Public ownership of Qantas International should be on the table: Bandt

It is time to talk about bringing Qantas International into public ownership as part of any further assistance package, Leader of the Australian Greens Adam Bandt MP said today, urging the government to step in. Mr Bandt said the Greens supported calls for the extension of JobKeeper, but that government needed to do more.

“With one in five workers now gone at Qantas, tens of thousands of workers are now at risk of unemployment unless the government steps in to help,” Leader of the Australian Greens Adam Bandt MP said today.

“Scott Morrison just stood by while Virgin pushed thousands of workers to the dole queue and shuttered an entire airline.

“If Qantas needs further help to keep its international business afloat, the public and Qantas workers should get something for it. A publicly owned airline could guarantee jobs and ensure Australia had a functioning international airline, an essential service for an island nation.

“When you see the kangaroo logo on the shelves, you know you’re buying Australian made. When you see it on a plane, it could mean Australian owned. This could help save tens of thousands of jobs.

“Australia is at a disadvantage because we don’t have a publicly owned airline able to help attract people to our shores.

“An investment in Qantas International is an investment in its workers and our future, and we shouldn’t sit on our hands any longer.”

Lines attributable to Senator Janet Rice, Greens transport spokesperson:

“It’s time for the government to offer support to Qantas through public ownership. Privatisation has failed us. Corporate profits for the major airlines have soared over the years, but now the going has got tough, Qantas chose to leave its workers in the lurch.

“After dealing a devastating blow to 6,000 of its staff yesterday, Qantas is now asking for more government support as it continues to stand down 15,000 workers in the coming months.

“If the public’s money is going to be spent, we should be getting public ownership. It’s as simple as that.

“Public ownership is the only way to ensure the airline prioritises essential workers and meets emission reduction targets.

“We’ve already seen the results of the Morrison government’s failure to step in with Virgin Australia. Virgin will soon be owned by Bain Capital – a company with a disastrous track record on industrial relations, axing jobs and leaving workers without severance pay.

“The government cannot leave the door open to these devastating cost cutting measures for both major airlines and all the workers who rely on them.”

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