Qantas Chairman’s Club: ‘priceless’ gift to MPs

qantaschairmanslounge

Comment by Veronica Hope, Editor of The Tourism News

See revelations by ABC below commentary.

Turnbull knows there’s no such thing as a free lunch

Australia’s democracy requires that all elected officials use a Gifts and Benefits Register, to ensure that business and individuals can’t buy favouritism. The ABC has revealed that Qantas has given parliamentarians ‘money-can’t-buy’ access to its Chairman’s Lounges, in which free everything, free upgrades and double hospitality service staffing are at the feet of the majority of Australia’s major-party MPs.

The issue for taxpayers and particularly tourism operators is that no Member of Parliament enjoying the deluxe VIP membership of the Qantas Chairman’s Lounge – including 8 free upgrades to First Class from Business Class (so you don’t have to declare each specific upgrade) will then make a decision against Qantas’ interests.

Decisions such as the approval of new airports in regional areas could be considered against Qantas’ interests if that airport would provide competition to Qantas. Competition is better for the Australian consumer and tourist; competition is bad for Qantas.

The union-busting, share-deal creating Alan Joyce also called the Chairman’s Lounge product “probably the most exclusive club in the country”.

Malcolm Turnbull, interestingly, is one of the few major party MPs who is not a member of lounges – perhaps because he is under no illusion that the ‘gift’ of Chairman’s Lounge membership could ever come with no strings attached.

Access to exclusive Qantas, Virgin lounges tops parliamentary gift register

The Parliamentary Register of Members’ Interests shows Qantas gives more gifts to politicians than any other company, but rival Virgin Australia is not far behind.

The dataset below shows which MPs have been given access to their exclusive airport lounges.

By ABC’s Uma Patel

Australia’s national airline Qantas is the biggest gift giver to politicians, parliamentary records show.

The airline has given at least 105 MPs free access to its exclusive Chairman’s Lounge.

Virgin Australia is also a strong contender for the most giving company, with 94 politicians members of the airline’s rival VIP lounge, The Club.

Money cannot buy membership to either of the lounges, but ordinary business lounge access costs Qantas customers $510 a year, while Virgin Australia charges $330 for joining.

Both lounges are invitation only, employ more staff and are more private than the business class lounges offered by the airlines.

They also offer unlimited free food and alcohol.

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Qantas also dishes out eight free upgrades from economy to business class every year to VIP members.

The guest list for the Chairman’s Lounge is secret, but no more than 7,000 people can get on the list at any time.

Qantas chief executive officer Alan Joyce once described it as “probably the most exclusive club in the country”.

Around half of wives and husbands of federal politicians have also been given membership and Qantas is more generous than Virgin in extending access to spouses.

But spouses are not the only ones to make it into the VIP rooms.

The newly elected Labor MP Julian Hill is the only politician whose children are able to access the lounges.

Qantas has a general rule that all Federal MPs have Chairman’s Lounge membership, but the most recent declarations of gifts shows not everyone has a membership.

Senate crossbenchers do not seem to have access to either of the elite lounges.

None of the One Nation or Nick Xenophon Team senators have listed a membership to either of the lounges.

Senators Bob Day, Derryn Hinch, David Leyonhjelm and Jacqui Lambie do not have access either.

Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese has waded into many policy debates involving Qantas, but there is no mention of a VIP membership on his declarations.

House of Representatives

(For the fully interactive grid, including capacity to sort by MP, Electorate, State and Party, follow this link to the ABC and you’ll find the option half way down the page.
MP Electorate State Party Virgin The Club The Club Spouse Membership Qantas Chairman’s Lounge Chairman’s Lounge Spouse Membership
Tony Abbott Warringah NSW Liberal Yes Yes Yes Yes
Anthony Albanese Grayndler NSW Labor No No No No
John Alexander Bennelong NSW Liberal No No No No
Anne Aly Cowan WA Labor No No Yes Yes
Karen Andrews McPherson QLD Liberal Yes Yes Yes Yes
Kevin Andrews Menzies Vic Liberal No No No No
Adam Bandt Melbourne Vic Greens Yes Yes Yes Yes
Julia Banks Chisolm Vic Liberal Yes Yes Yes Yes
Sharon Bird Cunningham NSW Labor No No No No
Julie Bishop Curtin WA Liberal Yes No Yes No
Chris Bowen McMahon NSW Labor No No No No
Andrew Broad Mallee Vic The Nationals Yes Yes Yes Yes
Russell Broadbent McMillan Vic Liberal Yes Yes Yes Yes
Gai Brodtmann Canberra ACT Labor Yes No Yes No
Scott Buchholz Wright QLD Liberal No record No record No record No record
Tony Burke Watson NSW Labor No No No No
Linda Burney Barton NSW Labor No No No No
Mark Butler Port Adelaide SA Labor Yes Yes Yes Yes
Terri Butler Griffith QLD Labor Yes Yes Yes Yes
Anthony Byrne Holt Vic Labor No No No No
Jim Chalmers Rankin QLD Labor Yes Yes Yes Yes
Nick Champion Wakefield SA Labor Yes Yes Yes Yes
Darren Chester Gippsland Vic The Nationals Yes No Yes No
George Christensen Dawson QLG The Nationals Yes No Yes No
Steve Ciobo Moncrieff QLD Liberal No record No record No record No record
Jason Clare Blaxland NSW Labor Yes No Yes No
Sharon Claydon Newcastle NSW Labor No No No No
David Coleman Banks NSW Liberal No No No No
Julie Collins Franklin Tas Labor Yes Yes Yes Yes
Pat Conroy Shortland NSW Labor No No No No
Mark Coulton Parkes NSW The Nationals No No No No
Chris Crewther Dunkley Vic Liberal Yes Yes Yes Yes
Michael Danby Melbourne Ports Vic Labor No record No record No record No record
Milton Dick Oxley QLD Labor No record No record No record No record
Mark Dreyfus Isaacs Vic Labor No No No No
Damien Drum Murray Vic The Nationals No No No No
Peter Dutton Dickson QLD Liberal No record No record No record No record
Justine Elliot Richmond NSW Labor No No No No
Kate Ellis Adelaide SA Labor No No No No
Warren Entsch Leichhardt QLD Liberal No No No No
Trevor Evans Brisbane QLD Liberal Yes Yes Yes Yes
Jason Falinski Mackellar NSW Liberal Yes No Yes No
David Feeney Batman Vic Labor No No No No
Joel Fitzgibbon Hunter NSW Labor Yes No Yes No
Paul Fletcher Bradfield NSW Liberal No No No No
Nicolle Flint Boothby SA Liberal Yes No Yes No
Mike Freelander Macarthur NSW Labor No No Yes Yes
Josh Frydenberg Kooyong Vic Liberal Yes No Yes No
Andrew Gee Calare NSW The Nationals No No No No
Steve Georganas Hindmarsh SA Labor No No Yes Yes
Andrew Giles Scullin Vic Labor Yes Yes Yes Yes
David Gillespie Lyne NSW The Nationals Yes Yes Yes Yes
Ian Goodenough Moore WA Liberals Yes No Yes No
Luke Gosling Solomon NT Labor No No No No
Tim Hammond Perth WA Labor Yes No Yes No
Ross Hart Bass Tas Labor Yes Yes Yes Yes
Luke Hartsuyker Cowper NSW The Nationals No No No No
Andrew Hastie Canning WA Liberal Yes Yes Yes Yes
Alex Hawke Mitchell NSW Liberal No No No No
Chris Hayes Fowler NSW Labor No No No No
Sarah Henderson Corangamite Vic Liberal Yes No Yes No
Julian Hill Bruce Vic Labor Yes For a child Yes For a child
Kevin Hogan Page NSW The Nationals No No No No
Luke Howarth Petrie QLD LNP Yes No Yes No
Greg Hunt Flinders Vic Liberal No No No No
Emma Hussar Lindsay NSW Labor Yes No Yes No
Ed Husic Chifley NSW Labor No No No No
Steve Irons Swan WA Liberal Yes No Yes No
Stephen Jones Whitlam NSW Labor No record No record No record No record
Barnaby Joyce New England NSW The Nationals No No Yes Yes
Bob Katter Kennedy QLD Katter’s Australian Party No record No record No record No record
Justine Keay Braddon Tas Labor Yes Yes Yes
Michael Keenan Stirling WA Liberal Yes Yes Yes Yes
Craig Kelly Hughes NSW Liberal No No No No
Matt Keogh Burt WA Labor Yes Yes Yes Yes
Peter Khalil Wills Vic Labor No record No record No record No record
Madeleine King Brand Vic Labor Yes Yes Yes Yes
Catherine King Ballarat Vic Labor No No No No
Susan Lamb Longman QLD Labor Yes Yes Yes Yes
Andrew Laming Bowman QLD Liberal No record No record No record No record
Michelle Landry Capricornia QLD Liberal No No No No
Julian Leeser Berowra NSW Liberal Yes Yes Yes Yes
Andrew Leigh Fenner ACT Labor Yes Yes Yes Yes
Sussan Ley Farrer NSW Liberal No record No record No record No record
David Littleproud Maranoa QLD LNP Yes Yes Yes Yes
Jenny Macklin Jagajaga Vic Labor No No No No
Nola Marino Forrest WA Liberal No No Yes No
Richard Marles Corio Vic Labor No No No No
Emma McBride Dobell NSW Labor Yes No Yes No
Michael McCormack Riverina NSW The Nationals No No No No
Cathy McGowan Indi Vic Independent No record No record No record No record
John McVeigh Groom QLD Liberal No No No No
Brian Mitchell Lyons Tas Labor No No No No
Scott Morrison Cook NSW Liberal No record No record No record No record
Ben Morton Tangey WA Liberal Yes Yes Yes Yes
Shayne Neumann Blair QLD Labor No No No No
Llew O’Brien Wide Bay QLD Liberal No No No No
Ted O’Brien Fairfax QLD Liberal Yes No Yes No
Brendan O’Connor Gorton Vic Labor No No No No
Ken O’Dowd Flynn QLD LNP Yes Yes Yes Yes
Kelly O’Dwyer Higgins Vic Liberal Yes Yes Yes Yes
Clare O’Neil Hotham Vic Labor No record No record No record No record
Cathy O’Toole Herbert QLD Labor No No No No
Julie Owens Parramatta NSW Labor No No No No
Tony Pasin Barker SA Liberal No record No record No record No record
Graham Perrett Moreton QLD Labor No No No No
Keith Pitt Hinkler QLD Liberal No No No No
Tanya Plibersek Sydney NSW Labor Yes No Yes Yes
Christian Porter Pearce WA Liberal Yes Yes Yes Yes
Jane Prentice Ryan QLD Liberal Yes Yes Yes Yes
Melissa Price Durack WA Liberal No No Yes Yes
Christopher Pyne Sturt SA Liberal No No No No
Rowan Ramsey Grey SA Liberal Yes Yes Yes Yes
Amanda Rishworth Kingston SA Labor Yes No Yes No
Stuart Robert Fadden QLD Liberal Yes No Yes No
Michelle Rowland Greenway NSW Labor No No No No
Joanne Ryan Lalor Vic Labor No No Yes Yes
Rebekha Sharkie Mayo SA NXT No No Yes Yes
Bill Shorten Maribyrnong Vic Labor Yes Yes Yes Yes
Tony Smith Casey Vic Liberal No No Yes Yes
Warren Snowdon Lingiari NT Labor No No No No
Anne Stanley Werrina NSW Labor No No No No
Ann Sudmalis Gilmore NSW Liberal No No No No
Michael Sukkar Deakin Vic Liberal No No No No
Wayne Swan Lilley QLD Labor No No No No
Meryl Swanson Patterson NSW Labor No No No No
Angus Taylor Hume NSW Liberal No No No No
Dan Tehan Wannon Vic Liberal Yes Yes Yes Yes
Susan Templeman Macquarie NSW Labor Yes Yes Yes Yes
Matt Thistlethwaite Kingsford Smith NSW Labor Yes Yes Yes Yes
Alan Tudge Aston Vic Liberal Yes Yes Yes No
Malcolm Turnbull Wentworth NSW Liberal No No No No
Maria Vamvakinou Calwell Vic Labor No No No No
Bert van Manen Forde QLD Liberal Yes Yes Yes Yes
Ross Vasta Bonner QLD Liberal No No No No
Andrew Wallace Fisher QLD Liberal Yes Yes Yes Yes
Tim Watts Gellibrand Vic Labor No No No No
Lucy Wicks Robertson NSW Liberal Yes Yes Yes Yes
Andrew Wilkie Denison Tas Independent Yes No Yes No
Josh Wilson Fremantle WA Labor Yes No Yes Yes
Rick Wilson O’Connor WA Liberal Yes Yes Yes Yes
Tim Wilson Goldstein Vic Liberal Yes Yes Yes Yes
Jason Wood La Trobe Vic Liberal Yes Yes Yes Yes
Ken Wyatt Hasluck WA Liberal No No No No
Tony Zappia Makin SA Labor No No No No
Trent Zimmerman North Sydney NSW Liberal No No No No

Senate

Senator State Party Virgin Virgin spouse Qantas Qantas spouse
Eric Abetz Tas Liberal No No No No
Chris Back WA Liberal No No No No
Cory Bernardi SA Liberal No No No No
Catryna Bilyk Tas Labor No No No No
Simon Birmingham SA Liberal Yes No Yes No
George Brandis QLD Liberal No No No No
Carol Brown Tas Labor No No No No
Brian Burston NSW One Nation No No No No
David Bushby Tas Liberal No No No No
Doug Cameron NSW Labor Yes No Yes No
Matt Canavan QLD The Nationals No No No No
Kim Carr Vic Labor No No No No
Michaelia Cash WA Liberal No No No No
Anthony Chisholm QLD Labor Yes Yes Yes Yes
Jacinta Collins Vic Labor No No No No
Stephen Conroy Vic Labor No No No No
Mathias Cormann WA Liberal No No No No
Rod Culleton WA One Nation No No No No
Sam Dastyari NSW Labor Yes No Yes No
Bob Day SA family first No No No No
Richard Di Natale Vic Greens Yes No Yes No
Jonathon Duniam Tas Liberal Yes No Yes No
Don Farrell SA Labor No No No No
David Fawcett SA Liberal No No No No
Concetta Fierravanti-Wells NSW Liberal Yes No Yes No
Mitch Fifield Vic Liberal Yes No Yes No
Alex Gallacher SA Labor No No No No
Katy Gallagher ACT Labor Yes No Yes No
Stirling Griff SA NXT No No No No
Pauline Hanson QLD One Nation No No No No
Sarah Hanson-Young SA Greens Yes No Yes No
Derryn Hinch Vic Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party No No No No
Jane Hume Vic Liberal Yes No Yes No
Skye Kakoschke-Moore SA NXT No No No No
Chris Ketter QLD Labor No No Yes No
Jacqui Lambie Tas JLN No No No No
David Leyonhjelm NSW Liberal Democratic Party No No No No
Sue Lines WA Labor Yes No Yes No
Scott Ludlam WA Greens Yes No Yes No
Ian Macdonald QLD LNP Yes No Yes No
Gavin Marshall Vic Labor Yes No Yes No
Jenny McAllister NSW Labor No No No No
Malarndirri McCarthy NT Labor No No No No
James McGrath QLD LNP Yes No Yes No
Bridget McKenzie Vic The Nationals No No No No
Nick McKim Tas Greens Yes No Yes No
Claire Moore QLD Labor No No No No
Fiona Nash NSW The Nationals No No No No
Deb O’Neill NSW Labor No No No No
Barry O’Sullivan QLD LNP No No No No
Stephen Parry Tas Liberal Yes No Yes No
James Paterson Vic Liberal No No No No
Marise Payne NSW Liberal No No No No
Helen Polley Tas Labor No No No No
Louise Pratt WA Labor No No No No
Linda Reynolds WA Liberal Yes No Yes No
Lee Rhiannon NSW Greens No No Yes No
Janet Rice Vic Greens Yes No Yes No
Malcolm Roberts QLD One Nation No No No No
Anne Ruston SA Liberal No No No No
Scott Ryan Vic Liberal Yes No Yes No
Nigel Scullion NT The Nationals Yes No Yes No
Zed Seselja ACT Liberal Yes No Yes No
Rachel Siewert WA Greens Yes No Yes No
Lisa Singh Tas Labor No No No No
Arthur Sinodinos NSW Liberal Yes No Yes No
Dean Smith WA Liberal Yes No Yes No
Glenn Sterle WA Labor Yes No Yes No
Anne Urquhart Tas Labor No No No No
Larissa Waters QLD Greens No No No No
Murray Watt QLD Labor Yes No Yes No
Peter Whish-Wilson Tas Greens No No No No
John Williams NSW The Nationals No No No No
Penny Wong SA Labor Yes No Yes No
Nick Xenophon SA NXT No No No No