Thursday, 4 February 2021
As I said before in ending my previous speech on the economy motion: behind this transfer of wealth that's going on in this country from workers to the elites, Australia has exported more than one million manufacturing jobs over the last 30 years—mostly to China. Why? Because electricity prices have skyrocketed. That's due to Liberal-Labor-Nationals-Greens policies—F Troop.
At the same time we have imported 10 million new Australians to compete for jobs that no longer exist. Both the Morrison government and the Labor Party champion excessive and increasing immigration. But there are other reasons. Only today Labor advanced an amendment to the Customs Amendment (Product Specific Rule Modernisation) Bill 2019 which sought to defend the free trade agreements which lie at the heart of the economic gutting of our country. The government recently signed a free trade agreement with Indonesia that Labor supported. This agreement actually includes a clause that says we have to send vocational skills trainers to Indonesia to train Indonesians to our standard so that these workers can come to Australia and compete with Australian workers to see who will work the cheapest. Free trade agreements turn our labour market into a version of The Hunger Games, with the cheapest worker getting the job. So now we have F Troop meeting The Hunger Games.
Reducing Australian wages to the level of our cheapest trading partner is a designed feature of free trade agreements. Labor are supporting a direct and quantifiable attack on the wages and entitlements of Australian workers, so we won't be blaming just the Morrison government: they're all doing it. F Troop! The effect of this race to the bottom can be easily seen in Australia's median wage, which is the point which half the people of Australia earn less than and half earn more than. In Australia over the last 30 years, our median wage has remained constant after adjustment for inflation. Everyday Australian workers have not had a wage increase in 30 years—that's after inflation. No increase in 30 years! This does not even take into account that in this period real estate, education and health care have increased by as much as 300 per cent. If everyday Australians feel like they are working harder and have less money it is because that is exactly what is happening. That too is on the tired, old parties, not just the Morrison government: Labor, Liberal and Nationals. F Troop!
I've worked overseas. I've worked as a miner underground in this country, in several states. Australian workers are among the world's best. Australian workers are innovative and use their initiative. I've been in many countries overseas and I know that we have the best workers in the world; we just need honest government to help them get along.
Senate adjourned at 18 : 00