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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 5 Hansard (8 May) . . Page.. 1346 ..

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you, Ms Tucker. My compliments on a good explanation without debating the matter.

Ansett Airlines-effect of demise on Canberra

MS MacDONALD (5.16): I move:

That the Assembly:

(1) notes and expresses great concern at the demise of the great Australian airline (Ansett) after 66 years of operation;

(2) further notes the ongoing impact on the thousands of Australian employees but particularly those employees from the ACT and their families;

(3) expresses concern at the flow-on effect that the Ansett collapse is having on the tourism industry and other businesses in the ACT;

(4) further, expresses concern at the ongoing vacancy of the former Ansett call centre in Tuggeranong;

(5) calls on the Minister for Economic Development, Business and Tourism to report to the Assembly on what action is being taken to assist the former Ansett employees and businesses in the ACT affected by the airline's collapse.

The last flight for Ansett, from Perth to Sydney, marked a dark day in Australia's history. It was a dark day for Australian aviation and for Australian business, but most of all it was a dark day for ordinary Australian workers.

Despite the insensitive labelling of "white elephant" by New Zealand's Prime Minister, Helen Clark, Ansett was more than just a longstanding Australian business. It had become an Australian icon. It employed more than 16,000 Australians and had served customers proudly for 66 years.

Last year Air New Zealand made a decision to gut Ansett, stripping away its assets in a desperate bid to save itself from its own economic mismanagement. Despite Air New Zealand's protests and game play we now know this to be a fact. Air New Zealand ran Ansett into the ground.

Ansett engines worth millions of dollars suddenly found themselves sitting in Air New Zealand hangars, and money which should have been security for Ansett employees was shifted and unavailable when the curtain came down. It was then just a matter of when, not if, the axe fell on thousands of Ansett employees. That is what the Liberal Party would have you believe.

The federal Howard government were told what was coming with Air New Zealand and they did nothing. They left it to their beloved free market, and we now see the dire consequences before us. John Howard and John Anderson refused to put in place legislation that could have stopped Air New Zealand's asset stripping. They refused to immediately put measures in place to protect workers entitlements. It is a great pity that

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