Former Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce has been told he will need to front up to an ongoing Senate inquiry into the airline or face the possibility of jail time.
Joyce is currently enjoying a European holiday after walking away with a more than $21 million package for his last year at the helm of Qantas.
The current board headed by new chief vanessa Hudson are facing a grilling over a raft of issues, but Coalition senator Bridget McKenzie has ordered Joyce back to give more details surrounding the federal government’s decision to block extra flights from Qatar Airways or face “a whole raft of processes”.
Joyce failed to disclose much in the way of detail surrounding his conversations with either Prime Minister Anthony Albanese or Transport Minister Catherine King before he left for Europe.
“He is the only one that can go to conversations that he’s informally had with his bromance partner, the prime minister, Anthony Albanese and indeed Minister King,” McKenzie said.
“There is a process within the standing orders and the procedures of the Senate, which will eventually make it very hard for former CEO Joyce to not appear.”
McKenzie expressed frustration at the lack of evidence behind the decision with neither the government or senior bureaucrats giving any insight into why the government appeared to change its mind over the issue.
“The government is shroud of secrecy around this decision, and the fact that it has gagged hardworking public servants from providing evidence to a public inquiry so that the Australian travelling public can understand why they made this decision is unconscionable,” she said.
“There are three people who can provide that level information about Qantas’s involvement, the Transport Minister, the Prime Minister, and former CEO of Qantas, Alan Joyce.”
King has so far claimed that the decision was based on the public interest without clarifying what that interest actually was.