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Qantas petition hits 40k before state border meeting

written by Adam Thorn | September 17, 2020

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce, who has been vocal in his attacks on state border closures.

More than 40,000 people have now signed Qantas’ petition urging states to open their borders ahead of a crucial national cabinet meeting on the topic.

Australian Aviation can reveal that on Thursday morning the website was receiving 4,000 signatures every hour. The boost in numbers came after publisher Nine donated adverts in its newspapers to support the initiative.

On Friday, premiers will again meet to discuss a time frame for reducing movement restrictions, after all bar WA tentatively agreed to try and open Australia by Christmas.

The petition, which the airline has urged all its employees to sign, argues curtailing movement across states should be “risk-assessed” against an agreed definition of a COVID-19 hotspot.

The campaign launched alongside Qantas sending targeted letters to MPs in states it said did not agree to a road map out of “hard border regimes” during the last national cabinet meeting.

One passage of the correspondence read, “Arbitrary border restrictions are having a profound economic and social cost to communities, businesses, supply chains and jobs in Queensland.

“I ask that you closely consider these implications for the welfare and economic wellbeing of your community and join the call for a rational, harmonised approach to border management guided by the best medical advice.”


The increase in numbers came after Thursday’s issue of The Age and Sydney Morning Herald featured a message from the airline asking readers to “Show you support for safely opening our domestic borders”.

Its page featured a weblink for readers to visit and the SMH ad also carried a note revealing the advertising space had been donated by Nine Publishing.

This week, SA relented and finally opened its border to the ACT, though has still yet to allow quarantine-free entry to those from NSW.


The most pressure, though, is being placed on Queensland, which continues to be closed to the two states.

While it opened up to NSW on 10 July, it quickly shut back down to Sydney at the end of that month and then to all of the state just a week later.

The formal campaign came after Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce accused Queensland of closing its borders purely for political gain.

He said the restrictions will cause a lot of small companies in Queensland “to go out of business”, adding that states had no excuse not to open up to areas with few coronavirus cases.

“Surely these decisions should be based on the facts and the level of cases that we’re seeing around the various states?” said Joyce.

Comments (11)

  • Douglas


    What about Tasmania? Is it closed to all states? Which states is Tasmania opened too?

  • Dennis Hume


    So petition the states to open their borders then move your headquarters to said one of states?

  • Steve A


    It’s a sad day when we allow someone like AJ to tell us what to do. Should a CEO of a publicly listed company be organising petitions? I don’t think so.
    What a pity he didn’t spend more of his time running QF properly.
    During his 12 years tenure, shareholders were not paid any dividends for 7 consecutive years, and only an average annual dividend of just 8cps for the entire time that he has been in charge. Compare that to his feather-bedding $8 million average pay per annum.
    Look at the asset-stripping of everything from the QF terminal assets at both SYD and MEL and Snap Fresh and Q Catering to dnata.
    Look at the asset-ageing of the QF fleet.
    Look at the culling of nearly 15,000 valuable QF staff during his tenure and most of the rest of the QF staff on government support.
    Look at the squandering of more than $3 billion of shareholders’ cash on share repurchases and the massive drop in value of those shares.
    And QF wants to get rid of 2,500 workers in order to not have to invest $100 million in new ground handling equipment. That’s, that’s, that …. that’s after all the same amount of money paid to AJ in salary and bonuses. 2,500 QF workers are not worth as much as AJ now, are they?
    What about removing the words “Spirit of Australia ” from the sides of every Qantas plane, because there has been no ‘Spirit’s at Qantas ever since AJ took over.

  • Matt S


    Qantas has no vested interest in the borders opening do they? A typical blunt Qantas PR tactic. And why did they wait until now to question the decision making process made by the Premier and CHO?.
    On the one hand they expect states to provide subsidies so they can relocate their corporate staff but then they criticise the premiers as well. Not sure that tactic will work Alan, at least not in WA. Oh that’s right, you wouldn’t want them to move to WA anyway.

  • Ben


    It’s a Liberal state, so they can be shut as long as they like.

  • Darren


    Now that Victoria is under control and has less active cases than NSW it’s time to open all the borders. With minimal community spread, the risk of undiagnosed carriers is minimal, compared to the massive economic damage and social desperation of separated families and businesses.
    It’s so un-Australian to separate the states. Premiers should be focusing on the overall well being (economic, employment, social) of all their residents not solely the health of the at risk over 70’s…

  • Sharree Cowie


    Good on you Qantas, Australia needs to be safely opened again. It is time the states stopped the political games and worked with the science.

  • Anthony Wills


    Really??? So you don’t agree that there is too much politics involved in the border closures? Who cares where the headquarters are, the main thing is to get planes back in the air and cut the BS!

  • Peter Murphy


    What about a petition on who wants to keep the borders closed.
    I vote stay closed

  • Max


    Qantas has never been the “spirit of Australia” since Joyce took hold. Australia would be 100% cut off from the word if it wasn’t for the other international carriers serving the people of Australia. Cathay Pacific is a good example, five flights a week into Sydney, and they still forge on despite the government restrictions on inbound passengers, limiting their flights to a fraction of their capacity, however this private airline still flies into and out of Australia. Meanwhile Qantas turns its back on Australia and Australians time and time again. Such a shameful airline to be our so called “national carrier”.

  • Darrin


    To Max, above……..

    You’ve obviously have got an axe to grind with QANTAS CEO Alan Joyce, & the Company
    Did they knock you back on a job application, as your vitriol sure sounds like it.
    What another airline, funded by a foreign Govt does, is up to them. If they lose money on any route, again, that’s up to them.
    QANTAS wants the ability to fly Domestically, within this Country.
    The Federal Govt is ‘calling the shots’ for it Internationally.
    It’ll do what it can ASAP.

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