Clive Palmer is once again making headlines, announcing that he has sold his entire stake in Qantas, in protest of the Australian airline’s vaccination mandates.
In August, Qantas announced that all frontline employees would have to be “fully vaccinated by 15 November 2021 and the remainder of employees by 31 March 2022”. Virgin and Rex, two other major airlines in Australia, have announced similar policies since this one.
Alongside these announcements came verification that there would be exemptions for those unable to be vaccinated, the instances in which these exemptions would be granted were expected to be rare as only legitimate religious, or documented medical reasons would be considered.
In response, Palmer has sold all of his shares in Qantas and confirmed this sale in a tweet.
Palmer Group sells Qantas shares
Businessman Clive Palmer today confirmed that the Palmer Group of Companies had sold its entire stake of Qantas shares as a result of the airline’s stance on mandatory vaccinations for all staff.@Qantas #MandatoryVaccinations
— Clive Palmer (@CliveFPalmer) October 12, 2021
Speaking to The Australian, Palmer shared that the decision to sell the shares was purely “financial”, as he believed the share price would drop, due to the vaccination policy for staff.
“I believe that Alan Joyce and his board have taken risks which could result in possible future legal ramifications,’’ Palmer said.
“I believe the financial risks Qantas is taking over mandatory vaccinations of its staff leaves them exposed to future financial damages by staff who suffer side effects or worse.”
“I would encourage directors of other public companies to realise future financial exposure if staff are mandated to take vaccines which cause damages,’’ Palmer said.
Recently, he told The Courier Mail, “I am pro-choice … My choice is to not have the jab”.
— Clive Palmer (@CliveFPalmer) August 8, 2021
Speaking on the mandatory vaccination of staff, Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said “Having a fully vaccinated workforce will safeguard our people against the virus but also protect our customers and the communities we fly to.”
Joyce outlined the immense trust travellers put into airline staff, saying “One crew member can fly into multiple cities and come into contact with thousands of people in a single day. Making sure they are vaccinated given the potential of this virus to spread is so important and I think it’s the kind of safety leadership people would expect from us”.
Joyce added, “We understand there will be a very small number of people who decide not to get the vaccine, and that’s their right, but it’s our responsibility to provide the safest possible environment for our employees and for our customers.”
Palmer’s sudden offloading of Qantas shares has not impacted the share price, with prices rising by 0.7 since.