Wrong Australia policy
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.