I stand by what said (and yes I know about the AU/NZ common market) - I find it strange it wasn't awarded to one of the AU based carriers and instead it was given to an airline that is majority owned by a foreign government.
I guess you could say the same about HiFly running a343s around domestically on behalf of the ADF?
These flights are pretty regular, and could probably have been operated by QF with an a330.
Seems to be cheapest tender wins, often non Australian labour is going to be the cheapest option.
Last year NZ won the contract to provide an weekly LAX-BNE cargo flight for the Australian Government. Which was operated by an NZ 789. This could of been awarded to QF, and used crew employed in Australia. Seems to be an common theme of not going with Australian Labour.
NZ was the cheapest bid for NLK, simple as that. Nothing to do with the 320 being more suitable, if it had been, QF could've pulled one from W.A. while they've been operating the flight whilst NZ was unable.
The HiFly isn't being used to run ADF personnel around the country, it is used to ferry them to and from the M.E. QF or VA were never going to operate their own aircraft for that purpose and if they had tendered and won, would've most likely chartered an aircraft for the flights. BTW, yes the HiFly does operate domestic sectors, but they are purely to pick up, drop off defence force personnel to and from the M.E.
At the time that BNE/LAX freight flights were being tendered, QF was in the process of winding down the 787 operation. To have operated with a 787 would've meant keeping qualified crew active. They probably could've done it with a 330, but that would've required a tech stop and the aircraft just wouldn't have been suitable. NZ were keeping their 787's active, so for them it wasn't an operational hassle that it would've been for QF.