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Published: 26 Mar 2009
All Australian waterside workers and MUA members have been cleared by the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) with the Maritime Union and Ports Australia yesterday dismissing political allegations by the Federal Opposition of bikie gang or criminal infiltration of the wharves
"You go through an extensive police backgrounding check," MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin told ABC Radio PM. "You go through a merit-based selection program where the employers, there are only two major employers on the waterfront, extensively do psychological analysis, background checks, referees.
"You then go from a situation where when you actually start, you're virtually on CCTV and under scrutiny for the whole period of time that you're there," he said "There is absolutely no organised crime and infiltration and maybe people who ride motorbikes but they ride them to work and they ride them home and they do it in a safe way and in a legal way, that's about the end of it."
The opposition jumped on revelations from the Australian Crime Commission to a joint federal parliamentary committee in Canberra this week that outlaw motorcycle gangs have infiltrated the maritime and security industries, claiming bikie gangs where drug running on the wharves and calling for specialised police force on Australia's waterfront.
But a more close reading of the Crime Commission statement and annual report by the MUA Canberra bureau showed the reference was to the maritime sector generally, not the wharves. Rather the ACC annual report gives a detailed reference to a major project examining small craft and domestic fishing most vulnerable to ??criminal exploitation.
Susan Fryda from Ports Australia told ABC Radio ?"Ports are required and have implemented a very stringent maritime security regime as a result of the terrorism threats from 9/11."?
She said the current regime is working well.