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Tuesday, 25 February 2014
Page: 760


Mr SHORTEN (MaribyrnongLeader of the Opposition) (14:00): My question is to the Prime Minister. The government has today announced that it will lift ownership restrictions on Australia's national carrier, Qantas. How will selling the nation's airline stop Australian jobs from going overseas, and what is the government's plan for jobs at Qantas?

Mr Pyne: Madam Speaker, the question is out of order because the government has announced no such thing.

Mr Burke: I am not sure what standing order the Leader of the House was referring to then; but, if the Deputy Prime Minister gave a speech that he should not have given, that is not for the Leader of the House to defend.

The SPEAKER: I think the question will stand. I call the Prime Minister.

Mr ABBOTT (WarringahPrime Minister) (14:01): Thank you. I appreciate the question from the Leader of the Opposition, because obviously Qantas is an iconic Australian business and all of us want to ensure that Qantas flourishes forever. It is a great Australian airline. It is a great Australian icon. We want it to flourish. For that to happen, two things are necessary: first, it needs to be able to compete on a level playing field with its rivals; and, second, it needs to put its own house in order.

Qantas is doing its best to put its own house in order, and this government will do what it can to ensure that Qantas has a level playing field on which to compete, because that is the best thing that we can do for Qantas. I have to say to members opposite that, if they are fair dinkum about wanting Qantas to flourish, one thing they can do is scrap the carbon tax.

Mr Hockey: $106 million a year!

Mr ABBOTT: $106 million a year in just the last year; that is Qantas's carbon tax bill. We want to help Qantas. And we can start helping Qantas by helping the carbon tax.