Julia Gillard’s RAAF pilots suspended following drunken escapade

Friday, December 24, 2010

MELBOURNE - Two elite RAAF pilots who regularly fly Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard around the country have been suspended.

The pilots were suspended following a drunken escapade only hours after a military funeral attended by the Prime Minister.

In a major embarrassment for Defence’s top brass, confidential documents reveal three RAAF staff - one pilot and two flight attendants - were stood down immediately after the July 10 incident in Darwin, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Another pilot was breath-tested and “closely monitored” before eventually being allowed to fly Gillard and her entourage to Adelaide.

Despite recording a zero alcohol reading, he was later suspended “until further notice”, according to Defence cables obtained through Freedom of Information.

The four crew had been part of a larger contingent that had flown Gillard, Tony Abbott and other VIPs to the funeral of Private Scott Palmer, killed in Afghanistan.

Despite a busy schedule, including responsibility for flying Gillard the next day, the four RAAF staff decided to hit the town.

According to documents, they did not return to their motel until after 5am.hey were loud and in the mood for further mischief, with one of the pilots grabbing a fire hose and using it to scare the two female flight attendants “as a practical joke”.

But the motel manager and other guests were angered by the raucous behaviour.

A few hours later, when the entire RAAF crew were checking out, it was “apparent that the four crew members may not be in a position to fly the next sector to Adelaide”, the documents state. This created a problem for the squadron, which required at least one of the two affected pilots to fly the Boeing 737 to Adelaide.

The aircraft’s captain was asked to keep an eye on his junior colleague, who said he had his last drink at 2.30am, even though he was out on the town for another three hours before heading to the motel.

He was breath-tested and allowed to continue his duties. (ANI)

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