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Up, Up and Awry!


The papers called it a story about he-said/she said. I think it was more a case of reporting crap.

Last Saturday, Australia’s national airline came down to earth and stayed there for nearly 48 hours. The coalition claimed that the government caused the problem because they had not foreseen it. Maybe the coalition mean that the government need to hire more psychics.

The attack by the coalition on the government was as weak and as false as the claimed blood oath that their own leader and major psychic predicted would be used in his assault on the carbon price. I say claimed blood oath because no one has ever seen this written oath.

A claimed written in blood oath by the same man that warned all Australians to not believe a word he says if its not written down. Now he claims to have written something down in blood no less, but cant really show anyone as he left it at home and his cat ate it.

The debate of who knew what was designed to take away from the fact that someone actually did do something. That is the FWA were petitioned and heard the case on behalf of the government and ruled that industrial action has to come to a close at the workplace.

The FWA action came quickly. It moved into the dead of night both on Saturday and Sunday. It heard cases from all sides and then ruled.

The MOST important aspect of that ruling in regards to the coalition claim was clear and precise. It was unambiguous in its ruling and yet morons like Senator Abetz seem to have trouble with English.

[10] It is unlikely that the protected industrial action taken by the three unions, even taken together, is threatening to cause significant damage to the tourism and air transport industries.

The response industrial action of which Qantas has given notice, if taken, threatens to cause significant damage to the tourism and air transport industries and indirectly to industry generally because of the effect on consumers of air passenger and cargo services. The Qantas evidence was that the cost to it alone is $20 million per day.

I have taken the liberty to highlight the sections I believe clearly outline the situation.

It is unlikely that the protected industrial action taken by the three unions, even taken together, is threatening to cause significant damage to the tourism and air transport industries.

Clearly the FWA concluded, after hearing many hours of evidence from all sides that even if all three of the Qantas unions in dispute where to take industrial action at the exact same time, then even this would not in any way be a deemed threat to tourism and air transport services. That is, the company and the nation can continue. It may involve longer queues or even some flights could be cancelled, but the nation and the company would be able to still do business.

The FWA decision went on.

The response industrial action of which Qantas has given notice, if taken, threatens to cause significant damage to the tourism and air transport industries and indirectly to industry generally because of the effect on consumers of air passenger and cargo services.

In other words, there was only a threat to the economy and air services after Qantas acted and grounded its fleet following its decision to lock out the staff under the disputed agreements. It is therefore quite clear that Senator Abetz, Tony Abbott, and all those in the coalition who came out to say the government failed are lying. Further, in the senate hearing, Alan Joyce made it crystal clear that he did not communicate his actions to the government and so could not have possibly known what he was up to.

You would think that the media would see this and report the actual truth and the piss poor crap attack by the coalition. They did not. Instead, they helped fan the flames. Not one so called journalist directly challenged Tony Abbott in his presser claim that Fair Work Australia had failed and was broken.

Really Tony?? Broken? Lets look at the facts shall we Tony. Despite you and your party’s claim that the Prime Minister should have acted before Qantas decided to lockout their workers, this is clearly bullshit. Neither s431 or s424 of the Fair Work Act could have POSSIBLY been actioned.

As stated in its decision and clearly so, even if all three unions had industrial action at the same time, this would not constitute a threat to tourism or air services. The idea that the government should or even could have acted weeks ago is absolute coalition spittle.

Secondly, the Patrick’s waterfront dispute went on for four months. That is a shit load of hours Tony. 2,688 or there about. During all this time, with ports closed and ships backed up for weeks, Howard, who had s431 at his disposal, did not use it. He did not even go there. He had no balls.

Instead of stepping out of it and leaving the matter between workers and business, they instead made it legal for Patricks to hire security staff and to able to assault workers with no worries in regards to being charged by police.

To compare the pair: We had the Patricks dispute with 2688 hours of lock out and the Qantas dispute that never got to reach lock out due to Government intervention under the so called broken Fair Work Act.

There is more. Qantas itself could have gone to Fair Work Australia and threatened their action if they do not get a s424 termination. Or rather a suspension. 

They did not need to ground any planes at all. And they would have been able to make their case without shutting down the country for 2 days. So why did they opt to do what they did?

At the senate hearing today, Alan Joyce spent a good deal of his time justifying his actions. He mentioned deaths by a thousand cuts. That is, his concern for possible industrial could shut down his airline was so great, he decided to do it himself. By so doing, he offloaded his responsibilities onto the government. And it seems he was super pissed off that the government managed to get the planes back in the air.

Why you ask? Because it seems, in later testimony by unions and engineers, Qantas had very good reason to ground its fleet. The representative of the engineers union mentioned that of the 5 planes Qantas had originally ‘grounded’ in the week leading up to the lock out, 4 were scheduled for disposal. One was listed as for sale since March of 2011. Of the 5 planes, all were in need of MAJOR service. And in business speak, MAJOR service cost MAJOR bucks. So by grounding 5 planes that could not fly anyway, Qantas attempted to deceive the public that it was the problem of unions when it was a concerted and deliberate falsehood.

The really interesting testimony did not come until much later in the afternoon. Long after most of the media had taken their sound bites of Alan Joyce and left. This was testimony of the flight attendants. To understand the problem here, you need to understand what a short haul worker is and a long haul worker is.

The former is for short flights, usually domestic. The other is usually for international flights. Qantas and Jetstar in particular would fly international crew to Australia where they are then used to run some domestic flights. Qantas do this as they can get 24 hours straight from international staff: well beyond required fatigue levels. Further, international staff are paid half the benefits and costs that they would need to pay domestic staff.

The attendants mentioned being forced to work through illness or fatigue. There was one attendant who had glandular fever and Qantas ignored their request for sick leave.

Another story revealed that even the rest seats, seats allocated for crew and pilots to rest/sleep in on long flights, had been booked by the carrier for passenger use.

Yet another told a story about a woman who had a car accident after a grueling 18 hour Australia/bali return flight. She was tired when she got into her car so she stopped off for a coffee on her way home. This was enough for Qantas to refuse her claim because she stopped on her way home. She later committed suicide.

What has Qantas really achieved here? The irony is they have 21 days to agree or it goes to arbitration. Mind you, again, Joyce could have approached FWA for arbitration. He did not. He could have applied for a s424. He did not. Now the pressure is back on to the unions. Which is what he wanted. Joyce used the government and manipulated the nation to get his way. Fuck the country.

Further, the actions he took has hurt other businesess right around the nation. Does he give a shit? Fuck no! He has his pay rise. And really. Lets have a little look at what Joyce says when he claims he got 97% of share holder support. It really should not have taken that much support considering that 81.54% of Qantas shares are held by 20 shareholders.

What will happen now? Who knows. I doubt Qantas, if it goes to arbitration, will get all it wants and I doubt the unions will either.

Either way, Alan Joyce has changed the logo of the company from Qantas: Spirit of Australia to Qantas: Spitting on Australia.


A. Ghebranious 2011 (All Rights Reserved)

  1. Jennifer Baratta permalink

    OUCH! By the way Ash make sure landing gear work a lane from the USA landed on Belly in Poland.

  2. Sue permalink

    Haven’t you heard of invisible blood, just do not hold the oaths up in the sunlight.

  3. Sue permalink


    Thanks for the bit by the engineers and especially the flight attendants. I had got part of what the engineers were saying but missed the full count of the planes. One thing is for sure Xenophone and Cameron were keen on the evidence the engineers had and that the evidence would be tabled. The fact that the “for sale” plane advertisement was removed from the publication by Qantas but the Union had a copy was interesting.
    The flight attendants evidence was disturbing. The fact that it was late in the day and definitely too late for the msm confirms the importance of blogs such as this.
    Xenophone and Cameron now have another 3 weeks to thoroughly read Hansard, Further to this the Senators have the in camera evidence by the TWU .

  4. Rasa permalink

    Joyce made Gillard and her unions look stupid. I watched the senate enquiry last night on sky. the irony that Gillard, Doug Cameron and Alan Joyce all came from the UK. Labor certainly drew the short straw with their two. Joyce spanked labor in spades. the unions just don’t learn. The more jealousy driven action they take the more the electorate sees the Union/Gillard/Brown freak show for what it is. I will love to see Qantas having a strong asian arm and see the dinasauer union dominated Australian arm shrink. The unions are just dumb mother fuckers and just don’t learn.
    Good on you Joyce. Sit em on their arse again if they try industrial action.

    • Not sure if you understand what is going down 🙂 Qantas international currently use overseas staff. Its losing 200 mill according to joyce. Qantas DOMESTIC, which is 90% plus run by Australian staff made a 250 mill profit. Joyce wants the domestic business to have same staffing as the international business that lost money.

  5. poh permalink

    Ash. Go check your facts. Joyce wants to open other subsidiaries in Asia to run a range of styles of airlines. A premium, discount short haul etc. The idea is to operate these from an asian cost base. The new subsidiaries won’t have the hobbles Qantas currently has ie stupid unions who have an ingrained hatred of success. The primary fact Ash is that the unions don’t want any disruption to the $10Million plus in dues they collect from their members. These sort of union cashcows have become a rarity in the past 20 years. Asian based airlines don’t havethese problems. Ash it is just like shipping. You don’t find many australian staffed ships anymore. Qantas Will become a token service over time with the bulk of its business operating nder asian rules.
    Lifes a bitch but that is globalisation………at least we get cheap flat Screen TVs from asia.

    • All I know is the current Qantas safety record… or the one before Joyce became CEO was second to none BECAUSE the engineers did those awful double checks he so thinks unnecessary.

      Since then, the safety record has been not so good. This will affect the ENTIRE airline. It will affect the price people want to pay. And it was probably critical in the loss reported for international traffic last year. Mind you the volcanoes put more of a dent into Qantas profits (and other carriers) then the union action did. Then Joyce decided to be a volcano himself.

      He also did not provide the same warning time that unions are obligated to act by.

      • Gold Coast permalink

        Ash. You are a moron. Your socialist square peg will never fit in the reality of the capitalist round hole. Qantas is a business that competes in the world market. It has the highest safety record of any airline. I don’t particularly like the old boilers and gays they employ as cabin crew but the airline continues to be the safety benchmark for the industry.
        Ash. You would be aware that 99% of planes are not service in Australia or by Australian unionists?

      • But if that is the case, if Qantas is just a business in the business world, then it doe not deserve to be called the National carrier. Its just like every other business. No more. No less.

  6. BSA Bob permalink

    Well presented.
    Another case of “too big to fail, give us what we want or we’ll take it all down.”
    Tangential I know, but I’m interested too as to just where Abbott’s blood oath is. Never picked up on this by the MSM, Gillard would’ve been pilloried day in day out for the same thing.
    P.S. The stuff about the “grounded” planes is disturbing. Obligingly disseminated (reported sure ain’t the word) by the usual crew, make us all think “poor Qantas.” This sort of stuff makes you not want to believe anything you read, & is morally bankrupt.

  7. Catching up permalink

    Ash, thanks for writing this. Not many comments but I noticed you are being quoted widely.

  8. Catching up permalink

    Blood oaths. They are the ones you make with the devil, I believe. Is there any any others?

  9. Catching up permalink

    Ash, I did not mean to say not many comments. Sorry

  10. This press conference is boring. Bob Browne should just follow Barnaby Joyce around all day laughing. Same message. CarbonPrice

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