March 24, 2020

A majority of people – 62% – want the Government to take a stake in private companies which require bailouts, with 50% stating that Qantas should be nationalised if the current situation gets worse and only 20% opposed.

The YouGov poll also shows the public is very supportive of the Federal Government’s relief to airlines last week, with 68% saying they agree with the $715 million assistance package.

Michael Kaine National Secretary of the TWU, which commissioned the poll, said the public was clearly in favour of helping out a critical industry like aviation. “People are supportive of measures to assist companies like Qantas when times are tough and they don’t believe that support should end there. Aviation is critical to a country like Australia and hundreds of thousands of workers, companies and other industries depend on it, both directly and indirectly. What isn’t in the country’s interest is having airlines on this erratic trajectory where every few years they are requiring public assistance. We need a new type of management,” he said.

The opinion poll also shows 80% of people believe executive bonuses and shareholder dividends should not be paid until Qantas workers are paid back the accrued and future leave the company is forcing them to take. Almost two-thirds said Qantas should ensure its workers do not have to take unpaid leave.

“The poll shows the public are acutely aware of the dynamics at play and that assistance for the airlines and other private companies should go hand-in-hand with fairness for those expected to bear the brunt of the hardships, namely workers. People know that this crisis will abate and that when it does those badly affected should be compensated,” Kaine added.

Qantas last week announced it was standing down two-thirds of its workforce, with many receiving notification about this now. The airline said workers would have to use accrued leave and future leave, and would also have to take unpaid leave.

In 2014, Qantas sought a bailout from the Federal Government when it posted losses of $2.84 billion. In February this year it posted half year profits of $771 million.

Media enquiries: Judith Crosbie 0432552895

Information on the poll:

  • Study conducted by YouGov online between 20-22 March 2020.
  • The sample was n=1,038 Australians aged 18 years and older.
  • Age, gender and region quotas were applied to the sample.
  • Following fieldwork the data was weighted by age, gender, region from the latest ABS estimates.

Poll questions

Do you approve or disapprove of the relief package to airlines announced last week?

Agree 68%

Disagree 13%

Don’t know 19%

If the Australian government spends taxpayer funds to bailout private companies, it should insist on receiving part share in those companies in return for this money. Please indicate whether you agree or disagree

Agree 62%

Disagree 20%

Don’t know 18%

Qantas should ensure workers do not have to take unpaid leave. Please indicate whether you agree or disagree

Agree 65%

Disagree 21%

Don’t know 15%

Qantas should re-credit workers with the leave they have to take while stood down when the crisis is over and the company is back making a profit. Please indicate whether you agree or disagree

Agree 75%

Disagree 15%

Don’t know 10%

Shareholders should not be paid dividends and executives should not be paid bonuses until workers are re-credited with the leave they have to take while stood down. Please indicate whether you agree or disagree

Agree 80%

Disagree 11%

Don’t know 9%

If things get worse the Australian government should consider nationalising Qantas (this means Qantas would be owned by the Government). Please indicate whether you agree or disagree

Agree 50%

Disagree 26%

Don’t know 23%

Media enquiries: Judith Crosbie 0432552895

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