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Labor and Liberal pre-election pledges

What are the Labor and Liberal leaders
claiming in their pre-election pledges when it comes to migrant workers and
small businesses in Australia?  Outlined
in this article, taken from The New Daily, are a few elements that have been
suggested by the leaders. What do you think?  

Labor leader Bill Shorten will on
Tuesday pledge to overhaul 457-style visas to ensure that employers cannot use
cheap foreign labour to replace Australian workers.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will
also be campaigning on employment, pledging to create 250,000 new small
businesses – with a new $100 million fund. 

Despite courting controversy in the
past with an “Australians First” advertisment that was criticised as “too
white”, Labor will argue that the 457 policy is a legitimate response to
protecting workers’ pay and entitlements. 

The Labor leader has vowed to change
the law if he is elected, to ensure that the lowest wage that a worker can be
paid under a 457-style visa does not undercut the pay and conditions of local
employees.

“Under the Liberals, everything is
going up except people’s wages and too many local workers are being left at the
back of the queue for local jobs,” Mr Shorten said. 

“When businesses use overseas workers
as a cheap replacement for local workers it contributes to wage stagnation.”

Unions will also be granted more
powers to extend the current standing that exists for unions to commence civil
actions for breaches of the Fair Work Act to include breaches of the Migration
Act relating to visa work conditions.

A new Australian Jobs Test will also
prevent labour agreements from being entered into unless they support or create
jobs for Australian workers.

When Mr Shorten first floated the 457
reforms, former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull condemned him as a hypocrite.

“Mr Shorten’s hypocrisy on the
subject of foreign workers is breathtaking. The highest number of 457 visas
were granted when he was the employment minister,” Mr Turnbull said.

But it was a television advertisement
released nearly two years ago that sparked internal tension after Labor’s
frontbencher Anthony Albanese, labelled the ad “a shocker” because it had too
many white people. 

But Labor will argue that there are
one million Australians who are “underemployed” and want more hours, while
youth unemployment is at 11.7 per cent.

“At the same time, there are almost
1.6 million temporary visa holders with work rights in Australia, with the top
end of town turning to temporary work visas to undercut local jobs, wages and
conditions,” Mr Shorten said.

“Despite this, the
Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison government has done nothing but make superficial
changes to 457-style visas without addressing the significant loopholes that
exist in Australia’s visa system.”

The detail of the changes include
increasing the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) – the
lowest amount workers can be paid – immediately to $65,000 with annual
indexing. 

Mr Shorten said Labor will also close
loopholes that allow employers to claim they are making that base pay by
including the cost of sub-standard accommodation and inflated or excessive
overtime hours. 

Labor will also create a public
register that outlines the number of visa holders engaged by individual
workplaces and employers and require employers to provide their workers with a
copy of the relevant collective agreement, award or labour agreement.

On Monday, Labor also announced
changes to family visas to woo migrant voters. 

Labor is promising to slash fees,
accusing the Morrison government of imposing “heartless, callous and cruel
conditions” forcing families to choose between which parents or in-laws they
reunite with by limiting the visa to one set of parents per household.

“Many elderly parents want to reunite
with their families but have to travel to Australia as tourists – proving
costly, frustrating, disruptive and exhausting as they ferry between
countries,” Mr Shorten said.

Mr Shorten will also confirm Labor
will replace the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) with a new
fund that will help build infrastructure projects like gas pipelines across
Queensland and the Northern Territory.  

Labor claims the $5 billion NAIF fund
has not spent “a single cent in Queensland” since it was announced by Tony
Abbott.  

“As part of these changes, up to $1.5
billion will be set aside to unlock gas supply in Queensland’s Galilee and
Bowen basins and connecting the Beetaloo to Darwin and the east coast,” Mr
Shorten said.

“This project would support Darwin as
a manufacturing and gas export powerhouse as well as increasing supply to
Queensland and the eastern seaboard to put downward pressure on prices for gas
users.

“Opening up the Beetaloo alone could
provide enough gas to supply the domestic market for up to 400 years.”

The Prime Minister will pledge that
the Liberals will create 250,000 new small businesses if re-elected.

Mr Morrison is promising more
announcements to come on Tuesday, but will argue Labor’s plan for $387
billion in higher taxes will make small businesses smaller and force employers
to sack staff.

“My government will create 250,000
new small and family businesses across the country over the next five years
through our plan for a stronger economy, while Labor wants to tax those small
businesses to make them even smaller,” Mr Morrison said.

“This is about creating opportunities
for all those people with a great idea for a business just looking for a chance
to have a go.”

The Morrison government will
establish a $100 million Australian Business Growth Fund to help small and
family businesses to grow into bigger and better businesses and create more
jobs.

The fund will deliver patient capital to these businesses so they can grow without having to give up control. 

Source: The New Daily

It feels like Bill Shorten is trying to please everyone here, but how will it work in reality? If you are currently hoping to obtain a visa either for yourself or your family, do get in touch and we would be delighted to help.

 

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