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Changing Qantas foreign ownership laws not so easy

AS Qantas prepares to slash thousands of jobs from its workforce across the nation, the Abbott government may face an uphill battle in freeing the airline from strict foreign ownership laws it operates under.

Reports surfaced on Tuesday indicating the nation's airline was preparing to cut between 3000 and 5000 jobs, as it looks to cut up to $2 billion in spending to maintain its future.

The airline is not officially commenting until it releases its half-yearly financial results on Thursday, which will reveal the true state of Qantas' fiscal troubles and what it is prepared to do to address them.

But Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss on Tuesday said the government was "ideologically inclined" to change the Qantas Sale Act, which currently maintains the airline must have majority Australian ownership.

While Mr Truss would not go into detail, he also hinted that the Abbott Government was prepared to offer Qantas a debt guarantee to ensure its future, provided the airline showed it was addressing its problems.

However, even if the government pushes ahead with changes to the Qantas Sale Act, it will be forced to negotiate with the Labor opposition or crossbenchers including The Greens, most of whom do not want the airline sold off.

While the Senate make-up will change come July 1, the government will likely still face a block to any legislative changes, with Fairfax MP Clive Palmer, and his bloc of votes in the upper house, likely to oppose any such moves.

Topics:  foreign ownership qantas tony abbott


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