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Enduring the flight of fancy

Qantas boss Alan Joyce will be hoping senators at yet another inquiry into the Flying Kangaroo on Tuesday night stay focused on the terms of reference. Joyce, who was suffering from laryngitis on Friday, had to respond to questions at a Senate committee hearing about his domestic and international travelling habits by Greens senator Lee Rhiannon.

The Irishman responded by saying that he flies ''exclusively on Qantas''.

That was before Rhiannon asked whether he had never travelled on British Airways since he had taken the top job at Qantas more than five years ago.

''I travel exclusively on Qantas domestically, and Jetstar. I do fly on both,'' the former Jetstar chief executive replied. ''Then internationally, I have flown in the last year on Qantas predominantly - 90 per cent of the time. And I have flown on Emirates, I think, on a couple of occasions.''

Still not content, Rhiannon pressed further by pointing out that he had only given an answer for the last year.

''We have flown on oneworld partners where Qantas does not fly.''


The Greens senator was keen to press further before the committee's chairman, Glenn Sterle, called a halt to the line of questioning. For the record, Qantas' oneworld partners include BA and Cathay Pacific.

La Fiesta

Look out Toorak - the Waislitzes are living la vida loca. The famous annual party of the city's first family - Alex and Heloise - which takes place later this month, is getting into all things South America. While Australia will be playing beach football of sorts at Espirito Santo in Brazil come June, the Thorney Investment Group has a better offer - Viva La Fiesta. A street party, Bossa Nova and a Brazilian breakfast from 2am. Those Waislitzes! And could Tito Puente jnr really be making an appearance? We'll keep you posted.

Retail's bible

Retailers, tenants, leasing agents and others who love to shop, from across the country, will unite today for the annual Shopping Centre News Big Guns report. Considered the bible for the retail industry, the report findings will be revealed by SCN publisher and retail stalwart Michael Lloyd.

In a break from tradition, the gathering will be held at Justin Hemmes' Establishment ballroom rather than bel mondo, which has closed. It is expected previous winners and heads of CFS Retail, Angus McNaughton and Michael Gorman, Stockland's John Schroder, GPT's Vanessa Orth and Carmel Hourigan and Mirvac's Sue MacDonald, among other heavyweights from Westfield, will be in attendance to talk to the 250-plus audience about the industry's outlook.

Holding the cards

There seems to be an arms race among benefit cards providers with Qantas and a new membership and rewards program called Entrepreneur Card. All in the name of garnering loyalty from customers, Qantas will target small-to-medium enterprises which will be able to earn ''Aquire'' points through its credit card, insurance, accounting, car hire and office supply transactions.

This will be separate from the airline's frequent flyer points awarded to employees flying on Qantas tickets and will work with a range of groups from Westpac and QBE, to the car hire companies and Macquarie Leasing, among others.

The Entrepreneur Card, whose founder and principal Martin Martinez recently sold his $50 million-a-year-turnover Australian Poker League to Bruce Gordon's WIN Corporation, will also woo small and medium-sized business owners and has signed up leading brands and companies in Australia and overseas, including Optus and Hertz, to niche operators offering specialist services such as printing and travel services.