Qantas flew through COVID-19 but Joyce doesn’t have the spirit

While it may be a good thing Qantas has emerged from COVID with a large profit of almost $2.5 billion, under Alan Joyce’s leadership this has been achieved at great cost (“Qantas boss defends $2.47b profit, backs Qatar Airways rejection”, August 28). Many employees, including flight attendants and pilots, were stood down, and some were then re-employed at lower salaries; services such as baggage handling were outsourced to companies that were cheaper and not as efficient; and aircraft maintenance was outsourced to overseas facilities. However, cost-cutting measures have not affected the salary and bonuses paid to Joyce. He defends the government’s decision to reject Qatar Airways application for more flights to Australia, saying it was not in the national interest. It seems this decision is more in the interests of Qantas. The public would be more tolerant if the benefits were passed on to the workers for Qantas, instead of higher dividends to its shareholders. Qantas used to be the “Spirit of Australia”; now it seems it is the spirit of economic rationalism. Leo Sorbello, West Ryde

Alan Joyce has faced hostile questioning at a Senate inquiry

Alan Joyce has faced hostile questioning at a Senate inquiryCredit: John Shakespeare

As Qantas posts a $2.47 billion profit, it owes $470 million to its customers, and its CEO fails to be transparent in his answers to parliament. Qantas also received a $2.7 billion subsidy during the pandemic, yet left the taxpayers to foot the bill completely. If workers and customers had benefited from this subsidy, then all well and good. Instead, Joyce decided to further casualise the workforce and to take an interest-free loan from his customers. The only people seemingly to profit from this “welfare” are the executives and the shareholders.
At the core of all these shenanigans lies the fact that large corporations will always attempt to privatise their profits and socialise their debts. In seeking to privatise their profits, the consequence is often a “loosening” of the labour market by the minimisation of workers’ rights, as well as increased unemployment and reduced wages along with a demand for yet more productivity. Ten years of austerity in the UK have proved how this philosophy works, and has left that country in chaos as its services crumble and fail. John Oakley, Wollongong

It is sometimes difficult to understand the huge support companies receive from government. No doubt we want Australian businesses to thrive and be profitable – we want the benefits of the jobs they provide and the services they give. The outrage in this case is fuelled by the double standard demonstrated by Qantas. The financial efficiencies effected by Alan Joyce have diminished both the scope and quality of jobs enjoyed by Australians while maintaining well-remunerated executives. The appalling service experienced by regular customers is another affirmation of the haves and the have-nots. I doubt Alan Joyce suffers six-hour waits and a bus service to get to his chosen destination like my family member did, with no warning, timely information or compensation for a service clearly not delivered. Elizabeth Darton, Lane Cove West

During the grilling of Alan Joyce by the Senate select committee, I noticed he had been awarded Australia’s highest honour, an AC. For what? Doing his job? Tiit Tonuri, Cowra

Yes to celebrities: why the Voice campaign needs entertainment

I agree, Neil Armfield, sometimes for the moral good of the country we need to pull out all stops (Letters, August 29). The Yes campaign should use the powerful words and voice of Noel Pearson but also add a bit of loud, celebrity-infused razzamatazz to really get the people thinking! Jo-Ann Brown, Huntleys Cove

I personally would like to see Dutton and the No campaigners double down on their issue with the Australian Electoral Commission and instruct their supporters to mark their ballot papers with a “X”. What better result than seeing all the “Trumpist” conspiracy merchants disenfranchised by their own stupidity. Mark Berg, Caringbah South

Proponents of the No case have plumbed new depths with their attack on Linda Burney’s health issues (“Burney reveals medical diagnosis”, August 29). What that’s got to do with the Voice is anyone’s guess. The deputy leader of the opposition thought she’d help things along by calling Burney’s parliamentary performance the “most incompetent” she has seen and saying she is “not up to the task.” She would do well to look at her own performance, having been ejected from question time more than once in the recent past. Hardly the way to represent your constituents. Ian Adair, Hunters Hill

Minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney.

Minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney.Credit: Dominic Lorrimer

Linda Burney is a wonderful person who doesn’t deserve to be pilloried over her medical condition and her voice. If the opposition continue to attack her on these grounds rather than her arguments, they will confirm what a despicable lot they are. Andrew Macintosh, Cromer

No doubt latter-day Yes campaigner Malcolm Turnbull hopes we have all forgotten that he was the prime minister who first rejected the Voice and labelled it a “third chamber” in the parliament (CBD, August 29). If he had used his prime ministerial authority at the time, the Voice could have become a reality years ago and all this bitter, misleading negativity could have been avoided.
In the wake of a previous referendum, Turnbull dubbed John Howard “the prime minister who broke the nation’s heart”, a mantle he has since well and truly earned for himself. Richard Mason, Newtown

Fear-mongering, bully-in-Chief Peter Dutton says Australians will be bullied into voting Yes. He doesn’t think much of our intelligence, judgement or ability to identify bullshit does he? Kevin Farrell, Beelbangera

I offer the referendum Yes campaign this retort to the naysayers’ slogan: “Don’t ‘No’. Vote Yes!” Mickey Pragnell, Kiama

A toothless wolfpack is no deterrent for Kate McClymont

I am sure that a few uneducated threats will not deter Kate McClymont (“Teo’s ‘wolfpack’ bares teeth with threats”, August 29). The community should be grateful to her for shining an unforgiving light on wrong-doing in its many forms. Long may she continue to inform us of the lengths to which some people will go to acquire tainted money and assume power and influence. Derrick Mason, Boorowa

Go Kate! Margie Christowski, Roseville

An artist’s impression of the Blacktown Brain and Spinal Institute proposed by neurosurgeon Charlie Teo.

An artist’s impression of the Blacktown Brain and Spinal Institute proposed by neurosurgeon Charlie Teo.

No transparency

Right next to the editorial’s take on lack of transparency in the state government appointments are letters despairing at Transport for NSW’s refusal to explain why it is putting residents through hell (Letters, August 29). That is why we lose faith in democracy. Labor, elected five months ago to eliminate cronyism and put the people first, is already in full PR denial of being human, fallible and wise. The disappointing result is Minns’ steely eyed determination to do the right thing is rapidly changing into a gaze of arrogance. Peter Farmer, Northbridge

MP increase?

Shane Wright’s suggestion to increase the number of MPs to match population increase has great merit (“Democracy gravely at risk if we don’t elect more federal MPs”, August 29). But we need a much more proportional system, such as exists in Tasmania or the ACT, both of which have electoral systems that acknowledge that there are more choices in our society than simply Labor or the Coalition. I suspect that this is even less likely to fly given the people who run the club – Labor and Coalition – are united in their dislike of other members and different ideas. Colin Hesse, Marrickville

Shane Wright omitted to write about how politicians’ working conditions have changed
remarkably over time as well. Today even a backbencher has their own office and at least 4 staff, a free car with petrol supplied free phones and so on, and all the allowances for travel and accommodation. And their salary? I can remember a time when a backbencher was paid about the same as a head teacher in schools. Compare the pair now? There’s at least $100,000 a year difference – so, cry me a river. Jane Norman, Kotara South

Worm worries

I really wish you hadn’t published that story about the woman with a live worm in her brain, (“Python parasite found in Australian woman’s brain in world first”,, Aug. 29) It’s like the Peanuts comic strip I read as a child, when Charlie Brown complained to Lucy about the weight of his tongue. Lucy thought for a few moments and then punched him. I’m with Lucy. Do you realise how much angst you’ve unleashed? I have to stop now – I have a very bad headache. Michael Boylan, Glebe

Electric charge

A great article by Ben Lever that puts a very positive spin on the future of the electric vehicle in Australia and the great Australian road trip (“EVs won’t ‘end the weekend’. My road trip proves it”, August 29). With the current technology available to us it is again of concern that over the last decade our governments have failed us. Instead of good planning with the provision of simple ideas as suggested by Ben (solar panel shade covers at charging sites) we have endured the negativity and lack of vision. The EV car is here and although it is a bit late, government planning needs to quickly get up to speed. Robert Mulas, Corlette

Spanish inquisition

The refusal of Luis Rubiales to resign over his behaviour toward World Cup star Jennifer Hermoso lingers like the stink of rotting fish over Spanish football at the very time it should be celebrating a great victory in the championship (“Sleazes like Rubiales are on notice”, August 29). The widespread revulsion to Rubiales shows that, with persistence, justice might be done even in such high-profile cases. Ron Sinclair, Windradyne

Spanish soccer boss Luis Rubiales kissing Jennifer Hermoso.

Spanish soccer boss Luis Rubiales kissing Jennifer Hermoso.Credit: Reuters

As a woman, I object to being automatically kissed by a man I either do not know or only meet from time to time. It is simply not necessary. Many situations are business or work-related and kissing should not be part of the welcome. In fact, some close male friends do not kiss women as they feel uncomfortable doing so and think it is not necessary. In the case of sportswomen being congratulated it is enough to get their award and a congratulatory handshake and so it should have been with the Spanish football players. I call on men to take the lead from women and not automatically kiss unless the woman gives a clear indication they are happy to do so. In most situations a handshake will do and some warm friendly words. Augusta Monro, Dural

Herald legend

The Herald’s brilliant columnist from the 1960s, Charmian Clift would’ve turned 100 today. For over 200 weeks her opinion pieces appeared in Thursday’s edition. The remarkable thing is how relevant her essays are to today’s social and political landscape, half a century on. But more remarkable is her pen’s beautiful style and evocative descriptions. In this way she has etched her name among the great essayists of history. Luckily, we can still read a lot of them, chiefly through the published collections edited by Nadia Wheatley. To the editors of that time I say bravo for giving Clift unfettered editorial licence to educate and entertain your readers. Julian Neylan, Dulwich Hill

Nonsensical situation

It baffles me that hard working temporary residents like the Drenkovics cannot get permanent visas (“Family fear push back to Hungary”, August 29). Over the last 11 years they have contributed to our Australian economy, integrated into our community and now we’re telling them they must return to a country their children don’t remember. How many others are in this situation. In the meantime we in Australia have a shortage of workers. Doesn’t make sense! Kathryn Gibson, Labrador (Qld)

Imagine who else could have enjoyed the latest pollie perks

What a pity that some of our pollies don’t have the judgement and good sense to say, “Thanks, but no thanks” when it comes to free perks that don’t pass the pub test (CBD, August 29). All those free tickets to the Womens’ World Cup and the issuing of Nathan Albanese’s membership to Qantas’ Chairman’s lounge really do leave a bad taste in voters’ mouths. As for the tickets, which MPs can certainly afford, wouldn’t it have been nice to read about how our representatives politely declined and gave their tickets to families doing it tough in their electorates? Kerrie Wehbe, Blacktown

Lonely paper

It’s 7:04am as we depart Cherrybrook bound for the city, and Peter Snowden you will be heartened to know that as I look up and down the carriages it appears I am the only passenger reading a print edition of the daily newspaper (Letters, August 29)! Allan Gibson, Cherrybrook

Further to your corespondent’s observation that there are no more train commuters struggling with newspapers, he would be advised that the rites of passage nowadays is more likely to include the intrusion of trivial mobile phone conversations of questionable importance and the drawing of the perpetrator’s attention they are in a “quiet carriage”. Robert Hickey, Green Point

The digital view

Online comment from one of the stories that attracted the most reader feedback yesterday on

MPs to get biggest pay raise in a decade

From vicbill: “Oh, so that’s the “wages growth” that the RBA keeps talking about.”

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Justin Scaccy

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