The international maritime community is hailing the Australian Parliament’s decision to enact an historic bill that reaffirms the importance of national cabotage laws.
Known as the Shipping Reform Package bills, the legislation passed by a vote of 71-69. National shipping interests had to overcome a concerted effort by special interest groups.
According to ITF President and Maritime Union of Australia National Secretary Paddy Crumlin, “The bills represent over 10 years of hard work … What Australia has done is shown the way in international shipping.”
Crumlin stressed, “The government has demonstrated that FOC shipping can be defeated and that all seafarers have a right to work in the industry.”
Most important, as a result of this vote, he added, “Cabotage is back on the menu for seafarers worldwide. These bills not only protect the national flag on Australia’s coastline—they privilege it.”
MTD President Michael Sacco addressed this historic development in a letter to Crumlin: “We know how long and hard you and the Maritime Union of Australia have been fighting for and encouraging votes to pass these important measures for the continued employment of your members within the Australian-flag shipping industry.
“Your efforts show yet again the value of strong cabotage laws that insure safe jobs with decent wages and benefits for the men and women who ply the seas.
“This is a job truly well done.”