The Senate is too hostile to attempt to change laws that cap foreign ownership in the national carrier Qantas, Acting Prime Minister Warren Truss said today.
Changing the Qantas Sales Act was one of the ways the airline thought the government could help it, as it comes under increasing pressure from Virgin Australia.
According to a News Corp Australia report, Truss said it was pointless trying to get the law through the Upper House when the Government knew it would fail.
“My assessment is that it would be not possible at the present time to get changes to the law through the senate and there is not much point progressing legislation that cannot succeed,” he said.
Qantas approached the government for help after rival Virgin Australia announced a $350 million capital raising.
Virgin is majority-owned by overseas airlines, and Qantas thinks it is unfair they can pump money into Virgin, which is undercutting its domestic routes. The shareholder airlines compete with Qantas internationally.
Other options suggested to help the airline — which has commenced a cost-saving drive and announced plans to layoff staff — include a public investment, or guaranteeing its debt.