Tony Abbott Says The Qantas Sale Act Is A ‘Ball And Chain’

Getty/ Putu Sayoga

PM Tony Abbott has spoken about Qantas, saying he wants to make sure the airline can compete against Virgin Australia.

“We want to ensure that Qantas management, as far as is humanly possible, doesn’t have any government-imposed ball and chain around their ankles and that’s the problem with the Sale Act – it is a significant restriction on Qantas’ freedom of manoeuvre and that’s why the government is considering legislation to establish a level playing field in this area,” he said according to Fairfax.

The airline’s half-year results come out tomorrow, with Qantas expected to post a big loss.

In the lead up, everyone’s been wondering what the government will do to help the national carrier.

Based on media reports, it appears almost certain the assistance will come in the form of a debt guarantee, and a change to the Qantas Sale Act.

Changes to the act have already been drafted, according to previous reporting, to ensure all options are available to the government.

Abbott also said it would not require Qantas to guarantee jobs would stay in Australia.

There was speculation today that changes to the Qantas Sales Act could include a removal of clauses that say all maintenance work needs to be carried out in Australia.

“What Qantas does has got to be a decision for Qantas management. The government does not run airlines. It’s a long, long time since government has run airlines and I don’t believe that government should run airlines,” Abbott said.

There’s more here.