Meet comrade Vicki Morta the first female indigenous CIR who works on the Gladstone to Weipa run.
Vicki is from the Ngadjou’jii tribe in North Queensland.
Vicki is an Aboriginal / South Sea Islander. Her tribe is Ngadjon-jii (Atherton Tableland region) Far North Queensland. She was born and raised in Atherton and did all her schooling in Innisfail.
Alan (Spike) Grey, who anyone who has worked in the Blue water would know, had this to say about Vicki when asked what it is like to work with her:
"Vicki is an absolute pleasure to sail with, the whole ship’s atmosphere changes when she’s up the gangway and her comrades have the utmost respect for her".
"Vicki takes pride in every task she does and is highly respected by everyone, so much so even pilots who board the RTM Weipa ensure they go out of their way to say hello to Vicki".
Spike goes onto say that s"he is a prime example of what a seafarer should do. She’s had a tough upbringing and is a very family orientated person with A grade values".
Another example of this is when she paid her own way down to Brisbane to attend the May Day march which lead to the Queensland Branch asking that she join the campaign to increase the Australian seafaring content on the Gladstone to Weipa run.
Vicki said "I love going to sea because it is an adventurous career and I meet lots of great people; especially my comrades who teach me about the importance of unionism".
"I enjoy learning something new every day".
When asked what advice would she give to other women working in male dominated industries Vicki said "Go for it! Because in 'bloke' dominated industries, us girls get challenged to push ourselves and become better people; not just better workers. I believe that women also challenge men to become better people and workers".
Vicki said "My main mentors at sea CIR's like Tony Carter, Donny Hopkins, Andrew Gray, John Higgins and especially Robert Coolwell, who has inspired me as an indigenous comrade, that has gone before me to become bosun and represent good seamanship".
"Since 2003, I've been inspired by Rosalie Kunoth-Monks, who is an Australian film actress, Aboriginal activist, politician and 2015 NAIDOC Person of the Year. I met Rosalie when I graduated at Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education (NT) in Cert 3 in Land Management. At that time she was the Chairperson. She told me that I could do anything and as an indigenous woman".
Jason Miners Queensland Branch Deputy Secretary said "The Queensland Branch is proud to have Vicki onboard. Among the darkest times the industry faces as we try to ensure there are even ships in the next decade to sail on, stories like this are a beacon of hope and determination to fight even harder to save the Blue Water. We have to ensure comrades like Vicki get the opportunity to fulfill their absolute right to work on ships that ply the Australian coast".