Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (13:54): Today in the gallery are Paul Mueleman, 36, of Redcliffe, and Daniel Bell, now the father of a 14-month-old child. They were workers on the MV Mariloula and the MV Lowlands Brilliance. They worked for BHP. BHP has made a decision to abandon the Australian flag, to abandon Australian seafarers in Australian jobs and to replace it with foreign-flagged vessels with foreign workers being paid foreign wages.
The Big Australian, as it is called, has been exposed to actually have a little heart and no soul when it comes to looking after the national interest. It’s in Australia’s national interest to have the Australian flag on the back of ships with Australian seafarers. It’s in the interests of our national security, but we’ve heard nothing from those opposite about this. It is in the interests of our environment and it is in the interests of our economy.
The fact is that a Labor government will end the coalition’s war on Australian shipping, with its legislation trying to introduce ‘WorkChoices on water’. We need an Australian shipping industry. It is vital for our natural interests, but it is also vital for people like the 70 Australian seafarers who lost their jobs due to this callous and outrageous decision.