Tuesday, July 10, 2012

504 Mining Companies & Labor Gov't bringing in foreign workers to undercut Australian wages

Mining Companies & Labor Gov't bringing in foreign workers to undercut
Australian wages

For years, the Trots and their Anarchist fellow-travellers have
lambasted those who oppose immigration as racist and "far right".

Now, however, the Unions see that the livelihoods of ordinary Australian
workers are being undermined by mass immigration of workers to displace

The Trots & Anarchists have gone strangely quiet on this issue. Green
Left Weekly has nothing to say about it, but keeps welcoming
asylum-seekers: http://www.greenleft.org.au/

As Labor Governments betray the working class, they in turn cease voting

We may be entering an era of mass struggle like the 1890s. The workers
will defend themselves against the Trotskyist traitors in their midst.

(1) Mining Companies & Labor Gov't bringing in foreign workers to
undercut Australian wages
(2) Australia's Foreign Minister Bob Carr calls traditional Labor voters
(3) Julia Gillard endorses immigration, condemns White Australia of
1950s, in address to Fabian Society (2006)

(1) Mining Companies & Labor Gov't bringing in foreign workers to
undercut Australian wages

From: Peter Wilkinson <editor@independentaustralian.com.au> 1 April
2012 15:05


Fear of foreign workers strikes Australia again

Posted March 29, 2012 20:23:00

Importing workers for booming mining projects is backed by people like
Gina Rinehart and supported by government but is facing union resistance.

Greg Hoy

Source: 7.30 Report


CHRIS UHLMANN, PRESENTER: The fear of cheap imported workers driving
down wages is etched deep in Australia's psyche. And the century-old
spectre is rising again, with the mining boom's insatiable demand for
labour. The resource industry has now embraced enterprise migration
agreements that bring in semi-skilled migrants en masse to staff mining
projects. And leading the charge is Australia's richest person, Gina
Rinehart. The Government's a keen supporter of the plan, but as Greg Hoy
reports, there's a rebellion brewing among unions amid allegations that
the schemes are being rorted.

GREG HOY, REPORTER: In feeding Asia's voracious appetite for steel a new
minefield is opening for Australia's Iron Lady.

Gina Rinehart is digging in on what she says is the number one problem
threatening major resource projects in Australia: an acute labour shortage.

Her new Roy Hill iron ore project is now negotiating with government
Australia's first enterprise migration agreement, or EMA. Though details
are confidential, it's believed this would bring in around 1,500
semi-skilled migrants such as scaffolders, riggers and bulldozer drivers.

DAVE NOONAN, NATIONAL SECRETARY, CFMEU: These people have showed that
they've got immense power, immense wealth and they're prepared to go
publicly and attack governments where they disagree with them.

GREG HOY: It's true the Federal Government and mining associations are
highly supportive of EMAs for mining investments worth $2 billion or more.

migration agreements to cut red tape for very large resources projects
which'll have a very strong demand for labour. And the biggest risk to
many of these projects proceeding is simply being able to assure people
that they will have the labour to do the job.

GEOFF BULL, AUST. MINES AND METALS ASSN: There are a number of large
resource projects in WA, there are a number of large resource projects
under construction in Queensland in the LNG gas area, there a number of
expansions in the hard rock mining area and they'll all be looking to
see whether the enterprise migration agreement is something that they
can use.

GREG HOY: But critics are highly suspicious.

in secrecy. Thousands of domestic workers are being precluded from
gaining access to those jobs.

GREG HOY: Unions claim you're just trying to please mining magnates, the
process is far too secretive and Australians will miss out on those jobs?

CHRIS BOWEN: On the contrary, enterprise migration agreements are
necessary to create jobs, because without them, there's a real risk that
some large projects won't proceed.

DAVE NOONAN: There's not much evidence that investment in the mining
sector's being impeded. There are tens of the billions of dollars being
invested in the mining sector right now.

GREG HOY: Gina Rinehart has put her proposed solution to poetry. "The
globe is sadly groaning with debt, poverty and strife, And billions now
are pleading to enjoy a better life." And then further on, "Embrace
multiculturalism and welcome short-term foreign workers to our shores,
To benefit from the export of our minerals and ores."

DAVE NOONAN: Gina Rinehart's proposition is that she wants to raise up
the poorer people in the developing world. Some people may believe that.
I don't.

GEOFF BULL: There's a huge cost in bringing people from overseas and it
is a last resort. And in addition to that, they must commit to training

GREG HOY: Critics question the track record of commitments to train
Australians and have long called for a central registry and job sites
for Australians who want to work in the mines.

BOB BIRRELL: Over the past two years there's been no growth in the
employed construction workforce in Australia and a downturn in such
employment in the eastern states. There are now tens of thousands of
domestic workers who would like to get access to those mining industry jobs.

GREG HOY: But won't mining companies simply prefer to use migrants
workers with far less bargaining power?

CHRIS BOWEN: I would need to be convinced that it is in a mining
company's interest to bring in workers when there are Australian workers

DAVE NOONAN: That's done under the current system by the company going
off and hiring a consultant to tell them that there is a shortage of
local workers. And I hate to be cynical, but quite frankly, consultants
will tell you anything that you wanna hear if ya pay them enough.

GREG HOY: As for 457 visas for more skilled migrants, employers are
required by immigration law to pay migrants the same market rate as
Australians, though there are serious concerns this can be easily rorted.

Large numbers of Chinese workers have been brought in on 457 visas by
the giant Sino Iron project near Karratha in WA. Since 2010, unions have
complained they've been seriously underpaid in breach of the law.

DAVE NOONAN: There are hundreds of workers from China working on half
the rate that Australian workers doing the same work are on. Many of
those workers, we believe, are working in breach of their visas, they're
working in breach of 457 visas because they're working at semi-skilled
or unskilled work. The Immigration Department has received numerous
complaints about this and they have been derelict in their duty about
doing anything about it.

GREG HOY: Did you know about this?

CHRIS BOWEN: Look, I am aware of that and that is being investigated and
any breaches of the 457 or the Fair Work Act are taken very seriously.
But I'd make this point: we do build in protections, we do make sure
that there's hurdles that employers must cross in order to justify
skilled or semi-skilled migration and market rates must be paid.

GREG HOY: Sino Iron says the project has been cleared by the Fair Work
Ombudsman, which did in fact defer to the Immigration Department as to
whether workers had been paid at the market rate.

DAVE NOONAN: The Government needs to stop just talk about standing up
for working Australians against the interests of the big mining bosses
and do something practical about it and enforce their own laws.

GREG HOY: Another example unions cite surrounds the tragic death in a
maintenance accident last year at Dampier in WA of a 28-year-old Irish
scaffolder, Sean McBride, who had been brought in to Australia on a 457

DAVE NOONAN: A number of people working for that company were brought
into Australia on the pretext of being project administrators, but in
fact have been employed as scaffolders. That's because they would not
have been able to get visas as scaffolders. Immigration have been very
slow in actually investigating that matter.

GREG HOY: Are you familiar with this case, minister?

CHRIS BOWEN: Yes, I am, and again, there's a range of OHS requirements,
Fair Work Australia requirements and Department of Immigration
requirements, and with individual cases there'll be individual inquiries
and where action is appropriate under any of the existing acts of
Parliament, then action will be taken.

GREG HOY: There are now well over 80,000 workers in Australia already on
457 visas and we are often reminded that they are only temporary. But in
reality, just how temporary will these temporary migrant workers be?

BOB BIRRELL: This is a very important point, and I would expect that at
least half, if not more will subsequently stay on in Australia as
permanent-entry migrants.

CHRIS BOWEN: Well, if a worker likes it in Australia and their employer
likes them, there is capacity for them to apply for permanent migration.
But market rates must be paid and there are other costs for bringing in
overseas workers which the employer must pay which I think means that
employers will always look very closely at trying to get domestic labour
before they look offshore.

CHRIS UHLMANN: That report from Greg Hoy.

(2) Australia's Foreign Minister Bob Carr calls traditional Labor voters


Bob Carr painted ALP faithful as racists, claims the Coalition


From: The Australian March 24, 2012 12:00AM

THE Coalition has accused Bob Carr of branding Labor's faithful
"racists" after the new Foreign Minister said John Howard and Tony
Abbott were "pulling levers about race to get generally working-class
supporters to respond to their nasty little clarion calls".

"Yes, you've seen that. You saw that for a time with John Howard and
... you see it from time to time with Tony Abbott," Senator Carr said on
Thursday night.

The Foreign Minister was philosophising on the ABC's Lateline program
about the willingness of conservative leaders to harness concerns about
issues to pull working-class voters away from the liberal parties they
traditionally supported.

Senator Carr said a lot of things bad for America were unleashed by the
Nixon presidency. "There were things about Nixon I liked - the opening
to China - but I think a lot of genies came out of the bottle and there
was a tainting of the American system.

"I think a lot of the politics of Nixon in rallying a white political
base against liberalism opened some genies. I think it was bad for a
nation that I'm overwhelmingly fond of."

Coalition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison retorted yesterday that
Senator Carr had betrayed Labor's true feelings about Australians
concerned about Labor's border protection policies.

"He's effectively calling them racists," Mr Morrison said.

"Before the last election Julia Gillard tried to tell Australians that
was not what Labor thought when she announced her failed East Timor plan
but now Labor's true feelings have been exposed again," Mr Morrison said.

"It shows how desperate and pathetic Labor excuses and defences have
become for their failed border protection policies when Sideshow Bob
decends to this sort of level."

And the Opposition Leader described Senator Carr as a loose cannon and
criticised him over his concerns about large-scale immigration to Australia.

"Well, I think its very odd to find the Foreign Minister saying that
skilled people shouldn't be coming into our country," Mr Abbott said.

"This is a government which can't stop the boats but wants to stop the

"I think what we've seen over the last couple of weeks is a Foreign
Minister who is liable to become a loose cannon in the Australian polity."

Senator Carr said that because Mr Abbott blocked the Malaysian Solution,
Australia was left with "a half-baked, improvised, unwilling Indonesian

"But we've got more people at risk at sea, we've got a greater
temptation for people-smugglers to bring people into our waters and
we've lot less chance of an orderly handling of this issue."

Senator Carr also said he'd counselled Israel not to take military
action against Iran's nuclear program.

"I said that to the Israeli Foreign Minister when I spoke to him last
week. We think it'd be a perilous course of action for Israel. In other
words, let's adhere to the sanctions."

(3) Julia Gillard endorses immigration, condemns White Australia of
1950s, in address to Fabian Society (2006)


NSW Fabian Society Forum

John Howard: 10 Years On

Address by Julia Gillard

Sydney, Wednesday 22 March 2006


Tonight we do have to answer an important question. What explains the
Howard decade of success and what will cause him to fail? Answering this
question requires us to be clear eyed, at our most analytical. Much of
the conventional progressive analysis of Howard and his success has
lacked clarity. It was hoped if we derided John Howard as a 1950s throw
back, Australia would reject him. It was hoped if people woke up to his
use of the politics of fear, Howard would fail. It was hoped if Howard
was derided as divisive, that he would be repudiated. But these
strategies have failed. Our analysis needs to drive deeper and that is
our task tonight.

The 1950s

To say John Howard wants to turn the clock back to the 1950s is to
misunderstand him and to underestimate the damage he has done.

Stultifying as many found the fifties to be, it was a decade when
Australia began to embrace the vibrancy the wider world had to offer.
Record numbers of immigrants enhanced the complexity of our cultural lives.

Work started on the Sydney Opera House, with its radical – even
revolutionary design. It was a decade of public works projects embodied
in the Snowy Mountains Scheme, and a decade of militancy from organised
labour. And it was the decade when Australians rejected cold war fear-
mongering and refused to ban the Communist Party.

This is not John Howard’s 1950s.

Howard’s 1950s is a two-dimensional vision, as simplistically coloured
as a child’s picture book, of the white knights of benevolent
businessmen battling Howard’s childhood bogeymen – unions and organised

John Howard is busy harming Australian workers as he fights the
ideological battles that occupied the toy soldiers of his childhood.

Certainly, John Howard hankers for the mono-cultural world he remembers,
of white picket fences shielding white families. But he is too smart to
believe he can recreate this Australia.

However, he is smart enough to understand the political potency of this
image, this stylised representation of security and simplicity, for
change weary, anxious Australians.

I suspect John Howard pursues the culture wars with such vigour because
he it enables him to parade this image again and again with his name up
in lights next to it.

Fear and Division

John Howard once famously said the times would suit him.

Indeed they have.

He has left his mark on our times and our times have left their mark on

Today’s John Howard is not the error prone Prime Minister who in his
shaky first term lost 7 Ministers in various scandals, while Pauline
Hanson flamed across the political sky, stirring up simmering
resentments about race and welfare recipients.

Indeed, John Howard went close to being a one term wonder with his
competence in question and division on his right.

Today’s John Howard is not the same John Howard who spent the first half
of 2001 clawing back after the Shane Stone ‘mean and tricky’ memo.

Today’s John Howard has learned the lessons of these times.

And today’s John Howard has gained the advantage given to incumbents
when the world is plunged into insecurity.

But the spectacular degeneration of the global security environment gave
John Howard something more than other incumbents.

First, it increased the number of trump cards in his strong suit of fear
and division. Secondly, it allowed John Howard to portray himself as a
‘father figure’, above and beyond politics, as he led the nation in
mourning at the time of the Bali bombing due to the weakness of Peter
Hollingworth as Governor-General.

This has been a potent mix and it has been no answer for us to chant
‘don’t be afraid’.

In an age of fever pitch change in everything from the economy to
technology to cultural composition and norms, in a world of terrorism, a
hankering for simplicity and certainty, a clutching for family and
friends and a tendency to fear are all understandable.

Labor and progressive forces have sometimes derided the fear of change
and sometimes embraced it.

Neither reaction is right.

Our world will continue to change. But unlike John Howard’s simple white
picket fence imagery and tendency to tap the well of fear, Labor can
offer a vision of the future that embraces change but moderates its
harsher and most destabilizing impacts. A vision of the future based on
values that endure, despite change.

Fighting on Values

To end the Howard Government, we have to understand the reasons for its
success to date and the underlying attitudes of our community.

Then we have to stand and fight for our values. We cannot shy away from
the so-called “culture wars” out of fear of being “wedged” by right-wing
caricatures of Labor values.

While fighting for our values, we have to expose the true values of the
Howard Government, the values it lives by as opposed to the values it

At his recent Australia day address Howard declared the importance of
what he called “the common values that bind us together as one people”,
that provide “social cohesion”.

Among those values he listed “a spirit of egalitarianism that embraces
tolerance, fair play and compassion for those in need” and “respect for
the rule of law”. He also spoke of the importance of all Australians
being part of the mainstream of our national life.

Yet in breathtaking irony, that very praise of tolerance and cohesion
was framed as a corrective to too much “ethnic diversity”.

My first thought was, how dare he? How dare he imply that not being
Anglo-Saxon casts doubt on an Australian’s respect for the rule of law
or compassion for those in need? How dare he take the great Australian
value of a fair go and twist it to serve his rhetoric of division?

How dare he?

He dares because the decade he has been in power has been a decade in
which the values John Howard praises, the values his simple imagery
invokes, have been uncoupled from the policies he puts in place.

How else could a Prime Minister who has presided over a widening gap
between rich and poor praise egalitarianism?

How else could he talk of the importance of respect for the rule of law
from the middle of the AWB scandal?

How else could he talk of compassion after his then Immigration
Minister, Phillip Ruddock, referred to a child suffering psychological
disintegration in detention as “it”?

How else could he talk of fair play while watching basic health and
dental care slide further and further out of reach for needy Australian
families? And when breadwinners can be sacked for no reason, all working
families are at risk of being in need.

And how else could John Howard talk of the importance of social cohesion
and participation in the mainstream when his government’s policies make
participation a pipe-dream for many Australians?

There is a huge gap between the values John Howard claims and the values
his government’s policies demonstrate. Values aren’t something you put
on a badge and pin on your lapel. Nor something you put on a sign that
sits on the lectern from which you deliver your speeches.

We show our values in our actions. And the gap between Howard’s claimed
values and his values in action is a chasm.

The chasm shows in the Howard Government’s Medicare Safety net. The
rhetoric was “Strengthening Medicare”, delivered through the highly

multi-million dollar campaign design to convince us that John Howard
cared about a universal health system.

The policy was meant to help people struggling with their out of pocket
health care costs, people who have high health care needs, people with a
chronic illness who need to access care on an ongoing basis.

But the reality is a very stark contrast. The policy has fuelled heath
inflation, particularly in the areas of obstetrics, which accounts for
almost 40 per cent of the Medicare safety net expenditure.

And the safety net has provided very cushy comfort for those with better
health outcomes and higher incomes who are getting greater access to the
safety net rebates. Just ask Malcolm Turnbull, Brendan Nelson and Joe
Hockey – not to mention Tony Abbott’s own constituents, who have raked
in millions of dollars of safety net payments while the poorest have
missed out.

So while the rhetoric was designed to placate the electorate’s concern
about the erosion of Medicare, the reality is that the majority of
safety net rebates are going to the worried well, the well paid one-off
health consumer, not the middle or lower income chronic illness
sufferer, trying to manage their diabetes, or asthma, or arthritis or

The values that support John Howard’s so-called safety net are values of
unfairness, division and exclusion.

The Howard Government rhetoric on health has set up a fake division
between the public health system and the private health system when the
country needs both. In undermining our public health system, he
undermines the idea that there are some institutions in society which
are important to each of us and about which we all care. Every policy
aimed at splitting Australians into ever smaller groups, sharing neither
hospitals nor social services, is a policy that weakens our community
and our nation.

Where is the egalitarianism, the social cohesion, in that?

I am angry at John Howard’s hijacking of the Australian values that are
at the heart of the labour movement, the values that have shaped my life
and my work.

But I am heartened by the fact that, wily politician as he is, Howard
feels the need to disguise his real preoccupations with terms like
“egalitarian”, “fair play”, “compassion” and “tolerance”. A decade of
effort, and John Howard and his government have not managed to eradicate
the fundamental fairness in the Australian character. The fair go is
still at the heart of who we are.

Wrapping himself in a rhetorical flag is a useful weapon for the Prime
Minister. It lets him caricature his opponents as unAustralian. And for
those of us who live in the sound-bite news-cycle, it makes it seem
safer to play a dead bat on the culture wars.


But we in the labour movement we can and will win by putting our
nation’s common values at the centre of the political debate. John
Howard talks of Australian values to disguise his real priorities. For
Labor, Australian values are our priorities.

Since the labour movement and the Labor Party were born in Australia, we
have known that while Australia’s fair-go, fair-play spirit was hardy
and resilient, it flourished best when Australians have governments
determined to put those values into policy practice. That commitment
must be complete: switching those values on and off for electoral
convenience, as John Howard does, is nothing more than hollow mockery.

That is why Labor will go to the next election wearing our commitment
and our values on our sleeve. … Fair play at work, and an end to John
Howard’s extreme workplace legislation.

… Support for a fair and independent media, rather than the Howard
Government’s attacks on the ABC.

… A high participation, high productivity economy that rewards skills
and hard work and allows no-one to be left to languish.

… Making sure all Australians get a fair go, fighting discrimination,
harassment and barriers to opportunity.

… Foreign policy that respects international law and protects
Australia’s interests.

… Polices based on how Australian families really live and work today,
including dealing with ‘modernity’s paradox’, which describes the
reality that our children are facing a growing array of chronic
illnesses like asthma, diabetes, obesity, intellectual disabilities,
depression and eating disorders — despite all of the medical advances
and our economic prosperity.

… And making sure that our great universal public services — like
Medicare and public hospitals — are not side-lined as residual ripped
safety-nets but remain the high-quality backbone of egalitarian, fair-go
Australia. Over the coming months, Labor will go on fighting as hard as
we can to make sure that we are celebrating anniversaries of John
Howard’s defeat just as soon as possible. Let’s relegate the task of
analysing John Howard to historians.

I am sure that those of you here tonight who share my belief in the
absolute necessity of an Australian government guided, not just cloaked,
by our common Australian values, will be part of that battle.

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