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Thursday, 29 March 2001
Page: 25987

Mr WAKELIN (10:43 AM) —I have pleasure in rising today to speak in the debate on the Maritime Legislation Amendment Bill 2000. As the previous speaker has indicated, the opposition supports the passage of the legislation. I do not propose to revisit that other than to say that the bill amends the Navigation Act 1912 and settles certain jurisdictional issues between the Commonwealth and the states and that the power of the parliament to make laws with respect to trade and commerce extends to navigation and shipping, and that has been duly done with this legislation.

I will address some issues that the shadow minister has spoken about. He has made great play of Australian workers and their families. Sadly, he excluded comment about people in small business and their families. Talking of exporters, he made great play of the bulldogs and the balaclavas in the waterfront issues. He made no comment on the violence against others who were genuinely trying to go about their work. From the national perspective, it should be acknowledged that this is all about the 25 containers per hour, which were achieved yesterday and certainly spoken about in this place yesterday. It will remain for posterity to judge our society when a minister who had the courage to confront the MUA had to walk around this country with 24-hour protection. That says it all in one sentence. That is my regret about the comments of—

Mr Sidebottom —It's often not what you do; it's how you do it.

Mr WAKELIN —I will not react to that interjection. Let the Australian people judge when a minister of the Crown requires that sort of protection from people who think that violence is acceptable. I simply repeat that 25 containers an hour has now been achieved on the Australian waterfront.