The magistrate expected a bucketload of criticism from the usual tabloid sources. I don't condone violence but I do think that the magistrate has a point and, moreover, that the authorities, by which I mean airline, customs/immigration/ quarantine , airport security and management, can do more to alleviate matters.
1. Review processes with a view to speeding them up at both departure and (particularly for international flights) arrival .
This means, among other things:
- improving technology, eg x-ray equipment, to reduce/eliminate errors: on my recent trip transiting via Singapore (and not going out of the airport) I had to empty my carry on bag as the X-ray operators were adamant that I was carrying a small cutting instrument (I wasn't, but they wouldn't take my word for it).
- seeing that enough trained people are available to deal with the customers.
- make information available as widely as possible and in a variety of media: online, print and, for inbound passengers, in the destination videos which are shown just before arrival.
- have clear instructions and signage throughout terminals.
In Australia the procedures at Darwin Airport were sub-standard: a long, slow moving queue stretched out of the terminal building into the tropical night, and the few instructions were bellowed out by the staff operating the x-ray machines (in a language which I, but not I imagine foreign passengers, just recognised as Australian English). Some of the staff came across as brusque and officious. Not a good way to welcome visitors and returning citizens.
Note: The version of this story printed in The Oz is longer than the online version linked to above.