Justine Keay MP Release: Coalition Facilitates Maritime Sackings

The Turnbull Government is continuing to abuse maritime laws to facilitate the sacking of 40 Australian seafarers and their replacement with overseas crews earning third world wages.

Federal Member for Braddon Justine Keay said,” These sackings bring back memories of a similar sacking of 36 crew members off the Alexander Spirit in July 2015.

“That vessel was docked in Devonport and the Australian crew was told it would be sacked and replaced with cheap foreign labour when it next landed in Singapore.

“The latest sackings demonstrate this government has learnt nothing from that debacle and confirms they still have an agenda to destroy the Australian maritime industry and the jobs of Australian workers.

“In our region there are approximately 1,000 seafarers employed in the maritime industry.

“Our community need to know from the Tasmanian Liberal Senators whether they agree with Australian seafarers being sacked in favour of cheap overseas labour?

“In the case of the most recent sackings, the Canadian Steamship Lines (CSL) Thevenard, which has been operating around the Australian coast for nearly a decade, sailed to China recently where its Australian crew was sacked on Wednesday.

“The Coalition has issued the company with a temporary licence allowing it to continue operating in Australia with a new crew of overseas seafarers on vastly lower wages.

“In 2015 the Government also used similar permits to allow the owners of the MV Portland to replace its Australian crew with overseas seafarers, despite the fact that vessel had been operating in Australian waters for more than 20 years.

“This followed the Senate’s rejection of the Coalition’s WorkChoices on Water legislation, which would have removed any preference for Australian seafarers in coastal trade.

“It is extraordinary that any Australian Government would actually facilitate Australians being sacked because they are paid Australian wage rates.

“Australians want a Government prepared to stand up for Australian jobs, but the Turnbull Government is doing the opposite.”