Speech to Parliament: Standing up for Qantas workers

The Abbott government is a disgrace. One of the nation's biggest reforms in Qantas's 93-year history, and what do they do? They gag debate, they refuse consideration of the bill in detail, and they ram through the House of Representatives a reform that is likely to result in the break-up of our nation's carrier.

I represent 2½ thousand loyal, hard-working Qantas employees in the electorate of Kingsford Smith. They have been denied the right for their representative in this parliament to put their point of view on a reform that affects theirs and their families' livelihoods.

The facts around Qantas are these: Qantas's domestic arm made $59 million profit this year; Qantas domestic, if it is broken up, is likely to be sold off to foreign interests. So those opposite are going to allow the sell-off of the profitable arm of Qantas, but the unprofitable arm, the international division, which made a $262 million loss this year, is likely to remain in Australian hands. Jobs are likely to go overseas.

Today I have been rung by Qantas employees who have already been informed that they are losing their jobs. People in highly skilled occupations who did their apprenticeships here in Australia, their jobs are going to go overseas. Qantas contributes $1.4 billion in direct and indirect taxes to our nation, and employs 30,000 employees. They deserve better.


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