23 February 2006

"Australia is committed to Competition"

So says Warren Truss, the federal Minister for Transport.

(I can't post a link because the Fin's page is pay per view and I only buy it across the counter)

Warren Truss, you are a goose.

Australia's monopoly wheat seller, AWB is in serious trouble over kickbacks to Iraqi Ba'ath Party officials, and yet we still feel the need to protect the trans Pacific air ways.

Naturally, Qantas management were rapt.

This is a shocking decision which is up there with Peter Costello's one of a few years ago not to let Royal Dutch-Shell takeover Woodside Petroleum. Effectively, we are telling the world that while we say that we support competition, what we do is something completely different.

Ultimately consumers lose out over this. Because only Qantas and United may fly between the East Coast of Australia and North America, we are, it has been alleged, paying 40% extra per ticket.

And the worst part about this is that it does Qantas not a scrap of good at the end of the day.

By being protected like this by the federal government, their ability to compete in the real world takes a nose dive. Costs balloon. Travellers holiday elsewhere away from the trans-Pacific route because other ones are cheaper. Singaporean authorities get pissed off with us because their airline doesn't get a look in.

Nice. The best part about this, or rather, the only good thing, is that we have got one over the horribly hypocritical Singaporean government.

Which, of course, has never been an excuse anyway. We shouldn't be sinking down to their level.

This correspondent owns shares in Qantas Airways Ltd and is extremely pissed off with this decision. It doesn't benefit me in the long run, and it doesn't benefit consumers, either.

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