Amid all the latest hoo-ha about security at Sydney Airport a couple of points stand out.

being privatised, no-one seems to be accountable for the security
problems. The airport and its Macquarie Bank controllers seem to be a
law unto themselves, both worried about being left out of the loop,
subject to federal laws though not state laws, and able to explain away
any lapse in security as someone else’s problem.

But equally,
Qantas seems to have been getting away with its obvious holes in
security and employment procedures for baggage handlers, and now a
senior security officer who was “mentioned adversely” in the 1996
Police Royal Commission in NSW.

This story from The Sydney Morning Herald‘s Kate McClymont
details the saga surrounding the former Qantas security manager and
former senior NSW police detective, Alan Conell. It’s not very
encouraging that background security checks failed to throw up any
question marks. The defence from Qantas was that he wasn’t charged with
any offence:

Qantas security head Geoff Askew yesterday told TheHerald that the airline had not been aware of the adverse comments about Mr Conwell during the 1996 police royal commission.

of NSW police appeared at that royal commission. They said, “You’ve
probably been a naughty boy,” but they never charged him, Mr Askew said.

Askew said that Mr Conwell had passed security checks by ASIO and the
Federal Police because he had not been convicted of any crime.

What’s that, ASIO did a background check, and found nothing? So what
was ASIO doing in its background check and what confidence does it give
the rest of us that ASIO could not find out that this man was a former
policeman? And why didn’t ASIO find out why he left the police and dig
up the proceedings of the Wood Royal Commission to find out his links
(and those of his father) with Michael Hurley, long-time Sydney
criminal now on the run over the cocaine importing claims?