Joint media release:

  • Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie, Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development
  • Senator Dean Smith, Shadow Assistane Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury

18 October 2023


Today Prime Minister Albanese revealed that he is prepared to put the interests of arrogant and greedy corporates like Qantas ahead of the interests of everyday travelling Australians.

“Mr Albanese disgracefully shut down an extension of the Senate Committee, which would enable it to call former Qantas CEO Alan Joyce,” Senator McKenzie said.

“This is the day Mr Albanese revealed his true self – backing his crony capitalist mates against millions of Australians including loyal customers, staff and shareholders who have been treated badly by Mr Joyce’s Qantas.”

Voting to extend the Senate Select Committee inquiry into Commonwealth Bilateral Air Service Agreements would have enabled the former Qantas CEO Mr Joyce to appear before it.

“Instead, the Labor Party, in a cabal of a coverup with the Greens and Senator David Pocock refused to allow the Committee the opportunity to seek legitimate and serious questions about the cost impacts on travellers from Mr Joyce’s personal and political relationship with the Prime Minister,” Senator McKenzie said.

“This shows the extent of the disrespect the Government has for the Australian travelling public.

“This inquiry was first set up to find out the real reason why the Albanese Government has contributed to keeping the cost of airfares high by blocking Qatar Airways’ request for additional flights, and while the inquiry has made serious recommendations to make our aviation industry more competitive, this question still hasn’t been answered,” Senator McKenzie said.

“Mr Joyce is one of only three people who know why Qantas has received preferential treatment at the hands of the Albanese Government and now we will not be able to bring him before the Senate Committee to answer legitimate and serious questions about his personal and political relationship with the Prime Minister.”

Shadow Assistant Competition Minister, Senator Dean Smith said Labor had proved themselves to be the enemy of competition and transparency.

“Shamefully, thanks to Labor, we may never know why the government acted so contrary to the public interest in blocking Qatar Airways’ application.

“Aviation is one of the most critical industries in our country – we can’t catch a train from Perth to Sydney for a business meeting, a loved one’s birthday, or a medical appointment.

“It needs competition, and Australians deserve a Prime Minister and Transport Minister who understand this,” Senator Smith said.

Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs Senator Simon Birmingham said Australia’s consumers, exporters and tourism industry were paying the price for the Albanese Labor Government’s cover ups.

“This Labor Government is the monarchs of denial. After denying Qatar Airways more flights into Australia and then refusing to give any reasonable explanation it is refusing to allow the Senate from pursuing the truth behind these decisions,” said Senator Birmingham.

“Labor has created a cabal of cover up to maintain a protection racket around Minister King and Qantas and is standing in the way of Australians enjoying the cheaper airfares that would flow from greater competition in the aviation market.”

Senator McKenzie said the Albanese Government are working directly against delivering the transparent governance they committed to prior to the election.

“The Opposition will keep working to find out the real reason why Labor have kept airfares high on behalf of the Australian public.”