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  Issue No 67 Official Organ of LaborNet 18 August 2000  




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Senate Applauds Australian Seafarers

THE Australian Senate this week passed a resolution applauding Australian ships and Australian seafarers for their role during the deployment of Interfet forces in East Timor.

The Senate acknowledged the role Australian merchant shipping plays in peacetime and called on the Government to promote Australian flag shipping.

The resolution (reproduced in full below) contrasts starkly with the Howard Government policy of favouring cheap, substandard foreign shipping at the peril of the national flag fleet.

The Federal Government has refused recommendations by the industry, the unions and its own appointed shipping reform group to provide fiscal support to Australian shipping industry. Instead it has opened up the domestic transport industry to guest workers, exposing the Australian coast to pollution.

World shipping is dominated by flag of convenience vessels registered in tax havens like Panama and Liberia, where they are not required to meet international safety or labour standards. Many of these ships are, according to submissions to an international inquiry, crewed by poorly trained or fraudulently certified crew from Third World countries (International Commission on Shipping, ICONS).

Exploitation of labour and tax avoidance enables these ships to offer cut rate freight rates, which are driving Australian ships out of business. Seven Australian flag ships have been lost in the last 18 months.

In recognition of the importance of maintaining an Australian fleet, ALP National Conference, this month, adopted a policy iof supporting national flag shipping.

The Senate resolution is as follows:

That the Senate -

  • recognises and applauds the role that was played in supporting the Interfet force deployment in east Timor by Australian civilian ships;

  • welcomes the letter dated October 15, 1999, that was sent to the Maritime Union of Australia by Commander Peter Cosgrove, suggesting that, without the help of Australian civilian ships, the deployed forces’ logistics build-up would have been severely hampered;

  • acknowledges that the role of Australian civilian ships in east Timor continues the significant and enormous role that the Australian Merchant Navy has historically played in the ever increasing peacetime carriage of trade, both internationally and domestically;

  • recognise that this role has not been without enormous cost, particularly in the Merchant Navy’s service in two world wars, where one in every eight seafarers lost their lives and many more disappeared unrecorded in the ships of many nations;

  • applauds the International Maritime Organisation's support and recognition of maritime workers and merchant shipping, including Australian coastal shipping through the celebrations of Maritime Day on September 24 and believes that World Maritime Day be regarded as a day of maritime pride and history; and

  • requests that the Government promote the flying of the Australian flag rather than flags of convenience.

The ALP resolution is as follows:

This Conference notes the economic and strategic importance of maintaining a vibrant, efficient and safe domestic shipping industry for island nations such as Australia.

The valuable defence and national interest contribution of the Australian shipping industry was recognised by Major General Cosgrove in formal thanks for the support given to Interfet Forces during the East Timor crisis.

This Conference reaffirms our support for the cabotage provisions of the Navigation Act and condemns the Howard Government for abuse of the Single and Continuing Voyage Permit provisions of the Navigation Act to disadvantage and undermine the Australian shipping industry.

This attack on the shipping industry has disastrous effects on defence, environment, immigration and the national security of Australia. The replacement shipping companies and workforces have no allegiance to Australia, pay no tax and are effectively guest labour in the Australian domestic transport sector.

This Conference calls on a Federal Labor Government to involve all affected industry participants in the development of measures for best commercial practice in the international industry designed to promote a modern, efficient and safe Australian and international fleet. In developing these measures, regard shall be given to the need for support comparable with that available to international shipping.

Conference also acknowledges the contribution of the Australian merchant marine to the security and defence of Australia and notes that this contribution will now officially be celebrated on International Maritime Day, September 24.


*   View entire issue - print all of the articles!

*   Issue 67 contents

In this issue
*  Interview: Slyly Selling the Silver
In their recently published book Privatisation, Sell-off? or Sell out? (ABC Books), Bob and Betty Walker took a long hard look at the major government asset sales of the last decade. Here they tell Workers Online what they've learnt.
*  Politics: Dysfunctional Society
Noel Pearson looks at the plight of Aboriginal people through a prism of class and comes up with a challenging perspective on Aboriginal welfare, law and order and the state of our society.
*  History: Money Power
Should the People or the Banks Rule? Reserve Bank Governor McFarlane thinks he knows the answer. Eddie Ward was pretty strongly of the opposite view when the ALP introduced the Commonwealth Banking Legislation in 1945.
*  International: Soccer Pro Tackles Nike
Olympic sponsor Nike is under pressure over its human rights record in the run up to the Sydney Games.
*  Economics: Globalony
Frank Stillwell looks at the contradictory nature of the globalising economy and fears it is turning into a race to the bottom.
*  Satire: IVF Debate: Federal Government Tells Lesbians: "Get Fucked"
MELBOURNE, Monday: The Federal Court decision to allow single women and lesbians to use infertility treatment in Victoria has been attacked by the Federal Government, the Catholic Church and by pro-family community groups.
*  Review: Confessions Of A Union Buster
It's not a new tome but the threat for Australian Unions remains the same if not greater as when this book appeared five years ago.

»  'Shoot to Kill' Powers Under Union Fire
»  SDA Launches Appeal for Struggling Multinational
»  Hated Anti-Worker Law Junked
»  Bellicose Joy: Baseball Bats and Tinsel
»  Selleys Fight Kicks On
»  Fiji To Dominate SPOCTU Summit
»  Trade Unionists Stand In ARM Elections
»  Sydney Hosts Child Care Conference
»  Roboboss Corrigan Straddles Lemon
»  Staff Vote With Feet At Commonwealth
»  Paying Dues Made Easier
»  Telstra Risks Roasting Workers
»  East Timor's Year One Celebration
»  Senate Applauds Australian Seafarers

»  Away For The Games
»  Sport
»  Trades Hall
»  Tool Shed

Letters to the editor
»  Magistrates Need a Union
»  Tom's Mantra

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