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Tuesday, 8 November 1977
Page: 3045


Mr MORRIS (Shortland) -The legislation now before the chamber is legislation that could and should have been brought before the Parliament many years ago, at least in 1 973, but for me political bloody-mindedness of the Premier of Queensland, and in this respect I have to include the Minister for Transport (Mr Nixon) in that reference to the Premier of Queensland because they are colleagues in the same Party.

The purpose of the Bill is to amend the Australian Shipping Commission Act so as to enable the Australian National Line to provide an intrastate service to ports along the Queensland coast- a much needed service- and to make certain other amendments to the Act that would bring the style of operations and the presentation of accounts of the ANL more in keeping with current commercial practice. I will have more to say about that at a later stage.

I just want to dwell for a moment on the many years that have passed in which the people of north Queensland have sought to have a service provided for their ports by the ANL. It is only in the current State election campaign in Queensland- and I suspect in the Federal election campaign that has now developed herethat there has been urgency finally to make a decision in response to the wishes of the people of north Queensland. In the current election campaign in Queensland a concerted effort has been mounted by candidates in the northern sections of Queensland to press the Queensland Parliament to legislate so that the ANL can operate into those Queensland ports on an intrastate basis. The present Minister, as I said, must share some responsibility for this, if only because he and the Premier of Queensland are members of the same party.

All sorts of spurious excuses were given by the Premier of Queensland during the period of opposition to this legislation to allow the ANL to move into Queensland. Honourable members will recall that one of the first acts of the Whitlam Government early in 1973 was to ask the Queensland Government to come to an agreement with the national Government for an amendment to the Australian Shipping Commission Act so that intrastate shipping services could be provided for Queensland. At the time, and in subsequent periods right up until a few weeks ago, the Queensland Government maintained that the provision of an intrastate Queensland shipping service by the ANL would disadvantage existing surface transport employees and certainly would mean a reduction in the potential income of the Queensland railways and the laying off of large numbers of Queensland railway employees. That claim by the Queensland Premier had been refuted consistently and persistently by officials of the Australian Railways Union in Queensland. At least the Opposition welcomes now the belated appearance of this legislation. It is long overdue. His earlier entry has been prevented -


Mr Shipton - Why did you not say so at the beginning instead of indulging in cheap political point scoring?

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Jarman)Order!I call the honourable member for Shortland.


Mr Shipton - The people of Queensland will not be fooled.







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