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Thursday, 6 March 2014
Page: 1902


Ms GAMBARO (Brisbane) (14:23): My question is to the Treasurer. How will passing the Qantas Sale Amendment Bill help Qantas compete on a level playing field?

Mr HOCKEY (North SydneyThe Treasurer) (14:24): I thank the member for Brisbane for her question. I note that the best thing we can do to give Qantas a leg up and to level the playing field for aviation in Australia is to remove part 3 of the Qantas Sale Act and ensure that Qantas can compete on a level playing field with international and other domestic airlines. This is hugely important. That is the starting point: a level playing field in legislation.

As the Prime Minister said a little bit earlier, what else can we do? We can help to grow the economy—to lift the tide so that all boats will rise and all will benefit. The retail trade figures that came out today were three times better than what the market expected—three times better than what the market consensus was for January. The international trade figures that came out today were also significantly better than market expectations.

I have noticed during the course of this question time that the Labor Party would never want to let the facts get in the way of an accusation. The claims by the Leader of the Opposition here about the safety record of Qantas are outrageous. It is outrageous behaviour for someone who aspires to lead the nation. To simply sit here and claim inaccurately that the only way a plane is safe in Australia is to have it serviced in Australia not only totally ignores the fact that Qantas already gets planes serviced overseas but also ignores the fact that airlines flying to Australia do not have their servicing done in Australia and other airlines in Australia, such as Virgin, do not necessarily have their maintenance done in Australia.

Of course the hypocrisy of Labor knows no bounds. Here they are beating their chests about Qantas and yet on 31 May the tourism minister of South Australia said: 'The best way to get to Asia from Adelaide is with Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines or Malaysia Airlines. Support the airlines that are loyal to Adelaide.' There was no talk about Qantas. What about Qantas—the beating heart of the Labor Party? They shed tears every day for the Qantas workers and yet their Labor tourism minister in South Australia is saying: 'Don't fly Qantas; go Cathay, go Singapore, go Malaysia—do not fly Qantas.'

The hypocrisy of the Labor Party is rich. They are interventionists. They are protectionists. They want to go back to 1990. They do not understand the implications of their words.