Published: 29 August 2012
Summary: As a business leader Mr Joyce says cartels have no place in the legitimate business world. He highlights the destruction cartels cause to business and employees, and speaks directly to Qantas' involvement in an international air cargo cartel.
As a business leader, I take flouting cartel laws very seriously. Cartels have no place in the legitimate business world.
With Qantas and some of its executives having been through the rigours of an investigation and prosecution, there is no question that participating in cartel activities is a very bad personal and business decision.
Qantas’ Freight Division participated in a global price fixing cartel in the early 2000s which, once investigated and prosecuted by global antitrust regulators, cost Qantas more than $200m in fines and settlements. If Qantas had not cooperated completely with global regulators, this cost would have been much more.
The executives who agreed to participate in that cartel conduct believed they were acting in the best interest of Qantas Freight. In fact, they broke the law and cost Qantas substantially more than was earned by the illegal conduct. In addition, one Qantas Freight executive in the USA was convicted and spent six months in prison.
It is critical that all companies set up a thorough training and compliance program to avoid breaking cartel laws and that this compliance program is supported at the highest levels in the company.
It is also critical that you establish and support a whistle-blower program so that employees concerned about your conduct in your company can raise their concerns for investigation at the appropriate level. These are things we have done at Qantas to strengthen our internal compliance mechanisms and minimise the likelihood of this happening again.
I urge CEOs and executives to show this film to everyone at every level in your business who could be involved with competitors.
As we see through the experiences of the characters in this film, being involved in a cartel is a serious issue that can cost you your businesses, your reputation, enormous financial losses, your family and friends and ultimately your freedom.
No one wants to face the stress, loss and stigma associated with the very real possibility of a criminal record and time in jail.