Federal Labor believes Qantas should remain in Australian hands and would oppose any changes to current limits to foreign ownership.
“I and Labor believe that Qantas should stay in Australian hands,” Opposition Leader Bill Shorten told reporters in Canberra on Thursday.
“I believe the national carrier is an important part of Australia’s national security, it’s an important part of Australia’s independence.”
Treasurer Joe Hockey this week raised the issue of the national carrier’s ownership structure, which currently limits foreign holdings to 49 per cent.
Mr Shorten attacked the coalition for raising the issue as a “thought-bubble” at a lunch function, saying such issues should be discussed in the parliament.
“I would say to the treasurer, `these are important matters, they are also market sensitive matters’,” Mr Shorten said.
Labor transport spokesman Anthony Albanese said Qantas made important contributions both domestically and overseas.
“Whenever national governments have needed assistance, Qantas has been there,” he told ABC radio.
“For example, when there were issues in Thailand, Qantas made sure that people could be evacuated from Thailand.”