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Simon Benson

Oct 31, 2011

The Tele and the Qantas phone call that wasn't

Joe Hildebrand and Simon Benson have been caug

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Pure Poison IconJoe Hildebrand and Simon Benson have been caught out after claiming that the lockout of Qantas employees and subsequent grounding of the fleet was due to the Prime Minister refusing to take a phone call from Qantas CEO Alan Joyce.

QANTAS CEO Alan Joyce would have abandoned his decision to ground the airline had Prime Minister Julia Gillard returned his call and promised to intervene directly in the union standoff.

The only problem? Both the Prime Minister and Mr Joyce have denied the claim this morning. So much for “Don’t write crap.”The question needs to be asked how this story ever saw the light of day when both of the principal people involved deny it? Was this simply an opportunity too good to miss for a paper that seems determined to denigrate the present government?

26 comments

26 thoughts on “The Tele and the Qantas phone call that wasn’t

  1. Think Big

    Abbott today cut and run from a presser where he was asked questions about when ehe was told about the Qantas Shutdown

    This looking more and more like Abbott, Reith and co may have conspired with Joyce. The timing of Abbott’s flight out of Perth (just before the shutdown) is also a tad suspicious.

  2. dexitroboper

    John Reidy, the grounding was done before any lockout, which was due to start today. The grounding was done first so they could safely call the lockout, as Qantas have the authority to ground their own planes at any time.

  3. Jack Sparraaggghhh

    Some interesting background discussion: “Little difference between Work Choices and Fair Work Act strike provisions” (transcript not up yet, but audio available).

  4. Jack Sparraaggghhh

    Matthew, interestingly Andy “thanks” a reader for apparently divining the startling similarities between a millionaire airline CEO and a 14-year-old dill in Bali.

    But of course, Joyce is (symbolically) a child being subjected (symbolically) to ‘abuse’ by ‘teh left’, in the form of unions and a labor govt.

    The narrative is just risible, of course. The ‘evidence’ Andy links to in that brief fluff of a post is an article in the smh completely unrelated to the qantas debacle, AND his own post immediately preceding where he flip-flops desperately for an anti-Gillard angle.

    Click bait.

  5. John Reidy

    One think I don’t get, is under fair work Australia, don’t both sides need to give 72 hours notice before any industrial action, or does this only apply to the workers?

  6. Tomus Barava

    Oddly, if you think about it, if Alan Joyce was the CEO of Garuda and he’d pulled the same stunt with them, I’m sure he would be in a gaol in Bali.

  7. Matthew of Canberra

    JS @19

    It’s pretty desperate spinning, isn’t it? It would appear that there was no warning given to the guv, so the whole “why didn’t they do something” line starts to look a bit ridiculous. So now it’s down to making ridiculous analogies. Well, there’s a sensible response to that, even if it doesn’t deserve one:

    If Alan Joyce were in a bali jail on drug charges, the PM would have been INFORMED ABOUT IT. That would seem the be the critical difference with this case. Joyce had opportunities, but didn’t tell anyone this was coming. One can only assume that’s because he didn’t want them to know.

    It’s astonishing to see our man at the hun trying to make out that joyce is a child, who can’t be held responsible for his own decisions.

  8. Jack Sparraaggghhh

    No evidence here of irony, so one can only assume he’s serious:

    If Alan Joyce were in a Bali jail on drug charges, Julia Gillard may have given him a call. But he was just an airline boss about to ground the nation’s main airline and needing the Prime Minister’s help.

    Oh, and ta for the preview button and post numbering!

  9. Matthew of Canberra

    “Mission accomplished Rupert.”

    Once again, objective facts are shown to have a left-wing bias. The hun should stop banging on about the ABC – when tony gets in I think they should be demanding a royal commission into REALITY’S bias. It’s reality that consistently gets in the way of NEWS’ line, not the ABC.

  10. Durham Red

    Of the five Murdoch media consumers that I spoke to today, all thought the planes weren’t flying due to a union strike, never heard of the Qantas lockout. Mission accomplished Rupert.

  11. Aliar Jones

    [It seems a semantic difference. ]

    A meaningful difference, in stark contrast to the difference between not bothering to verify claims printed in opinion pieces and outright lying.

  12. shepherdmarilyn

    Why did the dopey little prat think he could ransom the entire country so that he can not pay proper wages and use cheap labour when he felt like it?

  13. Matthew of Canberra

    A new low?

    Transport Minister Anthony Albanese says at 1:15pm today that he’d rung Joyce an hour earlier to confirm that Joyce had never before Saturday warned he would lock out the Qantas staff. Albanese does confirm that Joyce had, however, warned before that the Qantas aircraft could be “grounded”. It seems a semantic difference.

    Yes, andrew, that IS a semantic difference. In the sense that it means something completely different. Saying that “aircraft could be grounded” as a general concern about the operation of the company due to industrial action (which is a no-brainer – pilots strike, planes are grounded, QED) is totally different to saying “we’re planning a wildcat grounding of the entire fleet and a lockout of all staff to coincide with CHOGM and he lead-up to the melbourne cup”

    The crux of this particular line of argument (and it’s a popular one) is that the government was somehow supposed to predict an extreme, politically motivated tactic from the management of qantas (a tactic, it should be stressed, that the management had no intention of warning the government about) and hamstring the unions in advance so that qantas wouldn’t choose to make that move.

    And that’s what qantas’ SUPPORTERS are peddling. Think about that.

  14. Brizben

    [Federal Government 24.23%]
    It just shows how the Liberal supporters are willing to lie.

  15. dam buster of Preston

    It is still being boldly reported on the telegraph site. Along with a poll:

    Who is at fault for the Qantas dispute?

    Qantas 29.69% (3708 votes)

    Unions 46.08% (5756 votes)

    Federal Government 24.23% (3027 votes)

    These guys know their demographic.

    And as for the “phone call”…

    THE high-profile Qantas executive Olivia Wirth has confirmed she called Julia Gillard’s chief of staff Ben Hubbard hours before Alan Joyce grounded Qantas and said the CEO was available to speak to the Prime Minister.
    The Daily Telegraph had reported that sources said Ms Wirth – Qantas group executive for Government and Corporate Affairs – had called Ms Gillard’s chief of staff and told him that Mr Joyce was standing by to talk to the Prime Minister.

    In an email to The Daily Telegraph, Ms Wirth confirmed: “I spoke with various staffers (including PM COS Ben Hubbard).”

    Ms Wirth talked to Mr Hubbard about 2pm on Saturday – three hours before Mr Joyce grounded the airline. Mr Joyce had also spoken to Transport Minister Anthony Albanese, then Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson and Workplace Relations Minister Chris Evans and asked them to pass on the information to Ms Gillard.

    In her email to The Telegraph, Ms Wirth said: “In the conversations with Ministers, Alan indicated that we understood the PM was held up with chairing CHOGM, so it would be difficult to speak, however Alan would provide more details to the PM if required.”

    Despite Ms Wirth calling the PM’s office and offering a conversation with Mr Joyce, this morning the CEO claimed on ABC Radio: “I had no expectation of talking to the prime minister.”

    Yes it is Julia’s fault that she did not stop chairing an international heads of government meeting to be informed that a company was going to shut the doors.

    Somehow it is her fault… logic has indeed been blown out the orifice on this one.

  16. Aliar Jones

    Seriously it’s amazing the endless piling on Gillard from the right…they never pause to think or question the validity of any of it…just the endless spewing of blind hatred

  17. monkeywrench

    Why bother calling when you can hack voicemail?

  18. Brizben

    The phantom phone call story was in the printed edition of the CM.

  19. Tomus Barava

    Alan “Work” Joyce’s now calling it “misinformation”.

    This morning Mr Joyce said Qantas respected the decision of the workplace umpire and described reports that the fleet would not have been grounded if Ms Gillard had taken the call as “misinformation”.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-10-31/gillard-on-qantas-grounding/3609954

  20. AR

    Monday morning all shout jocks on 2GB/UE running with it despite denials.

  21. dam buster of Preston

    Meanwhile in Southbank:

    Gillard refused to answer the call that could have kept Qantas flying

    of course it has been updated but that doesnt stop the sheep bleating.. glad to see this amongst it though:

    Hey Andrew never mind them – what’s your opinion of the Qantas dispute – don’t you have one ? – are you just covering your rear end by using the thoughts of others who have the nads to voice their opinion ?

    I guess you’re doing what you always do and are just waiting to find out what the majority of the public think before having an opinion of your own.

    so over qantas (Reply)
    Mon 31 Oct 11 (07:34am)

  22. OkayDavey

    It’s a shame that the Daily Telegraph can print a story that takes up most of page 2 and 3 and the only way to find out that it’s been made up is to check another news source. Good to see that even though both of them have denied the claim, the online version doesn’t get an update. I guess the headline “Imagine if Qantas CEO Alan Joyce made a phone call to PM Julia Gillard but was then ignored” didn’t have the same ring to it.

  23. chrismayer

    I wonder what the percentage is of people who read that story and are still unaware it was a load of bollocks?

  24. Neil Walker

    Interesting. A journalist writing a story about phone calls didn’t bother placing a call to either Alan Joyce or the Prime Minister before publication.

  25. Bondles

    Even if the story were true: CEO of private corporation throws tantrum because head of government won’t return his call within 3 hours, so he shuts down the airline and strands 70,000-odd passengers. It takes some impressive ideological gymnastics to make the Prime Minister the bad guy in that story.

  26. Matthew of Canberra

    * actual crap may vary.

https://www.crikey.com.au/2011/10/31/the-tele-and-the-qantas-phone-call-that-wasnt/ == https://www.crikey.com.au/free-trial/==https://www.crikey.com.au/subscribe/

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