Thistlethwaite: grow a brain

It will be a big week for Qantas, with their disastrous results to be released towards the end of the week.

There is talk of significant job cuts – 1,000 to 3,000 are numbers mentioned.  But recall that Qantas currently employs over 30,000 workers.

And then we have this little gem from Matt Thistlethwaite, who really should have checked his facts before sounding off.

Labor frontbencher Matt Thistlethwaite said rumours of job cuts were deeply concerning.

“Labor doesn’t believe that we need to be getting rid of the Qantas Sale Act provisions… that ensure Qantas remains our national carrier, that it remains in Australian hands,” he told Sky.

Mr Thistlethwaite said the airline would not now exist had the Qantas Sale Act not prevented a proposed private equity takeover ahead of the global financial crisis.

“Those provisions have served Qantas, our nation and its employees well,” he said.

Here’s the thing, maate, comrade, maate, the consortium proposing to take over was locally based – it was called Airlines Partners Australia and involved the former CEO of Qantas, Geoff Dixon, and Macquarie Bank.

The Qantas Sale Act was never invoked. The bid process had nothing to do with the Qantas Sale Act.  The bid failed, even though acceptance was recommended by the Board (not surprisingly – the offer was $5.60 per share, Qantas now trades just above a buck), because not enough shareholders accepted the bid, with one reluctant and prescient funds manager, in particular, holding out.

There was some argy-bargy involving the Takeovers Panel because some acceptances came in after the cut off, but the panel ruled against the company.

So Matt, maaate, you have shown your true colours.  You are there protecting your mates in the trade union movement who think the Qantas Sale Act prevents significant offshoring.  Read this clause from the act:

“of the facilities, taken in aggregate, which are used by Qantas in the provision of scheduled international air transport services (for example, facilities for the maintenance and housing of aircraft, catering, flight operations, training and administration), the facilities located in Australia, when compared with those located in any other country, must represent the principal operational centre for Qantas.”

This is what Thistlethwaite is on about.  My guess is the unions would prefer to see Qantas fail than give in on this issue – a bit like Toyota.

And, by the way, there is no concept of national carriers today in terms of determining landing slots and gateway access.  Australia has nearly 90 bilateral open skies agreements and virtually all those crazy restrictions have gone – thank the Lord, says the travelling public.

(Not long ago, Qantas used to make a motza on the the trans-Pacific run because other airlines were not permitted to compete.  This is no longer the case.  There has been competition on the London run for much longer.)

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37 Responses to Thistlethwaite: grow a brain

  1. Andrew

    What do you mean “prescient”? The rejection of a bid at 6x today’s price is hardly “prescient” – and there are grave concerns about the circumstances. Some have the view that there were reasons other than investor interest involved.

  2. Judith Sloan

    Yeh, your are right – perhaps bloody minded and stupid. He should have taken his block of shares and yelled ACCEPT.

  3. Andrew

    Even more stupid is this bizarre claim that QAN would no longer exist today had the bid been accepted. Allco would have lost all AEP’s money (preventing me making a killing buying it below cash post GFC). Mezz would have lost its money too. And senior debt would likely have gone through a debt for equity. But they don’t close down companies with profitable EBIT – they restructure the debt.

  4. kae

    Hmm.
    That’s a difficult question.

    “How many people out of work if a company completely shuts down?”

    Seems to be the only option the unions want.

  5. QANTAS should be nationalized immediately.
    It is vital to national security.

  6. Bruce of Newcastle

    The carbon tax cost Qantas $106 million last year. Ask Mr Thistlethwaite to repeal the carbon tax to help them stay in business and in Australian hands.

    Maybe he would prefer to see them go under and for him to have to fly Virgin cattle class?

  7. Baldrick

    1735099
    #1199588, posted on February 23, 2014 at 9:07 am
    QANTAS should be nationalized immediately.
    It is vital to national security.

    Union jobs vital to national security … how so?

  8. entropy

    I think that was a troll effort of Hammy-esque proportion

  9. lem

    Is thistlethwaite the little fellow who looks like he has acorns stuffed in his cheeks?

  10. H B Bear

    C’mon Spuds. A bit late to do a Hammy.

  11. lem

    Couldn’t care less if Qantas fails, haven’t travelled with them for years. There are much better options available IMO.

  12. entropy

    Nationalisation would have to be a option to be briefly considered, before you realise the cupboard is so are you would be harming everyone else to protect an ‘icon’ and a bunch of very well paid jobs. Logically it would not make sense, no matter how sad it would be if Qantas did die.

    Maybe some sort of debt guarantee while removing the regulatory restrictions on Qantas’ ability to raise capital?

    Chickens are coming home to roost, and once again government regulatory overreach and an imbalance of IR power weighted too far to unions is contributing to another institution to falter.

  13. Ubique

    Qantas’ share of the international market to and from Australia dropped from 32.7 to 17.2 percent in the space of the ten years to 2013. The hypocrites howling to keep the restrictions on Qantas prefer to fly with other, cheaper airlines. We fly Qantas but the loss of Qantas services to Europe out of Perth is making it hard for us to continue. Emirates code-share flights aren’t a substitute, for us at least.

    The Qantas Sale Act needs to be repealed but the Labor-Green alliance in the Senate means it can’t happen before 1 July. These wreckers would prefer to see Qantas go under rather than relent.

  14. I just can’t believe these are the last dying twitches of socialism in Australia. That a time serving union hack still thinks the union movement, proven to be corrupt and run by crooks, can win the hearts and minds of the public by deliberately destroying private industry and somehow fooling them into thinking it was someone else fault. Then when all seems lost, the ‘workers rise up’ and save the day by turning us into Venezuela?

    And people call the LDP loonies…

  15. Bear Necessities

    QANTAS should be nationalized immediately.
    It is vital to national security.

    Do you mean fit missiles and bombs onto them?

  16. Baldrick

    Qantas share price has been heading south for over 6 years.

    It’s a testament to the previous Labor government that did nothing during that time but now wants to run around wringing their collective hands and claiming it’s all going to be the fault of Abbott666 if the airline goes under.

  17. Andrew

    QAN wants $636 to fly me to HKG (one way) in March.

    Scoot will do it for $189, admittedly plus $50 for my bags for 2 sectors. AirAsia about half that via KUL. I fly QAN domestically on occasions, because there is no competition (or nothing at a suitable time), PER-BNE or PER-CBR for example. But haven’t used it internationally since 2003 after they fucked me around – they are STILL to respond to my complaint letter, or give me that flight to AKL I’m entitled to after they cancelled my flight.

    Remind me why I should care? The previous govt introduced a tax specifically designed to put manufacturers, power generators, smelters, tourism operators out of business and we’ve had 150,000 new unemployed persons since then so nobody appears to care about actual workers. What does QAN bring me that Virgin, Tiger, Scoot, AirAsia, Etihad, Emirates, Qatar do not?

  18. sabrina

    Qantas management should do what it thinks to make the company profitable. No jobs are for life these life, and if cutting part of the workforce is a solution, so be it. Having said that, the management led by Alan Joyce should practice what they are preaching; they should look at their own remuneration packages.
    Mark ThistheW is wrong with his fact, but the roles of Dixon and Jackson left lot to be desired, the rot at Qantas started during their reign.

    Qantas may yet or may not survive, but it was good that the APA bid failed.

  19. H B Bear

    Labor under Tits look as just bad as Gillard. They have been on the wrong side of every post-election issue. This is just the latest installment.

  20. Michel Lasouris

    Thistlethwaite? Sounds like one of those architypical Yorkshire Union types..Eeee by Gum!
    Never heard of this one before, but why am I not surprised that he hasn’t a clue what he’s talking about? Oh yes of course, he’s a union appointed political stooge.

  21. brc

    I suspect most Australians only really care if there is an airline win a red kangaroo on the tail. If it went bust and got recreated with new management and capital I don’t think it would even rate on the radar of most people. They care about having Aussie pilots and Aussie attendants and not much else. GM in th states is nothing of the former company but Chevy loyalists are happy to consider it the same entity. Point being the only real value is in the branding and th eu ions would be wise to recognize that.

    Personally I always fly virgin across the pacific. The service is better – especially the terminal – and they are responsible for the massive price drop in fares to the USA.

  22. candy

    It seems the unions and Labor/Greens will let Qantas fail, in order to score points against a conservative government.
    They’re not in the business of being helpful in regards to any legislation. They could let the foreign ownership issue be considered but they said they won’t, but apparently it could save the company according to Alan Joyce. So I think it’s pretty much another nail in the coffin for Qantas and the Abbott government, as ALP/Greens Alliance is determined to see the government fail, no matter the cost to Australia.

  23. C.L.

    Tits Shorten’s foughts are wiv the Qantas workers.

  24. AndrewWA

    Nothing shows the gaping divide between Labor and the LNP than the calibre of the people who have held responsibility for the People Smuggling racket……

    LABOR
    Chris Evans
    Chris Bowen
    Brendan O’Connor
    Tony Burke

    LNP
    Philip Ruddock
    Amanda Vanstone
    Kevin Andrews
    Scott Morrison

    ALL of the second group made a contribution.

    ALL of the first group just wrecked the place!!

  25. gabrianga

    QANTAS should be nationalized immediately. It is vital to national security.

    Free flights from Kabul and Islamabad to Australian city of choice?

  26. Ant

    The left and the union movement have a death wish for our country.

    Furthermore, so conceited and pigheaded are they that they won’t be told otherwise.

    You can’t reason with this mentality.

    It can only be crushed.

  27. samuel j

    Qantas should take the Chairman’s Lounge membership away from Thistlethwaite.

  28. will

    I read in the Fin Review that Qantas has 35 EBA’s whilst Virgin has 5. That level of featherbedding and back office bloat means that, even with foreign capital, Qantas is cactus.

    The immediate goal is to cut $300m in expenses (how easy is that? we will find out Monday). Their only hope is to move substantial parts of back office and maintenance functions overseas, leaving a dying corporate shell in Oz.

  29. Rococo Liberal

    When are Labor people going to admit that enterprises don’t exist for the purpose of giving people jobs. Or should I say, when will they realise that enterprises don’t exist so that unionists can gorge on power

  30. Andrew of Randwick

    What can you expect? Thistlethwaite is an economist by training, and we all know that they know nothing about individual businesses. (BEc (UNSW), DipLaw, DipLegalPrac (UTS))
    .
    Thistlethwaite was loitering on the footpath outside Randwick Primary School gates on Friday morning handing out leaflets saying – stop Abbott666 killing the School Kids Bonus. Brought his own support group with placards. Are there laws on how close politicians can get to public school entrances?
    .

    Michel Lasouris #1199687, 10:47 am
    Never heard of this one before …of course, he’s a union appointed political stooge

    No Michel, he is a category above that – he is Sussex Street scum.
    … 1995-2004 Industrial officer, Australian Workers’ Union
    … 1997-98 President, NSW Young Labor
    … 2001-08 Chair, ALP Law Reform Committee [I wonder what they do?]
    … 2004-08 Chair, ALP Review Tribunal [ditto]
    … 2004-08 Deputy Secretary, Unions NSW
    … 2008-10 General Secretary, ALP (NSW)
    … 2010 Elected to the Senate for New South Wales 2010 (term began 1.7.2011). Resigned 9.8.2013.
    .
    Non-Sydney readers may not know that Thistlethwaite voluntarily (oh yeh?) vacated his Senate spot so that another (current and more in favour) NSW Labor secretary (Sam Dastyari) could get the sinecure. To ensure he had a seat when the music stopped he went after Peter Garrett’s old seat (Kingsford-Smith) and beat Lionel Bowen’s son (another Labor Party prince) in the nasty pre-selection (a large number of branch members enrolled just before the pre-selection vote).
    .
    Of course Matt did not campaign as you would expect:….
    ….. 1) Matt choose to identify himself as a “local”. I do not where the Liberal candidate lived, but I guess he was not as much of a local as Matt was (cue picture of Matt at Maroubra Surf Club).
    ….. 2) Matt chooses not identify himself as the Labor candidate – except for a small graphic on the last page of the flyers, down there with the other small print.
    ….. 3) No mention of Kevin Rudd or anything about Labor Governments on any brochures.
    ….. 4) Matt chooses not to disclose any of his extensive and successful union and political career history (including being a current Labor Senator for NSW).
    .
    And he did not campaign on Federal issues….
    ….. 1) He claimed Liberals were going to downgrade the POW Hospital (i) beds will be cut (ii) ward has been closed (iii) nurses & doctors will be sacked. There was no ALP graphic (An offence under Electoral Act?), all he says is “Senator for NSW” and that you should sign “his” petition against the alleged hospital changes.
    .
    What a lovely guy to having around your kid’s school gates! Is there a register or something?

  31. Andrew of Randwick

    Check out the quality and style Matt’s brochures here.

  32. Ant

    Oh, the guy’s all quality and style.

    But only by Labor sludge standards, which one can also readily find if they unscrew the discharge plug at the bottom of the ‘S’ bend below their bathroom handbasin.

    Matt’s a real winner, too. Checking his Wiki entry, we find the AWU and Unions NSW and garden variety Labor hack pretty much is the prerequisite experience in a Labor MP these days to show that they’re amply qualified to know what’s good to you.

  33. OldOzzie

    In MEL, having flown QF and will return on QF

    Lounge excellent, food service on flight excellent, always pay extra to fly QF, as I enjoy the Service Domestically.

    Have only flown Jetstar once I had to, when it still a bum rush for seats (last experienced on Alitalia in 70s), since then will never fly Jetstar, will fly Virgin if no QF equivalent

    Internationally, SQ 380 Economy Seats win hands down, superbly design from an ergonomic function and comfort, besides as described by a Mate in QF as “The flying brothel in the sky service concept”, the service by the SQ staff, both male and female is amazing, especially with Grandchildren – without my wife, I still try to fly QF Internationally, Cabin crew, the retirement home in the sky, but I have always found the service Internationally on Qantas good, but the seats are too skinny and not enough leg room.

    There will not be much left of QF, if the rumoured cuts go ahead, and that is a pity as Qantas has served Australia well over the years – I have not agreed with Alan Joyce CEO Qantas winding back the Qantas Brand and hope that some effort is put into expanding the Qantas Role rather than Jetstar (a losing proposition) – Flew on QF flight from HBA to SYD via MEL as wife flying HBA-MEL also on QF Fare, unable initially to sit together as the actual flight was Jetstar (sort of 2nd flight on Jetstar, but I had booked on QF Flight), but a lot of calls to QF sorted it out, but then the corker, I had to collect my bags in MEL and re-check them for the 2nd leg MEL-SYD, remember I was on both sectors on Qantas Flight Numbers – I can travel around the world with interlined luggage, and Jetstar/Qantas can’t handle it on their own flights – incompetent

  34. JohnA

    1735099 #1199588, posted on February 23, 2014 at 9:07 am

    QANTAS should be nationalized immediately.
    It is vital to national security.

    If you can’t substantiate that, then step down from the soap-box, please.

  35. Yon Toad

    To grow something you need fertile ground and some fertilizer. Thistlethwaite has only fertilizer.

  36. Andrew

    I saw him on Sky going all Gonski on his opponent. FINALLY the Libs are pointing out (after all the by elections are over in Q) that Shorten stripped the Gonski money from the Lib states, and that the Gonski money under the Senior Labor Figure’s policies was ZERO. This grub was trying to deny that, and accusing Pyne666 of short-changing kids and saying Barnett666 is hated for what he did to WA school funding (WA schools are better funded than Harvard, BTW).

    Big sneering grin on his face while he lied too, absolutely shameless.

  37. Botswana O'Hooligan

    If Qantas was any good and the big end of town thought so they would have invested heavily, they didn’t and won’t, simply because Qantas is not a viable proposition and hasn’t been since the playing field was levelled when it lost its monopoly.

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