The Qantas dispute has energised Federal Parliament today.

Both sides have been trading accusations and insults about what should have been done to resolve the dispute earlier.

Amy Partington reports.


Labor has come under attack from the Coalition for not intervening directly to resolve the bitter dispute at Qantas.

But the Prime Minister Julia Gillard stands by her actions.

Julia Gillard, Prime Minister: “I’ve done what I needed to do to get this dispute bought to an end to get planes back in the sky.”

The coalition says Labor should have intervened earlier using Section 431 of the Fair Work Australia act.

This section allows the Cabinet to order an end to an industrial dispute, and was included in the Act to prevent industrial action that threatened the national economy.

Tony Abbott, Opposition Leader: “Julia Gillard wrote the act she should know what is in it.”

Ms Gillard has replied that intervention would have done more harm than good, and it is only part of the legislation as a last resort.

Julia Gillard, Prime Minister: “The problem with the government using that section is it’s never been used before in Australia’s legal history and would have put us in a world of legal uncertainty.”

Fair Work Australia has given Qantas and its unions 21 days to reach an agreement.

But after two and a half months of unsuccessful and often acrimonious negotiations, commentators question whether this is going to be enough time.

Amy Partington, QUT News.


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