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Qantas and the political perks rort

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JohnK

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Interesting story on crikey. Some of the related links to the story are quite good as well!

crikey said:
Qantas and the political perks rort

It looks like we're onto something big with our examination of Qantas, the Chairman's Lounge and the allocation of perks and upgrades more generally by the national airline.

First, to the facts. There is no government payment for the Chairman's Lounge memberships offered to all Federal MPs as this is something which Qantas believes should be paid for by its shareholders voluntarily. It is worth noting that when Ministers travel, whatever entourage they have with them is also ushered into the Chairman's Lounge – something which Ministers exploit to the full as a source of glad-handing and patronage.

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aus_flyer

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In my humble opinion, it is, and has always been, an absolute croc.

Frankly, it makes me really, really mad.
 

one9

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odoherty said:
In my humble opinion, it is, and has always been, an absolute croc.

Frankly, it makes me really, really mad.

why would it make you mad? it makes perfect sense. if i was running qantas, i would do exactly the same thing. it is always smart to have the government on your side, no matter what type of economy you live in.

The perks may costs Qantas $1 million, but I am sure they benefit more than that from providing them. If I was a qantas shareholder, i would be pleased.
 

Dave Noble

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one9 said:
why would it make you mad? it makes perfect sense. if i was running qantas, i would do exactly the same thing. it is always smart to have the government
More relevently, I do not think that politicians should be allowed to accept such offers from companies. Nothing wrong with Qantas ( or any company ) offering inducements to them , but there is something wrong with them being accepted

Dave
 

NM

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I give Crikey less credibility in investigative journalism than I give Today Tonight or A Current Affair. And this current attack has not altered my opinion of Crikey, Qantas or Politicians.
 

aus_flyer

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Dave Noble said:
one9 said:
why would it make you mad? it makes perfect sense. if i was running qantas, i would do exactly the same thing. it is always smart to have the government
More relevently, I do not think that politicians should be allowed to accept such offers from companies. Nothing wrong with Qantas ( or any company ) offering inducements to them , but there is something wrong with them being accepted

Dave
Precisely.
 

NM

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Dave Noble said:
More relevantly, I do not think that politicians should be allowed to accept such offers from companies. Nothing wrong with Qantas ( or any company ) offering inducements to them , but there is something wrong with them being accepted

Dave
I am happy to be offered such inducements. And I am also happy to accept them. I see nothing wrong with me being offered or with me accepting their offer.

Also note that I am the sole decision maker when it comes to how my family's travel budget is spent and which airline all the members of my family will fly. And I also have the ability to influence government policy through my democratic right to vote for whichever political candidate I choose, and I can base my decision on the candidate's stated support or opposition for current and proposed government policy.
 

Yada Yada

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Dave Noble said:
More relevently, I do not think that politicians should be allowed to accept such offers from companies. Nothing wrong with Qantas ( or any company ) offering inducements to them , but there is something wrong with them being accepted
Exactly. It is corrupt behaviour, full stop. :evil:
 

thadocta

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It is only corrupt if it is hidden. The fact that it is common knowledge (well, common knowledge amongst those of us who travel frequently, and also amongst the meeja) means that it is not corrupt, since the decision makers would have fire and brimstone brought down upon them if they made decisions in QF's favour because of CL membership.

FWIW, I think the decision re: SQ flying SYD-LAX was the correct decision, if I was the Minister concerned I would have come down the same way, CL or no CL.

Dave
 

NM

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I don't believe politicians are treated any differently to non-politician Chairman's Lounge invitees. So why is it corrupt for politicians and not for other members?

I may be jealous of their benefits, but I don't have a problem with Qantas running the Chairman's Lounge program. And anyone in public office should disclose the benefits provided by companies. Politicians have just as much right to personal use of FF points as anyone else who gets them from travel (and even credit card use) paid by someone else. In my opinion, anyone who is required to spend regular periods of time away from their home and family deserves some form of compensation, and FF benefits go part way to delivering that.
 

Yada Yada

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thadocta said:
It is only corrupt if it is hidden. The fact that it is common knowledge (well, common knowledge amongst those of us who travel frequently, and also amongst the meeja) means that it is not corrupt, since the decision makers would have fire and brimstone brought down upon them if they made decisions in QF's favour because of CL membership.

FWIW, I think the decision re: SQ flying SYD-LAX was the correct decision, if I was the Minister concerned I would have come down the same way, CL or no CL.
Dave - I disagree. Most corruption is hidden because the parties do not want it known. However some forms of corruption (in this case graft) are done more openly and society seems to accept that it happens. However this makes it no less corrupt, and in this case I would argue that most people would never have heard of the CL so it's not that open anyway.

This most certainly is an obvious conflict of interest - it's a situation in which the politicians, who are in a position of power and trust, have competing professional and personal interests, making it difficult for them to fulfill their duties impartially. Even if there is no evidence of improper action, it creates the appearance of impropriety and can undermine confidence in the ability of that person to act properly. From the report, it sounds like there is improper action.
 

Dave Noble

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NM said:
I don't believe politicians are treated any differently to non-politician Chairman's Lounge invitees. So why is it corrupt for politicians and not for other members?

I may be jealous of their benefits, but I don't have a problem with Qantas running the Chairman's Lounge program. And anyone in public office should disclose the benefits provided by companies. Politicians have just as much right to personal use of FF points as anyone else who gets them from travel (and even credit card use) paid by someone else. In my opinion, anyone who is required to spend regular periods of time away from their home and family deserves some form of compensation, and FF benefits go part way to delivering that.
I see nothing wrong with Politicians getting the same benefits as other people when travelling. With QF giving them CL membership, they are being bribed with benefits beyond that which would apply to all and could ( though not necessarily would ) have effect on decisions made. Politicians should only be making decisions based on the benefits to the country and not have concerns for special freebies that are offered ( and could be withdrawn should they make an unfavourable to QF ruling

Dave
 

NM

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Dave Noble said:
Politicians should only be making decisions based on the benefits to the country and not have concerns for special freebies that are offered...
Yeah, right. When politician start doing that we can expect QF to exclude them from the CL program. I don't think QF is to blame here. I think the problem is on the other side and how they allow themselves to be influenced by external forces.
 

Dave Noble

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NM said:
Dave Noble said:
Politicians should only be making decisions based on the benefits to the country and not have concerns for special freebies that are offered...
Yeah, right. When politician start doing that we can expect QF to exclude them from the CL program. I don't think QF is to blame here. I think the problem is on the other side and how they allow themselves to be influenced by external forces.
That is my point isn't it. By politicians being permitted to accept these inducements in the 1st place there is now a level of hold that QF has in that they can threaten to withdraw these freebies. This is quite different to politicians being allowed to earn miles from trips since this is a standard benefit available to all. CL is not available to all

Dave
 

NM

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Dave Noble said:
That is my point isn't it. By politicians being permitted to accept these inducements in the 1st place there is now a level of hold that QF has in that they can threaten to withdraw these freebies. This is quite different to politicians being allowed to earn miles from trips since this is a standard benefit available to all. CL is not available to all

Dave
CL is currently offered to all who meet the criteria - just need to get elected to federal parliament and/or become a person of influence :p .

And there is nothing preventing Singapore Airlines from making the same offer to Australian members of parliament. Whether the pollys should be allowed to accept such inducement is a different issue.
 

Yada Yada

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NM said:
CL is currently offered to all who meet the criteria - just need to get elected to federal parliament and/or become a person of influence :p .
But it's different. Others who are invited to CL aren't in the position of being able to shape and alter public policy relating to the air travel industry.

NM said:
And there is nothing preventing Singapore Airlines from making the same offer to Australian members of parliament. Whether the pollys should be allowed to accept such inducement is a different issue.
I guess SQ are unlikely to begin opening lounges in every domestic airport in Australia, although I'd dearly like someone to offer full service competition!
 

v8Statesman

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Yada Yada said:
I guess SQ are unlikely to begin opening lounges in every domestic airport in Australia, although I'd dearly like someone to offer full service competition!
Totally agree. Although I rarely traveled on Ansett, It did keep Qantas honest. (Sorta).

Is it just me, or is the level of domesting service (J and Y) no as good now. virgin has no impact on J server that is for sure. and the fact you have to open your wallet for a drink makes Qantas expect us to be happy with crap as it is "free"
 

serfty

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Before their demise, Ansett did have their own elite lounges equivalent to the CL's.

Back then, not every Government department flew Qantas; a significant number had Ansett contracts.
 

NM

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Yada Yada said:
NM said:
CL is currently offered to all who meet the criteria - just need to get elected to federal parliament and/or become a person of influence :p .
But it's different. Others who are invited to CL aren't in the position of being able to shape and alter public policy relating to the air travel industry.
But many are in a position of influence and able to make or promote decisions that will benefit QF.
Yada Yada said:
I guess SQ are unlikely to begin opening lounges in every domestic airport in Australia, although I'd dearly like someone to offer full service competition!
Well that is their choice. They are free to do so. Just as they are free to start a wholly owned airline operating domestic and international services in/from Australia.
 
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