Comments on Mark Kenny “The storm facing Qantas was one Joe Hockey couldn't ignore”, 13/02/2014, http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/the-storm-facing-qantas-was-one-joe-hockey-couldnt-ignore-20140213-32lkr.htmlWhile it is sensible to provide a sovereign debt facility to Qantas in the short term, it would be better to revoke the Qantas sales legislation, particularly the restrictions of foreign ownership, so Qantas can compete with other similar airliners on an equal footing.
Providing such a debt facility can be justified due to the restrictions of the Qantas Sales Act. In that sense, Joe Hockey is not inconsistent at all in his approach to corporate welfares.It has been a long while since the privatisation of Qantas and many arguments, such as the needs for a national carrier in case of emergence for it to be used in transport Australian worldwide, or excuses underpinning that legislation no longer hold. Irrespective what ownership of Qantas, it can be reasonably expected that it will meet the needs whenever they arise. Further, commercial charted flights can also be used to meet government obligations to its citizens in case of emergencies.
It is time to re-examine that legislation and the federal parliament needs to act and the sooner it does the better for Qantas and the nation. For Qantas it needs to compete on the same footing as other carriers. For the nation it would avoid unnecessary government subsidies to private businesses.
Qantas has been and still is a very good air carrier even in the face of extremely strong competitions particularly in the wake of the GFC. A strengthened position will enable it to perform better.