France has shown up our woeful response to MH370
THANK God for the French, for they alone have had the courage to pass a judgment that no one in the Australian government has had the fortitude to utter.
The Malaysian Office of Transport's report into the disappearance of Malaysian (now Malaysia) Airlines flight MH370 was, they have said, "very imprecise and ambiguous." As a result Gendarmerie Air Transport, a body which reports to the French judiciary, has said it will continue to investigate the disappearance of the Boeing 777 aircraft which operated the flight.
"The GTA intends to verify the veracity and especially the authenticity of all the technical data transmitted," a report in the French newspaper Le Parisien said.
It said the presence of four French victims allowed it to conduct its own investigation. The organisation was reported to be concerned that the Malaysians failed to look into the possibility the doomed flight was a "very sophisticated suicide operation".
Put another way, the French think the Malaysian report was a whitewash which withheld critical data. Thirty-eight Australian citizens and residents where among the 239 people who died on the scheduled flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, yet only the French authorities are showing any interest in continuing to pursue the cause of the tragedy.
Our government's approach seems to be that having assisted in conducting a search and having failed to find the aircraft, then that's it. "We gave it a shot and we failed so that's the end of it. Nothing more to see here, folks. Everybody move on."
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack's response to the Malaysian government's report demonstrated our government's lack of interest in discovering the fate of its citizens last week.
Australia, he said, appreciated that it was not possible to draw definitive conclusions since the aircraft had not been found. That, surely, is the point. The aircraft has not been found, the Malaysian government has not turned over all the data in its possession and the maker of the aircraft, Boeing, has also been reluctant to contribute data.
It's not good enough and if the federal government thinks that the issue will fade into oblivion, then it is wrong. The French will see to that.
They obviously think that the 400 page report by the Malaysian government is the cover-up that many people predicted it would be.
Last week Malaysia's civil aviation chief was offered up as a sacrificial lamb and quit after the report found failings in the response of air traffic controllers. He should have quit but his departure hardly explains the loss of the aircraft.
Voice 370, a group of the victims' relatives, has accused the Malaysian government of withholding flight data and failing to consider murder-suicide by the aircraft's pilot.
"The French authority mentions repeatedly in their report that their investigations had been hampered by an absence of data from Boeing," it says.
"Voice 370 calls upon the Government of Malaysia to share all available data with independent experts for a thorough peer review and analysis," the group says.
The Malaysian government, which owns Malaysia Airlines, has good reason for the whereabouts of the Boeing 777 to remain a mystery.
It's shameful that the Australian government is prepared to walk away from this disaster. It should throw its weight behind the French investigation. Vive la France!
Mike O'Connor is a Courier Mail columnist.