Convoy arrives in Canberra; ATA dismisses protest

Convoy arrives at Parliament to call for an election, as the peak trucking representative body distances itself from the protest

Convoy arrives in Canberra; ATA dismisses protest
Convoy arrives in Canberra; ATA dismisses protest
By Ruza Zivkusic | August 22, 2011

Trucks and protestors have gathered outside Parliament in Canberra today as part of the Convoy of No Confidence protest calling for a new election.

Despite media reports of a low level of support for the protest, National Road Freighters Association (NRFA) President Mick Pattel says he is happy with the turn-out.

The convoy members want a new election called, and Pattel claims the trucking industry has had enough of poor governance.

"What will determine the success is whether or not we can get someone to get the Parliament to support a vote of no confidence and go back to the polls. Our members just want a new election so that the Labor Party or the Coalition can govern in their own right without the Greens or the Independents controlling the government," Pattel says.

Pattel believes Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s integrity has been compromised following her carbon tax announcement and the ban on live exports, which has now ended.

Australian Trucking Association (ATA) Government Relations Manager Bill McKinley says the ATA does not endorse the protest.

"We get results for our members through lobbying and advocacy – an approach we believe is much more effective than holding convoys," McKinley says.

"We secured a two-year exemption from the carbon tax for the trucking industry (whereas) the convoy is asking the government to do things it cannot deliver.

"The principle point of convoy is to present a petition calling for a double dissolution election; the Prime minister cannot legally call a double dissolution election because there are no double dissolution trigger bills."

McKinley says the convoy has an undeniable democratic right to protest provided it does not inconvenience Canberra residents.

A spokeswoman for ACT Police says traffic disruptions for the protest were minimal.

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