Speaking Against Shipping Legislation Amendments

This week the Senate voted down (31 - 27) destructive amendments to Shipping Legislation. To find out which Senator voted which way, check out the division list here.

Below is an assortment of Senators who voted against the amendments and an excerpt from each of their speeches. 

ALP Senator Stephen Conroy: This bill sells out the national interest, it sells out Australian businesses and it sells out Australian workers. That is why the opposition strongly opposes this bill, confident in the knowledge that our position reflects the values of average Australians. This bill allows overseas flagged and crewed ships to pay workers Third World wages to undercut Australian operators on domestic trade routes. It will destroy Australian jobs, but you do not have to take it from me. Do not think just because Labor is standing here making this argument that it is solely an argument we have made up. Senators, I want to quote from the government's official modelling. You can find it, if you want to look for it, in the regulatory impact statement and the cost-benefit analysis that is part of the bill.

Independent Senator Glenn Lazarus: I have many concerns regarding this bill. My first concern with this bill is strategic. For an island nation surrounded by coastline, it is absolutely imperative to have a strong, robust and effective shipping industry to transport goods around our coastline and overseas. We should not be placing our country in a position where we are dependent on the rest of the world for the transport of our own goods by water. 

Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party Senator Ricky Muir: There has been quite a bit of conjecture about how many jobs will be lost, but I do not want to get into a debate around whose modelling is wrong and whether these job losses have been underestimated or exaggerated. I think it can be said that jobs will be lost, so that is enough of a concern for me.

Independent Senator Jacqui Lambie: Australia refuses to acknowledge the world shipping game is rigged and wants to play by the rules, when quite clearly there are no rules. It is like a lawn bowler accidently hopping in the ring with a cage fighter. Australia is an island nation. Tasmania, my home state, is an island state in an island nation. If we destroy the maritime skills of our merchant marine and destroy our shipping capacity, and this legislation will surely do that, then we undermine and attack Australia's national security.

Independent Senator Nick Xenophon: I cannot support this bill because it will have a very counterproductive effective in respect of Australian shipping. It purports to strengthen Australian shipping, but it will do the opposite. It will deskill our Australian shipping workforce. It will basically gut Australian shipping.

Green Senator Janet Rice: As I rise to oppose the Shipping Legislation Amendment Bill 2015, there are 19 Australians standing strong on the ship on which they make a living, the MV Portland, and it is refusing to take its final journey from Portland in Victoria to Singapore. The owners of the ship, Alcoa, are poised to sack the Australian workers, choosing instead to employ a low-paid foreign crew on its route between Western Australia and Victoria. Their plight is indicative of the coastal shipping industry as a whole. It is a sector that is doing its best to stay put but copping rough seas in every direction, particularly from the Turnbull government with this bill.

Green Senator Nick McKim: Let us make no mistake about what the Shipping Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 seeks to do. It seeks to set up, in effect, a parallel industrial relations system in this country whereby maritime workers are treated in one way—a terrible way, I might add—and people who work on land, even people who work on land in the transport and logistics sector in our land based supply chains, are treated far, far better and far, far more fairly and are afforded far greater protections in terms of their workplace safety than maritime workers would be should this legislation pass.