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Qantas boss Alan Joyce predicts Virgin and Rex won’t both survive post-pandemic battle


Qantas boss Alan Joyce says Australia still only has room for two major airline groups and it is unlikely both Virgin Australia and new rival Regional Express (Rex) will survive the post-pandemic aviation dogfight.

Mr Joyce said in an interview on Wednesday that country airline Rex launching flights between Sydney and Melbourne in March would spark fierce competition on the busy route.

Rex will start Sydney-Melbourne services in March.

Rex will start Sydney-Melbourne services in March. Credit:Robert Pearce

“My personal view is that this market has never sustained three airline groups and it probably won’t into the future,” he told an online event hosted by Reuters.

“You can be guaranteed that Qantas will be one of them – it’s who else is going to be in the market place post this and into the future is going to be interesting.”



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Qantas turnaround comes with a lingering hangover for Alan Joyce


It is equally astonishing that an airline that was bleeding cash at the rate of $40 million a week during peak-virus is anticipating it will be cashflow positive in the second half of the 2021 financial year (to June 2021).

The bottom line result will still be a statutory loss in 2021 – the non-cash item of depreciation will be in part responsible and additional redundancy costs will also kick in, thus ensuring the result will be inked in red.

And this degree of financial recovery will be achieved without any contribution from its international flying division.

As Qantas sees it, the airline is now out of the intensive care unit but the financial rehabilitation will be a long process.

And this applies particularly to the airline’s balance sheet. Since the start of the pandemic Qantas has raised around $2.7 billion in gross debt some of which has been used to pay off other debt and it is currently sitting on net debt of $5.9 billion even after a $1.4 billion equity raising.

Still, Joyce is planning to add another $500 million to the group’s liquidity buffer — just as a contingency. So Joyce’s position could be best characterised as one of cautious optimism.

He cannot afford to approach the airline’s prospects based on the assumption the recovery will move in a straight line.

Recent history has clearly demonstrated that the risks of viral spot fires are real and the responses from state governments to close borders have thrown a spanner in plans to re-open the skies.

As of next week, when Western Australia removes the wall to the rest of the country, the federation will return but it can’t be relied on.

Therefore, Joyce’s operational and financial update was based on how it is looking at this point.

Qantas and its customers will have to wait a while longer for the promised non-stop east coast flights to London and New York on board the Airbus A350-1000.

Qantas and its customers will have to wait a while longer for the promised non-stop east coast flights to London and New York on board the Airbus A350-1000.Credit:Kate Geraghty

Thanks in large part to the opening of Queensland and Victoria, Qantas’ capacity is up to 68 per cent for the month of December and will rise to 80 per cent in the three months from January to March.

Joyce says that in the first six months of calendar year 2021 the process of balance sheet repair will begin. But realistically tackling debt in a meaningful way can’t begin until the international division takes off — which is slated to happen in the middle of next year.

Only then will Qantas even begin to dust off the Sunrise plan to run non-stop services from Australia’s east coast to New York and London. Even if Sunrise is revisited it will take three to four years to achieve take-off.

Realistically with balance sheet repair at the top of the to-do list, Qantas’s capital expenditure plans would be towards the bottom. Where resumption of dividends sits is unclear.

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The more immediate concern for Qantas is how the new-look Virgin tackles the market. It is a little early to see where Virgin’s fare pricing will land but its cost base is starting to take form with news this week it has negotiated its enterprise bargaining agreements.

Joyce makes no secret of the fact that he will be looking to the industry’s various unions to match any deals Virgin has extracted from its workforce.

Virgin’s time in administration allowed it to significantly cut its cost base, which will allow it to undercut Qantas on price.

The good news is that Virgin 2.0 is a smaller airline with less capacity and a reduced route structure.

Joyce’s challenge is to improve on its current 70 per cent market share. It has already poached 25 major corporate accounts from Virgin but the real prize for either airline is the SME market which make up the bulk of corporate travellers.

Joyce says the business market has come back quite strongly since the Sydney/Melbourne/Brisbane (aka the golden triangle) has reopened. But it will need to increase the share on these routes to offset an overall decline in business travel that has resulted from the popularity of virtual business meetings.

In the business market, Zoom will be as fierce a competitor as Virgin or Rex.

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Alan Tudge claims privacy breached by Four Corners report


The Morrison Government has issued a “please explain” to the ABC’s Four Corners program complaining an explosive investigation into Immigration minister’s Alan Tudge extra marital affair with a staffer breached his “privacy”.

After spending weeks trying to shut down the story, a series of “questions” have now been issued to the ABC’s managing director Ita Buttrose over the decision to interview Mr Tudge’s ex-lover who has lodged a bullying complaint against him.

But the complaint has triggered a stinging rebuke from Mr Tudge’s former lover Rachelle Miller, who said she had a right to tell her story.

Mr Tudge has apologised for the extra marital affair but flatly rejected any suggestion he bullied his former press secretary while he was sleeping with her during taxpayer-funded travel. A complaint has been lodged with the Department of Finance.

RELATED: Canberra staffer reveals affair with Alan Tudge

In a letter sent to the ABC’s managing director Ita Buttrose, Communications Minister Paul Fletcher notes Ms Buttrose’s comments that “the chair has seen the program and supports the decision to publish.”

Given that decision, Mr Fletcher asks that the Board respond to the following questions about the expose.

“Why does the Board consider it is appropriate that the privacy of the Attorney-General and Minister Tudge (the Ministers) should be compromised by the way in which the Program deals extensively with aspects of their personal lives?,’’ Mr Fletcher writes.

“How is this consistent with the stated importance of respect for privacy in the Code of Practice, including whether intrusion into private lives was proportionate in the circumstances?

“Why, in the Judgement of the Board, are the personal lives of politicians

newsworthy?”

Mr Fletcher also complains the ABC did not probe the sex lives of Labor MPs and the Greens.

In response, Ms Miller said the Morrison Government’s latest attempts to deny her right to tell her story were no surprise.

“I think it’s called a distraction,’’ she tweeted.

In relation to the Attorney-General Christian Porter, Mr Fletcher also complains that an anonymous staffer accused of having an romantic encounter with Mr Porter in a public far in front of multiple witnesses denied the incident occurred.

“Does the Board consider it is consistent with the duty of accuracy and impartiality and the principle of fair and honest dealing that the Program failed to report that the woman the subject of the alleged incident in the Public Bar and the subject of the alleged relationship with the Attorney-General denied both these allegations to those preparing the Program?,’’ Mr Fletcher wrote.

“I look forward to a response from you within 14 days of the date of this letter.”



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Qantas to require coronavirus vaccine before travel, Alan Joyce confirms


Proof of COVID-19 vaccination will be a non-negotiable condition of international air travel, according to the Qantas CEO Alan Joyce.

Anti-vaxxers will be grounded in the brave new world, with Mr Joyce confirming vaccination will be a requirement to fly internationally.

Mr Joyce has repeatedly warned that international air travel won’t resume until there’s a vaccine available for staff and travellers, but on Monday night he went a step further, telling A Current Affair host Tracy Grimshaw that as soon as a vaccine becomes available it will be a condition of travel.

“For international travellers, we will ask people to have a vaccination before they get on the aircraft,’’ he said.

“Certainly, for international visitors coming out and people leaving the country we think that’s a necessity.”

RELATED: No new local COVID-19 cases in NSW for 16th day in row

RELATED: Are promising vaccines safe and will they be available in Australia?

RELATED: Hint when Australia’s international air travel could open again

If anti-vaxxers want to try alternative airlines, Mr Joyce predicted they won’t be travelling far.

“I think that’s going to be a common thing talking to my colleagues in other airlines around the globe,’’ he said.

The revelation prompted ABC presenter Tracey Holmes to ask on Twitter: “Hello all my legal friends … is this legal?.”

Another journalist, The Australian’s cricket writer Peter Lalor, replied, “I hope so.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has previously suggested vaccination will be “as mandatory as you can possibly make it” before walking those comments back in recent months.

“There are always exemptions for any vaccine on medical grounds, but that should be the only basis,” he said in August.

But just hours later, Mr Morrison told listeners on Sydney radio station 2GB that the Government would not make vaccination mandatory.

“It’s not going to be compulsory to have the vaccine,” he said.

“I mean, we can’t hold someone down and make them take it.”

The Qantas boss Alan Joyce is hoping to be back up to 60 per cent of the old business by Christmas as domestic flights resume between Sydney and Melbourne.

“If we can get Melbourne and Sydney back to where it was pre-COVID that will be 3000 people that didn’t have a role, were stood down, were working at Woolworths, somewhere else that are working for the airline again,’ he said.

Mr Joyce revealed 25,000 seats sold within 48 hours as soon as travel between NSW and Victoria opened up this month.

But it could be a long time before travel resumes to COVID-19 hot spots.

“Unfortunately with the levels of the virus in the United States and in Europe, we’re not going to see operations to those destinations in any real strength until we see a vaccine being rolled out, which is likely towards the end of 2021,” Mr Joyce said.





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Immigration Minister Alan Tudge apologises for affair with staffer on Facebook


After confessing to an extramarital affair he describes as the biggest mistake of his life, Immigration Minister Alan Tudge has issued a mea culpa on Facebook where he pleaded with voters to forgive him.

Sending a clear signal he plans to contest the next election, Mr Tudge has issued his most comprehensive apology to date on the relationship that he confirms destroyed his 20-year relationship with his ex-wife Terri.

“All of us make mistakes in life, but some of us make bigger ones than others,’’ Mr Tudge wrote at close to midnight on Saturday night.

“I made a huge one in 2017, hurt many in the process, and this week it was held up in lights nationally.”

In his plea for forgiveness, Mr Tudge also chose to highlight the fact that his ex-lover, former senior press secretary Rachelle Miller, was a mother.

“My mistake was an affair with a married woman with children,’’ he said.

“I was a married man. And she was my most senior media person. A minister and his or her media adviser work closely together, particularly at the national level. You are constantly on the road, travelling from one location to the other, working long hours and often under pressure.”

Mr Tudge’s previous comment on the national furore was previously restricted to a statement of three sentences after the Four Corners program was broadcast on Monday night.

RELATED: Melbourne scores major vaccine coup

In that statement, he confirmed the affair, described his sexual relationship with a staff member in his office who reported directly to him as matter in his “personal life” and said he regretted his actions and the hurt it caused in his family and to Ms Miller.

But his new statement makes no mention of the bullying complaint Ms Miller has lodged with the Department of Finance or an alleged “fake redundancy” process to quietly get rid of her six months later in another minister’s office.

As revealed by the ABC’s Four Corners program, she confirms she entered into a consensual relationship with the Immigration Minister when he held the human services portfolio, but also felt bullied in the office and that her work performance was questioned as a result of the fallout from the affair.

She makes no claim of sexual harassment in the claim but says she did feel bullied and intimidated at times in the office.

At one point, Ms Miller told Mr Tudge that his behaviour was “not OK”; that she was stressed, anxious and sometimes reduced to tears.

“The next morning he was in the Canberra office I decided to speak up and let him know this was not appropriate behaviour and that I wanted it to stop. He replied in a very angry tone to: ‘Stop being such a precious petal’. This is when I decided to seek another role,” she said.

“Alan would contact me and text me at all times of the day and night and expect that I would immediately respond,” she said.

In his new statement, Mr Tudge said he accepted the blame for allowing the relationship to move from a professional one to a romantic affair.

“In this situation, the error was mine and I take responsibility,’’ Mr Tudge said.

“There is nothing that justifies what I did and I will regret my actions for the rest of my life.” The Victorian MP also said he felt deep regret for the impact on his wife and children.

“The affair ended my 20 year relationship with my wife, a beautiful person. We separated in late 2017 but remain close. I will never be able to say sorry to her enough for the hurt I caused,’’ Mr Tudge said.

RELATED: ‘Insanity’: Rift destroying Aussie politics

“I also regret the impact the affair had on my media adviser’s family and the hurt they too would have felt.

“Time heals a lot of wounds, but this week, those wounds were again reopened, three years later.

“I am sorry to put my family through this again.”

Mr Tudge said he was working to become a better person after the marriage breakdown and repair his relationships.

“Over the last three years, I have done a lot of reflection, much grieving over our family breakdown, and have worked to be a better person,’’ he said.

“To my community, the Knox locals who have repeatedly put their confidence in me as their representative, I have also let you down and I am sorry. But I commit to continuing to work as hard as ever on the things our local community needs to make it an even better place to live.”

“Over time, I hope to regain the trust of those I know and love and those whom I represent.”



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Rachelle Miller faced ‘fake redundancy’ after affair with Alan Tudge


The Liberal Party has been accused of running a “fake redundancy” process to quietly get rid of a press secretary who had an affair with Immigration Minister Alan Tudge before “black-listing” her from future roles.

In a 14-page official complaint to the Department of Finance obtained by news.com.au, Rachelle Miller has detailed allegations of bullying and intimidation she experienced working for the Coalition that she said often left her in tears.

As revealed by the ABC’s Four Corners program, she confirms she entered into a consensual relationship with the Immigration Minister when he held the human services portfolio, but also felt bullied in the office and that her work performance was questioned as a result of the fallout from the affair.

She makes no claim of sexual harassment in the claim but says she did feel bullied and intimidated at times in the office.

At one point, Ms Miller told Mr Tudge that his behaviour was “not OK”; that she was stressed, anxious and sometimes reduced to tears.

RELATED: Mess over Labor’s ‘bonk ban’ rules

“The next morning he was in the Canberra office I decided to speak up and let him know this was not appropriate behaviour and that I wanted it to stop. He replied in a very angry tone to: ‘Stop being such a precious petal’. This is when I decided to seek another role,” she said.

Ms Miller said she felt very upset, confused and anxious she had allowed herself to end up in such a situation.

“Alan would contact me and text me at all times of the day and night and expect that I would immediately respond,” she said.

“If I did not, he would be annoyed and ask where I had been and why I hadn’t picked up straight away. I recall several times in the office and at home after hours when I went to the bathroom or had a shower and came back to repeated missed calls from Alan, he would just re-dial and re-dial until you picked up. Add to this the constant calls from journalists and I was working very long hours.

“Of course we were afraid to speak up. We knew that we were able to be sacked by our Minister at any time, so we did not report poor behaviour. The whole time I worked in the MOPS system I never saw an MP or Senator removed from their position due to bullying and harassment, I felt like the system was stacked against us and protected the parliamentarians.”

RELATED: Questions for PM after Canberra affair

Mr Tudge has previously apologised for the “hurt” the affair caused his family and Ms Miller but rejected claims his former staffer was bullied.

“He would often ask me to go to dinner or drinks at the end of a long day on the road. I often felt like I didn’t have much choice or couldn’t say no because he was my boss,” Ms Miller states in her complaint.

“It was extremely confusing because we were also in a relationship and at times I asked to see him because I wanted him to give me some answers about his behaviour. I was very scared and worried about people finding out.”

She left Mr Tudge’s employment in late 2017 before moving to Senator Michaelia Cash’s office and confessed the affair to her new boss at the time.

But she ultimately felt she was “set up to fail”, with Senator Cash losing confidence in her performance and posting text messages on the office WhatsApp group that she felt were attacking and demeaning towards her.

In June 2018, just over six months after she joined the office, Ms Miller was informed her job was being made redundant as a result of a restructure.

“I was informed … they were restructuring the office and that my role was being made redundant,” she said.

“I could either apply for the role of Assistant Media Adviser. The Senior Media Adviser role was becoming a Senior Policy and Media Adviser role. I asked if I could apply for that and they said that I would not meet the selection criteria as I had no policy experience.

“It was very clear that this was a fake redundancy process put in place to get rid of me from the office. There were no grounds for this, there had been no performance management process put in place nor had I received formal warnings.

“I had almost no discussions with the Minister regarding this process and was excluded from speaking with her, she refused to answer my calls or messages and emails.”

RELATED: PM: Sex scandal MPs did nothing wrong

In a statement, Senator Cash denied that Ms Miller had been bullied in her office but welcomed the investigation.

“At the time of her employment, between late 2017 and mid-2018, the Minister and the office understood Ms Miller’s personal circumstances which is why support, leave and flexible work arrangements were offered to her,” Senator Cash said.

“Given the matter is now subject to a formal process in the Department of Finance, the Minister will not be commenting further.”

After working in politics for over a decade, Ms Miller said she subsequently found all her attempts to get another job with the Morrison Government were blocked.

“I have tried on multiple occasions to gain employment with other Ministers because I really enjoyed being a Media Adviser and had worked so hard to build up that career,” she said.

“These have been continuously blocked and I have had no success, even for roles in which I was over-qualified. I strongly feel that my reputation has been severely damaged due to the rumours and I am now being black-listed. One of the roles I applied for after the 2019 election was approved by the Minister and then blocked by ‘Star Chamber’ headed up by Tony Nutt, who is a Victorian Liberal Party powerbroker and would have been aware of the rumours about the relationship between Alan and myself.

“I strongly feel I have been discriminated against because of a personal relationship, that I have experienced bullying and harassment which led to the end of my promising career in politics, and I’d like my complaint to be received in the hope people working in Parliament now don’t have the same experience.”



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Rachelle Miller calls for Scott Morrison to investigate after revealing affair with Alan Tudge


The ex-lover of Liberal frontbencher Alan Tudge has lodged a formal complaint over her treatment in parliament revealing she believes she was “black-listed” by the Liberal Party as the Prime Minister was accused of “mansplaining” to a female minister.

Mother of two Rachelle Miller, a respected senior press secretary during the Turnbull Government, confessed to a sexual relationship with Mr Tudge last night on Four Corners.

Taking to social media to directly challenge the Prime Minister Scott Morrison, she said on Tuesday that it was never just about a consensual relationship in the workplace.

“ScottMorrison, it’s not about the #bonkban It’s about how I was treated in our workplace, which ended my career!’’ Ms Miller said.

“Those Ministers were promoted, I was black-listed. I made a formal complaint, will you ensure it’s investigated?”

The wife of former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull also weighed in with support for Ms Miller on Tuesday after watching the expose.

“Totally unfair on women like Rachelle Miller caught in this. However consensual relationships are, women pay the price,’’ Lucy Turnbull said.

Ms Miller worked as a press secretary for Mr Tudge when he was in human services, admitting the working relationship turned romantic in 2017, a decision she ultimately bitterly regretted.

Earlier, Scott Morrison demanded journalists stop referring to a “bonk ban” when it comes to workplace rules prohibiting senior ministers having sex with their staff describing it as demeaning a serious issue.

“Sorry, how this ban is referred to I think is quite dismissive of the seriousness of the issue and I would ask the media to stop referring to it in that way,’’ he said.

“We took it very seriously and I think constantly referring to it in that way dismisses the seriousness of this issue, it’s a very serious issue. Thanks.”

But it was his decision to jump in and answer the question after the social services minister Anne Rushton was asked for her reflections on being a woman in politics that prompted social media to erupt that the Prime Minister was “mansplaining”.

“Scott, just let her speak,’’ Labor frontbencher Penny Wong said on Twitter.

On Monday, the former press secretary Ms Miller revealed she had an affair with Mr Tudge while working in his office and was left feeling like “damaged goods” after he asked her to war-game denials.

Ms Miller told Four Corners that Canberra could be a “highly sexualised environment.”

“I don’t for a moment kind of say that all the men were predators and all the women were victims, but, you know, it was a highly sexualised environment at times, and I think that’s a consequence of the stress,” she said.

“It’s kind of that “work hard, play hard” mentality that I’ve seen before early in my career And there is a kind of … an almost gung-ho kind of mentality by a lot of the senior males that they’re kind of almost beyond reproach, like, they can just get away with things. And nobody calls that behaviour out.”

The program detailed Mr Tudge’s conservative views and his public reservations about changing the Marriage Act to include same-sex couples.

After the affair ended, Ms Miller said she was later demoted in a restructure and felt she had no choice but to leave politics.

“I knew I was leaving a job that I really loved, but I didn’t see that there was any other way out,’’ she said.

“You know, I actually at that time viewed myself as damaged goods and I was really worried about this coming out and impacting our chances at the election.”

Mr Tudge said in a statement: “Matters that occurred in my personal life in 2017 were aired on the ABC’s Four Corners program.

“I regret my actions immensely and the hurt it caused my family. I also regret the hurt that Ms Miller has experienced.”

In 2018, Mr Turnbull rewrote the code of ministerial standards to ban ministers from having sexual relationships with staff

However, the affair Ms Miller took place in 2017 when Mr Tudge was in Human Services, a period in which she also later moved out of his office and into another minister’s office.

As a result, there’s no suggestion that Mr Tudge was in breach of the code, which only applied to sex with staffers in your office.

Four Corners did not claim that any senior minister had breached the “bonk ban” or the code of conduct.

The broadcast of the program last night follows allegations raised by Four Corners executive producer Sally Neighbour that the political pressure applied to the ABC had been “extreme and unrelenting.”

Attorney-General Christian Porter has flatly rejected claims he was kissing a young staffer in a Canberra bar.

But he repeatedly declined to say if he had ever had a sexual relationship with another Liberal staffer.

“I’m not even sure the program made that allegation,’’ he said.

“They (the ABC report) indicated I had, I think implied that I had with a person I had a drink at a bar with and I said to Four Corners that their depiction of those interactions in that bar three-and-a-half- years ago were wrong. I told Malcolm there was no substance to rumours around that bar story.”

When asked again if he had ever had a sexual relationship with a staffer, Mr Porter said: “I’ve answered your question.”

Mr Porter insisted his looming divorce from second wife Jennifer Negus was not because of “this sort of stuff”.

“I feel so desperately sorry for my beautiful wife Jen that she had to watch all of that and see this stuff from university and see it cut up and chopped up in that way,” he said.

“Now, like any couple we had our ups and downs and problems and difficulties and I would say I was far from a perfect husband in many regards but our separation was not about this sort of stuff.

“I’ve never breached that ministerial code of conduct and there’s never been any suggestion I have.”



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Rachelle Miller reveals alleged affair with Alan Tudge on Four Corners


A former press secretary to Immigration Minister Alan Tudge has revealed she had an affair with him while working in his office and was left feeling like “damaged goods” after he asked her to war game denials.

In bombshell claims broadcast on the ABC’s Four Corners program, former Coalition staffer Rachelle Miller has revealed that she was terrified it would be found out and she had other disturbing experiences with other senior Liberal MPs.

In one instance, Ms Miller revealed a “demeaning” experience at the mid winter-ball where she suggested Mr Tudge wanted her to walk in with him for the cameras.

“I was walking with Alan and I was chatting to him and I intentionally dropped back. I wasn’t his guest. I wasn’t his partner. And I didn’t want to be on camera. And he stopped and he turned around, and he said, “No, I want you to walk in with me.” And I was really surprised by that,’’ she said.

“I have a feeling that my appearance had a bearing on why Alan would want to walk in with me on his arm, and I felt at that time a lot like an ornament.”

RELATED: Ita makes call on ‘sex scandal story’

The program detailed Mr Tudge’s conservative views and his public reservations about changing the Marriage Act to include same-sex couples.

After the affair ended, Ms Miller said she was later demoted in a restructure and felt she had no choice but to leave politics.

“I knew I was leaving a job that I really loved, but I didn’t see that there was any other way out,’’ she said.

“You know, I actually at that time viewed myself as damaged goods and I was really worried about this coming out and impacting our chances at the election.”

Alan Tudge said in a statement: “Tonight, matters that occurred in my personal life in 2017 were aired on the ABC’s Four Corners program.

“I regret my actions immensely and the hurt it caused my family. I also regret the hurt that Ms Miller has experienced.”

In 2018, Mr Turnbull rewrote the code of ministerial standards to ban ministers from having sexual relationships with staff

However, the affair Ms Miller took place in 2017 when Mr Tudge was in Human Services, a period in which she also later moved out of his office and into another minister’s office.

As a result, there’s no suggestion that Mr Tudge was in breach of the code, which only applied to sex with staffers in your office.

Four Corners did not claim that any senior minister had breached the “bonk ban” or the code of conduct.

Mr Turnbull confirmed however that when he announced the so-called bonk ban, that he had other MPs in mind beyond Barnaby Joyce.

“Today, in 2018, it is not acceptable for a Minister to have a sexual relationship with somebody who works for them, it is a very bad workplace practice and everybody knows that no good comes of it,” Mr Turnbull said at the time.

“This is the standard that I will hold — from this day forth — all my ministers to.”

‘HIGHLY SEXUALISED ENVIRONMENT’

Ms Miller told Four Corners that Canberra could be a “highly sexualised environment.”

“I don’t for a moment kind of say that all the men were predators and all the women were victims, but, you know, it was a highly sexualised environment at times, and I think that’s a consequence of the stress,” she said.

“It’s kind of that “work hard, play hard” mentality that I’ve seen before early in my career And there is a kind of … an almost gung-ho kind of mentality by a lot of the senior males that they’re kind of almost beyond reproach, like, they can just get away with things. And … nobody calls that behaviour out.”

RELATED: Joyce’s shock sex claim

Former NSW Premier Kristina Keneally also detailed her surprise about being “hit on” at Canberra’s midwinter ball by an unnamed man and how she went back and told one of her colleagues at Sky that she wouldn’t go back to the event again without her husband.

“I can only describe what I witnessed and experienced and quite frankly, that was some men who were clearly on the make,” she said.

“No harm was done to me, but it did make me feel uncomfortable. I hadn’t particularly experienced that at a function like that before and it made me wonder what kind of environment is this, where men think they can just have a crack at it?”.

The broadcast of the program last night follows allegations raised by Four Corners executive producer Sally Neighbour that the political pressure applied to the ABC had been “extreme and unrelenting.”

News.com.au has contacted Mr Tudge for comment.



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Qantas boss Alan Joyce’s warning to Annastacia Palaszczuk


Alan Joyce has warned newly re-elected Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk that “sometimes the popular decision isn’t the right one” in his continued campaign for the state’s border to reopen.

While the Sunshine State will reopen to NSW from tomorrow, Ms Palaszczuk told reporters on Friday that greater Sydney and Victoria won’t get a look in until at least the end of November.

Speaking to 2GB today, the Qantas CEO described Ms Palaszczuk’s hard border stance as “extremely frustrating”, adding it was causing social and economic damage.

“What gets me is this is obviously popular. She’s won the election and congratulations to the Premier,” Mr Joyce said.

“But sometimes the popular decision is not the right decision and there’s a lot of factors going into this that clearly are not going into it.

“We have a very different position across the country.”

Mr Joyce said a petition launched by Qantas to “safely open borders” has now been signed by 65,000 people, who have shared “heartbreaking stories of people disconnected”.

An exasperated Mr Joyce slammed Queensland’s decision to stay closed to Sydney last Friday, after Ms Palaszczuk made the announcement.

“Frankly, this is ridiculous,” he said in a statement.

“Sydney is the biggest city in Australia and it probably has one of the best track records globally of managing a virus that is clearly going to be with us for a very long time.

“Keeping the doors bolted to places that you can’t reasonably call hot spots makes no sense from a health perspective and it’s doing a lot of social and economic damage as well.”

Mr Joyce warned Queensland’s tough stance on borders may simply drive Sydney holiday-makers to other places in Australia.

“Compare this to the far more rational approach of Tasmania, Northern Territory and South Australia,” he said.

“Queensland may find that by the time it does open up to Sydney, people have made other plans.”



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Alan Joyce’s pay falls to $1.7 million as pandemic clips Qantas’ wings


Qantas said the $1.2 million value of the bonus shares awarded to other key executives was less then what they sacrificed during the year after accepting a three-month pay freeze when the pandemic first hit. Total executive pay fell from $22.4 million in 2019 to $6.9 million, the annual report shows.

The long-term bonuses were awarded because Qantas’ share price – while down 44 per cent since January and down 32 per cent over a three-year period – was still performing better than a group of 18 comparable listed airlines.

Jetstar boss Gareth Evans, Qantas Domestic boss Andrew David and recently departed Qantas International boss Tino La Spina each received around $300,000 worth of shares. Loyalty boss Olivia Wirth received $141,000 and chief finance officer Vanessa Hudson got $66,000.

Companies paying c-suite bonuses while collecting JobKeeper payments has become a hot-button issue, attracting criticism from both the federal Labor opposition and the Business Council of Australia.

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Qantas collected $267 million in payments through the JobKeeper scheme last financial year, with most of that going to employees who were stood down from work, and the company receiving a $15 million net benefit from the wage subsidy and other government support packages.

Qantas chairman Richard Goyder said his board and management had shown “important leadership” by giving up some of their salaries.

“This is obviously not the same hardship as [experienced by] those stood down or facing redundancy, but it comes at a time when demands on management are greater than ever,” he said.

Qantas said its executives would have been entitled to part of their annual bonuses based on non-financial measures, but gave those up along with some of their salaries.

The company’s executive team and board received no salary between April and June. That freeze extended into July for Mr Joyce and chairman Richard Goyder, who are now being paid 65 per cent of their base rate. Other board and executive team members have been on 85 per cent of their normal pay since July.

Transport Workers Union national secretary Michael Kaine said it was “sickening” that Qantas awarded bonuses at a time when the airline’s workers were struggling on JobKeeper and facing layoffs.

“They literally have no idea what life is like for their workers, who are terrified about their futures as the axe swings over their heads,” Mr Kaine said.

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