Independent Senator for Tasmania Jacqui Lambie has attended the Coastal Trading meeting or shipping conference in Melbourne today and delivered an opening address.  The Coastal Trading meeting attracted more than 75 people who represented all sectors of the Australian Shipping and Maritime industry.

As well as Senator Lambie who attended and addressed the conference, crossbench Senators Muir, Madigan and Rice (Greens) also made contributions.  Senator Lambie noted and was disappointed that Australia’s major political parties failed to send elected political representatives to this important meeting.

“I’m particularly disappointed that the Government elected representatives failed to attend and contribute to the debate.  It shows that they don’t want a consensus shipping reform plan to be presented to Parliament – and they just want to use this avoidable crisis for political gain, in an election year,” said Senator Lambie.

The following is a part transcript of the Senator Lambies’s speech.

“I’d like to acknowledge the traditional owners, their elders past and present on whose land we meet – and pay my respects to them.  Members of Parliament, fellow Senators, Ladies and Gentlemen thank you for coming today.

And thank you for the opportunity to briefly speak with you at the start of a shipping conference that I hope – will be described as:

1)     Historic and

Senator Lambie at Coastal Trading meeting today

Senator Lambie at Coastal Trading meeting today

2)     A victory for the National Interest, common sense and consensus decision-making.

After the 1st shipping conference I attended here in Melbourne –

… I received feedback that many thought that Shipping summit or meeting – was one of the best examples of tough discussions and consensus decision-making since Bob Hawke brought business, unions and the workers together in the mid-80’s.

I hope that the discussions, consultation and decisions made today about reform of our Australian Shipping Industry, will have you saying the same things.  So why am I here?

I’ve come to this Australian Shipping because I want to build on the great work of the previous conference and find a solution to the crisis the maritime industry now finds itself in.

Not to mention all the Australian businesses and workers who rely on an efficient, reliable, sustainable and world competitive home-grown shipping industry.  We all agree that the Australian Shipping and Maritime industry is in crisis.  If it were a patient it would be described as very sick.

The problem I have with our government’s is that their cure for the Patient’s sickness is worse that the disease.  In fact Dr Death would have been very proud of the solution this government has come up with for the disease which affects our “home – grown” shipping and maritime industry — Namely, kill off the patient and replace him or her with cheap overseas labour which costs $2 per hour or less.

You’ll note that I’ve deliberately used the term “home – grown” when describing our shipping Industry.  Other great Nations of the world are proud to support, foster and protect their home – grown maritime industry.

Unfortunately Australia under governments from both sides of politics today – have shown that they have not the same love of protecting Australia’s national interest and security – as other great democratic nations like Canada, Norway and America – and the majority of people in this room today.

Your debate and input to creating a solution for the problems we face in our Shipping and maritime industry is vitally important – and will profoundly effect Australias future prosperity, wealth and the safety of your grandchildren.

Please don’t be distracted by red herrings – like suggestions to establish a pie in the sky proposal for a ship recycling industry in Australia – which needs wages at $2 per hour to be sustainable.

Time is short – focus on the main issues – and the areas of common agreement that are easily achieved – the low-hanging policy fruit,” said Senator Lambie.