Guest Post by Tom R. Tom can also be found at: News DeLimited
In the wake of the extraordinary action taken by Qantas in grounding their fleet at a moment’s notice, the (what soon turned out to be short-term) attention of the media turned to who knew what about the grounding. The telegraph came out with a story claiming that the PM had been warned, and that she could have prevented the whole saga if she had just returned a phone call. Luckily, Crikey has a snippet from the original online story which is no longer on the tele’s site.
“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.”
JULIA Gillard’s office and three senior ministers were told by Qantas management they had “options available” to avoid the fleet grounding and that CEO Alan Joyce was ready to talk to the PM.
However, when we get to their much quoted ‘script’, we hear this.
All were told: “We recognise the government has a range of options available to you, however we need to make it clear that we will not, and cannot put planes back in the air until these issues are resolved and we have certainty.”
This is their ‘evidence’ that the government was ‘warned’? That, in the ‘warning’ that they might ground flights, they admit that they already HAVE ground flights. Thats not a warning, that’s a revelation after the fact. By then, it is already too late. yet the paper would have us believe that the Government were ‘warned’.
After both the PM and joyce came out to deny this story, tony abbott was asked if he knew anything about it. True to form, yabot had a bubble-head moment, and Labor picked up on that and pursued him all day in Parliament over just what he did know and when. He finally came out and declared that he knew nothing until the Saturday afternoon. Considering we haven’t got that in writing (or pledged in blood), there is probably a huge question mark over that.
The Government pursued tabot all day over this, until he finally got up to declare, as shown in the Hansard
the first I heard about it was at about quarter to five on Saturday afternoon. If the Prime Minister and the minister for transport have any doubt, I refer them to a transcript of Steve Price on 2GB where he said he was beside me when I first learned about it. If I had prior notice of what Qantas was intending, I would hardly have booked myself and my family on Qantas the following day”
The question mark got bigger when hockey went on 7.30 with Leigh Sales to declare that “he was told by Qantas well before Saturday that it was planning to ground its aircraft.” Perhaps he should have passed this information on to yabot before he had booked his flights.
But the most interesting development in this whole charade. Once it had become abundantly obvious that the Government had not been fore-warned, but huge questions hung over what and when elements within the opposition knew about the grounding, this story became a non-item. The very next day, the only mention was a brief article in the SMH, and the replay of the interview with hockey on theirabc.
Not a mention anywhere else. Even though, the fact that opposition members were aware of an imminent grounding (even though there was no more industrial action, except for pilots wearing red ties), and allowed tens of thousands of people to become stranded. Not one iota of light has been shone on this murky subject.
And they wonder why the msm is held in such poor regard?