The MUA is today celebrating a victory having retained the Seafarer Tax Offset, which was set to be repealed by the Abbott Government.
After a concerted lobbying effort by National Secretary Paddy Crumlin and Deputy National Secretary Mick Doleman the incentive to hire Australian seafarers on foreign-going vessels has been retained.
Although the repeal was never put to a vote, the union believes it was able to retain this important part of the shipping reform package because of the opposition by Labor, the Greens and other crossbenchers.
As a result Crumlin said he would like to thank Senators from the ALP, the Greens, the Palmer United Party, in addition to Senator Jacqui Lambie, Senator John Madigan, Senator Ricky Muir and Senator Nick Xenophon for taking the time to meet with union.
Unions more generally also had a win yesterday after the Senate voted down anti-worker amendments to the Fair Work Bill. Read more here.
Doleman spent the better part of six months trawling the corridors of Parliament House, getting the ear of anyone who would listen about how important this issue- and other issues such as fuel security and offshore visas - were to supporting Australia’s shipping task and Australian jobs.
“The AMOU have also stood shoulder-to-shoulder with us on these issues and should be congratulated for seeing the bigger picture and joining us on our campaign to try and save Australian shipping,” Doleman said.
“I would also like to make special mention to Anthony Albanese, who has been a champion of these reforms since the beginning and has continued to advocate for a vibrant Australian shipping industry in the face of opposition from outside and within.”
In September last year the Albanese stood up in parliament in defense of the Seafarer Tax Offset:
“We want to see Australian shipping companies that are successful. But if you have an Australian shipping company and a foreign shipping company attempting to ply the same route and the foreign shipping company can do it cheaper because of the policies put in place by this government, then we have to address that and try to get a genuinely level playing field,” he said.
“That is what this policy did. I want to see Australia, an island continent, as a shipping nation with a thriving local maritime industry. Those opposite see that as a provocative statement that is about trade unionism.
“It is an extraordinary position that they have. The long-term effect of these sorts of changes and the failure to defend Australia's maritime industry will mean a loss of jobs.
“They want to talk a lot about borders and security and boats, but they do not want to talk about the Australian flag being on the back of Australian ships with Australian seafarers. If some of those opposite think that the maritime sector has no relationship at all with Australia's national security or with protection of the Australian environment, depending upon which ships go through the Great Barrier Reef, then I am afraid that does show their ignorance about what is good policy.”
To read the full speech, click here.
To read more about the Seafarer Tax Offset, please read this brief prepared for Senators and Parliamentarians.