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Tuesday, 28 November 2017
Page: 9030


Senator BERNARDI (South Australia) (16:28): I move:

That section 8 of the Direction — operation of certain unmanned aircraft, made under the Civil Aviation Act 1988, be disallowed [F2017L01370].

Thirteen sitting days remain, including today, to resolve the motion or the instrument will be deemed to have been disallowed.

I seek leave to make a two-minute statement.

The PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for two minutes.

Senator BERNARDI: I thank the Senate for the indulgence. I understand this is a disallowance motion and regularly this should be debated at a later time in the day. However, I regret to say there is not enough support for this disallowance in order for it to get through, and I thought I would expedite the operations of the Senate on this important day for many people, to get through the business as we can. However, I want to make this point. This regulation changes the ability of a family to enjoy drone activity, by virtue of the fact that you are only allowed within 30 metres of an active drone whilst you are directly responsible for the operation of that drone. That means that at Christmas time—or any other time—if a family receives a drone under their Christmas tree and wants to operate it, they are unable to do so in their own backyard. It means that those who want to take a photo at a party or a family gathering cannot do so using a drone or they risk getting a $900 fine, a case that has already taken place under the previous legislation, with a wedding ceremony for a couple of Channel 9 personalities.

This is not a malicious attempt by CASA or the minister to do this. This is simply an oversight. I would encourage senators to consider the implications of this, minor though they may be for some of you. But I know there are many people in my neighbourhood who enjoy flying and using drones to take photographs of themselves and their families, even being in a public park and doing it. This is an oversight. I think it can be redressed. I think it should be withdrawn. I have written to the minister about it. I'm sorry there isn't the support for it here, but I would encourage all of you to seriously consider the implications of this for the small minority of people, albeit well-meaning people and families, who simply want to enjoy a drone with their families.