Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Trust me. I'm from the government.

Half of Victoria and perhaps Australia think we live in a nanny state. Maybe we do. But look at the drop in work place accidents. Look at the drop in the road toll. There are many such examples.

Generally we trust the authorities with our health and safety. We trust that trains are not going to bang into each other. We trust that at intersections opposing traffic will not have a green light when we have one. We trust we are not going to get a zapping when we switch on a power point. We trust that the water coming out of our taps is clean. It should be so.

We should also be able to trust that when a dangerous situation is pointed out to a government authority, it will be dealt with expediently.

Seems though our Civil Aviation Safety Authority has failed though. Eight separate reports to CASA about a small plane being flown recklessly and dangerously were ignored. Can you guess what then happened? Yep, it crashed and the offending pilot was killed.

Now CASA are also there to ensure the safety of our large passenger jets too. How can we have any faith in CASA at all?

It is quite disturbing. Here is a link to The Age story.



  1. Hello Andrew:
    Cases such as you cite here do make one feel very uneasy and governments do, we strongly feel, have a responsibility to ensure the safety and well being of their citizens. It would seem that CASA have much to answer to.

  2. I don't even trust our government for the basics of life. This is the second town I've lived in where people refuse to drink the water because of the bacteria. When I asked the water company about the water quality, they said well, you can drink it "most" of the time but after a rain it will have toxins in it. What!
    The Housing Authority tells residents the pest spray is non-toxic and safe for plants and pets. I wonder how those scorpions I love so much are killed by it though.
    Hopefully, Australia does not go the way of the U.S.

  3. This is an appalling story. I agree we expect governments to interfere on our behalf, but possibly only when it suits us individually. Well, okay, I'm the one that expects a lot.
    One of the great things about risk management in theory is that it balances the ability of an individual to take responsibility for him/herself, against the rights and responsibilities of those who impose risks, such as employers. They are better able to make informed assessments of risks.
    Those of us who complain, [well, okay, I tend to whinge]
    would draw a line between nanny state and good government at the point where people are utterly powerless to act in their own self interest. For example, an unfenced railway line is dangerous, but I am free to choose to cross it or not. [If mental health was funded properly, perhaps fewer people would choose to "cross" them].
    In this case, the people living under the flight path were powerless to reduce the risk themselves.

    As for not enough staff... this says it all, I think.

  4. Yes, it seems that CASA operates in a rather weakened way, under-resourced and the whole bit. I wonder whether there is another story... about laws, rules, the defiance thereof and what one can get away with? Some years ago, before I was married, in my days out looking, so to speak, I went out with a man who flew planes. He took me up for a flight - I thought myself lucky to see the beauty of the location. He then flew low, along a beach, 50 feet high. Probably I was safe, maybe not. we did not crash. It seemed to me at the time that he was showing off, or, I daresay, proving his masculinity... he was above the law etc.. I could not get out of there quick enough.. I don't remember his name now.

  5. Call me cynical, but many of our assumptions about safety owe more to luck than good management. Recent examples - prescribed burn in WA destroys many homes; many homes in area approved for development on Brisbane flood plain flooded; expensive desalination plants operate at $Millions when not required.

  6. 'Members of the public who witness flying they believe is dangerous or unsafe should report it,'' a spokesman said'

    Um, isn't that what they did in this case, only to be ignored?

  7. JayLa, and we are constantly reassured that these authorities do their jobs. Clearly not.

    Rubye, the spray kills scorpions but is safe to humans. I wouldn't stand in the mist, that is for sure. I wonder about here when in some parts they spray mosquitoes. We are on the way to be a mini USA.

    FruitCake, CASA and its deficiencies are frequently brought up by Dick Smith. No one listens. People do need to take more care of themselves and some responsibility for their actions but where things are easily made safer, then that is a no brainer. The thought of 'some' people doing risk management is frightening.

    Christine, thankfully your relationship went no further. There is showing off and showing off. Do it in a plane and sooner or later you will come to grief. You'll remember his name when you see it in the accident death notice.

    Red, I think it is the same in every state for desal plants. We pay whether we need the water or not. Who was the dick who thought it would never rain again? While we may well need them in the future, they should have been able to be mothballed. Of course Vic has the biggest, so probably the most expensive water.

    Victor, that did grab me. I'd be afraid to even call it irony.

  8. He was obviously mentally deranged and paid the price for it, thankfully no one else did! If only someone had listened they might have been able to save him also. Don't even let's start on Qantas lately, excellent case for NEVER FLYING AGAIN!!!! I hope all is dried out at your place and that you and R are living in peace and happiness once more.

  9. Grace, it just amazes me. Did they think people were making it all up? I'm not a nervous flyer, but gee we do really have to trust our airlines. The odds are well in our favour.