Dissenting Report: Australian Greens
Preventing serious and organised crime in our ports and airports is a
critical issue. Recent attacks in Brussels highlight the need for a robust
security and regulatory environment to protect workers and civilians, and the
Final Report of the Ice Taskforce
revealed the role of our ports and airports in the illegal import of controlled
substances. The Greens acknowledge the need for a well-regulated security
framework for our aviation and maritime infrastructure.
The Greens believe that this Bill does not adequately balance these
concerns with other community expectations, and therefore fails in its
intention. Although the Greens see merit in trying to align the powers of the
Aviation Transport Security Act 2004 and the Maritime Transport and Offshore
Facilities Security Act 2003, we have serious concerns with the legislation in
its current form.
We believe that some of the Department of Infrastructure and Regional
Development’s indicated changes for MSIC and ASIC eligibility criteria make
very little sense.
For example, they would bar those who have ever had a jail sentence, for any
length of time, because of a prior tax evasion conviction. Yet those with a
prior arson conviction that did not result in 12 months or more of prison time
Additionally, the Australian Greens also believe it is excessively
punitive that someone who may have once been convicted of drug possession will
no longer have access to the identification pass required for most roles within
the maritime sector. Access to employment is very important for those with a
history of drug or alcohol abuse and should not be denied to people who have
successfully rehabilitated their lives.
We believe these problems stem from the changed definition of the role
of the Aviation Transport Security Act 2004 and the Maritime Transport and
Offshore Facilities Security Act 2003 that the legislation will make. As the
submission by the Maritime Union of Australia points out, the MSIC is designed
to be an identification card, not just a security card.
By attempting to add a secondary purpose to the MSIC regime it will
unreasonably exclude work opportunities for a large pool of already
disadvantaged Australians seeking work. If the Government does seek to change the
security criteria for specific access zones, there are other pathways they
The Greens also believe that this Bill does not go far enough in
tackling security holes identified by multiple submissions
in regards to:
existing flaws and loopholes in the Maritime Crew Visa background
and security checks, exclusion of foreign aviation workers from the need for
the regulation of the increasingly common Flags of Convenience
ships in our domestic shipping industry and city based ports; and
exclusion of managers from stevedoring companies and trucking
companies who are responsible for recruitment, rosters, allocation of ship
berthing and directing security. These are the positions which are most
vulnerable to infiltration.
It is indicative of this Government’s priorities that they would first
look at tackling organised crime by going after worker eligibility rather than
strengthening the current regulatory regime on flags of convenience ships that
undercut wages and freeze out union representation.
Because the Bill fails to deal with the above problems, the Greens
recommend a vote against the Bill in its current form.
That the Bill not be supported in its current form.
That the Government consult further with the sector to develop
Senator Janet Rice
Australian Greens Senator for Victoria
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