Key independent MP Tony Windsor dashed hopes of rushing the super trawler bill in Parliament. If pushed into voting for the measure introduced just this week, Mr Windsor told ABC on Thursday that he would vote against the bill.
He explained that being given sufficient time to study critical bills is a long-standing arrangement with the Labor Party which counts on crossbench support for its bills to pass Parliament.
"I genuinely haven't made a decision, so I'm not leaning any way," ABC quoted the MP.
"My decision will be made on whether this is a process that has been followed correctly and whether there is a real need for the government to interrupt that process and actually start another process," he explained.
Another independent MP, Rob Oakeshott, called the bill a rush job and described it as a bit of a moving feast based on the number of amendments it proposed. He hinted that he would not support the measure.
Opposition environment spokesman Greg Hunt said the Coalition would vote against the bill because it is a Trojan horse operation aimed at giving Environment Minister Tony Burke unprecedented and unfettered ministerial powers but will not protect fish stocks.
Nick McKim, leader of the Tasmanian Greens, said Seafish Tasmania has only itself to blame for the job losses.
"Ultimately the Seafish Tasmania has to wear this because they are the ones that went out and employed people before they had a licence to operate and Seafish Tasmania are the guilty party here . . . They should be apologising to people they are now saying they have to sack."
Labor introduced the bill in a bid to step the vessel Abel Tasman from fishing in Australian waters for two years. The 142-metre trawler is owned by Seafish Tasmania. The bill seeks the creation of an expert panel to come up with scientific evidence on the impact of large-scale fishing operations on Australia's fishing industry.
Gerry Green, director of Seafish Tasmania, said the failed venture into Australian waters cost the firm and its Dutch business partners millions of dollars. The company had to axe 50 people it hired for the venture.
Opposition Senate leader Eric Abetz had warned that the move by the federal government to ban Abel Tasman for fishing for two years could open the government to compensation claims from Seafish Tasmania.
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