Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash

Shadow Attorney-General

Shadow Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations

Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate

Senator for Western Australia


15 DECEMBER 2023


The Albanese Government should immediately intervene in the crippling dispute affecting some of Australia’s ports to halt the ongoing damage to the national economy and before Christmas is further disrupted for businesses and consumers.

The dispute is affecting DP World terminals where the Maritime Union of Australia has been taking rolling industrial action around Australia since the start of October. The action has included 24-hour strikes and bans on unloading ships.

Shipping Australia has been reported in the media as estimating the dispute is costing the economy $20 million a day.

Shadow Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Senator Michaelia Cash said: “The time for Minister Tony Burke to act has arrived. Mr Burke has given no indication that he is willing to intervene in this dispute.”

“He should explain to the Australian people, who are doing it tougher than ever this Christmas, what threshold needs to be reached before he will intervene,’’ Senator Cash said.

“We are hearing from businesses that the import of goods intended for delivery before Christmas have been disrupted and delayed. Extra costs have been incurred by businesses because shipping companies have offloaded some goods at unaffected ports and transported them further by road and rail,’’ she said.

“In the middle of a cost-of-living crisis this country can’t afford to be held to ransom and have further costs passed onto consumers because of the action of the unions,’’ Senator Cash said.

“Australia’s ports are crucial to our nation’s economic well-being and industrial action can have devastating effects which is why the Minister is given the power to intervene,” Senator Cash said.

“This Government has already proved itself weak and slow to react to issues when direct action is needed – this is exactly what we are seeing unfold again,’’ she said.

“Mr Burke should act immediately,’’ Senator Cash said.