In September 2022 I called on the government to renationalise Qantas because under private management, customers were not being served but executives were giving themselves million-dollar pay cheques.
Qantas sacked nearly 10 thousand workers during the first years of the COVID pandemic, despite being in receipt of nearly $2 BILLION in government support intended to protect jobs. By mid-2022, the impact of that malfeasance was clear: customers were tearing their hair out at delayed and cancelled flights, chaos in the terminals and mislaid and damaged baggage.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) investigated and found only 55% of flights were arriving on time, due to unrealistic management. Financial press noted the damage that these management failures were doing to this once globally-acclaimed airline.
In the midst of all this, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce gave himself a six-figure pay increase, that took his total package to more than $2.27million. A spokesperson for Qantas said this was 77% below the pay he received before COVID, which was around $24 million.
Qantas was privatised by Labor under Keating in the 1990s. It was supposed to mean cheaper flights and more efficient service.
Renationalise our national airline
In a land as beset by the tyranny of distance as we are, airlines are an essential service. Qantas was once run to benefit the country and its people; now it is run for the profit of shareholders and a few executives.
I called on the government to admit that privatisation does not improve service or reduce costs, and to fix the mistake of the past and return Qantas to public ownership.
Watch my speech in full or read the transcript.