Don’t target wharfies for crime, says MUA

MUA national secretary Paddy Crumlin.

The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) has accused the federal government of unfairly targeting waterfront workers as part of a so-called crackdown on organised crime.

Home Affairs minister Jason Clare said on May 25 that federal police would be given new powers to put waterfront workers out of a job if they have a criminal record or are suspected of involvement in organised crime.

All waterfront workers will now need a special maritime security identification card to keep their jobs. Clare said: “This is tough. I'm not backing away from that and I think that this will be controversial”, AAP reported.

MUA national secretary Paddy Crumlin said: “The overwhelming majority of the stevedoring workforce are law abiding and today's measures are targeting innocent people and their livelihoods …

“The MUA is committed to the elimination of any crime in the small part of the sector in which we have influence but we question whether [a] maritime security identification card is the right tool.”

He said of the 16 arrests made in connection with waterfront crime since July 2010, just one was a waterfront worker.

Crumlin said he hoped “this is not just another Trojan horse to undermine the rights of transport workers”.

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