Port worker reveals why he bailed up Shorten in video


THE former Gladstone Ports worker suspended for asking Opposition Leader Bill Shorten a question during the election campaign has filmed a video to reveal what he really wanted to tell politicians.

In a video exclusively obtained by The Courier-Mail, the electrical engineer refers to "learning the hard way" about how some workers are treated in the workplace, in a direct swipe at Gladstone Ports Corporation.

While he doesn't mention Labor, it is clear who he is having a crack at.

In the video he vents his frustration at politicians who describe workers earning more than $180,000 as the "top end of town".

Of the major parties, only Labor regularly uses the term, "the top end of town".

Labor also has a temporary deficit levy of 2 per cent on those earning more than $180,000 a year.

"There's been some discussion in the media lately about free speech, how employees get treated in the workplace, which I found out the hard way of course,'' he says.

"I'm nobody, I'm an Australian engineer."

The father-of-three, who started a new job today, was suspended after he asked an unscripted question of Mr Shorten during a carefully planned Labor event at the Queensland Government-owed port on April 23.

Mr Shorten walked towards him and shook his hand and made small talk.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten with the electrical engineer in Gladstone.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten with the electrical engineer in Gladstone. Kym Smith

"It would be good to see higher-wage income earners given a tax break,'' the worker told Mr Shorten.

Mr Shorten responded, "We're going to look at that", sparking the Coalition to accuse the Opposition Leader of deliberately misleading the worker.

It was a pivotal moment of Labor's campaign, but Opposition employment spokesman Brendan O'Connor said Mr Shorten was just being "polite".

The next day, the worker's pass was cancelled. There is no suggestion Mr Shorten had anything to do with the man's suspension.

In the video, the 49-year-old said as a contractor he was paid well because of some of his jobs had inherent risks, and was not entitled to benefits like sick pay.

"We are referred to the top end of town. We are not the top end of town.

"If we don't go to work, we don't get paid."

He said he did not mind paying tax, which paid for infrastructure and essential services.

He argued there needed to be a review of the tax system and to take into account the challenges posed to some high-income earners.