MPs reject Qantas lobbying to open borders - afr.com

“Anybody can lobby, and anyone expresses their views,” Mr Healy, whose seat is marginal, told The Australian Financial Review.

“But they’re [Qantas] a publicly listed, commercial enterprise. They are pushing for a relaxation of the border restrictions because it would suit them and their business.

“The government will make its recommendations and decisions based on the best medical advice, not commercial interests.”

Mr Healy was unconcerned about potentially drawing the airline’s ire ahead of the election, and said the vast majority of his constituents were not asking for the borders to reopen.

“The Premier is operating on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer,” he said. “And that advice has been sound to date.”

Petition launched

State Labor MP for Townsville Scott Stewart, also representing a marginal electorate, echoed these comments.

“We’ve been able to keep our economy open only because of our strong health response,” Mr Stewart said. “A weak health response would risk Queensland’s economy.”

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Other MPs contacted by the Financial Review – including Liberal-National representatives for Kawana and Southport – said they had received the letter. Neither commented further in time for publication.

Meanwhile, Qantas has started a petition titled “safely open our borders” and hosted on its website.

The petition calls for “decisions on domestic border closures to be risk-assessed against an agreed set of medical criteria and a shared definition of what constitutes a COVID hotspot”.

Qantas management encouraged employees – 20,000 of whom remain stood down – to sign it at a virtual town hall. Suppliers have also been notified and asked to support it.

Qantas has taken a battering through the COVID-19 pandemic as the outbreak crushed travel demand and activity. While it has avoided the same fate of Virgin Australia, which fell into voluntary administration in April, Qantas still skidded to a $2
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