Fighting for Qantas workers at the Brisbane Airport
Ms WELLS (Lilley) (13:42): Recently, one of Lilley's many aviation workers wrote to me, a 38-year-old father of three who was one of the 2,000 Qantas ground-handling staff made redundant earlier this year. Chris told me he had worked for Qantas for 17 years. Aviation was in his blood. His dad had worked for Qantas, from 1995 to 2006, before him. Despite Qantas receiving $2 billion in taxpayer support during the pandemic, Chris was stood down in April 2020. He had to take a job stacking supermarket shelves at night to support his family.
The Morrison government gave Qantas taxpayer money with no strings attached, failing to protect Australian aviation jobs. Qantas told workers that they could bid for their jobs. Chris said that the uncertainty, the stress and the heartache for people like him, whose families have always had aviation in their identity, impacted his mental health. He was ultimately made redundant by Qantas in February this year.
The Federal Court has since found that Qantas acted illegally when trying to outsource these 2,000 ground-handling jobs, an extraordinary judgement. But still we have not heard from the Prime Minister on this. Where is he? Where is the PM for aviation workers? What does he have to say to them? Why is there no plan for them from the Prime Minister? The Prime Minister has Alan Joyce's number on speed dial. He needs to pick up the phone and tell Alan Joyce to reinstate the 2,000 workers who were stood down illegally. (Time expired)