Censorship of the comments on John Howard’s YouTube address: I made 2 comments (didn’t even use any bad words) and they are gone along with hundreds of others.

Further to Ben Sandilands’ story on air safety yesterday (item 11), which refers to an accident at SYD airport on Saturday night. The news tip is as follows … Minister for Transport (or his delegate) issued a dispensation to Qantas to permit them to LAND A BOEING 747 DURING THE CURFEW at Sydney Airport on Saturday night. One of their 747s (from Perth, QF580) decided to divert to Melbourne after ZKPBF’s mishap, which unfortunately occurred at the intersection of the two main runways (16R and 25) at Sydney. Now, the third runway “16L” (one six left) was still available the whole time, and despite being the shortest runway, was nevertheless still used by other airlines’ 747s to land during the evening. Obviously the Qantas 747 was restricted somehow (read: some bits of the aircraft not working properly) and couldn’t accept 16L for landing. So off they go to Melbourne to wait for ZKPBF to be removed from the runway. After said aircraft is removed, it is discovered the runway surface was damaged and repairs required before being placed back into service. The Sydney Airport runway maintenance crew was hustled up, sent out, but their truck broke down enroute to the scene. Quickly the wheelbarrow and spades were brought into action and the runways were (sort of) available after around 1 hr 45 minutes. So now QF580 wants to fly back to Sydney from Melbourne, but realises after refueling at Melbourne they would arrive at Sydney after the commencement of curfew, 11pm. To land after that time without large financial penalty, the airline required a dispensation from the Minister for Transport. In this case, the Minister must have determined that (a) Qantas should be rewarded for flying 747s with less safety equipment than other airlines meaning they can’t use all runways at Sydney; and (b) the now privatised Sydney Airport should be rewarded for the quality of its maintenance operation. 

I’ve just been perusing the Aust War Memorial website www.awm.gov.au — and have noticed that Stan Zemanek’s birthdate, 29 May 1947, was drawn out in the National Service Lottery. In all the comments about Stan since he died there has been no talk of him doing National Service. In the words of a famous professor, why is it so?

Rumour at UNSW is that Greg Whittred, President of UNSW Asia, which was closed down in dramatic fashion by Vice Chancellor Fred Hilmer several weeks ago, was paid out to leave immediately, not make a fuss and say nothing to the media.

About the internal war within the ACT Liberal party. It’s incorrect to say it’s a Management Committee versus Parliamentary party fight, but two factions aligned to MLAs Smyth and Mulcahy respectively. Bill Stefaniak is simply the nice guy in the middle who cobbled together four (count ’em, all four) votes to get the Opposition Leader’s gig. Party President, Gary Kent, is aligned to Mulcahy. About the vote itself, it’s extremely unlikey that Alistair Coe or his mates stuffed the ballot. He didn’t need to, the Northern Electorate Branch is 100% stacked out Kent Country. Why on earth do something as risky and obvious as vote tampering when they can just do it the old fashioned way? It’s Gary Kent’s last term as President as there are no longer the numbers to keep him there. After seven or eight years Kent has accumulated too many enemies. The search is on for a replacement. Stefaniak and Senator Garry Humphries are lobbying for Troy Williams, the endorsed Liberal candidate for Fraser. Needing a swing something above 10% to win, he’s sure to be available, but was reported in the media as not wanting the job. Support from Stefaniak and Humphries is hard to fathom as Williams is a known associate of Kent. The Party has other concerns as its new Director is barely out of school. Andrew Heath is a boy in a man’s job and lacks support from key sectors within the party. Save the lot and bring on federal intervention!

Peter Fray

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