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Pilot training, airline safety and the Transport Safety Investigation Amendment (Incident Reports) Bill 2010

CHAIR —I welcome officers from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau. I remind senators that the Senate has resolved that an officer of the Commonwealth or of a state shall not be asked to give opinions on matters of policy and shall be given reasonable opportunity to refer questions asked of the officer to superior officers or to a minister. This resolution prohibits only questions asking for opinions on matters of policy and does not preclude questions asking for explanations of policies or factual questions about how and when policies were adopted. Officers of the department are also reminded that any claim that it would be contrary to the public interest to answer a question must be made by a minister and shall be accompanied by a statement setting out the basis of the claim. Do you need to make any amendments to any submissions you have made?

Mr McCormick —I think we have submitted ours, Chair.

CHAIR —Would either CASA or ATSB, or both of you, care to make an opening statement? We are quite relaxed about how you go about it.

Mr McCormick —Thank you, Chair. On behalf of CASA, I thank the committee for being able to appear here today. No, we do not have an opening statement to make at this stage.

Mr Dolan —I have got no amendments to make on behalf of the ATSB, Chair. There is one small comment I would like to make, having listened to a considerable amount of the evidence given to the committee. We drew attention, both in our initial submission and in our answer to a question on notice from Senator Xenophon, to the confidential reporting scheme that we administer. That scheme is explicitly designed to deal with a number of the circumstances that have been referred to this committee where people feel unable to bring safety matters internally to notice. It is a scheme that gives pretty much absolute protection of identity to someone who brings a safety issue to the attention of the ATSB, and we will follow it up with whichever relevant organisation is necessary. It seems to me we need to do a better job of publicising the existence of that scheme and the very strong protection of identity that it gives because it does offer at least one channel for people to raise those issues.

Senator XENOPHON —How are you proposing to do that? The idea is very worthy. But how would you do that?

Mr Dolan —As we have briefed the committee, we intend—in the context of the issue of revised regulations on mandatory reporting—to make sure that, when we explain to all those with a reporting responsibility what they must report to us, we also tell them about the existence of a parallel protected scheme and to give it a high level of publicity as far as that goes. We would be more than happy to work with CASA also to make sure that that gets around.

Senator XENOPHON —You heard the evidence from Captain Woodward of AIPA about the incident involving the Jetstar aircraft in Darwin at the end of October and about the severe weather event.

Mr Dolan —Yes.

Senator XENOPHON —Quite recently, Captain Woodward how the crew felt, which was that it was a very serious incident. I note that the ATSB has decided to investigate that particular event. There is no suggestion that the crew did not behave cautiously and appropriately in the information that the pilots union has provided. Is there any consideration as a result of what you have heard today to look at that incident again in the context of air traffic control and the information given to crew at that airport?

Mr Dolan —Based on what I have heard today, I intend to make some further inquiries just to verify the information on which we made a decision that this did not require close investigation. The description of how the occurrence felt to the crew and the understanding that there was a point at which there was not a positive rate of climb is not in the information that is currently available to us. As we understand it at this stage, there was always a positive rate of climb. As to how it felt at the time, clearly a windshear incident of this significance is not going to feel at all comfortable to anyone flying an aircraft, the crew or indeed the passengers. But, since there is such a clearly different perspective on it to our understanding, we will make further inquiries and then make a decision as to what we need to do.

Senator XENOPHON —Can you indicate whether the crew, the captain and the first officer, were interviewed before a decision was made not to investigate the matter further?

Mr Dolan —We did not interview them. We relied on the report that was made available to us on the occurrence.

Senator XENOPHON —Is there an issue with air traffic controllers generally? As I understand it, the radar is there to provide details of separation between aircraft as distinct from providing details as to the weather. In an operational sense, the focus is on air traffic control doing its primary job, which is to separate aircraft. But that does not necessarily give you the best picture in terms of what is happening with the weather in the surrounding area.

Mr Dolan —It would seem that there is a question as to what is the most effective way of getting current and reliable weather information to the crew of an aircraft. The role of air traffic control in that process might be worth closer examination. As I said, having heard the discussion, I will make closer inquiries into this particular occurrence.

Senator XENOPHON —I appreciate that. Captain Woodward also made reference to a 747 incident in which the pilot would not have landed because of a windshear event at one end of the runway. Were procedures changed as a result of that incident? My understanding is that it might have been some time ago, but are you aware of whether each airport has a different approach to dealing with the information that it provides to crews on weather events?

Mr Dolan —Circumstances are different at different aerodromes. The particular standards that apply and the information that is available to crews to make an informed decision about whether it is safe to take off varies from aerodrome to aerodrome. It is one of those circumstances in which there is no simple, one-size fits all, major airports answer to the set of questions. I am not sure that I can usefully add very much more. But those decisions about whether the information available to make safety decisions about takeoff and landing should be reviewed on a regular basis by those participating—the aerodrome operators and air traffic control. That is part of the process. It is a matter that works as much on the regulatory side with CASA as it does with us—in fact, maybe much more so.

Senator XENOPHON —I do not know, Mr McCormick, if you want to add to that with respect to the issue of that weather event in Darwin at the end of October?

Mr McCormick —Today is the first that I have heard of that event because we certainly have not seen anything come our way, but we will look and see what we have. As for air-traffic controllers displaying weather or what they see with TAAATS, Mr Hood was previously a senior manager air-traffic controller by profession with Airservices, so perhaps he can add a few technical points of what you can see with the weather radar et cetera.

Mr Hood —There are two systems basically in most air-traffic control towers. You have the radar system itself so that you can see the aircraft paints. You also have the Bureau of Meteorology weather radar which paints the thunderstorms. That usually is based at the airport so in Darwin, for example, it might be showing the thunderstorm clouds further out but there is no way of telling the intensity, to my knowledge, of what is actually over the airport itself.

Senator XENOPHON —I think Mr Dolan will get back to us as to the extent of that. Mr McCormick, can I go to the document that was tabled, which I think the committee provided to you earlier today, headed ‘Special fatigue audit: Jetstar’ dated 10 May 2010. It is a document that has been provided for the purpose of this inquiry. It is headed as a staff-in-confidence document but you can understand why I and, I think, some of my colleagues have been concerned about the content of that report. The audit makes references to the risk assessment, of Jetstar in relation to fatigue matters and it has been highly critical of that. It makes reference to a reactive system of managing fatigue, heavy reliance on the CAO 48 exemption. It refers to unacceptable fatigue risks not being identified and managed, loose interpretations and applications of rostering practices and it goes on to make reference to a lack of support for flight crew decision making if already fatigued. It also refers to the perceived punitive nature of taking actions within the airline. It is highly critical and recommends that the CAO 48 exemption should be withdrawn. Can you advise as a result of this audit of 10 May 2010 being prepared for CASA what steps were taken following that audit and whether there have been changes with Jetstar since that time?

Mr McCormick —I would say at the outset, as you correctly pointed out, that this is an internal document. We do not normally look at internal documents.

Senator XENOPHON —It has been given to the committee, so I have an obligation.

Mr McCormick —I appreciate that, Senator. This audit was undertaken over 6 to 9 April 2010 following complaints from Jetstar flight crew based in Darwin. The audit was led by a safety systems inspector. Mr Cook, who is no longer employed by CASA, who authored this part of the document. His document was incorporated in the final report which was dated 10 May 2010 and which was given to Jetstar on that day. You might note that the date of 10 May is also the date on this particular document that has been tabled here and this whole document arrived to the actual review quite late in the process. However, the general intention of this review looking at what was involved in here—some of the conclusions were supported by evidence, some were not—the basic principles that were in here, the concerns, were carried forward into the report.

If you would indulge me for a second the special audit report concluded with 12 findings which were associated with reliance on reactive reporting for fatigue risk matters, the Jetstar CAO 48 exemption appearing to act as the primary means of managing flight crew fatigue risk and the impact of commercial imperatives on the interpretation of flight and duty time legislation, adequate rest and fatigue management. We required a more proactive fatigue risk management program was demonstrated to be in the concept stage by Jetstar and Jetstar responded to all findings and made undertakings with respect to the continued development of the FRMS and revision of CAO 48 EX application for domestic and international duties. Fatigue risk management protocols for ops control application and formalising of requirements for extended duty periods were addressed by Jetstar.

The scheduled AOC audit we then carried out was in May 2010, so very closely after this special audit had been done in relation to Darwin. There were eight findings made in relation to the SMS safety department resourcing, SMS training and internal audit. A finding was made with respect to fatigue-risk-producing conditions for the cabin crew. All these findings were satisfactorily addressed and, given that it has only been a few weeks since the special audit, follow-up action as a result was seen as satisfactory. The formal SMS capability assessment of Jetstar will be conducted within the Jetstar AOC audit, which is scheduled for May this year.

Senator XENOPHON —The document that the committee has is part of a report that CASA has prepared?

Mr McCormick —Correct. There were three members of the audit team. The author of this document was part of that team. It was submitted to lead auditor, who produced their overall document which was given to Jetstar.

Senator XENOPHON —Chair, we may call for that document. Is that a confidential document or is it a public document.

Mr McCormick —No, this was an internal document. It is not confidential, as such—the one that you have tabled. The actual report that went to Jetstar we can table that if the chair allows that.

Senator XENOPHON —That would be very useful. That wasn’t a published report, though, was it?

Mr McCormick —Generally our audit reports go to Jetstar; we do not generally release the reports.

Senator XENOPHON —No, no, but this is not something that we could have found on the web?

Mr McCormick —That is what I am saying. No, we don’t do that.

Senator XENOPHON —I just want to make that clear. To what extent did the final report to Jetstar incorporate the concerns of his fatigue audit?

Mr McCormick —That is what I just read out. We made 12 audit observations—AOs—which were associated with reliance on reactive reporting for fatigue risk matters. The Jetstar CAO 48 exemption appeared to be acting as a primary means of managing flight crew fatigue risk. The impact of commercial imperatives on the interpretation of flight on duty time—

Senator XENOPHON —Is there a copy of that report that we can obtain shortly?

Mr McCormick —Certainly.

Senator XENOPHON —Could we get copies for the committee?

Mr McCormick —I will ask Greg Hood, who is the executive manager operations, who oversaw this, to comment.

Senator XENOPHON —It would be useful to refer to that, because this obviously is a document that has caused some concern. In relation to this particular report, for instance, the fatigue audit said that ‘no evidence has been provided to date to demonstrate appropriate strategic assessment of fatigue risk’. Is that something that was put to Jetstar at the time?

Mr McCormick —Sorry, I missed the last bit of your question.

Senator XENOPHON —In terms of the key findings from CASA—the human factors:

No evidence has been provided to date to demonstrate appropriate strategic assessment of fatigue risk.

Was that something that was put to Jetstar in the context of whether there is an appropriate strategic assessment of fatigue risk?

Mr McCormick —I will have to wait till get my copy of the final report back to read it.

Senator XENOPHON —Okay.

Mr McCormick —Perhaps Mr Hood can add more.

Senator XENOPHON —So that this is not tedious, there were a number of findings. They were not numbered—some 12 findings. For instance, finding 2 was that

No evidence of proactive fatigue risk assessment when the new Darwin base was established.

Is that something that was put to Jetstar in the context of the audit?

Mr Hood —In terms of the report that you have in your possession, it was the input of a third of the team members to the final report. I would need to refer to the final report to have a look at what the lead auditor considered to be supported by evidence.

Senator XENOPHON —What you mean by that? There was an input of a third? Does that mean you are trying to minimise the report?

Mr Hood —No, there are three different members of the team each with a different skill set. What normally happens in the context of an order to teams—

CHAIR —What are the three skill sets?

Mr Hood —In this particular case it was a 767 flying ops inspector; a safety systems inspector—someone who has expertise in looking at systems within airlines: fatigue management systems, safety management systems; and the human factors expert.

CHAIR —You had an expert in human what?

Mr Hood —Human factors—psychology.

CHAIR —I would be interested to run into him!

Senator XENOPHON —As soon as this report was tabled to the committee, we provided you with a copy. It would have been perhaps useful to see the final report. It goes on to say, under the third finding, that there was a reactive system for managing fatigue, with a heavy reliance on the CAO48 exemption. That is something that was put to Jetstar?

Mr Hood —Yes, I believe it was.

Senator XENOPHON —It says that the system is too reliant on incidents to occur and on reports from flight crew to determine whether there is an unacceptable fatigued risk. Is that something that you believe has been addressed since that time?

Mr Hood —There were 12 findings in the final audit report. It is my information that each of those findings was satisfactorily addressed by the airline.

Mr McCormick —It is worth noting, of course, that it does say in the report that Jetstar may have additional supporting material which has not yet been provided to further address some of the human factor section’s findings. It is my understanding, without actually talking to the lead auditor, that some of the findings given in paragraph 2 were not supported by evidence.

Senator XENOPHON —I think the report was quite careful in saying that no evidence had been provided to date. In other words, there was no positive evidence of, for instance, an appropriate strategic assessment of fatigue risk. It also refers to a scientific review of Darwin based flight crew rosters which indicated that there were predicted levels of fatigue risk that required further review by Jetstar, and that, in the absence of sufficient proactive fatigue risk assessment practice by Jetstar, there may be unacceptable fatigue risks that are not being identified and managed. Has that been attended to since that time?

Mr Hood —I would like to take that on notice, if I can. I will go back and review Jetstar’s response to our audit recommendations.

Senator XENOPHON —One matter concerns me:

There remains reluctance from a number of flight crew to report fatigue risk and/or to say no to an extension of duty based on the perceived punitive nature of taking such actions.

We have heard from Captain Woodward on behalf of Jetstar pilots. I have heard from a number of pilots who say that they are very reluctant to speak out, because they are concerned about their jobs. How does CASA deal with the issue of a perceived punitive nature when taking such actions?

Mr McCormick —We have to be very cognisant of the fact that we are a statutory authority and a regulator and we have to work on facts and be facts based. If we have whistleblower type approaches—and that may not be the right term to use for somebody who just wishes to report, but I will use that as a working term—as I think I have said in this place before, my view is that we support those people. We take their allegations seriously and we will investigate them. Certainly, in my tenure that is what we have done. We can see what our industry complaints commissioner has done to see whether they have seen things which have not come to us, but I do not think we are inundated by Jetstar pilots making complaints to us. The reasons why they do not make the complaints to us may very well be as you have outlined: industrial concerns, concerns for their employment or whatever. However, it is difficult for us to regulate in that space. It really is for others to control those issues. If someone comes to us with a complaint, we will investigate it. I have given the industry that undertaking.

Senator XENOPHON —I appreciate that.

Dr Aleck —I mentioned this at last estimates. I corrected the dates, but I offered the first time that, as of February 2010 and December 2009, regular public transport operators are required to have in place a safety management system. That system is required to have in place an internal reporting scheme which provides for these kinds of reports to be made to the operator. The order that is a condition on the air operator’s certificate provides that there may not be a punitive element within the organisation for that kind of reporting. The point I was making when I first raised this was that, if it came to our attention that an operator took punitive action against a reporting member of the operating crew under the safety management scheme, that would be inconsistent and would be a breach of a condition on their air operator certificate. That is relatively new legislation, but we would need to be aware of the fact that this happened before we could take action.

Senator XENOPHON —Thank you. In terms of other recommendations that were made, an ancillary finding was the potential for unacceptable fatigue risk for cabin crew. At the moment, CASA does not regulate for cabin crew fatigue, does it?

Mr McCormick —That is correct. We do not.

Senator XENOPHON —And you cannot say whether you have been instructed by the government to prepare regulations along those lines?

Mr McCormick —Obviously if it is government policy I cannot comment, but we are awaiting the fatigue risk management guidelines from ICAO. Captain Woodward mentioned those. They are due to come out very shortly and we are expecting them next month. The compliance date for what is called the SARP, the standard and recommended practice, is expected to be November this year. We will implement those ICAO recommendations for flight crew by that date. We are anticipating the introduction of fatigue risk management for cabin crew to take slightly longer than that, the reason being that we have never done it before, we have never regulated cabin crew times before, and we think we will have to do a lot of consultation with the industry and the cabin crew unions and other interested parties before we produce our first ever document. That is our intent. Certainly as soon as we get the ICAO standards we will start work on those. This year, if the ICAO date of next month or thereabouts is correct for the paperwork to come to us or for it to be available, we will have completed by November fatigue risk management guidelines for flight crew but I would anticipate the cabin crew being finished sometime next year.

Senator XENOPHON —One of the issues that has been raised, and I really need to refer to the document once we have got it, is that one of the findings made in this audit was that a workaround to dead-heading, while not illegal, is a further demonstration of how to maximise a system to meet operational needs. Company policy to pay for some flight crew to commute between other cities and Darwin has the potential to significantly increase fatigue risk. One of the other findings made reference to I guess pushing the envelope in terms of turnaround times and the like. Is that something that has been attended to since this report?

Mr McCormick —We did raise with Jetstar the issue of the split standby duty, which is what it appears to me they were using here. The difficulty we always encounter is that CAR 48 and the exemptions to it were written a long time ago in a different world and they never were contemplated as tools for managing fatigue risk as we understand it today. In my own experience I was involved in the ICAO rewrite or attempted rewrite of fatigue risk management earlier this century. We were unable to reconcile a lot of those things at that time and it is now underway under the leadership of Dr Curtis Graeber. It is being rewritten now and they are the documents we are waiting to see. Up until now we have a system that says, ‘This is the minimum that you have to give people.’ It is prescriptive, whether it be a minimum standard of hours on in the case we are talking about here a minimum standard of time off or whatever. But when it is a minimum it is there for a very good reason and that is the lowest that you can show acceptable safety and acceptable compliance. So the minimum is not necessarily dangerous, but in the commercial reality of these operations I think it is pretty self-evident that all these carriers these days look to go to the minimum, they look to go to where they get the most commercial advantage. In previous days perhaps everybody exceeded the minimum by quite an acceptable standard. I would say what has happened worldwide is that there has been a continual move to squeeze profits out of everything that is possible. I am not criticising Jetstar here or any Australian airline for that matter. However, they push to the minimum. The basis in reality is that the minimum is the acceptable. Whether it is best practice is another question.

CHAIR —Against that background, should the minimum be raised?

Mr McCormick —That is the question. We are getting away from the prescriptive limit of saying, ‘Because you have 10 hours off you have got to be rested.’ We are going to saying, ‘What is the activity? What have you been doing? What are we intending to do?’ I have had quite a bit to do with this on a professional basis and in fact my master’s thesis was in fatigue risk management. I am not claiming to be an expert but I do have a little bit of background theory to this. Most of the biometric type testing of FAID or SAFE or any of these are not reliable indicators of fatigue. The primary idea of fatigue is that it comes in two forms. There is acute fatigue and there is chronic fatigue. Acute fatigue is what you might get working in the garden, flying too long or whatever with hard duty but within the limits. That is recovered by only one means, and that is rest. Chronic fatigue is a medical condition which is not treated by rest alone.

So, in some respects, fatigue risk management systems address the issue of acute fatigue on the basis that the person is rested to do the next duty they are intended to do, not recover from the duty they have just done. That is an interesting area of how that is contemplated and how it is used in practice, but the whole idea of the fatigue risk management system is to try to prevent people winding up with chronic fatigue. That, of course, is a moveable feast, dare I say it.

But I will say again: there is no reliable science in the world at the moment where you can come out with a number and then say, ‘That is your fatigue risk—you are this; you are that.’ There is always some subjective nature to it.

Senator XENOPHON —On that issue, the Independent Transport Safety Regulator of New South Wales with its transport safety alerts 34 of July last year and 35 of January this year, in relation to the use of bio-mathematical models of human fatigue, was fairly critical of the FAID system. I do not know if you are familiar with the ITSR’s work. Even though it was in the context of train drivers, is that criticism of the limitations of the FAID system something that you take into account?

Mr McCormick —I do not know whether the ATSB wishes to talk about that, but, from my point of view, pretty much over the last, say, eight to nine years the FAID system has been shown to not be a reliable indicator of fatigue. There are medical tests you can do to show fatigue by checking on enzymes et cetera, but they are fairly invasive. I will hand over to my colleagues from the ATSB; they may wish to put some more expert knowledge to it.

Mr Dolan —I think Mr McCormick is more of an expert on fatigue than me. What I will say is that I am aware of the ITSR work, which relies on research work from the rail regulator in the United States. As I understand it, essentially it says that in the most crucial area systems like FAID are not particularly reliable. At either extreme end—well rested or severely fatigued—it works fine. It tells you that there is a problem or there is no problem. But the area in the middle, the risk you are trying to manage, is where numerical systems do not give you adequate reliability and you have to find other means for managing the overall risk. That is the issue that ICAO has been trying to deal with and that any set of standards is going to have to deal with. It is the uncertainty we have to deal with when we are assessing whether fatigue is a contributing factor in an accident or an occurrence. It is a complex area and there are, sadly, no easy answers in finding a way through it.

Senator XENOPHON —Senator O’Brien has asked witnesses today a very pertinent question. The US Congress has passed legislation that has time limits as to whether you are working for a regulator or working for industry. There are different views on that. I think Mr Borghetti from Virgin had a slightly different view to one of his senior executives in maintenance, who thought it was not a bad thing. The civil aviation order 48 is dated 18 September 2009 and it is signed off by Mark Rossiter, who was the manager of CASA operations and air transport for the southern region. Is that your understanding?

Mr McCormick —Yes.

Senator XENOPHON —Mr Rossiter subsequently is now the head of safety at Jetstar. Are aware of when he got the position?

Mr McCormick —As you correctly point out—and thank you for that, Senator—Mark Rossiter was the manager of CASA operations air transport. On 5 October he moved from that position into the safety oversight branch. Then, on 6 December 2009, he left CASA’s employment.

Senator XENOPHON —So within less than three months he had shifted to Jetstar—is that right?

Mr McCormick —Sorry, from September to December?

Senator XENOPHON —Yes, it was a bit under three months.

Mr McCormick —Correct.

Senator XENOPHON —Does CASA have any views on that as a general rule, given what has occurred in the US? There are different views. We have people within Virgin saying something different, but is that something that causes you any concern?

Mr McCormick —Yes. If I can use the vernacular, it is not a good look. We are very cognisant of the fact that the skill set that we need in our senior managers, like Mr Rossiter and others, is very much the skill set that the industry looks for as well. So we are competing for the same people. In a place like Australia it is a very small pool. In fact, even going overseas there are a surprising number of people you know in the industry in other countries, because people tend to move around like that. We saw that earlier today with Virgin Blue’s new AOC responsible person. We are very cognisant from a governance point of view of what people are doing and any time that someone indicates to us that they are going to leave a senior position in the organisation to go somewhere else in the organisation or anywhere that would be a conflict of interest condition—

Senator XENOPHON —So when did Mr Rossiter advise you that he was going to Jetstar, do you know?

Mr McCormick —Me personally or—


Mr McCormick —I do not know whether we have a record of that.

Senator XENOPHON —Presumably he would have given notice that he was leaving?

Mr McCormick —He would have given notice but when exactly he gave us that notice I am not sure.

Senator XENOPHON —Is there a requirement within CASA—or, indeed, the ATSB, Mr Dolan—that if an employee of CASA or the ATSB is going to go somewhere else for employment to advise CASA that they are going to an airline, for instance, from the date that they know that they have got that job?

Mr McCormick —From CASA’s point of view, yes, they would have to declare a conflict of interest.

CHAIR —Can I just ask a question. In terms of the exemption that was granted, could you clarify that?

Senator XENOPHON —I think there is some issue there in terms of order 48.

CHAIR —Is there a commercial advantage to Jetstar?

Mr McCormick —My understanding is that it was a standard industry exemption, but I will have to take that on notice. Your specific question is, ‘Did we give Jetstar a commercial advantage?’

Senator XENOPHON —That was not my question.

CHAIR —I asked that. I am just trying to clarify what the exemption enables.

Mr McCormick —I will have to come back to you on this particular document on notice.

CHAIR —Do we know?

Senator XENOPHON —My understanding is that it allows for ‘back of clock’ operations and related matters. That is my understanding. Mr Hood is nodding his head. It is a pretty fundamental exemption though, isn’t it?

Mr Hood —Yes.

CHAIR —Could you just explain whether it is just the normal exemption. If it is a normal exemption for everyone, why is it an exemption? If it is an extraordinary exemption, does it give a commercial advantage? If it gives a commercial advantage, could that be an inducement?

Mr McCormick —Our intent would never to be to give a commercial advantage. This is a standard—although I will have to confirm this—

CHAIR —I appreciate that you would not want to give the commercial advantage, but does the exemption give a commercial advantage?

Mr McCormick —The exemption is available to all the people who are competing in this particular area.

CHAIR —Do they all have it? If not, why not?

Mr McCormick —It is Mr Hood’s area. I will just hand over to him.

Mr Hood —Certainly the majority do. We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the ICAO SARP to review the legislation in this regard. We currently have a civil aviation order which talks about the management of fatigue. We have a general exemption which looks at flight duty periods.

CHAIR —So why do we have the general exemption? Is it because the present law without the exemption is inadequate or out of date? Or has modern technology overpowered it?

Mr Boyd —Perhaps I can answer that. Because it is a prescriptive piece of legislation, as it stands at the moment there are very many situations that it does not fit. So over a period of time there have been standard exemptions to that piece of regulation developed to fit different situations that occur. As Mr Hood has already mentioned, we are eagerly awaiting the ICAO SARP to tidy up and move forward into the modern world on that fatigue issue.

CHAIR —If that is the case then can Jetstar, Virgin and anyone else who wants this exemption get it? Have they got it?

Mr Hood —That is correct. My understanding is that if they meet the safety requirements then they will be granted the exemption.

Mr McCormick —There are only three ways that you can control flight-time limitations at the moment—that is, use the CAO 48, have a fatigue risk management system or use one of the standard industry exemptions. There are standard exemptions; there is an international one and a domestic one. They are referenced in the report that Senator Xenophon has there. We do not particularly like this approach of exemptions to regulations but they have been around a very long time and we would have difficulty if we were to try to remove them. With the new fatigue risk management scheme we will go away from CAO 48 completely. So CAO 48 will cease to exist in its present form.

Senator XENOPHON —I am looking at the document you have just provided. Has it been tabled, Chair?


Senator XENOPHON —This is a document addressed to Mr Bruce Buchanan, Chief Executive Officer of Jetstar, 10 May 2010. It has attached the CASA audit report formalised for Mr Buchanan’s attention. As I understand it though, it does not incorporate the special fatigue audit. In other words, what CASA got from the audit that was carried out was not the same document that was provided to Jetstar, was it?

Mr McCormick —No. As I said, the document that was provided to Jetstar was from the audit team. Mr Cook was a member of that audit team for one speciality—that is, human factors.

Senator XENOPHON —Human factors are very important though.

Mr McCormick —I am not denying that. I point out again that Mr Cook’s report from 10 May is dated the same date that this was done. So his report was brought very late. We would not necessarily ever incorporate every recommendation or finding from each individual part. Also, there is some question about the evidence that backed up a lot of the allegations or findings that Mr Cook put in his report.

Senator XENOPHON —But some of the findings in that report actually said there seems to be a lack of evidence for there being an appropriate system in place—in other words it said, ‘Where is the evidence of having a system in place to deal with fatigue?’ That surely is relevant. If Mr Cook could not find any evidence as a result of his audit then it is not unreasonable for him to put that in his report.

Mr McCormick —It is completely reasonable. In fact, we would encourage it because it is an internal document that goes to form the final document but is not the final document.

Senator XENOPHON —You are not criticising this report as such. Given the qualifications contained within it, it seems to be quite robust.

Mr McCormick —I have read it as closely as I can, but without having spoken to anyone involved. If you look at the audit observations in the final report, many of his observations have been bundled together into audit observations. The first one talks about flight crew members, flight duty, rest time and incorporates some of the back-of-the-clock flying, which is more correctly known as operations within the window of circadian low. The actual rostering, the domestic exemptions and the use of the 48 exemptions are all in the first audit report. I would say that Mr Cook’s report is most probably—and I am not casting any doubts on the veracity of it—not in a format we would give to an operator.

Senator XENOPHON —Mr Cook, as I understand it from research I have been able to do, has got a particular expertise in human factors. He is still working in this field, isn’t he?

Mr McCormick —I do not know what Mr Cook is doing now.

Senator XENOPHON —I think you will find he is still providing advice at a high level to the Australian government in relation to this. I want to understand this process. You get the input from this audit. You provide the letter to Mr Buchanan requesting that he attend to these matters. Is that correct?

Mr McCormick —Yes.

Senator XENOPHON —How do you know that these matters have been attended to thoroughly. For instance, the information I have received from pilots is that you can sometimes get an extension to the hours within the exemption because there is a discretion there that is referred to in this report. You are familiar with the concept? In other words, you go beyond the maximum hours. The information I have is that 12 out of 21 Jetstar flights were extended in January this year alone. Are you familiar with those extensions?

Mr McCormick —I am not familiar with that statistic.

Senator XENOPHON —Would you be able to take on notice whether that is the case? If there was an extension to the hours in 12 out of 21 flights—more than 50 per cent—even allowing for the CAO 48 exemption, would that indicate some systemic issues that need to be addressed?

Mr McCormick —If I could talk more on a global issue, the use of flight time limitations, extensions of duty periods and reductions in rest periods, rightly or wrongly, is industry standard. I am not necessarily saying that we should condone it, but it is something which is generally accepted around the world.

Senator XENOPHON —What is the point of having the standard if 50 per cent of flights are an extension?

Mr McCormick —Because, if I can be a little flippant for a second, there is only one known cure for fatigue and it is called money. If you pay people enough money, perhaps they will work longer than they would otherwise do. Generally, extensions of duty incur penalty rates on the company and they are quite punitive. I cannot say that is the case in Jetstar and I am not saying that is the case everywhere, but there is always a commercial aspect to this. One of the things that we as a regulator have to be cognisant of, and also if one is in management of an airline, is the fact that sometimes you have to protect people from themselves. Sometimes these schemes can be abused from both sides. They can be manipulated, particularly for financial reasons. I think fatigue is the most serious issue that we are facing outside of automation in the aviation industry going forward.

CHAIR —Surely one of the judgments of fatigue is what you do in your time off—whether you get on the grog, you chase women, you belt the kids or you play soccer. Surely this is a vagary. Is the exemption given to enable competition with people who expect pilots to work 20 hours a day? I used to drive a tractor for 20 hours a day for three months in a row. I thought, ‘That’s what I’ve got to do,’ and I just did it. So is it that, if I work for Garuda airlines, to enable competition we have to give this exemption?

Mr McCormick —No. I appreciate what you are saying. I think the issue is that the original CAO, when it was written, did not contemplate things like ultra long haul operations, multiple crews, multiple sector operations or relatively tight turnaround times. The reg is just not up to it. The exemptions were a blunt attempt to allow those sorts of operations—which we need in Australia because we are so far away from anywhere—to operate internationally. Those exemptions were put there to allow Australia’s aviation industry to continue to operate. As soon as you put a regulation there, as we all know, it is open to abuse and it is open to interpretation. Our job is to try and stop that.

Senator XENOPHON —I need to clarify. The 12 out of 21 extensions in January applied to the Darwin and Singapore flights—just that sector, which was the subject of back-of-clock operations. Does that indicate to you abuse or something verging on abuse, if it is 12 out of 21 occasions in one month alone?

Mr McCormick —I would say it sounds like a very high percentage. What we will do, because we do not have that data, is take on notice what has happened there. Would I say that 12 out of 21 represents a danger? It could, and I will stress ‘could’—

Senator XENOPHON —I did not actually ask that.

Mr McCormick —I will take that word back. Does this seem an anomalous situation—

Senator XENOPHON —Or an abuse of the system.

Mr McCormick —or an abuse? There could be many factors that led them to this situation, to that number. But the most common factor would normally be that the amount of time allowed for in the planning stage is insufficient for the time it takes to actually do the mission.

Senator XENOPHON —A 40-minute turnaround at Changi seems very ambitious.

Mr McCormick —We used to turn around 747-400s in 40 minutes at Changi in my previous company.

Senator XENOPHON —Really? Even today, with current loads?

Mr McCormick —I think Changi traffic is down 1.6 per cent since 2006—for cargo, anyway, perhaps not for passengers. But you are right: tight turnaround times are an issue. They always have been.

Senator XENOPHON —Was that a cargo operator you were working with at the time?

Mr McCormick —No, that was a passenger operator. Industry standard is an hour to 70 minutes for a large aeroplane, not a little aeroplane like an A320 or a 737.

Senator XENOPHON —Sure. Okay.

Mr McCormick —There is always going to be this concept around the ‘low cost’ airline. It is actually a bit of a fallacious term, because most costs in the airline business are fixed costs. Leasing prices are fixed, fuel is fixed, landing fees are fixed, parking fees are fixed, maintenance costs a certain amount. If you wish to pursue that model where you charge for everything and you try to get the best advantage somewhere else, there is only one place left to look, and that is the crew. Our business, from the regulator point of view, is to make sure that people do not abuse this. But they will, and I think in some respects for a publicly-listed company, if they are doing the right thing by their shareholders, they should try to push as close to the limits as they can. I will stress again—and the chair has quite rightly pointed out—the question is: is the minimum too low? When we move to fatigue risk management systems we will address this and the issue of these exemptions will go away.

Senator XENOPHON —Perhaps on notice you can provide details of: how did Jetstar respond to this and how were you satisfied that they have complied? I do not know whether Mr Hood can comment on this. How is it that, if it is the case that there were extensions in 12 out of the 21—which I think you have acknowledged seems quite high—and that you will be looking into that, is that something that CASA ought to monitor on a regular basis? You get all these undertakings, you give them the tick of approval, but if there are 12 out of 21 extensions out of more than half the flights in January alone, does that indicate there ought to be continual monitoring by CASA of this particular exemption?

Mr McCormick —We will take on notice, Senator, as you quite rightly said, the issue of the 12 out of the 21. I will go back to what I did say earlier on. We are auditing Jetstar’s AOC SMS in May this year. That will be a more comprehensive look at the organisation rather than just looking at an individual piece of it. Perhaps you would care to request that document when we have finished that, to answer that question more fully rather than giving you pieces—

Senator XENOPHON —Finally from me on this: CASA are satisfied that Jetstar is complying or has dealt with these fatigue issues? My concern is that there are pilots who are still complaining through their union, and pilots complaining to me and to others individually, that the issue of fatigue has not been addressed. Is there any proposal to seek out the views of pilots, on a confidential basis, to ensure that the issue of fatigue has been adequately addressed?

Mr McCormick —I would say to anybody who reads the transcript of this, or listens to it, that we would welcome anybody in the aviation industry that has issues, whether they be fatigue or otherwise, to report to us. We will treat it as confidential and we will investigate those requests.

Senator XENOPHON —Following up from that, does this report—I have not had a chance to read it in detail—deal with the perceived punitive nature of taking such actions? Referring to the report, does it deal with that culture of people fearing retribution? You might want to take that on notice, to be fair to you. I think you may want to consider that.

Mr McCormick —I do not see it in his report, but I will take that on notice. If someone has a fear or they have some concerns, the ATSB has REPCONS available. I do not know whether Mr Dolan has seen any REPCONS around from Jetstar pilots which may aid us in our discussion.

CHAIR —Could I ask a dumb question? If I am a member of the cabin crew and I am flying the leg from Melbourne to Bali and then immediately turn around and fly back, and yet another airline who gave evidence today said that, when they get their crew to Bali, they rest them as they do the flight crew: am I entitled to feel a bit disgruntled if I am the crew that has to go up and back in one shot?

Mr McCormick —Yes, Senator.

CHAIR —But there is nothing you can do about that.

Mr McCormick —If the two examples you gave—airline A and airline B—say that they were both operating within the approved schemes, whether it be a fatigue risk management scheme, or whether it be under the CAR 48 exemption or whatever, if they are operating legally I have to allow them to operate—

CHAIR —Does that mean that the law or whatever enables that to occur has a loophole or a flaw in it? It just seems extraordinary to me, because it is a pretty fair hop.

Mr McCormick —Yes, it is. I think that it is a fair day’s work. There are no two ways about that. I personally would say that long periods of duty like that are not unknown around the world—what are called ‘day turnarounds’, which are very extensive flights that are done in one day. In the Europe experience, particularly around the summer time, when there are a lot of operations to Majorca, the Channel Islands and Greece, there are very long days. Do I think it is conducive to long-term health? My personal opinion is no.

CHAIR —It may be the bank account.

Mr McCormick —I will go back to where I was originally: generally there is compensation involved in this, and that is a fairly large motivator sometimes.

CHAIR —With foreign based, fully equipped, foreign owned and staffed airlines that fly into Australia do you have any say on supervising whether they have got their eyeballs hanging out when they get to Sydney and then go back to where they came from. Do we have any safety enablers for those crews, who are flying planes that could well be full of Australian passengers. I do not want to name airlines, but you know who they are.

Mr McCormick —The short answer is no. We do not really have power. We do have some power in some areas. I think in our answers on notice we might have given a more comprehensive answer to a question about what control we have over overseas airlines. The long and the short of it is that if someone has a foreign air operators certificate and is operating into Australia and they roster their cabin crew away, and for that matter their flight deck crew away, we have limited ability to do something with that.

CHAIR —In this inquiry we have been focused on our mob a bit, which may be a bit unfair. It may be that the danger for this committee is to get tangled up in some wages and conditions argument hidden in the safety issue—part of it would go with the other. To be fair to the Australian airline paying passenger, and looking at airline safety and maintenance, it would almost be self evident that we should be looking at some of the airlines that fly into Australia, but are not Australian owned. It is like the $1 litre of milk. If they put the signal in the market then everyone else has got to try to play catch-up, whether they go down the chute or not.

Mr McCormick —You are quite right to say that fatigue is a serious issue. Fatigue and automation are most probably the two biggest risks that we have in aviation and the airline industry, certainly from the operator’s point of view. Qantas does not carry the majority of passengers, according to the Bureau of Statistics, into Australia—

CHAIR —And they have great difficulty being competitive on the international routes.

Mr McCormick —Correct.

CHAIR —Maybe we are enabling their financial consequences by not being a bit tougher an inspector of what they are up against. It might be mission impossible in the long term.

Mr McCormick —When a foreign operator lands in Australia we do extensive checks on those aircraft when we have concerns about the standards of the operating crew, as we did some years ago, we take extensive action, including going on the flight deck and observing what they are flying. Without naming any airlines, we have one airline from a country very close to our northern shores that applies regularly to fly to Australia, and they are quite a large operator, and we are not satisfied with their safety and we will not issue them a foreign air operator certificate. We do the best we can. Labour laws in other countries are something that we get very little visibility of, but presumably when the ICAO standard recommended procedure comes out on fatigue risk management the signatory countries will incorporate that and we will have higher confidence—

CHAIR —But we will still accommodate people who will not be signatories to that to fly into Australia and make their own rules?

Mr McCormick —I heard that comment earlier on. I am not sure. Dr Aleck has worked closely with ICAO and is on the committee that is looking at many of these issues.

Dr Aleck —A contracting state is obliged to meet those requirements and we are obliged to recognise that they do. With a non-contracting state or a state that does not comply with an annex provision as standard, we do not have to honour their opportunity to operate.

CHAIR —But do we, even though we are not obliged to?

Dr Aleck —That is a question I cannot answer.

Senator XENOPHON —There was a report in the Australian yesterday that there has been an urgent audit in India in terms of some pilots’ licences being forged. What role does CASA have in relation to that? You just assume that if someone has the appropriate endorsements that those are valid if they are flying with a foreign carrier—is that right? You are familiar with the issue in India?

Mr McCormick —Yes, I think I read the article you are referring to. If you are talking about how do we know whether a foreign pilot on a foreign aircraft with a foreign licence has a valid foreign licence, it is very, very difficult for us to know that. You have to take it on face value.

Senator XENOPHON —It is only if they are seeking endorsement here in Australia?

Mr McCormick —When they come to seek endorsement in Australia, which means converting their foreign licence to an Australian licence, then we have more visibility on that process and the procedure.

Senator O’BRIEN —Just following on from the questions about what you described as a bad look, Mr McCormick, what can CASA or anyone else do to avoid the perceptions that are created by an officer signing, for example, a beneficial regulatory exemption and then within a short period of time being employed by the beneficiary of the exemption?

Mr McCormick —We try what we can to avoid that circumstance happening. As soon as we know that someone is going to leave and if, as they required to by our code of conduct, they declare a conflict of interest, we remove them straight away from that. About a year or so ago we had an issue around a certain airline in Australia and whether one of our staff had inappropriately dealt with an airline. I have not actually seen the final report, because we got an independent investigator to go and investigate that. At some meeting we will have, it will be discussed again.

What can we do about it? We have got to be cognisant of fair trade. On the US regulation you were about earlier on, the two-year cooling-off period, I do not think that has got to notice of final rule-making stage yet, so I do not know where that is going. As part of the idea of us trying to educate our staff, when they are going to leave or they take a job with somebody if they declare a conflict of interest we quarantine them away from any work that is done there. There is little else we can do at this stage.

Senator O’BRIEN —There are plenty of examples of contractual requirements that limit movement benefiting from an employment arrangement with one company to another company—taking advantage of the knowledge given by one company and then using it for another. Is there no means for CASA to introduce some sort of system which would penalise the taking of such an advantage? I guess you cannot prevent it because you cannot stop someone from leaving when they resign, but is there no way that contractually you can limit where they can go?

Mr McCormick —Generally speaking, we have discussed this internally, particularly after the last rather high-profile departure we had. My understanding is concomitant with government policy—that we do not have very many tools available to us. Dr Aleck may wish to add a couple of points on this because it is a topical issue.

Dr Aleck —We have been very closely reviewing these things for the very reasons you have raised. Such a provision in a contract is possible. It is legal. Obviously, it can only be prospective; we cannot insert it into an existing contract. The information—which I think the Attorney-General’s Department has published, but I will take that on notice to confirm it—is that those provisions are notoriously difficult to enforce. Whilst they are legally available, as a practical matter there is great difficulty in enforcing them.

I should also mention that the FAA proposal, which I understand is not actually in force yet, places conditions on the operators and not on the employee, and makes it impermissible for an operator to employ a former FAA officer in a capacity that involves making representations to the FAA for, I believe, a two-year period after they leave.

Senator XENOPHON —For lobbying?

Dr Aleck —It is difficult to say what they mean by ‘making representations’. It could be an operational representation. I think the rule might not have been clarified yet partly because there are some ambiguities. The issue is something we are alive to. We recognise both the appearance and, in some cases, the reality of the difficulties it poses, and we are endeavouring to the best of our ability to develop mechanisms that enable us to deal with it effectively in the realistic environment we have to operate in.

Senator O’BRIEN —Is it useful to have attention drawn to these examples? Do you think that that has some dissuasive effect on those who might be perceived to have placed CASA in that embarrassing position?

Dr Aleck —I think there is a protocol about giving opinions, but as a practical—

CHAIR —Money speaks all languages.

Dr Aleck —As a practical matter, I think it is useful to ventilate these issues, yes.

Senator XENOPHON —Chair, I just wanted to put this on notice. Going back to the Jetstar fatigue audit and the letter that went to Mr Buchanan, the CEO of Jetstar, on notice, can you provide details of the 12 recommendations and the other comments that were made? Which of those were put in the report to Mr Buchanan? And insofar as some of the matters were not raised with Mr Buchanan, could you indicate why CASA decided not to raise those matters with Jetstar?

Mr McCormick —My understanding is that you mean from the Ben Cook input to the final report?

Senator XENOPHON —Yes.

Mr McCormick —How many were bundled into the main report? Which ones were not? And why were they not?

Senator XENOPHON —Sure, that is fine.

Mr McCormick —Yes, that is no problem.

Evidence was then taken in camera but later resumed in public—

Proceedings suspended from 2.57 pm to 3.53 pm

CHAIR —I declare open the continuance of this public hearing of the Senate Rural Affairs and Transport References Committee. The committee is hearing evidence on the committee’s inquiry into pilot training, airline safety and the Transport Safety Investigation Amendment (Incident Reports) Bill 2010. We are in continuation with the Australian Transport Safety Bureau and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority. Senator Xenophon, you have the call.

Senator XENOPHON —Mr McCormick, issues have been raised in relation to the Jetstar cadet scheme, and there has been some controversy about that. The pilots union, AIPA, raised issues about it recently. Could you outline your understanding of that and whether there has been any variation of any authorisations given in relation to those cadets and how that may have occurred?

Mr McCormick —On 6 October 2010, Jetstar held a meeting with CASA to discuss a proposed cadet pilot career path. Evidence has already been given about the program itself, using Oxford for training and getting a type rating on the A320. Do you wish me to go through that part of it again?

Senator XENOPHON —If you could.

Mr McCormick —Jetstar decided that they would tailor their training to jet flying and Jetstar procedures. It involves multicrew training at two providers’ accredited training centres—CTC which has facilities in the UK and New Zealand and Oxford Aviation Academy with facilities in the UK and Melbourne. Jetstar established new categories of check pilots and training pilots to support the cadet first officer program. These pilots have been observed by CASA during the approval and assessment process. Jetstar also appointed a pilot to manage the intakes and development of all cadet pilots including interface with the service provider, monitoring initial Jetstar training and cadet mentoring during the early training phase.

Jetstar’s program involved the cadet first officers arriving at Jetstar with an A320 rating from either Oxford aviation or CTC, both UK CAA approved type rating training organisations. The cadets then undergo a transition program at Jetstar which includes ground school, flight simulator training, supernumerary flying, route training and route check. A risk assessment of the Jetstar training program was carried out by Jetstar. The scope of the assessment included operational risk from a safety management perspective and the consideration of risks associated with the use of the cadet pilot scheme as a recruitment channel for Jetstar flight crew.

Jetstar applied for approval of a TCO, training and checking order, 08/10 cadet first officer intake which is a change to the Jetstar training and checking manual. The change affects content of material referred to in CAO 82.5 in appendix 2 paragraph 4.2. Initial TCO from Jetstar was required to be amended in several areas by CASA. There are a number of changes including a number of sectors where the safety pilot was increased to 20, training responsibility, selection and safety of pilots was to be expanded on, initial training patterns of two sectors with longer turnaround times on the ground, no back of the clock flying and rostering protocols to ensure this, increased sign on sign off times, scheduled oversight of training providers, communication protocols, responsible managers and a review process. It also involved formalising the additional mentor positions, oversight observations, selected check and training captains by CASA prior to training commencing. Minimum hours had to be correlated to minimum sectors with a possible increase to the sectors proposed.

There was land recovery training for cadet check training captains and expansion to cyclic training schedule for all line captains, environmental limitations for cadets when released to the line to limit the bases the cadets can be located, rostering protocols for the jump-seat familiarisation and for the initial 50 hours/25 sectors—for example, the same check captain as the base training simulator captain and provision of the Oxford/CTC Airbus course details including simulator lesson plans.

CASA approval of TC 08/10 was given by CASA on 19 November 2010 following a comprehensive analysis of the proposed cadet first officer intake program. The TCO approval permitted Jetstar to amend the training and checking manual to include a training pathway for cadet first officers. Operation and environmental restrictions were placed on the cadet first officer of 12 months after being checked to the line. This was controlled through the approved TCO flight standing order. Cadet first officers will only be based in the major bases of Melbourne, Sydney and South-East Queensland. During the period the TCO was approved by CASA and distributed to Jetstar flying operations staff in the form of a flight standing order, an FSO, a change was made to the wording in the FSO. The FSO had the words ‘after clearance to line’ removed.

Senator XENOPHON —Who changed that?

Mr McCormick —I will just come to that, Senator. It was removal of these words that appear to permit Jetstar to use the cadets in New Zealand away from the three approved bases for cadet operation. At this stage it is unclear how the words were removed from the approved document with the airline referring to inadvertent removal. This error in placement and use of the cadet was for one day only and limited to one cadet. The cadet pilot flew to New Zealand and then flew two sectors out of New Zealand with a Jetstar check pilot as the operator had some concerns of the landing proficiency of the cadet. CASA contacted the operator on 7 March 2011 to rectify the problem and asked them to explain why the changes were made. CASA has told Jetstar to stop New Zealand flying immediately and bring the cadet back to Australia as per the agreement.

Senator XENOPHON —And that change had nothing to do with CASA. That was something that was unilaterally done by Jetstar for whatever reason.

Mr McCormick —It is unclear, but it is clear to us that we did not change it.

Senator XENOPHON —That is right. CASA had nothing to do with the changing of the wording.

Mr McCormick —That is correct.

Senator XENOPHON —As the regulator you had nothing to do with the changing of the wording.

Mr McCormick —That is correct.

Senator XENOPHON —Okay. So you are satisfied it has now been rectified.

Mr McCormick —Yes, we are.

Senator XENOPHON —Has there been any investigation as to how that wording was removed?

Mr Hood —That is an ongoing discussion with Jetstar. It is not clear at this stage.

Senator XENOPHON —Discussion or further inquiry?

Mr Hood —Further inquiry is probably a better way to put it.

Senator XENOPHON —And there will be an outcome to establish how that was changed and why it was changed?

Mr Hood —Yes, there will be. As much as you can if—

CHAIR —Would it be fair to say that the removal of those words by whatever means and for whatever purpose has significantly changed the interpretation of what it was all about?

Mr McCormick —I think the removal of those words ‘after clearance to line’ is how this cadet has wound up in New Zealand, because otherwise he—I assume it is a he—would not have been able to go to New Zealand, he would have been restricted to Melbourne, Sydney or South-east Queensland.

CHAIR —So that was one, but if it had not been picked up there may have been many.

Mr McCormick —Sorry?

CHAIR —This was one cadet but there is nothing to say there could not have been 20 cadets.

Mr McCormick —That does call for speculation on my part, chair.

CHAIR —Yes, it is speculation on my part.

Senator XENOPHON —It is one that you know of. Is that right?

Mr Hood —One we have been advised of.

Mr McCormick —It is one we have been advised of, yes, that is a better way to put it. It is ongoing. We will find out the answer to this. I think it is fair to say that the cadet scheme itself is fairly robust and you can gather the conditions we have gone through here, we watched this very carefully. But we will get to the end of this and we will find out what actually happened.

Senator XENOPHON —I think from the committee’s point of view it is something to find out as a result of your inquiries.

CHAIR —We would like to follow up, thank you.

Mr McCormick —Certainly.

Senator XENOPHON —How it was that those key words went missing.

CHAIR —As there are no further questions, we are very grateful to the two departments for their attendance today at this hearing and for your patience. Thank you to Hansard, Broadcasting and the secretariat.

Committee adjourned at 4.01 pm