TRANSCRIPT - SKY NEWS FIRST EDITION THURSDAY, 6 MARCH 2014 - QANTAS.

LAURA JAYES: Shadow Finance Minister Tony Burke, thanks for joining me.

TONY BURKE, MANAGER OF OPPOSITION BUSINESS: Morning.

JAYES: The Government is due to introduce legislation to abolish Section Three of the Sale Act this morning, is there any end to this high stakes game of chicken?

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TONY BURKE MP

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FINANCE

MANAGER OF OPPOSITION BUSINESS

MEMBER FOR WATSON

 

 

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

TELEVISION INTERVIEW

SKY NEWS FIRST EDITION
THURSDAY, 6 MARCH 2014

SUBJECT/S: QANTAS.

 

LAURA JAYES: Shadow Finance Minister Tony Burke, thanks for joining me.

TONY BURKE, MANAGER OF OPPOSITION BUSINESS: Morning.

JAYES: The Government is due to introduce legislation to abolish Section Three of the Sale Act this morning, is there any end to this high stakes game of chicken?

BURKE: Well it’s extraordinary what the Government’s done. We had made clear that we were willing to look constructively at a whole range of proposals, the one thing that we weren’t willing to that we insisted on drawing a line against, was the concept of Qantas being Australian majority owned.

What they then did, instead of playing a sensible policy decision making process and say okay what’s the best way to help Qantas, they just looked around and said oh if this is the one Labor says no to then that’s the one they’ll introduce to the Parliament, and it’s been an extraordinary game of choosing politics over trying to get a policy outcome.

There’s nothing good for Qantas in this, the Government knew -

JAYES: But Qantas as welcomed this change to the Sale Act, they’ve wholeheartedly supported it, Alan Joyce has said yesterday that he supports abolishing the Qantas Sale Act, this section of it and the board is right behind him.

BURKE: They’ve also acknowledged that a proposal has been put forward that has no chance of making it though the Parliament. So what happens at the end of this? Tony Abbott plays a political game, it lasts a number of weeks, everybody votes the way they always said they were going to vote, and at the end of it you’ve still got no plan for Qantas jobs.

Now, we had offered, we’d said, if you want to look at a capital injection we’ll look at it constructively, if you want to look at the 25 – 35 we’ll look at it constructively, if you want to look at a debt guarantee we’ll look at it constructively, we drew a line on one issue and so Tony Abbott saw the politics rather than the policy and just aimed for the one thing he knew would have them grandstanding, but ultimately if you’re a Qantas worker it’s the one option that offers you nothing.

JAYES: Labor will support the Greens in putting forward a Senate Inquiry, which means that Alan Joyce could be put before this Senate and asked questions – what are you going to get out of this inquiry do you think that two departments, two investment banks and PricewaterhouseCoopers couldn’t come up with?

BURKE: Well it’s not unusual for the Senate to have inquiries into legislation, that’s pretty standard. Effectively though, the Parliament is trying to do the work that the Government refused to do. The Parliament’s trying to look constructively at how can we come up with something that actually provides a decent future for Qantas as an Australian company and for Qantas workers and you can’t have a situation where the Government continues to act like they’re in opposition, to sort of aim for what might wedge the other side and say that’s what we’ll talk about – that’s the sort of game you would have expected from Tony Abbott as Opposition Leader.

As Prime Minister he’s actually responsible for delivering an outcome, instead he turns Parliament into some little debating society where everybody lines up, no one agrees and at the end of all of that he’s creating a situation where it’s not heading towards any decent outcome for Qantas.

JAYES: Wouldn’t it be more constructive to ask for this advice to be released from Treasury, the Department of Infrastructure, these two investment banks and PricewaterhouseCoopers - wouldn’t that be more constructive for Labor to look at that advice?

BURKE: Well in Question Time we’ve done some of that, and we’ve all seen what Question Time has become over the last few weeks in terms of getting responses, getting documents, getting any sort of information, but ultimately our view, you know we couldn’t have been more clear it’s not like our position on Australian ownership for Qantas came as a brand new thought bubble at the end of all of this. We drew the line at that right from the start when Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey had no idea where they would land.

JAYES: Sure, but you’ve drawn the line but what is Labor willing to give though in any negotiation?

BURKE: Well we have flagged all of those issues that I referred to before.

JAYES: But you’ve still got a stalemate so where do you go from here?

BURKE: We’re at a stalemate because we have a Government that won’t act like a Government. When you’re in government is actually about achieving an outcome. The moment they announced it they had all their people up around the Press Gallery here in the building saying ‘oh isn’t this a clever political ploy, we’re wedging Labor.’

Their job is to actually govern and get an outcome for Australia, they’re not just part of some cute debating society, their outcomes are real. Yesterday we had the first 1500 of 5000 Qantas workers being told that they’re the ones who are losing their jobs. There are real outcomes happening there and Tony Abbott needs to accept he’s not an Opposition Leader anymore he’s a Prime Minister and should start acting like one.

JAYES: Tony Burke, thanks very much.

BURKE: See you next time.

 

ENDS