mobile phone slip up?

Either way keep up the good work Steve!
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Old 2nd May 2013, 22:30
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I had a few calls yesterday. Don't specifically recall talking to the Oz about mobile phones. I did speak to Herald-Sun about it and on 3AW.
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Old 2nd May 2013, 22:52
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Steve – nothing but admiration and respect for the effort and etc. But I just wonder whether the sound of one hand clapping will make enough noise. Is it not possible to assemble a quorum of similar minded associations?, go in mob handed, aligned and united; it is a common cause after all.

Just my two bob's worth – yeah, I know back to my knitting,....
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