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Worker Punished For Questioning Shorten Over Tax Cuts

An electrical engineer who accidentally tripped up Prime Ministerial hopeful Bill Shorten has been suspended and not returned to work at the site since.

The 49-year-old contractor from Gladstone noticed his pass stopped working after he asked the Labor leader if he would consider giving tax cuts to high income earners.

Shorten responded that he would look at it, even though Labor’s policy is to charge people like him 2 percent more.

On Monday, the Opposition Leader said he had no knowledge that the employee had been suspended.

“I was unaware of this issue until today," Shorten said.

“People are allowed to express their opinions and they should be able to do so without fear or favour, full stop.”

bill shorten gladstone
Bill Shorten says he had no idea the employee had been suspended.

Shorten did not say what action he thought should now be taken, instead referring to the “company’s statement".

It is unclear just which company is responsible for suspending the employee.

The man -- whose name Network 10 has chosen not to publish -- is employed by Welcon Technologies, which is engaged by Gladstone Ports Corporation, the company that hosted Shorten late last month.

GPC issued a statement, claiming it “did not suspend a port worker or terminate their contract for talking to Opposition Leader Bill Shorten.”

“The port worker, a sub-contractor, is still employed by the contractor and carrying out work for their employer," the statement said.

The man at the centre of the controversy has had nothing but praise for his employer, Welcon Technologies.

“With the direct assistance of Welcon Technologies, I have managed to find temporary alternative employment,” he told the Courier Mail.

“When my pass was cancelled at the port, and my personal items returned to me last Thursday, I did not believe that I was likely to have my contract renewed at the port.”

“I have not performed any work what-so-ever for the port in the last three weeks, and neither have I been asked to perform any work by them.”

“I agree that the suspension was lifted late Friday evening, but I suspect that this was only due to pressure from the media.”

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