Government Official 'Fed Up' With Airline
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
June 16, 2003
CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA--When Graham Edwards arrived in Canberra from Perth Sunday night, he learned that his wheelchair had been left in Melbourne.
It was the second time in the last 12 months that Qantas Airlines had lost his wheelchair.
So on Monday, Edwards, who happens to be a Member of Parliament, let his colleagues know how he feels about the nation's sole passenger air carrier.
"I've had enough," the Vietnam veteran told Parliament. "I cannot understand how a company, an Australian company is so incompetent it can lose a person's wheelchair not once, but twice.
"Qantas enjoys a monopoly in our skies, they don't deserve it, and the sooner we get some decent competition the better."
Edwards said his anger was directed at Qantas management and not ground staff or cabin crew who were friendly and helpful.
"I direct my remarks at the management of Qantas who think that the needs of people with disabilities are insignificant . . . I say to the management of Qantas you are a disgrace."
Edwards added that he was fed up with the damage caused to his wheelchair during his flights.
"I know from my own experience being reunited with my (wheel)chair following a flight, I often find the frame is bent, spokes are broken, the wheels are buckled," he said.
A Qantas spokesperson told the West Australian news that the company was looking into the matter.