Opinion

Alan Joyce has no answers to the problems facing Qantas, especially those he caused and inflicted on it.

The same criticism can be made of the board, and its chairman Leigh Clifford. None of them have demonstrated the slightest capacity to solve its external or self inflicted wounds, and it is the latter which may have wasted as much as a billion dollars in misused assets and futile promises.

Here’s a challenge. Find a single thing Alan Joyce or Leigh Clifford or any other director has promised or said by way of guidance or commentary at an AGM that was to lead to better outcomes and has actually come true.

For more than four years this management team has done nothing but lead the enterprise toward its doom.

They have collectively trashed its brand value, its share price, and its future, part of which was given away to a foreign sovereign controlled (and very good) carrier in Emirates, which Qantas pretends is The Spirit of Australia for former customers seeking to fly its services to Europe from any Australian airport other than Sydney or Melbourne.

Yet they go bleating to increasingly sceptical politicians, apart from susceptible fools in the opposition, who gave it a secret Letter of Comfort to mislead the market into believing Qantas had a deserved investment grade rating, claiming that if only they could cripple Virgin Australia, all would be fixed.

Well and truly fixed too. This is the airline group that tried a cheating tax dodge involving Jetstar cadet pilots with NZ bank accounts flying Jetstar services in Australia, and was caught and shamed.  This is the patriotic “I call Australia home” carrier that has pursued avowed puppet Jetstar and premium single aisle carrier franchises in Asia that have cost the company many hundreds of millions of dollars in underperforming or lost investments.

It is also the company too gutless and cowardly to face up to a forensic examination of its accounts so that the full extent of asset transfers to Jetstar and its franchises abroad through money or equipment can be better understand.

The Qantas call to patriotism is insulting. It keeps trying to indentify itself with propositions it has already abandoned through its actions.

How dare Qantas talk about being vital for such purposes as rescuing Australian abroad, when Alan Joyce claims through something akin to divine inspiration, to have woken up one morning in October 2011 and wilfully stranded tens of thousands of Australians abroad when he decided to ground the carrier.

Which was an act of needless stupidity as well as grandstanding, as it cost almost $200 million to frighten the Gillard Government to support an order revoking permitted industrial action in the Fair Work Tribunal which it could have obtained just by asking for it.

The current position at Qantas is that it wants to be rescued from its competitor by government intervention while making no acknowledgement of serial mismanagement of its affairs under Joyce and Clifford.

If Qantas was well managed it would still be able to command successful capital raising like it always has in the past despite the limitations of the Qantas Sale Act.  One of the fatal errors that now arises for Qantas is the disclosure that a Letter of Comfort issued by the previous Labor Government could be seen as misleading the capital raising market into believing its investment grade rating was sound.  It wasn’t. It was a sham.

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