EDITORIAL: Not all publicity is good publicity in trucking fight

By: Jason Whittaker


The media, inevitably, talks to the people that make the most noise and the least sense. And there’s nobody louder

The media, inevitably, talks to the people that make the most noise and the least sense. And there’s nobody louder and more irrational in the trucking industry than the rag-tag team of operators that make up the Australian Long Distance Owners and Drivers Association (ALDODA).

To its credit, perhaps, the horribly acronymned and fairly unrepresentative gang have been all over the news with their national work stoppage in the fight for a better deal for trucking operators. Even Mel and Kochie, the venerable Sunrise pair, took up the cause with rabble-rousing husband and wife team Chris and Lyn Bennetts in a hard-hitting examination of the new heavy vehicle fatigue laws.

(Mel suggested it wasn’t fair truckies had to pull up on the side of the road without proper rest facilities. Kochie declared drivers should simply park up a few kilometres earlier where there is somewhere nicer to stop. Problem solved.)

But any publicity is not necessarily good publicity for the industry’s cause.

The issues are worth fighting for: a legislated sustainable rates structure, better rest area facilities, making customers more accountable for long queuing times. But protests and blockades are not the answer.

ATN is often howled at by this group for not supporting their action. We never have and we never will.

From Kevin Rudd, whose office has been constantly pestered by the group, to politicians and bureaucrats from Canberra down, ALDODA is a time-wasting joke. While these operators make outlandish demands and threaten disruptive protests – threats that look increasingly hollow the more they make them – these issues will never receive a fair hearing where it counts. Breakfast television excluded.

ATN doesn’t make light of the sheer desperation of many operators in the face of escalating running costs and an increasing regulatory burden. Indeed, we push those in power every day to respond to the issues most important to the trucking industry.

But like the union and every recognised trucking association in the country, we agree ALDODA is as silly as its name.

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