AS THE year comes to a close and the days get hotter and stickier on the shores of Port Jackson, excitement and anticipation builds ahead of Shipping Australia’s annual Christmas luncheon.
“It is one of the great gatherings of our maritime industry,” NSW Ports CEO Marika Calfas said during her address to hungry and thirsty punters. (Full disclosure: NSW Ports was a major sponsor of the event).
New South Wales roads, maritime and freight minister Melinda Pavey gave the keynote address.
“I get the feeling that this is going to be a fun lunch and that the speeches should be kept to an absolute minimum,” she said.
She gave shout-outs to the VIPs in the crowd, with particular attention given to Michael Daley, deputy leader of the opposition in NSW.
“You’ve got a great dad, because he was born in my electorate,” Ms Pavey said.
“And, Mike, you might take this on board: Give everyone here a really happy Christmas and bring the MUA and CFMEU into line on the pilots; this would make everybody happy,” she said, in an apparent reference to the protracted EA negotiations between the unions representing pilot cutter crews and the Port Authority of NSW.
The minister’s remarks were met with an uproar of applause.
As lunchers munched on either chicken or beef dishes, the proceedings continued as door prizes wrapped in festive paper were given away, including a colossus of a television.
The rules dictated that the person called had to be present to win the prize, and only one, a certain communications director, was absent, missing out on what was undoubtedly a fabulous prize.
Actor and comedian Tahir Bilgiç got the crowd laughing during the dessert course. He compelled several members of the audience to say “my car is fully sick” to great comic effect.
(More full disclosure: DCN attended the event as a guest of Shipping Australia)