Plans by the ruling Liberal Party to change cabotage laws have sparked another angry protest, this time in the House of Representatives.
Australia’s shadow transport minister Anthony Albanese blasted the planned Shipping Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 yesterday as “unilateral economic disarmament”.
Albanese said the bill will allow overseas flagged and crewed ships, paying workers Third World wages, to undercut Australian operators on domestic trade routes.
“It will destroy Australian jobs, damaging the economy. It will increase the likelihood of maritime accidents in our coastal waters, threatening the environment. And it will replace Australian mariners, who are subject to stringent background checks, with foreign workers whose backgrounds are not subject to the same scrutiny when it comes to security. Jobs, the environment, national security—all basic requirements of good government, all thrown overboard by a government blinded to the national interest by its hatred of the Maritime Union of Australia,” Albanese said, describing the legislation as “obscene”.
The law changes have been attacked by Australia’s various maritime-related unions in recent months.