Monday, 11 September 2023
Aviation Industry; Order for the Production of Documents
That the Senate take note of the document.
This document is in relation to Qatar flight services to Australia. As anyone who is following this from home will see, our Treasurer has tabled what he was told by Transport Minister King. Did she seek his advice on competition matters? Did he advise her of the impact economically that her decision would have on the aviation industry, the freight task, jobs and the profitability of Qantas—another one of the nine reasons this government has given for their Qatar Airways decision? Were our Treasurer and his department asked for any advice? You'd think they would be. Academics have actually suggested that this decision alone has cost our economy $1 billion.
Even today, we saw the Minister for Foreign Affairs unable to answer very simple questions about when she was consulted, when she found out about the decision and what her role was in informing the Qatar ambassador and Qatar government of the decision of Minister King. We then had to watch our flailing trade minister go through the dictionary of excuses in his affable way and yet singularly refuse to provide a response. Because what we know is his department, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade—it's my understanding—has advised the infrastructure department and the minister for infrastructure and transport to agree to the request from Qatar Airways. When Catherine King stands up and says she consulted all relevant ministers but—