Feb 24, 2016

Government complicit in maritime sackings

Evidence has emerged which confirms the Turnbull Government was complicit in the sacking of 40 Australian seafarers as part of its ongoing attempt to undermine Australian shipping.

The Senate Inquiry into Flags of Convenience heard last night that former Transport Minister Warren Truss was informed on December 17 that ship owner ASP had formally requested AMSA to accredit a foreign crew to take the jobs of existing Australian seafarers.

Yet for the following four weeks, as the crew conducted industrial action and the vessel sat idle, Mr Truss did nothing to attempt to save their jobs.

Mr Truss’s inaction makes him complicit in putting people out of work – real people with real families to feed and real bills to pay.

Mr Truss has been undermining the Australian shipping industry ever since he won government.

Last November, the Senate rejected Mr Truss’s attempt to legislate to allow foreign-crewed vessels to undercut Australian ships, which are required to pay Australian level wages and would therefore be unable to compete.

Last night’s Senate inquiry shows how Mr Truss, having failed to win support for this WorkChoices on Water legislation, worked to achieve his ends by allowing the abuse of temporary licences that can be issued under existing legislation.

The legislation makes clear that these licences must be for temporary work where no Australian crew is available.

In the case of the MV Portland an Australian crew was available.

And its work was far from temporary. The vessel had been working between Portland in Victoria and Western Australia for more than two decades.

Mr Truss’s inaction was mirrored by that of Industrial Relations Minister Michaelia Cash, had who was told on January 12 that the following day, the Portland crew was going to be physically removed from the vessel in the middle of the night by security guards.

Senator Cash did nothing.

Australians elect governments in the expectation they will put the interests of Australians first.

But the Turnbull Government is conniving to actually destroy Australian jobs and hand them to foreign crews.