I thought Nikki Savva made a good point this morning by saying that Labor raising the issue of ADM/GrainCorp in the context of Qantas is as embarrassing to Labor as it is to the Coalition.
What are Shorten and Albo saying? The government made a mistake by not allowing the American firm ADM take over Graincorp, but Labor will resist any change to the Qantas Sale Act because Qantas might be taken over by a foreign company? Que? How can these two propositions sit side by side?
I did think the Treasurer made a mistake by knocking back ADM’s proposal, but at least the proposal could be made and there were processes for dealing with it.
In the case of Qantas, the Sale Act prevents airline companies holding any more than 35 per cent of the share capital in total. Let’s face it, an offshore investor would only be interested in investing in Qantas if there is the possibility of control. But all the standard processes (FIRB, Treasurer making call) would be in place in the event of a bid from an offshore company.
As for the complications of landing rights, gateway access, all these sorts of details can be worked through. Virgin had to split itself to technically deal with these issues and that could equally happen with Qantas.
If Labor wants to defend the union racket which is supported by the Qantas Sale Act, I would be shutting up on ADM.