Graham Banks, one of Australia’s most respected aviation consultants, has received a “shut up or else” letter from a law firm following his contribution to the consultative process which lead to this week’s release of the Aviation Green Paper.
Some of his suggestions, in particular in relation to the safety standards of foreign carriers operating into this country, have been taken forward in the second step comprising the green paper.
As have suggestions Banks and others have urged in relation to the destruction of the regional and general aviation utility of secondary airports like Brisbane’s Archerfield by non-aviation commercial developments on such sites.
Get Crikey FREE to your inbox every weekday morning with the Crikey Worm.
However the correspondence which has just come to light from Mallesons Stephen Jacques on behalf of the Archerfield Airport Corporation casts a stain over the Rudd Government’s embrace of wider consultation in determining future policy settings.
Banks’ contribution to the Issues Paper and the specific observations about Archerfield’s departures from the legal standards for its continued use as an airport can be found in section 1.3 on Regional and General Aviation.
It is published on the website of the Department of Infrastructure as a consequence of a solicitation by the Minister responsible, Anthony Albanese, to contribute to the policy making process.
The observations made by Graham Banks & Associates are factual, and compelling and clearly considered as useful by the government.
Yet the letter from the law firm says:
Our client believes that it has hitherto been more than tolerant of your propensity to make such unjustified and unwarranted criticisms, but that the time for such tolerance has passed.
If that isn’t an attempt to intimidate a dissenting voice by a business that has been placed under the spotlight, what is?