House debates

Wednesday, 19 June 2013


Migration Amendment (Temporary Sponsored Visas) Bill 2013; Second Reading

12:57 pm

Photo of Don RandallDon Randall (Canning, Liberal Party, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Local Government) Share this | Hansard source

Deputy Speaker, it is not an imputation; it is a fact that this member comes from the background of a union movement. I am explaining why they are having to pay attention because of the moneys that are going from unions into this particular party opposite. It is a fact and it is a truth. I am not going to withdraw something that is in the printed media on a daily basis about how this government gets funded. In fact, I would like to go to the CFMEU's funding of recent times—in 2007-08, $1.3 million; 2011-12, $372,000. Since 1995-96 there has been $11 million from the CFMEU alone. I point this out in terms of why this legislation is in the House and the cant hypocrisy that this particular legislation has generated from this government in its very dank and dark dying days. The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, in a transcript in Beijing on 27 April, said:

So I've got a very clear focus on lifting labour force participation by Australians and lifting skills—so a young kid sitting at home in Kwinana without a job and without any hope can get the skills he or she needs to get that opportunity in the northwest of our country. Now even with increased labour force participation and increased skills we will need skilled migration.

And here is the rub:

I believe we've got the visa settings right particularly with short term 457 visas.

This is the Prime Minister: 'We have got the settings right'. So what is this bill doing in this place? We know what it is doing in this place.

Before those opposite get up and say, 'He's anti-union', which is absolutely untrue, let me put on the record that this is about the unions overstepping their control of the Labor Party. In my party room—and my colleagues will concur—I have stood up on many occasions and said, 'Australians should have jobs before anyone else; we should be upskilling our Australians.' One of things I have said is that if a welder goes to Austal ships and they say to him, 'Yes, but have you got an aluminium welding certificate?', they do not say, 'No, because you have not got one, we will get a foreign worker.' You actually train them onsite and you upskill the workers in the workforce—but we have not got enough. Before anybody thinks it is in the resources sector where we are short of skills, here is the Australian Hotels Association and Tourism Accommodation Australia's pre-election policy platform, which we have all received. It says under 'AHA Position':

Current workforce development priorities do not address the needs of the hotel industry with its large casual workforce. Training incentives are focused on ideology rather than the occupational requirements, and the current Job Services Australia (JSA) agency is not structured to assist filling vacancies in the hotel industry. To address this:

    It goes on about training incentives et cetera, and it says that the government should be supporting bring in more workers, in terms of migration, so that they can fill their vacancies.

    If you are a Chinese restaurant and you want a Chinese cook and you cannot find an Australian of Chinese heritage, of course you go to the other group. One of the Clerks at the table would be very aware of the documentation that I have here. I chaired an inquiry into this very matter. The report is entitled Temporary visaspermanent benefits. And, dare I say—before those over there snigger and carry on—the Labor and other members of the committee were Senator Helen Polley; Senator Andrew Bartlett; Senator Linda Kirk, until her political demise; Laurie Ferguson; Julia Irwin; and Carmen Lawrence. Do not tell me that they are good right-wingers. But this was a unanimous report. The terms of reference asked us to inquire into the adequacy of the 457 visa system and whether it was being rorted. The inquiry's terms of reference included:

    Inquire into … eligibility requirements … and … monitoring, enforcement and reporting arrangements for temporary business visas …

    There were many excellent recommendations. Because I do not have the time, I particularly point those who would be interested to recommendations 17 to 22, which talk about compliance and monitoring of any abuses.

    This particular minister has been out there saying that there are 10,000 abuses. We know it is not true, because when challenged he eventually had to come clean and reveal that he made the figure up. The Migration Council of Australia said that there was no evidence to back up this rorting. So here we are. We have people coming on genuine 457 skilled visas, and they are being told, 'You're not wanted,' and the government are going to try to stop it or make it hard for you to get here, which I will get to in a moment. But they are still willing to destroy our borders and allow migrants to arrive here without a visa. In fact, we have had 42,000 of them while this government have been in place, on more than 700 boats—753 at this stage, and counting, because it changes on a daily basis. They do not come with a visa, but the people who come with a visa the government want to stop. But there is even more cant and hypocrisy on this issue. We had the member for Makin a moment ago saying: 'Shock horror! This has risen by 20 per cent.' Have a guess who was the government in this place when it went up 20 per cent. It was the Labor Party, in conjunction with its Independents. Prove to us where the rorting is. Nobody can.

    The unintended consequence of this sort of legislation, besides its racist overtones, is the fact that, for example, if you are going to try to get a doctor in this country, you are now going to have to go through this very lengthy labour market testing, controlled by the union movement, where you will have Fair Work Australia inspectors et cetera trawling all over your business. That is fine. As I said, there is nothing wrong with monitoring and nothing wrong with being surveilled, because most of these people are doing the right thing. I am aware of so many businesses in my electorate that need 457 visa holders and could not operate without them.

    But, at the end of the day, here is the real 457 visa person: the Prime Minister herself could not get an Australian to run her spin doctor exercises in her office, so she brought in the most famous 457 visa holder, Mr John McTernan. Did they go out there and explain to anyone why they could not get anyone in Australia? Did they do labour market testing and advertising? Show us the documentation and how you went out there and tried to enlist an Australian before John McTernan came here. The union movement themselves have admitted that they have a whole lot of 457 visa holders in their own employ. They could not find any Australians. What an absolute joke!

    This is all about a union bill going through this place. We know about all the bills stacked up in this parliament that you are trying to get through in the last six days. We have had right of entry. We had the bill the other day that stops foreign workers coming to oil rigs. If you come through Karratha and go through the transit lounge, you now have to get a visa, because they want to put you in a union. So this is about the union bosses saying to this government, 'We give you the patronage, we give you your preselections, we give you your money and you'd better take notice of us, because if you don't we're going to toss you out; we're not going to give you the money.'

    In the dying days of this government they are going to try to lock it away so that, should we be fortunate enough to be elected on 14 September, we will have to try to unpick this, as the Australian people want us to do. This legislation is unnecessary, it is racist and it is jingoistic. Bringing this sort of legislation into the parliament shows an appalling lack of judgement by this government. It is a disgrace to the Australian people that we should even be debating it here when there are so many other priorities, and people who are looking for jobs in Australia should be— (Time expired)


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