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Monday, 27 February 2012
Page: 932


(Question No. 1323)

Senator Abetz asked the Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research, upon notice, on 2 November 2011:

In regard to the decision made by Qantas on 29 October 2011 to lock out its staff and ground its fleet: (1) How many meetings has the Minister or the Minister's office had with Mr Alan Joyce or Qantas executives, and for each meeting what was the date and time? (2) Can details be provided of the damage to Qantas caused by the union's campaign of industrial action as outlined by Qantas? (3) Was the Minister ever informed of the likely consequences of this damaging campaign on the survival of the airline?

Senator Arbib: The Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

I am advised that Minister Evans was in regular contact with all parties to the dispute, as stated in media statements prior to 29 October 2011.

Qantas has publicly stated its reasons for notifying a lock-out of employees and consequent decision to ground the Qantas fleet. Neither the Department nor my Office is in a position to verify Qantas' statements about the financial impact of protected industrial action by employees on its business.

I am advised that Minister Evans received a range of correspondence from constituents, industry groups, unions and other stakeholders expressing concern about the effect of the Qantas dispute on all parties involved. Minister Evans repeatedly urged the parties to negotiate in good faith and expressed concern about the Qantas dispute in public statements and media interviews prior to 29 October 2011.