MacBank this morning has been offering assurances that Qantas will stay majority Australian-owned if a private equity fund takeover goes ahead.

Yeah, yeah. Who cares? Our political leaders should have told the flying kangaroo to hop off a long time ago. Now they will finally have a chance.

If the bid goes ahead, the last possible, tenuous, flimsy arguments Qantas might mount about shielding it from competition on key routes in “the national interest”.

Yesterday, Mark Vaile was referring to Qantas as “Australia’s national carrier”. What the hell does that mean? Qantas is no different from any other big company listed in Australia – other than in its shamelessness in cashing in on its old status as a state-owned industry.

Competition offers lower prices to consumers. National flag carriers only offer standing to socialists or tin-pot political figures who desperately cling to anything they think is a status symbol. Like Australian pols.

The idea of Australians only going overseas with Qantas went out soon after Barry McKenzie headed off to the Old Dart.

Australians go where the lowest prices are – just like companies do. Particularly companies owned by private equity funds.

If Qantas is taken over by a fund – a business entity that grabs an asset, cuts costs, then sells it on at a profit – it won’t be basing its operations in Australia. It will be basing them where they’re cheap.

Qantas should feel the full effects of competition – so Australians can enjoy the full benefits.

Flying kangaroos might be rare, but they’re not an endangered species.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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