Sep 8, 2015

Motion – Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Attempted Censure

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (12:06): Thank you. I move:

That so much of the standing and sessional orders be suspended as would prevent the member for Grayndler from moving the following motion—

That the House:

(1)      censures the Deputy Prime Minister for misleading the House in Question Time on Monday, 7 September when he:

(a)   stated that reports that senior officials from his Department advised Bill Milby of North Star Cruises to reflag his vessel to a foreign nation, sack his 50 Australian workers and hire foreign crew to compete, were “inaccurate”; and

(b)   told the House that such advice “is not possible under the proposed legislation before Parliament”;

(2)      notes the evidence before the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee where Mr Milby confirmed his written evidence contained in his submission that he was advised by officials to “consider taking our ship True North off the Australian Shipping Register, re register the ship in a foreign country, lay off our Australian crew and hire a cheaper foreign crew” under his proposed laws;

(3)      notes that last night Judith Zielke, Executive Director, Surface Transport Policy Division and Michael Sutton, General Manager Maritime and Shipping Branch both gave evidence that they did give advice to Mr Milby about the reflagging option;

(4)      further notes last night’s comment from Mr Milby that “I don’t have an issue with the people who gave that advice because if you read the legislation and the explanatory memo, they were telling me the truth”;

(5)      notes the evidence from the government’s official economic modelling for the bill assumed that the displaced Australian seafarers would “get other jobs”;

(6)      also notes the evidence from Tasmanian freight operator Searoad, North Star Cruises and Maritime Industry Australia Limited, that investment in shipbuilding and local job creation is threatened by this flawed legislation; and

(7)      accordingly, calls for:

(a)   the Deputy Prime Minister to immediately correct the record following his misleading answer in Question Time yesterday—

The SPEAKER: The member for Grayndler will resume his seat.

Mr ALBANESE: I am concluding.

The SPEAKER: I call the Leader of the House on a point of order.

Mr Pyne: Mr Speaker, it is almost a two-page motion. It is absolutely ridiculous. It is an abuse of the standing orders and the government will be quite within its right to amend the standing orders in the future to make sure that motions cannot be of such an inordinate length.

The SPEAKER: The member for Grayndler will move his motion forthwith.

Mr ALBANESE: (b)    the Prime Minister to apologise to Mr Bill Milby of North Star Cruises in Western Australia for questioning his honesty and integrity; and

(c)   the Government to withdraw its Shipping Legislation before the Parliament and to enter into a proper consultation process with the maritime sector about any future proposed changes to maritime legislation.