14 September 2023

Yesterday the High Court brought down its decision that Qantas had illegally sacked 1,700 employees. This decision exonerates all those Qantas workers, the baggage handlers and cleaners, who worked tirelessly during the pandemic only to be sacked, stripped of their legal rights and replaced by labour hire staff with fewer conditions and lower rates of pay. This disgraceful act serves to highlight the long-overdue need for the closure of loopholes in our industrial relations system—loopholes that enabled the callous exploitation of hardworking Australians. Qantas has a lot to answer for. It abandoned its workers, while receiving more than $2 billion in taxpayer funded handouts.

I congratulate the TWU on this historic win, and all those workers who fought for justice. May this decision serve to deter any such heartless action from taking place in the future. Australians do believe in a fair go for all, and this behaviour by Qantas, backed in by the former coalition government, was not fair. It was disrespectful, it was callous and it wasn't the behaviour of a company that values its workers. It's time for change. It's time for all in this House to support our closing the loopholes bill.