Unhappy convoy targets Canberra


Trucks and other vehicles flow into Canberra to protest against the Federal Government's carbon tax and the live export ban

Unhappy convoy targets Canberra
Unhappy convoy targets Canberra
By Ruza Zivkusic | August 16, 2011

The first ‘Convoy of no Confidence’ of trucks and other vehicles is on its way to Canberra to protest against the Federal Government on Monday, with the National Road Freight Association (NRFA) calling for a new election.

NRFA president Mick Pattel says the industry has had enough of poor governance and wants Prime Minister Julia Gillard out.

"Even the traditional Labor voters are ringing us saying that they’re coming on the convoy because they don’t believe that the Labor Party is the Labor Party anymore," Pattel says.

"They think it’s been hijacked by the Greens who are really a left wing bunch, they’re not really Green at all, we call them ‘artificial green’.

"They believe that the integrity of the Labor Party is being compromised to the extent that they can no longer support it."

Pattel believes Gillard’s integrity has been compromised following her carbon tax announcement and the recent ban of live export, which was later withdrawn.

"That fact that she said before the election that there would be no carbon tax and now because of this arrangement she has to compromise her own beliefs to suit the wishes of the supporters that she had to keep in her power; I just think that when you prostitute yourself to that extent you lose credibility and I just think the Prime Minister is not in a good place.

"I think it would be beneficial for her to say ‘let’s go back to the polls’.

The transport industry is facing a glum future, with bigger operators likely to take over, he adds.

"Policies of the government that aren’t even affecting the transport industry are affecting the industry.

"I know, as I’m in the livestock industry, the live export that was banned has wiped 50 percent of my business out. In some cases it’s 80 percent like in the northern territory where they rely heavily on the live export trade.

"A lot of our people in this industry are suffering from enforcement where they are losing their wages over breaches that have no relationship to safety in any shape or form," Pattel says.

"These guys are working all week, they’re busting their back sides to feed their family and then some copper turns up and books them for something that they didn’t log in the book which is a clerical error. This is criminal, it is stealing the food off tables for hard working Australians and I’ll tell you I’m sick of it."

"We are going to see a lot of operators go to the wall because there’s no quick fix on this and even if we had a change in the government or we had a government that are at a clear mandate, there’s no guarantee that either side of politics is going to be sympathetic to the trucking industry."

A convoy of road trains today left WA’s town of Port Hedland, embarking on a 5700km long journey to Canberra.

Is it one of many from across the country.

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