Qantas death-threat probe ... dies

Release date: 23/11/2011

The NSW Police have, without explanation, dropped their investigation into alleged death threats made against Qantas's chief executive Alan Joyce and other senior managers.

Matt O'Sullivan, The Sydney Morning Herald


Complaints from Qantas about threatening letters and emails led to police forming a taskforce during the escalating industrial dispute with unions representing long-haul pilots, aircraft engineers and ground crew including baggage handlers.


But NSW Police have confirmed that Strike Force Barrine – made up of officers from Botany Bay Local Area Command – has decided not to continue the investigation.

A police spokesman would not elaborate on the reasons that the investigation had ended.

"As far as the investigation is concerned, it was alive and now it's not," he said.


The Australian Federal Police have also confirmed that they were "not investigating any specific threats made against Qantas executives and employees".


The alleged threats received widespread media coverage in early October, but unions questioned whether they were a "PR stunt" by the airline to win public support.


Qantas contacted police after Mr Joyce received a threatening letter in May, which contained the name and address of the author. The police later deemed that the letter did not constitute a death threat, although the author was spoken to and the "matter finalised".


Police were also notified on October 5 about an email sent to Mr Joyce which contained in its subject line the words "death threats". However, the body copy of the email did not use those words.


Other matters referred to police included complaints that a Qantas employee had received a threatening letter on September 27 and several hang-up phone calls at their home.


The taskforce also attempted to "confirm reports that were allegedly made to company security officers about malicious damage to vehicles parked in a car park".


In early October as the bitter industrial dispute was escalating, Mr Joyce sent a memo to the airline's 35,000-strong workforce informing them that he had referred to police incidents whereby executives had "received menacing correspondence, including to their homes".


The memo stated: "Those who are in the business of using threats, violence and intimidation to obtain their industrial ends should know this: these tactics are cowardly and deplorable. They will not work. Anyone who is caught will face the full consequences."


Mr Joyce later said that Qantas decided to go public at the time because "the bullying and intimidation [of staff] seemed to be going to a new level".


But police say the matter will go no further.

Click here to read the story on SMH website

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