Racist slur on China FTA
LAST week in Townsville we saw the future and the past at one event. We saw the Austrade Free Trade Agreement ( FTA) road show, helping people get their foot in the door to grow their businesses internationally, and we saw a union campaign designed to point the finger at the Chinese and scare people with racist taunts.
The Austrade officials explained how to establish a relationship with business people in China, Japan, and Korea, to an eager and engaged audience. Austrade was there, at my invitation, to help Townsville grow our businesses through giant economies.
Compare that to the scenes outside where union members and hangerson stood around and shouted slogans which were plainly anti- China, antijobs, and anti- Townsville. This is a pointer towards the next election where Labor will run a huge scare campaign, based solely on fear. I say solely because they cannot be pro jobs if they are against these FTAs.
The Chinese FTA alone is predicted to add $ 17 billion to our economy. So, while Labor’s candidate was
these standing out the front protesting against jobs and investment coming into our region, businesses inside were hearing about how to grasp these opportunities and grow.
It is clear that Labor and the unions are simply not telling the truth. Department of Trade officials have stated: “What we won’t do is allow the labour standards and job security of Australians to be undermined by a weakening of the testing provisions in terms of guest worker provisions in this country. We believe Australia is smart enough to improve our trade with China but also not sell out Australian jobs and the conditions of Australian workers.”
The department slammed as completely false the argument from the ETU that Chinese electricians could work on projects in Australia without having their skills assessed beforehand. Union claims that the Chinese can import asbestos or other dangerous products are just not true and must be called out for what they are – racist attacks.
Surely the politically simple question to ask is why would any Govern- ment sign up to a clause which alienated and disqualified its own voting public? It just does not make sense.
I see a future where Townsville acts as a hub for international investment and trade. A Townsville where people wanting to work can get a job and be well paid. A Townsville which is proud to play its part on the international stage. A Townsville which embraces these FTAs and squeezes all the benefits they bring.
EWEN JONES, Federal Member for Herbert.