In all the recent media
coverage of the security shortfalls and proposed improvements at Sydney
Airport, one person has managed to escape the limelight (almost):
Qantas security chief, Geoff Askew, who has for been in charge of all
security and investigation at Qantas for ten years.
at Qantas from the old Australian Airlines along with a whole lot of
other mediocre performers. He replaced an ex-NSW detective sergeant Ron
Armstrong, who had fallen foul of the then CEO James Strong.
only real claim to fame was that he had achieved senior constable
status in the Victorian Police having spent most of his time in its
training academy. He failed to take on the unions, no doubt at Dixon’s
behest. He didn’t insist that baggage handlers and other Qantas airport
staff should undergo personal bag checks when leaving the airport, and
he allowed as many entry points to secure areas at the Qantas Jetbase
as the unions requested.
Efforts to install video surveillance
cameras in baggage makeup and unloading areas were also put on hold
when the unions insisted that such surveillance violated their privacy.
Not even the events of September 11 gave Askew sufficient backbone to
do what every other major airports were doing.
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He then decided
to employ an ex-NSW Police detective who had been mentioned in the NSW
Royal Commission into the police who subsequently resigned. Askew has
no training in anti-terrorism protocols, let alone a proud history of
front line policing in Victoria. He was simply a mate of the old
Australian Airlines management who needed a job. Funny how the roosters
come home to roost!