What should have been a successful week of recovery and repair for the government has instead been overwhelmed by two iconic names in the Australian economy: Qantas and Holden.
Both correctly claim they’re competing with government-subsidised competitors. Both say they need government help if they’re going to continue. Neither deserves a cent by any rational assessment of Australia’s economic priorities (the Productivity Commission is undertaking one such assessment right now). But both present a political pickle for the no-longer-so-new government, given voters’ irrational attachment to automotive manufacturing and their desire to see Qantas not merely survive but even return to government ownership — or at any rate not run by the clowns who have turned it into a multi-hundred-million-dollar loss-maker while trashing what was perhaps once Australia’s most potent corporate brand.