On Pauline Hanson’s plane

Jack Robertson writes: Re. “Is Pauline Hanson going back to jail?” (Wednesday)

Another question — Crikey could get Ben Sandilands to follow up on it — is on what basis are these flights being conducted (private or charter etc)?. There are different rules on both operational conduct, and pilot qualifications /currency in play. I think Sussan Ley used to fly herself around as a purely private pilot (though she’s commercially qualified), simply hiring out aircraft under this or that company’s Air Operating Certificate (the permission/inc. insurance for operating aircraft for commercial purposes). From memory Joh’s Beryl-mobile was a government-operated one…the point is, you can’t just fly public employees around the joint on what is effectively public business (isn’t it?) without having some kind of clear aviation-legal status, which invariably involves insurance issues.

If Ashby is the insured figure, and he mucks up a late afternoon approach into a Cooktown fundraiser, crashing and leaving Hanson permanently incapacitated, are we clear who pays the bills? If Ashby’s costs are getting reimbursed by Hanson/the party, in turn reimbursed by the electoral commission/Hanson’s parliamentary expenses….well, liability could get messy and end up with….the taxpayer? 

On the 5-minute settlement rule

Mike Westerman writes: Re.”The five-minute solution to Australia’s energy crisis” (Wednesday)

Given batteries are going to take a while to build to a significant, market altering level, the most immediate beneficiaries will be hydro, including the existing pumped storage. But the rule change would no doubt provide bankability for future pumped storage, given the high cost of gas.

Peter Fray

Fetch your first 12 weeks for $12

Here at Crikey, we saw a mighty surge in subscribers throughout 2020. Your support has been nothing short of amazing — we couldn’t have got through this year like no other without you, our readers.

If you haven’t joined us yet, fetch your first 12 weeks for $12 and start 2021 with the journalism you need to navigate whatever lies ahead.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey