The Howard Government puts anti-union ideology above National Security


Security Intelligence Organisation Amendment Bill 2004
Second Reading: Hansard December 6, 2004

08 December 2004

By Dean Summers - MUA

Currently there is a Bill before Federal Parliament called Security Intelligence Organization Amendment Bill 2004 which will require all states to regulate production, storage and transport of ammonium nitrate around Australia.

Unfortunately for Australia, the seaborne leg of the transport chain is left open to the lowest bidder using the cheapest ships and crews in the entire world.

Attached is the ALP's Hon. Kim Beazley MP contribution to the debate which supports Australia's Shipping and condemns FOC system.

I will be very brief, because I know that we are all under time constraints. The opposition supports the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Amendment Bill 2004. What this bill does is empower communication between ASIO and various state governments when state governments come to license dangerous substances such as ammonium nitrate so that security checks can be effectively run on those who would secure the licences for it. The Labor Party supports this legislation, just as it has supported a raft of other government bills related to the extreme circumstances in which we live at this time, where we have entered into a form of international conflict with a new source of fascism in the international community.

In discussions in this parliament over the course of the last few years, we in the Australian Labor Party have had to suspend a lot of dearly-held positions that many of us had through that period of time. We have had to make substantial mental adjustments to our international outlook as we have looked at the problems that our intelligence services and defence forces have to confront, the relationships that we have with states in this region and the focal element of those relationships as we join united in this struggle with our friends and colleagues in the region. The Labor Party has made those adjustments. I have to say that I cannot say the same thing for our political opponents. Our political opponents still swing wildly between dealing with the problem that I have just outlined and seeing in all of this a political opportunity. As they have done so, they have failed to make the mental adjustments that they need to make in a number of areas.

This issue of ammonium nitrate goes right to the heart of one of those adjustments that they need to make. This bill will provide a process of security checks for those that will have licences to transport ammonium nitrate. That gets to the heart of an issue raised by the member for Throsby in this place and also by a recent committee of parliament in its consideration of our national and international transport arrangements and the issue of single voyage permits for ships of convenience carrying ammonium nitrate around our shores.

This practice must now cease. The practice of shifting ammonium nitrate around our coastline or bringing it into this country via flag of convenience vessels has to stop now. No more. The Americans would never permit it around their coastline; we should never permit it around ours, from this point on. But to do so, to act in this critical way, to secure the safety of the Australian people and Australian ports, would require the National Party in particular but also the Liberal Party to make that ideological shift that the Labor Party has had to make in order to deal with the circumstances in which we now live.

The use of these flag of convenience ships in single voyage permits--and sometimes multiple voyage permits--around our coastline is entirely ideologically based.

It is deeply embedded in a strategy of many years ago to destroy the Seamen's Union and the operation of Australian ships around Australian ports. No more can this situation persist. It is now a danger to national security, and that danger to national security must now be dealt with.

Continued in Article The Howard Government puts anti-union ideology above National Security see

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