House debates

Thursday, 6 March 2014


Qantas Sale Amendment Bill 2014; Second Reading

11:10 am

Photo of Bill ShortenBill Shorten (Maribyrnong, Australian Labor Party, Leader of the Opposition) Share this | Hansard source

He called it 'a waste of energy', as the member Grayndler reminds me. It is 'a waste of energy'. How on earth are we doing this issue? They know that it is going to take Qantas two years, if the sale act got through, to be able to get foreign capital. They know. These people are the great chokers of foreign investment. They will choke in fear. If they couldn't do GrainCorp, they are not going to do 'GrainCorp on steroids', Qantas. We know it and you know it. We know that the Nats will panic, we know Palmer will panic the Nats, we know the Nats will panic Tony and we know that Tony will roll Joe—in fact, we do know that Tony can roll Joe, because we have seen it this week. We know that nothing will happen. What a magnificent waste of time this government is. What a terrible waste of time you people are. You are going to kill Australian jobs. You don't know the people who work in heavy maintenance. We know them. I know what happens when you offshore those jobs—they never come back. I know the families of Ansett, the pilots who had to move their families elsewhere in the world.

You talk a lot about loving this country. You are very quick to talk about patriotism, but when it comes to a tough issue, a subtle issue, an issue which involves steering through and which does not involve you standing in a parade and taking a salute—and that is important—but when it comes to the tough issues of jobs, you go missing. Not only do they have no case on jobs and they have never tried to defend it on jobs, not only do we all know this process has been an ugly messy process of which the government can take no pride, not only do we know that the Qantas Sale Act is a mirage because of the time it will take—Qantas has looked at the sale act—

Mr Nikolic interjecting

Listen, why don't you listen and learn something other than the coercion you are getting? What they know is they looked at this option—

Mr Nikolic interjecting

Please, members of parliament, this is a very important point: Qantas looked at the demerger option and they decided that was not the option which they wanted to go with nor could go with in the time they needed to make the changes. But, of course, just because the Liberal Party say they know business gives them the arrogance to pretend they know more about breaking up a company and selling it. We would not be so arrogant. The other thing that concerns me about this, which we have heard nothing about from the patriots opposite, is that I remember that Qantas was the only civilian airline who would fly in to Somalia. I know that when it came to Bali and when it came to Beirut, Qantas is the organisation who helps in our times of national emergency.

Mr Nikolic interjecting


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