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Gladstone Ports worker rocks the boat

By John Mikkelsen - posted Thursday, 16 May 2019


Labor's election campaign has encountered some stormy waters after media reports that a Gladstone Ports worker had been suspended after asking Bill Shorten an innocent question during his recent campaign visit.

The encounter made headlines when the sub-contractor said some of his ports colleagues were earning $250,000 a year and asked Shorten what Labor could do about tax relief.

Rather than admitting their tax bill would rise, he replied, "We're going to look at that…"

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According to reports in The Courier Mail,The Australian, and repeated in other media, when the worker arrived at the port the next day, his pass failed to work, his desk was cleared out and its contents returned to him.

The waters have become more murky since then, with the Gladstone Ports Corporation (GPC) weighing in.

"The individual, a subcontractor not a Gladstone Ports Corporation employee, was not in a position to speak with any knowledge or authority on behalf of the organisation."

Well, all he did was ask a reasonable question which should have received an honest answer.

The Ports Corporation issued another statement later on Monday saying it did not suspend the man.

"The port worker, a sub-contractor, is still employed by the contractor and carrying out work for their employer," it said.

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The Gladstone resident told media he was suspended, but he was unwilling to comment over fears about finding­ full-time work.

The Courier-Mail said it began asking questions about the issue last Friday, and it understood the man was contacted by electrical contracting firm Welcon Technol­ogies informing him his suspension had been lifted.

"However, he had already taken on a short-term job elsewhere. Welcon failed to ­return calls yesterday."

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About the Author

John Mikkelsen is a long term journalist, former regional newspaper editor, now freelance writer formerly of Gladstone in CQ, but now in Noosa.

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