Wrong Aus­tralia pol­icy

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - Letters -

Union dis­quiet over le­git­i­mate for­eign labour re­calls one of our na­tion’s more back­ward eras.

The White Aus­tralia pol­icy arose from worker con­cerns that their jobs were threat­ened by in­ex­pen­sive Chi­nese labour.

Be­lief in “Aus­tralia for the white man” was par­tic­u­larly preva­lent through­out unions.

It was not un­til the post-war Men­zies gov­ern­ment that the White Aus­tralia pol­icy be­gan to be dis­man­tled. Cer­tain La­bor fans are to this day sur­prised to learn that their party was on the wrong side of his­tory.

An echo of that time may now be heard in a union pro­posal to elim­i­nate or re­strict work­ing hol­i­day visas.

The ACTU is call­ing for a cap on the num­ber of such visas plus a ban on job ads for work­ing hol­i­day visa hold­ers.

It isn’t ex­actly a White Aus­tralia pol­icy, but it def­i­nitely would limit the abil­ity of nonAus­tralians to work here. And, cru­cially, the union pro­posal would im­pact se­verely upon em­ploy­ers who are re­liant on sea­sonal labour.

Again, the union move­ment is on the wrong side.

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