Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Monday, 11 November 2002
Page: 6006


Senator O'Brien asked the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services, upon notice, on 10 July 2002:

(1) Did the Manager, Workplace Relations in the Civil Aviation Safety Authority write to Phillips Fox on 9 May 2002 seeking legal advice about a disciplinary process in relation to a CASA officer employed in CASA's Sydney Airline Office.

(2) Did Phillips Fox respond to that letter on 20 May 2002; if so, did that letter advise that the author was concerned that one officer only was being singled out under CASA's disciplinary policy in relation to an incident or series of incidents that occurred on or following 13 July 2001.

(3) In that letter, did the author advise that if charges were to be laid against this officer then the conduct of others involved in the incident, or incidents, may also warrant the laying of charges.

(4) In that letter, did the author advise that external scrutiny would not look favourably upon the timeframe in which the matter had been handled by CASA setting aside the merits and processes that had been followed.

(5) In that letter, did the author advise that if charges proposed against this CASA officer were in fact made out they would not warrant his dismissal from CASA and that, in the view of the author, the Australian Industrial Relations Commission would uphold such a dismissal as unfair.

(6) In that letter, did the author advise that external scrutiny would not look favourably upon the timeframe in which the matter had been handled by CASA setting aside the merits and processes that had been followed.

(7) In that letter, did the author express concern that the officer, who was the subject of the advice, had been suspended since 24 October 2001 but that no charges were laid against him.

(8) In that letter, did the author advise CASA that the outcome of the matter may be unfavourable comment by a tribunal or increased compensation for the officer if his employment was terminated.

(9) In that letter, did the author advise that he would not lay charges against the officer in relation to alleged negligence or carelessness in the discharge of his duties.

(10) Did the author also advise that in relation to alleged improper conduct he considered the officer's actions inappropriate but trivial.

(11) Did the author of the letter advise CASA that he considered there were grounds for charges in relation to allegations by the officer about another officer and the officer's alleged failure to act with honesty in relation to an investigation of the incident of 13 July 2001 and subsequent events.

(12) Did the author of the letter further advise that if these charges were found to be warranted they would still not justify the summary dismissal of this officer.

(13) Did the author of the letter advise that lesser sanctions, such as admonition or a reduction in salary, would be more appropriate.

(14) (a) Who received the advice from Phillips Fox other than the Manager, Workplace Relations; and (b) in each case: (i) when was that advice provided, and (ii) what action follows consideration of that advice by each person who received a copy of the advice other than the Manager, Workplace Relations.

(15) Has the Board of CASA, or any committee of the Board, considered this matter generally and the external legal advice dated 20 May in particular; if so: (a) on how many occasions has the Board, or any of its committees considered this matter or this legal advice; (b) when was the matter considered; and (c) on each occasion, what action did the Board or the committee recommend and require.


Senator Ian Macdonald (Minister for Forestry and Conservation) —The Minister for Transport and Regional Services has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has provided the following advice.

(1) Yes.

(2) to (13) The issues raised by Senator O'Brien are subject to legal privilege and CASA does not believe that it would be appropriate to reveal the details of sensitive personnel issues.

(14) (a) General Manager, Human Resources Management Branch; the Human Resources Strategic Adviser, Human Resources Management Branch; General Counsel, CASA Office of Legal Counsel; Legal Counsel, Office of Legal Counsel; and the Executive Manager, Aviation Safety Compliance Division. (b) (i) 21 May 2002; and (ii) The advice was provided to the above persons for their consideration from the Project Manager, Workplace Relations, Human Resources Management Branch as the officer responsible for progressing this matter in consultation with other senior CASA staff, including those referred to in (a) above.

(15) No.