SENATOR KRISTINA KENEALLY
DEPUTY LABOR LEADER IN THE SENATE
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HOME AFFAIRS
SHADOW MINISTER FOR IMMIGRATION AND CITIZENSHIP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY
SENATOR FOR NEW SOUTH WALES
JULIAN HILL MP
DEPUTY CHAIR, JOINT STANDING COMMITTEE OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTS AND AUDIT
MEMBER FOR BRUCE
AUSTRALIANS AT THE BACK OF THE QUEUE UNDER LIBERALS’ NEW MIGRATION PLAN
Two million Australians are currently out of work or can’t get enough hours; yet the Liberals are recommending a new migration plan to prioritise foreign workers over Australians in jobs like hairdressers, carpenters, electricians, seafarers, cooks, motor mechanics and more.
Labor recognises the important role migration plays in our economy and community, but the recommendations in the Liberal-controlled Joint Standing Committee on Migration's Interim Report into Australia's Skilled Migration Program, released yesterday, are absolutely wrong in the current economic context.
The Member for Bruce, Julian Hill, speaking in response to the report, warned that, if adopted, these recommendations would disadvantage Australians looking for work as the nation is trying to recover from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.
"This is ill-conceived and appallingly timed," said Mr Hill.
"This Liberal-controlled committee has made recommendations that will clearly undermine the ability of Australians to get jobs by making it easier for businesses to bring in foreign workers.
"The Liberals want to weaken labour market testing and immediately expand the number of occupations on the skills shortage list to include chefs, veterinarians, cafe managers, seafarers, motor mechanics, cooks, carpenters, electricians and other hospitality roles – without consideration of what this means for Australian workers.
"Scott Morrison has cut traineeships, apprenticeships and skills’ training, given a green light to wage theft, and failed to act as more and more gig workers are forced to work below minimum wages in unsafe conditions.
“Wage growth has stagnated under the Liberals, yet Scott Morrison is still trying to cut the pay of Australian workers.
“Now the Liberals want to make it easier for businesses to bring in foreign workers as millions of Australians are looking for a job or more hours at work. You couldn’t make this stuff up. Government MPs seriously think this is good policy. Shame on them for selling out Australian workers and those looking for a job.”
Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Kristina Keneally, said it is unconscionable that the Liberal MPs on the government-controlled committee are proposing to give seats on planes and places in quarantine to foreign workers while there are still more than 40,000 Australians stranded overseas.
“Scott Morrison promised stranded Australians they would be home by Christmas. They were not – some 40,000 remain stranded.
“Scott Morrison promises stranded Australians they are at the front of the queue, ahead of foreign workers and international students – but in this report, Liberal MPs propose that stranded Australians move to the back of the queue.
“The Liberal MPs’ recommendations to prioritise foreign workers over stranded Aussies for scarce quarantine spaces is a cruel joke to play on our fellow citizens.”
“It’s past time for Scott Morrison to show leadership, implement the Halton report, provide a national quarantine facility, and get the 40,000 stranded Australians home.”
FRIDAY, 19 MARCH 2021