The President of the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) Paddy Crumlin has made disparaging comments about Liberia in an expletive-laden speech at a conference of the Australian Labor Party.
Speaking in his capacity as Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) national secretary, he said: “30% of the ships carrying [Australian] cargo, come from Liberia. Would anyone at The Australian go to Liberia for their honeymoon? Would you go there for your birthday? The only thing I know about Liberia, other than they will be sailing and moving our cargoes, is ebola. That’s the only other thing that comes out of the joint.”
He added: “WTF?! What is going on here? We need an Australian shipping industry. Is there something wrong with us? All the opinion pieces by people who are masquerading as journalists at The Australian, what the f**k?! What is going on here?! Who’s getting it right? Labour’s getting it right!”
The Australian is a national newspaper which has published columns to which Crumlin objects.
He also criticised the Australian government for allegedly not supporting the Australian shipping industry, labelling them: “The Alice in Wonderland people that are running the country now, where big is little and little is big.”
When asked about his comments, he said: “I wasn’t having a go at Liberians – I’m having a go at the shipowners and the Abbott government. I mean, ebola is no laughing matter. Is there anything lower than exploiting a country going through stuff like that?”
Crumlin has been the President of the ITF, which represents transport unions around the world, since 2010.