Wednesday, November 02, 2011

More on Qantas

As accusations flow about when people were told of the Qantas lock-out it is pretty clear that Joyce was so obsessed with the security risk that he never really made it clear to the Government. Ultimately he was speaking in code.

But Joe Hockey reckons;

(Qantas has) been saying it around parliament house for the last few weeks. They've been saying it privately and publicly around parliament house for weeks.

Perhaps there might be something based on this fact you'd have found about Qantas PR and Govt Relations Head Olivia Wirth if you'd followed the links in my earlier post.

A veteran of the Australian Tourist Commission and its successor, Tourism Australia, Ms Wirth was also an adviser to former tourism minister Joe Hockey and worked for the industry lobby group Tourism Council Australia.

Meanwhile Qantas is reported to have gone inot "damage control mode" as it tries to patch up strained relations with Gillard and Albanese. Ms Wirth was reported to have made a "flying visit to Canberra" to "repair a relationship which insiders now describe as toxic."

This is a prelude to an appearance Alan Joyce is going to make before a Senate committee on Friday. I would like to be a fly on the wall of the preparation session for that appearance. Only the very rare CEO can pull off the kind of beligerent performance Packer made before the print media inquiry.

My own thoughts would be that Joyce should try to drown the committee in facts about the global international air services market. He should take the approach that says he is willing to hear from anybody alternative strategies to save Qantas from the oblivion it faces; to remind them of the fate of other iconic airlines (Ansett domestically, Pan-Am globally).

More importantly he should not make Industrial Relations out to be the core issue - the core issue is the future of the airline, that future is in the national interest not just shareholders interest. The IR policy settings are just part of the "external environment" within which management has to make its decisions. The decision on the weekend was made to bring about an end to the dispute, and the lock-out was necessitated by the safety concerns. Others may have different views, but that was their view as the operators of the airline. (Emphasise more concerned about risks from stress than deliberate sabotage).

Finally note that thought they WERE flagging the possibility of the action they took, but were insufficiently clear in communicating it because they didn't want to inspire the fear. Could go as far as suggesting concerned that the Govt was too close to the unions in the matter.

But first and foremost - go hire a lobbyist!!!!!!! They need the "back-channel".

Novae Meridianae Demetae Dexter delenda est

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