Qantas are big and very arrogant. They reckon they can get whatever they like but the Federal Government should say no to their push for majority foreign control of our national airline.

And they were backed up by the Tourism Task Force which issued a press release on Monday saying they supported the move, as did their members.

So who is this Tourism Task Force? We spotted this little announcement from them a while back:

“The Tourism Task Force, Australia’s peak national tourism industry group, has announced new appointments to its Board. TTF Chairman The Hon John Brown AO announced a new deputy chairman in Penny Bingham-Hall from Leighton Holdings to join Les Cassar AM KSJ and The Hon Warwick Smith. Other new directors include Stephen Bradford (Serco Transport), Antony Karp (Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels), Wayne Kirkpatrick (Hamilton Island Resort), George Proos (Avis Australia), Michael Sharp (Qantas Airways) and Yvonne von Hartel (Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre).”

The TTF claimed at the bottom of the release to be a non-partisan industry group. They should also have disclosed that Qantas is their biggest single source of funds and has a representative on their board in spindoctor Michael Sharp, who last year left that dodgy outfit Westfield and before that was the Gavin Anderson spindoctor who ran the disastrous “don’t sell to AMP” campaign for GIO.

And the big end of town TTF is not representative of their industry because the vast majority of tourism operators are small businesses that find Qantas is arrogant and providing a shoddy service to regional areas.

But don’t expect the Minister for Qantas, John Anderson, or his lapdog Transport department to fight the move as they are completely captured by the power abusing airline. Just look at the role they played in thwarting the proposed Singapore takeover of Air New Zealand and Ansett. Anderson has a lot to answer for.

Despite Anderson’s support, the Qantas foreign ownership move will probably fail for political reasons. If the government has just sold Sydney Airport insisting on majority Australian ownership and plans to do the same with Telstra, why would they open the door for foreign raiders on Qantas, especially when they have an even bigger market share than Telstra.

The government has already done Qantas a huge favour by giving them a 10-year depreciation rate for their new aircraft, one of the most attractive regimes in the world.

This means taxpayers will be subsidising the new planes big time. With Qantas shares almost back at $5 and the airline set to make a $500 million profit this year, they should cut the dividend to fund the new planes or issue an equal amount of shares to local and foreign institutions, thereby keeping the Aussies above the 50 per cent required in the Qantas Sale Act.

Or why not get British Airways to sell their 25 per cent so a few more foreign instos can get on the register.

Finally, we note that the Parrot has left this issue alone. Alan Jones has received more than $1 million of Qantas seed over the years and still enjoys free first class flights. What a disgrace.

Industrial chaos

Wasn’t that amazing to see the unions trying to disrupt John Anderson’s launch of that new book on the Ansett collapse. The unions were a major contributor to Ansett’s problems yet still they try to blame everyone but themselves.

And now these same unions are pulling a national strike against Qantas on Friday, August 3. This is one of the problems in having a duopoly with the dominant player at 80 per cent market share. Qantas are now more vulnerable to union attack and the travelling public just don’t have alternatives to choose.

Peter Fray

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