Australia’s government has rejected calls for a parliamentary inquiry into the proposed takeover of Qantas Airways by a private equity consortium.

Senator Bob Brown, leader of the Australian Greens, introduced a motion in the upper chamber of the federal parliament yesterday calling for an inquiry but it was narrowly rejected in a vote when the government used its majority position to block it.

Brown said in introducing his motion that an inquiry should take place to assess the impact of the proposed takeover on regional air services and on Qantas’s workforce, among other issues.

Government officials insist an inquiry is not necessary, however, as the proposed takeover is already being looked at by the Foreign Investment Review Board.

Qantas became a takeover target in December when a consortium called Airline Partners Australia (APA) said it would offer A$11.1 billion ($8.6 billion) to take the Oneworld alliance carrier private. The offer formally opened on 5 February and it is scheduled to close on 9 March.

Several employee groups have expressed concern about job security while politicians have said they will closely scrutinise the bid to ensure it meets ownership and control rules.

APA’s Australian members include Allco Finance Group, Allco Equity Partners and Macquarie Bank, while foreign investors include Texas Pacific Group of the USA and Onex Partners of Canada.

The consortium has said government approval is not necessary for the deal to go through as it is 51% Australian-owned but APA early this week bowed to political pressure and voluntarily submitted an application for Australian Foreign Investment Review Board backing.