I was appalled to read Anthony Albanese’s response to Rod Nairn (6/3/2019) and his inference on the name Shipping Australia.

As a founder of SAL (and I might say without my blessing it would not have happened) I went out of my way to ensure this new organisation did indeed represent and acted in the interests of the Australian shipping industry.


Some years ago when Mr Albanese was Minister I made a speech at an AMSA conference defining what “Australian” meant and on all counts (I was chairman of SAL at the time and one of  my company’s founders actually brought ANL into being) SAL ticked off all the boxes. However, we all know the workings of politics and at the time when Albanese was putting together a new inquiry SAL was left out of the equation. All Albanese’s best mates were there and what was the upshot? Nothing. Yet here we go again.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten promises the world with another panel of experts to define what we need to revitalise the Australian shipping industry. Penny to a pound SAL again will not be invited. Yet his besties (doubtless on the behest of Albanese) will be invited.

Albanese/Shorten prattle on about how we need good Aussie seafarers for tankers etc. But how many remember the days of vessels being held up because the colour of the ice cream was not right. Or the parties on oil tankers when serious outcomes were prevented by good luck. That was reality and while I appreciate times have changed the context should be remembered.

With the CFMMEU now in charge, how can we trust there will be a positive outcome?

Michael Phillips
Former chairman
Shipping Australia