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February 2014

Qantas's "strategy" update issued today

  Qantas last 4 years

(Source - Qantas)

 Here is the Qantas Group Strategy Update issued today by Qantas Airways Limited.

  •     $2 billion cost reduction, including 5,000 jobs
  •     More than 50 aircraft to be deferred or sold
  •     $1 billion capital expenditure reduction
  •     Core investment in customer service to continue



Qantas today announced detail of its $2 billion cost reduction program and capital expenditure review.

Qantas will take action to permanently reduce costs in all parts of the Qantas Group through to FY17, including fleet and network changes, productivity improvements, consolidation of business activities, new technology and procurement savings.  More than 50 aircraft will be deferred or sold and the Group’s workforce will be reduced by 5,000 full-time equivalent positions by FY17.

The Qantas Group’s planned capital expenditure net of operating lease liability[1] will be reduced to $800 million in both FY15 and FY16, a total reduction of $1 billion.

Qantas has reached agreement on the return of its Brisbane Airport terminal lease, together with related assets, to the airport owner at a cash value of $112 million. The broader structural review of the Qantas Group portfolio continues and no final decisions have been made on other assets.

Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce said Qantas would do everything in its control to overcome some of the toughest market conditions it had ever faced.


Market Conditions

“It’s clear that the market Qantas operates in has changed, with structural economic shifts exacerbated by an uneven playing field in Australian aviation policy,” Mr Joyce said.

“This situation is reflected in the financial result Qantas announces today, an Underlying PBT1 loss of $252 million for the half-year.  This is an unacceptable and unsustainable result.  Comprehensive action is needed in response.

“Qantas’ competitors have increased capacity to Australia by 46 per cent since 2009, more than double the world average, at a time of record fuel costs and economic volatility.

“We have met these challenges head on.  Over the past four years, we have been carrying out the biggest transformation since Qantas was privatised – cutting comparable unit costs1 by 19 per cent over four years, introducing new aircraft and technology on a large scale, modernising work practices and revitalising service.  But this is not enough for the circumstances we now face.

“The Australian domestic market has been distorted by current Australian aviation policy, which allows Virgin Australia to be majority-owned by three foreign government-backed airlines – yet retain access to Australian bilateral flying rights.

Continue reading "Qantas's "strategy" update issued today" »

Bill Shorten based his HSU application to the Federal Court on the contents of a FWA Report 7 days before he was allowed to access it.

Bill Shorten says he made the decision to appoint an administrator to the HSU because the union had fallen into dysfunctionality.   How did he know it was dysfunctional?   Because of what was in the Fair Work Australia report.   He was not supposed to know about the results of the independent inquiry into Craig Thomson  and the HSU until 7 May, 2012 when the rest of us found out.  But he went to court for an Administrator on 30 April, fully informed by the contents of the FWA Report.

Someone will be in a lot of trouble.

On 12 April 2012 Bill Shorten retained Val Gostencnik.

On 26 April 2012 Bill Shorten decided to make a "very rare" application to the Federal Court for an Administrator to be appointed to the HSU because of its "current dysfunction".  Here is his announcement.

On 30 April 2012 Val Gostencnik swore this affidavit on Shorten's behalf.   It states an Administrator should be appointed because the union had ceased to function effectively.

Val baby


So how did Bill know the union had ceased to function effectively?   The Minister's announcement was made on 26 April, 2012 and his Affidavit filed by Val Gostencnik on 30 April 2012.   On 29 April 2012 Julia Gillard as PM decided that Craig Thomson had "crossed a line" and she asked him to leave the Labor Party.

The FWA Report was secret until 7 May 2012.   Shorten and Gillard both claimed not to know what was in it.

In this answer to a Senate Estimates Question it's all laid out. Shorten's Department admits that he became aware of the dysfunctionality from the FWA Reports - and on that basis he went to the Federal Court to have an Administrator appointed.   On 30 April.   7 days before he was allowed access to FWA's report.

Findings of he FWA report



Ma'am, have you ever committed an offence involving moral turpitude?

I find that in each instance the communication was made or the document created in the furtherance of fraud.   Chief Magistrate Peter Lauritsen.


9 FAM 40.21(a) N2.2 Defining “Moral Turpitude”

(CT:VISA-1506; 09-07-2010)

Statutory definitions of crimes in the United States consist of various elements, which must be met before a conviction can be supported. Some of these elements have been determined in judicial or administrative decisions to involve moral turpitude. A conviction for a statutory offense will
involve moral turpitude if one or more of the elements of that offense have been determined to involve moral turpitude. The most common elements involving moral turpitude are:

  1. Fraud
  2. Larceny
  3. Intent to harm persons or things

Common Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude

Categorized below are some of the more common crimes, which are considered to involve moral turpitude. Each category is followed by a U.S. Department of State separate list of related crimes, which are held not to involve moral turpitude.

a) N2.3-1 Crimes Committed Against Property

Most crimes committed against property that involve moral turpitude include the element of fraud. The act of fraud involves moral turpitude whether it is aimed against individuals or government. Fraud generally involves:

(1) Making false representation;
(2) Knowledge of such false representation by the perpetrator;
(3) Reliance on the false representation by the person defrauded;
(4) An intent to defraud; and
(5) The actual act of committing fraud

  Moral turpitude woman


Did Bill Shorten act properly in using taxpayer resources to have an administrator appointed to the Health Services Union?

On 3 April 2012, Bernadette O'Neill sent Val Gosterncnik the FWA Report, its Annexures A-M, each of the transcripts of interview and all of the casebook documents referred to in the final report.

The Report itself was not made public until 7 May 2012.  None of the Annexures A-M or the other material has yet been made public.   Neither Minister Shorten nor PM Gillard had any lawful means to know what was in the report until the rest of us found out.

On 12 April 2012 Minister Shorten retained former HSU official and lawyer Val Gostencnik to act for him in the application to appoint an administrator to the HSU.

On 30 April, 2012, Val Gostencnik filed the application to have an administrator appointed to the HSU - read the proposed scheme and affidavit material here.

Here is the Australian Financial Review's report from the time - keep in mind no one knew that Shorten's lawyer Gostencnik had the FWA report and Annexures.

Judge queries Shorten move against HSU

Fin shorten


A Federal Court judge has expressed scepticism about the Gillard government’s sudden decision to install an administrator to take control of the Health Services Union and questioned why the government turned up to court asking for two weeks to get the paperwork together.

Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten took the rare step of moving to place the HSU East branch into administration, a decision welcomed by the ACTU and Unions NSW and blasted by Kathy Jackson, the national secretary at the centre of a power struggle in the union.

“He [Mr Shorten] wants to make sure he ends up in a position where he controls this union personally, not as the minister, but personally,” she said.

Mr Shorten, who said he was acting to protect the union’s 55,000 members, signalled he might block publication of a report by Fair Work Australia into alleged irregularities in the union that examined the role of former national secretary and federal Labor MP Craig Thomson.

“I will not put at risk any potential civil or criminal charges,” he said.

He was accused by the federal opposition of trying to shield Mr Thomson.

Appointing an administrator will delay the release of an investigation by barrister Ian Temby and accountant Dennis Robertson into alleged rorting in the HSU East branch, which covers workers in Victoria and NSW.

A version of the report was due to go to the branch’s executive on Monday. The meeting was cancelled because of legal action.

A government-hired lawyer asked the Federal Court in Sydney on Thursday for a fortnight to file the application to appoint an administrator.

Judge Geoffrey Flick said the request was a “bit odd” and gave the government until the end of Monday. Justice Flick said it would not be enough to issue a “press release” in his courtroom about a “hypothetical application”.

“I have a degree of scepticism as to the timing of this application,” he said. “The minister should have made it much earlier than today.”

In Melbourne, Mr Shorten said the government had to decide on a “most serious and grave action” to protect the union’s members from further “dysfunctional fighting”.

Mr Shorten said the government’s intervention would not support any individual or faction within the union. His claim was attacked by outspoken HSU leader Ms Jackson who has pursued Mr Thomson and HSU president Michael Williamson.

Ms Jackson agreed there were grounds to appoint an administrator but accused Mr Shorten of being personally involved in backroom manoeuvring against her, and protecting Mr Thomson.

Ms Jackson alleged that a HSU member and suburban Labor Party identity in Melbourne, Diana Asmar, contacted union members in recent weeks to seek individuals who would be prepared to lodge internal charges against her. Cr Asmar is a former Labor mayor of the City of Darebin and unsuccessfully stood for a position in the union’s Victorian branch against a key supporter of Ms Jackson.

Mr Shorten said he had “absolutely not’’ been involved in backroom machinations against Ms Jackson and had not seen Cr Asmar for about a year. A spokesman for Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said he had not “met with or spoken to Diana Asmar this year”.

The federal opposition’s workplace relations spokesman, Eric Abetz, said Mr Shorten’s actions were “too little, too late” and voters and union members were entitled to know the full details.

“The release of the Wood Royal Commission, the release of the Fitzgerald inquiry in Queensland, did not prejudice the bringing of criminal charges,” he said.

“It also shows the thinking of [Prime Minister Julia] Gillard and her government that the longer this matter can drag on, the better, because it gets them closer and closer to the election date without having to deal with Mr Thomson.”

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott dismissed Mr Shorten’s actions as a “squalid manoeuvre” to hide a contentious report.

“What is the government trying to hide here?” Mr Abbott said on the Nine Network on Friday.

“What does the government know? Is the government trying yet another squalid manoeuvre to keep the FWA report hidden, to try to protect Craig Thomson for even longer?”

A Senate committee sought advice from the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions over a request from Mr Thomson’s lawyers to suppress a Fair Work Australia report that outlines 181 workplace law breaches at the Health Services Union while he was national secretary.

Mr Thomson has denied wrongdoing, as has Mr Williamson. Daniel Govan, a hospital theatre technician in Melbourne, said he would seek to charge Ms Jackson under the union’s rule for misusing members’ funds for personal expenses, including international air fares and childcare.

Mr Thomson has been accused of using a union credit card to ­withdraw $100,000 in cash and for prostitutes while he was national secretary from 2002 until he was elected to ­Parliament in 2007.

If convicted of criminal offences, Mr Thomson could be forced to leave Parliament, threatening the future of the Labor government’s one-seat majority.

Mr Temby wrote to the union’s lawyers, Slater and Gordon, saying a meeting should be held, “the sooner that happens, the better [it] would be”.

“In our view, the Union Council should be made aware, as soon as is practicable, as to the deficiencies in this area of the union’s activities, so that remedial action can begin now, not months down the track,” he wrote. Mr Temby was not available for comment yesterday.

Imagine how the Federal Court Judge would have reacted had he known that Shorten's lawyer Gostencnik had a complete copy of the Fair Work Australia material when he made the Application on Shorten's behalf!  

Here is Justice Flick's reaction when Shorten tried to get a copy of the Temby report before its release.

Minister denied access to HSU documents


WORKPLACE Relations Minister Bill Shorten has made a bid for dozens of sensitive internal documents relating to the troubled east branch of the Health Services Union.

In the Federal Court this morning, the Minister's barrister, Herman Borenstein SC, said he wished to subpoena documents held by accountant Dennis Robertson who co-authored a preliminary report on the union's finances with leading barrister Ian Temby QC.

Mr Borenstein SC said he wished to obtain the documents because media reports of the Temby preliminary report "suggest all sorts of financial arrangements that were in place (at the union) that were questionable".

But Federal Court judge Jeffery Flick said it was clear that Mr Borenstein SC was on a "fishing" trip to get the "core documents" that Mr Temby QC relied on to reach his opinion.

Justice Flick said he would not allow the Minister access.

The documents are especially sensitive because Mr Temby QC and Mr Robertson have not yet given their final report to the 76-member HSU east branch council.

The wider case was launched by the Federal Government in an attempt to appoint an administrator to review the finances and membership of the HSU's east branch.

This business did not come cheaply for the taxpayer.  Here are some of the invoicing details fror Herman Borenstein SC, who made more than $600,000 representing the Minister's department.