The Guardian 21 February, 2007

Poll shows opposition to Qantas sale

Eighty percent of marginal seat voters feel the Federal Government is not doing enough to stop Australian businesses being sold overseas and jobs lost offshore.

Polling of voters in Coalition-held marginal seats released earlier this month shows strong public opposition to the proposed sale of Qantas to local and foreign private equity interests.

Almost 80 percent of those polled said they oppose the sale of Qantas, an indication of the high level of community concern over the impact the sale would have on Australian jobs, rural and regional airline services and safety standards.

Commenting on the polling ACTU Secretary Greg Combet said: "The Australian community are extremely concerned about the impact of the proposed sale of Qantas on jobs, services and safety standards.

"They want the Government to stand up for Australian jobs, and apply conditions to any sale of Qantas.

"The Australian public is sick and tired of the Howard Government sitting back and making excuses while more and more Australian jobs and businesses go overseas."

The independent polling was commissioned by unions representing Qantas’ 37,000 plus Australian employees and was conducted by independent polling company Auspoll in the marginal Coalition electorates of Bass (Tas), Kingston (SA), Wakefield (SA); Hasluck (WA); Solomon (NT); Lindsay (MSW); Bonner (QLD); and Moreton (QLD).

The poll shows that only 12 percent of voters support the Federal Government putting no conditions on the Qantas takeover while 80 percent are opposed to a hands-off approach by the Federal Government.

Voters believe the takeover of Qantas will mean services to regional areas will suffer (75% agreed), jobs and conditions of employees would be cut (70% agreed), and that there is a greater chance that safety will be compromised in the pursuit of profit (nearly two-thirds, or 64% agreed).

Sixty-six percent of voters do not think the Qantas sale is in Australia’s national interest, 67 percent believe it will not be in the interest of ordinary travellers, 81 percent agreed that it will be bad for people living in regional areas and 80 percent believe that it will be bad for Australian jobs.

Eight out of ten people surveyed (80%) also believe the Federal Government was not doing enough to prevent Australian business being sold overseas and jobs lost offshore while fewer than one in ten (8%) thought the Coalition was doing enough.

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