House debates

Monday, 18 February 2019

Statements by Members


4:28 pm

Photo of Stephen JonesStephen Jones (Whitlam, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government) Share this | | Hansard source

They used to call BHP 'the big Australian' but not anymore because recently they sacked over 80 workers who worked on the Mariloula and Lowlands Brilliance. They've sacked them. What they did was this. They took the Australian flag off the back of those ships and replaced it with the flag of another country so they could sack the Australian workers who were working on those two ships and replace them with workers from another country, paying them as little as $2 an hour. It is nothing short of a disgrace. 'The big Australian' is Australian no more.

I've met with the workers and their families—they've been here in Canberra this week, and they were here last week—and they want nothing more than the support of federal parliamentarians and the support of this government. As I spoke to them, I looked up at Parliament House and I could see the blue ensign, the Australian flag, flying proudly above the Australian parliament—the same flag that the Prime Minister likes to wrap himself in and tell Australians he's a proud patriot.

It's time the Prime Minister put that flag and that sort of effort on the back of Australian ships. The only effort he has put into the Australian maritime industry is dedicating $6.5 million to the re-enactment of a voyage that never happened! Well, we want the Prime Minister to put that sort of energy and that sort of vigour into protecting the voyages that should be happening around Australian coastlines and looking after Australian workers.