On Saturday you will not only be voting on whether you return a Labor Government, you will be also deciding the fate of Australian shipping, Fairwork and job safety. These are 3 crucial issues to maritime workers.
Last week Transport Minister Anthony Albanese released the blueprint for the revitalisation of Australian coastal shipping. But if an Abbott Government wins power, there is no policy on shipping. Only more of the same industry vandalism that characterised the Howard Government's policies - Australian flagged vessels undercut by flag of convenience vessels taking our coastal trade.
There will be no incentives for ship owners to invest in Australian shipping. And the remaining vessels in our ageing fleet will continue to be placed under pressure.
And while both parties have committed to national safety regulations for our wharves, following the tragic death of Melbourne waterside worker Stephen Piper, the 3rd waterside worker to die this year, you can bet that an Abbott government will always put profit and productivity before workers' lives.
A Gillard Government supports the establishment of a Safe Work Australia and the enforcement of national safety standards across Australia's wharves.
Fairwork Australia employment standards on foreign ships operating in the coastal trade on permits and crew will go and, finally, Workchoices, whatever its name, will be returned as soon as Abbott can punch the legislation through.
Last week I was elected President of the International Transport Workers Federation - the first Australian to hold the position. This is recognition of the international standing of the Australian and New Zealand transport unions and the increasing importance to the global economy of the work we are doing across freight forwarding industries in the Asia Pacific region to build strong union networks.
I will remain the National Secretary of the MUA and continue to work out of the National Office in Sydney.
We've won one important election, now let's make it two. A vote for Labor is a vote for Australian shipping and job safety.