While unemployed seafarers have continued their vigil outside Parliament House, Darren Chester, Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, has gone to ground and refuses to answer questions about their termination.
Independent Senator for Victoria John Madigan has called on the government to man-up and come clean on the January raid on the MV Portland.
Senator Madigan said the government was continuing to ignore repeated requests to clarify the circumstances surrounding the removal of Australian crew from the MV Portland earlier this year.
“I specifically put to Minister Chester that as his Deputy Secretary also sits on the Board of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), and AMSA knew of the plans in early December, his department would also have been aware of the plans in early December. Having known this, Minister Chester did not consult with the Department of Employment, knowing that these Australians were about to be the subject of an outrageous attack on Australian jobs.
“This type of behavior from the Minister should not be tolerated. Australian politicians are elected by Australians to do what is in Australian’s interests first and foremost. To not even acknowledge my correspondence is a slap in the face to those Australians who are now without a job.
“I am shocked that when I walked outside Parliament House this week, there remains a number of men on the front lawn who have been there every day of every sitting week since the raid. These Australian seafarers have been sold out by our government and their jobs exported overseas for a cheap buck.
“These men should not be subject to this kind of agony at the hands of the government’s inaction.
“The lockout by this government and their refusal to protect Australian jobs is an absolute disgrace. Their silence on this issue is just as ludicrous. What has the government got to hide?”