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Is Qantas crisis an own goal?
IS QANTAS CRISIS AN OWN GOAL?
â¢ Call for Qantas CEO and Chairman to quit â¢ 35,000 jobs at stake - Government must act to prevent break-up of national icon
Independent Senator for South Australia, Nick Xenophon, has called on the Government to “forensically examine” Qantas’ latest claims and then act in accordance with the national interest.
In 2011, Senator Xenophon introduced legislation to strengthen the Qantas Sale Act to prevent offshoring of jobs and the dilution of the Qantas brand via overseas-based subsidiaries. The ALP and Coalition both opposed the proposed changes.
Qantas has been lobbying the Australian Government over the proposed $350 million capital-raising by Virgin, which will effectively see that airline being over 70 per cent controlled by foreign interests, as well as having cheap access to funds.
“Qantas is right to say there’s an unlevel playing field over the proposed Virgin deal, but Qantas has other problems that directly relate to their own decisions,” Nick said.
Senator Xenophon was scathing of the “cannibalisation” of Qantas by its offshoot Jetstar, in particular “the apparent black hole that is Jetstar’s Asian experiment”.
He also singled out Alan Joyce’s decision to ground Qantas on October 29 2011, during an industrial dispute, which cost the airline upwards of $200 million.
Senator Xenophon said that abandoning the safeguards of the Qantas Sale Act would be a “massive mistake that would put at risk not only a national icon, but tens of thousands of jobs”.
“Since Mr Joyce commenced his term on 28 November 2008, there has been no clear long term, consistent strategy for the airline, and his Chairman Mr Clifford must share responsibility for this haphazard approach as well,” Nick said. “They both need to go to give Qantas clear air.”
“Before the Government considers any action on Qantas, it needs to examine Qantas’ books forensically to determine if there’s been any cost-shifting between Qantas and Jetstar,” Nick said.
Senator Xenophon said the economic and social impacts of losing Qantas to foreign or private equity interests would be enormous. He called on the Federal Government to: â¢ Delay the Virgin capital raising, pending an examination of Qantas’ claims; â¢ Examine all policy settings that impact on Qantas, especially the operation of foreign
state-backed carriers, including the more the more generous depreciation allowance overseas; and â¢ Examine price-capping of Australian airport charges, which are amongst some of the highest in the world.
For more information contact Nick Xenophon on 0411 626 677