The Maritime Union of Australia is looking to the Senate after the House of Representatives passed amendments to coastal shipping which will cost thousands of jobs.
MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin said the Government, in dismantling coastal shipping legislation, had shown it was beholden to multi-national corporations.
"This is an extraordinary act of self harm against the national economic environmental and security interests"
"There is absolutely no justification for it other than selling out to a free market ideology at a time when working Australians are looking for politicians that want to support them to work in Australian industry
“Research has shown that the Government’s moves to deregulate shipping will render thousands of seafarers unemployed and many thousands more in service industries to shipping" Crumlin said.
“Australia has relied on its domestic shipping arrangements throughout our modern political and economic history to secure our national freight forwarding task"
This amazing act of political negligence and hubris places every Australian working in of relying on freight forwarding business in precarious and uncharted waters unless this proposal is put into the rubbish bin where it deserves to be"
“I urge all Senators from all sides of politics to vote down the amendments in the national interest.”
Greens member Adam Bandt, independents Bob Katter and Andrew Wilkie along with almost 20 Labor Party members also rose to speak against the amendments in a debate which spread over three days.
ALP member Anthony Albanese lead Labor’s defense of the current coastal trading legislation.
“The Shipping Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 is about replacing the Australian flag flying off the back of ships with the white flag on Australian jobs. This is unilateral economic disarmament. For an island continent it is in Australia's economic, environmental and security interests that we are a shipping nation, and that is why it is so surprising that the current government has chosen to bring this bill forward,” Albanese said.
“This bill, soaked as it is in ideology, sells out the national interest on each of these counts. It will allow overseas flagged and crewed ships, paying workers Third World wages, to undercut Australian operators on domestic trade routes. It will destroy Australian jobs, damaging the economy. It will increase the likelihood of maritime accidents in our coastal waters, threatening the environment. And it will replace Australian mariners, who are subject to stringent background checks, with foreign workers whose backgrounds are not subject to the same scrutiny when it comes to security.
“Jobs, the environment, national security—all basic requirements of good government, all thrown overboard by a government blinded to the national interest by its hatred of the Maritime Union of Australia.”
Albanese’s full statement is available here.
Meanwhile Deputy Prime Minister, who has been intent on pushing the big business agenda since his election in 2013, quoted oil and gas lobbyist and Labor turncoat Martin Ferguson in trying to sell his amendments to parliament.
He made it clear in statements of ‘cutting red-tape’ and ‘undoing regulatory burden’, that he was clearly doing this for big business.
“Without changes to economic and regulatory settings, shipping will not be able to deliver the competitive, efficient services that Australian businesses need,” Truss said.
His full statement, which also misappropriated comments about the Maritime Labor Convention, is available here.