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Jobs and growth…but for who?

The Abbott government says they are all about jobs and growth, but for who?

In 2012, unions were outraged by a decision to allow Gina Rinehart to import more than 1,700 foreign workers on 457 visas for her latest project in Western Australia.

Paul Howes said “This is a big win for Gina Rinehart, it’s a big win for Clive Palmer, it’s a big win for Twiggy Forrest and it’s a massive kick in the guts, a massive kick in the guts to those 130,000 workers in the manufacturing industry who have lost their jobs since 2008.”

A number of companies in construction, mining and IT hired many more foreign workers than they had applied for. The straw that broke the camel’s back was one company allegedly bringing in 800 workers under the 457 visa in an 18 month period when they were only granted approval for 100 visas over three years.

In 2013, the Labor government tightened the regulations to prevent employers from hiring more workers then they originally advertised to the market.

Tony Abbott’s government have made adjustments to the 457 Visa regulation, allowing employers to again hire an unlimited amount of foreign workers with a temporary working visa.

In April this year, the Federal Government was asked to investigate claims that 457 work visas are being abused at Gina Rinehart’s $10 billion Roy Hill iron ore project in the Pilbara.

The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union said there were up to 200 Korean white collar 457 visa workers employed by contractor Samsung C&T on the project doing low-level clerical work for Roy Hill’s main construction contractor.

“The allegation is that they’ve been brought in to do certain types of work and then they are being allocated other types of work in breach of their visa conditions.”

Aside from being asked to do work outside their visa conditions, the CFMEU alleged many of the staff were working more than 84 hours a week and being paid as little as $16 an hour.

In March, Gina Rinehart’s mining group, Hancock Prospecting signed off on a $US7.2 billion debt package for her highly anticipated Roy Hill iron ore project in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.

In return for the US government loan, Hancock Prospecting will purchase American mining and rail equipment from Caterpillar, General Electric and Atlas Copco. The Export-Import Bank says their involvement will “support” 3400 US jobs

Since we own the resources, and we have to give approval to any mining venture, why do we not make it a condition of approval that you must use Australian equipment, Australian steel, and Australian workers?

Threats that projects will not go ahead under these circumstances indicate they were not profitable in the first place and, if we are importing equipment and the profit is all going offshore and the employment to lowly paid foreigners, then all we are left with is the environmental damage, railways linking mines to ports paid for with our royalties, and the demise of manufacturing and tourism.

Under the new Free Trade Agreement, Chinese companies will be able to bring skilled workers to Australia to plug labour shortages on big infrastructure projects.

The deal says Chinese-owned companies will be able to ­”negotiate similarly to Australian ­business, increased labour flexibilities for specific projects”.

The arrangements will apply to projects valued above $150 million under the deal negotiated between the two countries. Projects will involve the employment of foreign workers on 457 work visas.

ACTU president Ged Kearney said the effect on Australian jobs would be “disastrous” if the agreement allowed “Chinese contractors on Australian projects to nominate Chinese workers for visas without having to advertise for jobs locally”.

Maritime Union of Australia Western Australian branch secretary Christy Cain hit out at the visa concession and described the measure as “an absolute disgrace”.

“These (mineral) resources are ours and those of the Australians paying taxes for all their lives that are now ­seeing workshops closing and car manufacturing dying,” Mr Cain said.

“I don’t blame the Chinese, they are saying you want us to invest in Australia then we will bring our own labour over. But it’s ludicrous. What is happening to our Australian values?”

According to a report by the Australian Farm Institute, the value of Australian agricultural exports to China grew by an average 12 per cent a year in the 14 years to 2012. Not bad, except that Chinese imports of agricultural products increased by an annual 16 per cent during the same period. In terms of share of the Chinese market, that means Australia fell from 11 per cent to 6 per cent.

The AFI report says that Australia’s share of US agricultural imports has fallen since the FTA between the two countries came into force in 2005, despite reductions in tariffs. The two countries that achieved the fastest growth in agricultural exports to China over the 14 years to 2012 were the US and Brazil and neither has a free trade agreement with China.

Two Chinese investment groups have established a $3 billion fund to invest in Australian agriculture, as Australia edges closer to securing a free trade deal with China.

The fund, known as the Beijing Australia Agricultural Resource Cooperative Development Fund, is a joint partnership between state-owned Beijing Agricultural Investment Fund and the Shenzen-based Yuhu group.

It will focus on supplying produce back to China, especially infant milk formula, beef, lamb and seafood.

John Lee, a China expert at Sydney University, points out that Chinese policy is to be a net exporter of meat products, rice and wheat by 2025.

That explains why the FTA with Australia contains no concessions for rice and wheat and perhaps also why there is an important, though largely overlooked, qualification to the reduction in tariffs on beef imports. As our Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade puts it, “China has retained the right to apply a discretionary safeguard on beef … if imports exceed a set annual ‘safeguard’ trigger volume.”

The safeguard trigger starts at 170,000 tonnes a year, which is only 10 per cent above Australian exports of 153,000 tonnes of beef to China last year, although there is a so far unspecified provision for the trigger to grow. For exports above this level, the tariff will be reapplied. The department adds, not so reassuringly, that there is a process to “consider” removal of the safeguard.

So it appears the FTA with China has resulted in Chinese investors buying our mines and farms, employing Chinese workers, and then sending the produce back to China at reduced rates. This produce could well fill the 10% trigger for beef leaving Australian farmers’ produce still attracting tariffs.

And when it comes to our huge spending on defence materiel it’s a similar story.

DMO spends up to $10 billion-a-year of taxpayer funds managing more than 200 defence projects ranging from warships to bullets. About 40 per cent of the outlays are absorbed by administration costs.

Australia is considering buying 10 state-of-the-art Soryu class submarines from Japan, at a reported price of more than $20 billion.

Former senior Japanese military personnel, Mr Yamauchi and Mr Ogawa, both told the ABC that an Australian budget of $20 billion would mean that all the construction would have to happen in Japan.

And they said any attempts to do any of the work in Adelaide would double the price.

Mr Ogawa said if construction happened in Japan it would be bad for Australian jobs, but good for the Japanese economy.

“If the issue of military secrets can be resolved then Japanese business will be happy it will bring jobs and growth,” he said.

And then there is the $24 billion that Australia had allocated to buy and deploy a fleet of 72 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets.

Critics, including Federal Liberal MP and former analyst with the Defence Science and Technology Organisation, Dr Dennis Jenson, claim that politicians have been manipulated by an elaborate and at times misleading sales pitch by the world’s largest military corporation, Lockheed Martin.

In April Tony Abbott said “Australian business has already won some $1.5 billion worth of work associated with this aircraft. Up to $7.5 billion worth of additional work is there potentially.”

The reality is Australian industries are only contracted for around $370 million work, with Lockheed Martin assurances but no guarantees of more to come. Current contracts are only for 12 months.

Dr Jenson said “The warning I’d give is: don’t bank on the work that you’re being told you’re going to get. You will get it while Lockheed Martin is still pushing very hard for signatures on the dotted line, but once all those signatures are there, don’t bet on winning any future contracts.”

Dr Jenson raised questions about problems posed by the F-35’s heavy weight and the threat that it will be no match for possible adversaries with a high-ranking Lockheed Martin delegation before a joint parliamentary inquiry in Canberra. Lockheed Martin’s response: “We cannot answer that question, just as we cannot answer the threat question, because we get into classified areas very, very quickly.”

RAAF head flight test engineer, Peter Goon, warned “The aircraft is not coming within a bull’s roar of its – some of its operational specifications. The designs are riddled with single points of failure. And many of the critical elements of design have been painted into what we engineers call “coffin corner”.”

“Coffin corner” is the concern that the F-35 couldn’t compete against these cheaper, lighter and more agile Russian and Chinese stealth fighter jets, which are expected to be sold widely around the world.

The US Air Force Combat Command, meantime, has expressed its own reservations. It has warned the US must continue to maintain its older, more agile and far more effective fleet of F-22 jet fighters to back up the F-35s or they’ll be rendered irrelevant. So should Australia instead try to buy the proven F-22? Well, according to the Defence Minister, Australia did ask, but the Americans insisted there was no choice, but to take the troubled F-35 or nothing.

DAVID JOHNSTON: “They’ve said, “No, you can’t have the F-22; that is for the United States Air Force. But you can certainly participate in our program with the Joint Strike Fighter.” We do not have anywhere else to go.”

Is it just me….or are we being screwed here?


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  1. Ross

    of course we are being screwed, but Tony Abbott can claim that it was all his work and I hope everyone remembers that when it all goes horribly wrong

  2. sandrasearle

    Couldn’t agree more with you Kaye. Perhaps there was something in the past for a little ‘protection’ for our industries after all. At least it gave precedence to keeping Australia & its workers safe.

  3. Joe Banks

    “…are we being screwed here?” Obviously! But the main questions are, do those making the decisions know it (can they really be that stupid); if they do know it, what is their motivation. Either way, Australia is being screwed and our sleepy media, who could highlight some of this, are currently focused on cricket and a boat race. It’s a bit like somebody determinedly walking into your house and stealing your most valued possessions, while your friend and neighbour is complicitly telling you to look out of the window (and have another beer). She’ll be right mate!

  4. Graeme Rust

    The big question is, will Labor kick all those 457 visa holders out of the country ??? surely they to can change the law,

  5. mars08

    It would be difficult and impractical to withdraw ALL 457 visas.

  6. selwyn smith

    It seems to become more and more evident that we as a nation are being screwed from every quarter. We appear to have become, as a nation, perennial people pleasers in order that we are noticed. As is the case with personal pleasers it is to our detriment. I believe that this is further accentuated by the current government which is surreptitiously driving down wages in some misguided belief that it will improve our competitiveness. This can only result in reduced living standards and International irrelevance. Emploters pushing so strongly for reduced wages are yet to feel their reduced relevance domestically as workers are no longer able to afford to purchase the products produce.
    Be careful what you wish for as you may very get it

  7. mars08

    But… thank goodness they stopped the boats, right?

    Because those nasty asylum seekers were going to take our jobs and destroy our way of life!!!!

  8. Kerri

    Oh mars08 you are so correct!!!! I really think this Government defines the phrase “spending like drunken sailors” they look at how much is in the coffers and rather than trying to budget for the best financial outcome and value they choose to spend more and more on what pleases them. Surplus??? Not bloody likely even if the carbon and mining tax were still in place and even if all of Joe’s excuses weren’t happening they would still choose to impress the big four (not the banks, Gina, Twiggy, Rupert and Clive) and buy more toys to fulfil their small man syndromes. Hey there’s plenty in the budget for a few more planes.

  9. mars08


    …Hey there’s plenty in the budget for a few more planes.

    Let’s not forget those new fancy, fantastic, phallic submarines! They’re badly needed to partol the Afghanistan-Iran border!!!

    BTW… did anyone see that scathing open letter from the ALP, raising concerns about free trade… especially KAFTA and the TTP? And signed by Shorten, Conroy, Bowen, Carr, O’Connor and Dreyfus….??? Ahhh… no? Well, neither did I….

  10. Kaye Lee

    They may have stopped the boats…what was it…50,000 asylum seekers in six years? But what about the 62,100 who overstayed their visa this year?

    According to an Immigration Department report, Migration Trends 2012-2013, visitors (44,800) and students (10,720) were the largest cohort of visa holders to overstay their visit. The highest number of visa overstayers in 2013 by nationality came from China (7690), Malaysia (6420), the US (5220) and the UK (3780).

    The department says an estimated 62,100 people were unaccounted for in Australia during 2014, which is roughly 1.2 per cent of the 5.5 million people who enter the country each year on temporary visas.

  11. diannaart

    Rather than kick out 457 visa workers – let them join unions (if they can’t already).

  12. DanDark

    Where’s Margie when Tones needs her to lie to the women of the country, and tell us how in touch her hubby is with women, and he gets women, where are you now Margie advertising your husbands credentials on how he gets women,
    I wonder how much Margie was paid to talk bullshit on national TV before the election, and tell us how wonderful her man is….

  13. paul walter

    “Growth”, is just market economics code for looting and for diverting people away from underlying issues by throwing in a “motherhood” word.

  14. paul walter

    BTW, the para re F 22 aircraft was a gem of a piece of writing.

    The amount of money the US extorts from us would pay for jobs for locals and imports combined.

  15. Olivia Manor

    All those 457 visa holders may be run out of the country by some very angry mobs of unemployed Australians. They’ll be the scapegoats for the economic disaster this government is, just as asylum seekers are the magnet for racist hatred. We are in for some very dark times!

  16. Florence nee Fedup

    “surely they to can change the law,

    Gillard did change law. Abbott repealed all changes. Labor builds. Liberals demolish. What is new?

  17. Wun Farlung

    Yes they can join and are openly encouraged to do so by unionists on site and secretly discouraged (threatened) employers not to join.

  18. mars08


    Rather than kick out 457 visa workers – let them join unions…

    I suspect that 457 workers, being used to exploitation in their own countries… and trying to save as much money as possible… would thinks that the cost outweighs the benefits. Maybe it’s in the unions interests to offer “discount” memberships.

  19. LOVO

    An interesting read on a subject that we don’t really know much about…… Such is Abbotts transparency 😯
    China Australia Free Trade Agreement :- or (ChAFTA)…… not to be confused with the Shaftus Agreement ( which of course is more to do with the budget than Trade 😉 )
    “the reduction of barriers to labour mobility which will grant skilled Chinese workers temporary entry into Australia for the purpose of providing labour on large infrastructure projects above A$150 million, and
    the addition of 5,000 working holiday visas provided for Chinese for entry to Australia on an annual basis. ”
    Yeah, right…. we been p*wned by idiot abbott 🙄
    “an Investor State Dispute Resolution (ISDS) mechanism that will enable foreign investors to invest with greater confidence and will also include safeguards to protect each Government’s ability to regulate in the public interest” ….. we done did been sold …..out !!!

  20. Wun Farlung

    The current 457 visa is just an extension of the Workchoice zombie that saw the end of John Howard and when the ALP were elected they pussy footed around and caved in to the “It’s too expensive to develop/do business in Australia” crowd that is mainly represented by the resource sector.
    The reality is that the profits won’t be as ridiculously big if all the labour and materials are sourced locally although given tax offsets, depreciation and creative accounting who knows.
    The design-construction-production time for major resource projects e.g. Gorgon, Curtis Island, Roy Hill is approx 10 years.
    That’s plenty of time to train tradesmen and admin staff to be ready for work armed with enough skills to be productive from day 1.
    Not everything can be learnt in the classroom but the basic skills can be taught and given good levels of supervision be put to use.
    The project I am on now has almost 10 000 workers and 400 trainees and apprentices. 12 months ago they were asking us to get our suitably qualified mates to apply for jobs. I personally know 2 people that applied and were knocked back, one due to lack of fly in fly out experience and the other due to the difficulty in transporting him from Kalgoorlie WA to Gladstone Qld. Instead finding it easier to transport people from the all over the UK and USA on 457 visas. This is one of the better sites I have worked on, some with well over 1 000 tradesmen on site have no trainees and apprentices.

  21. Kerri

    Thanks for the interview video Dan Dark! So natural! So unscripted! What is Margie accepting to shut up about their “marriage”? His marriage is like everything else about Abbott a lie!

  22. Dandark

    “So natural! So unscripted!”………yep Kerrie so scripted and so fake is Margie,
    you have to wonder whats in it for Margie to lie to the public as blatantly as she does about her man………
    of course Tony gets women and he is a “feminist’ because he has women all around him pffffft
    But she never backed that up with real life situations and how he shows his feminism on a regular basis
    She is all fluff in the interview, no real substance about anything, only how good a man her Tones is…
    Its quite disturbing to watch her “baffle them with bullshit” she is cunning and calculated in her lying…

  23. Salstarat

    Oh…my…God, Margie turns out to be as delusional as her pathological LIAR of a husband! This interview must be old because, at the time, she waffled on and on, very unconvincingly, about how wonderful her toad of a husband is but NOW we all suspect that their marriage is in deep trouble. Her claim: “We made a conscience decision … that the girls would not take part in any political campaigns!” is a bald faced lie …. I think most Australians will dispute that point when we remember how Abbott disgracefully carted his daughters around on his arm at the last election in a transparent and desperate attempt to use his daughters to curry favour with the electorate – we haven’t seen them since except for Francis smiling away when she unfairly received the discredited, fake $60,000 psuedo scholarship that she did NOT deserve … a corrupt offering made to her, which her father grabbed without hesitation, on the basis of Abbott’s position. This disgusting misuse of power for personal gain, has been a hallmark of Abbott’s corrupt tenure as PM ever since.

    Where are you NOW, Margie? She is the first wife of any Australian PM who is conspicuous by her long-term total absence. Margie Abbott is not seen anywhere .. she never has ANYTHING to say unless it is to labour on and on about her husband not being the misogynistic pig we all despise. She is never seen to be involved in any social or charitable event. Margie Abbott is not even in the same CLASS as the loved and respected Margaret Whitlam who was an intelligent, well educated, independent woman who gave so generously of her time to charity and was such a marvellous benefactor to the promotion of Australian arts and theatre! Margie just slinks into the background, cowered by a bullying thuggish boorish husband who has a long, long history of misogyny and homophobia. You CANNOT DENY HISTORY, Margie! Like your disgraceful, discredited husband, you believe if you spew out a lie often enough, it will be believed! Tony Abbott’s disgusting intimidation of women at Sydney University where he was a despised misogynistic bully is well documented and he has NOT changed, not ONE iota! The fact that he had only ONE woman on his cabinet (since adding another woman in a desperate attempt to lift his catastrophic unpopularity) PROVES what a misogynist he is and how uncomfortable he is around intelligent women (which is why he insisted on a “minder” for Julie Bishop – he just cannot stand being overshadowed by any woman, even one as foolish and self seeking as Bishop!).

    One astounding fact is that Margie’s father, Max Aitken, is a member of New Zealand’s LABOUR PARTY and that Margie, herself, was a signed up member of New Zealand Labour Party. This would indicate that she and her family do NOT share Abbott’s elitist, neoliberal view of the world unless, of course, that Margie was fickle enough to be seduced across to the “dark side”. Tony Abbott’s corrupt fascism must be a source of shame to the Aitken family who, obviously, share the more compassionate, socially aware tenet of Labour’s ideology. The enormous gap between the Profit-at-any-cost, Greed is Good, self entitlement of the Me-Me Party and the caring, socially connected viewpoint of the We-We Party must be a challenging source of discontent within the Aitken/Abbott extended family. How DOES she manage to justify her husband’s approval and support of Scott MoralsNone’s unspeakably inhumane and callous disregard towards vulnerable asylum seekers to the point where one was murdered and three others bashed to the point of losing consciousness and the children of asylum seekers suffering from long-term trauma? How DOES she manage to look away whilst her despicable psychopath of a husband treats the poor, the unemployed, the homeless and the disabled with such offensive condescending contempt to the point where our most vulnerable citizens are targeted, vilified and dehumanised? How DOES she overlook and completely disregard the unspeakable callousness and ongoing corruption undertaken by her husband and other members of the LNP?

    Margie Abbott! You are like your misanthropic, sociopathic husband – a pathological, serial LIAR living in a world of self entitlement and paranoid DELUSION. Shame on you!

  24. Kaye Lee

    The interview with Margie is from October 2012 and I think she would be embarrassed to view it in hindsight. I feel for Margie who seems to be playing a reluctant role forced on her by media advisers. By all accounts I have heard, she is a decent woman stuck with a dud husband.

  25. DanDark

    “By all accounts I have heard, she is a decent woman stuck with a dud husband.”

    Well more fool her then, no one is stuck with a dud husband, she chooses to be with a dud of a man with no brains, and no scruples, no morals and is a compulsive liar
    I don’t feel for Margie, she played the game she is a grown woman, she chose to lie for her man, what a fool of a woman,
    What you put out you get back, and Margie was complicit in lying for the Toad Tones, whether she regrets it or not now is too bad.
    Decent women don’t lie to unsuspecting victims.

    She had no qualms to lie to the Aussie public to get women on Tones team…
    pffft Margie deserves everything that Karma throws back at her

  26. Pingback: Jobs and growth…but for who? | olddogthoughts

  27. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    To be brutally honest, I agree Margie deserves what she gets. I am sorry for her family that she willingly turned her back on their grassroots political values.

    As for the selling out of our country by her husband and his band of thieves, where possible our Senate must block whatever contractual arrangements are being (or been) negotiated, if there are no safeguards for: diversified Australian jobs for Australian people; environmental impacts for our Australian landscape; ongoing market opportunities for Australian businesses; and any other explicit and implicit protective measures that enhance opportunities for Australians and Australia.

  28. paul walter

    Olivia, racism and 457, you’d both agree that any confrontations are artificially induced by politicians themselves, through stunts like cutting welfare for ( big numbers of) locál unemployed at the same time as ramping up use of 457’s?

    Really, what do you think people are?

    If you really want to see locals begin to see arrivals as fellows rather than than rivals, you should ask where locals get their fears from, who plays on them, and why.

  29. mars08

    @Paul Walter…

    I have a fair idea of “where locals get their fears from, who plays on them, and why.”

    But… in all seriousness… I don’t get the point of your comment. Are you just saying that anger towards 457 visa workers is a by-product of politically motivated xenophobia?

  30. paul walter

    Of course.

    But for god’s sake, try to understand why an unskilled unemployed worker here, just booted off welfare, would resent all the unskilled offshore labor exploited by employers when (s)he is being squeezed by the local community as well.

    To me, the way labor/union busting 457’s are used is the paradigmatic example of why people fear people movements. If they had left people on welfare alone if they werent prepared to give them a chance, there would not be the resentment flaring in blue collar suburbs at an ugly policy designed to divide and rule workers local and brought in from offshore and I dont understand why asylum seeker advocates don’t “get” some of the undercurrents that comprise and nuance the debate.

    Few people get to the underlying rationalities behind these sorts of “policies”, but unconditionally bagging people sceptical of the 457 system and how people movements in general are handled; the lazy old cry of “racist” is not good enough.

  31. mars08

    @Paul Walter…

    Thanks for the detailed explanation.

    Agree with you 100%. Although 457 workers might inflame racism in some Australian workers, there is a deeper motivation for their anger.

    I’ve always been skeptical of the 457 visa system. It was always going to undermine our unionised workforce and there was bound to be abuse. It’s a terrible situation, with few real winners. Our deplorable politicians are playing two vulnerable groups against each-other.

  32. mars08

    Not sure what’s happened… but my reply to paul walter has been redirected to limbo…

  33. paul walter

    Never mind.. am sure you meant well.

    I’d add, the real problem is globalisation (neo liberal/WallSt/neocons) and International politics dictated by multinationals and their political lackeys in rich countries, with their supply side (looting) economics.

    Millions of refugees in camps, but not even the sight of them when the footage rarely gets to our screens, shames the oligarchs.

    Mean while, locally, Murdoch is given a billion dollars gratis by his servant Abbott, $billionsare ploughed into dodgy ordinance and security contracts for the benefit of international gansters, Rinehart and the mining barons get rebate gifties and the mega banks and their offshore resources investors plough on, wrecking our culture as they proceed, but we have a supposed economic “emergency”, from which those most responsible and who have most benefitted by the new economic terms, are exempted as to the bill, while people on welfare or who are part of the ranks of Working Poor, OR offshore sweated labour, with all the insecurities involved with that, are expected- once gain- to carry the shit-can?

  34. paul walter

    Btw, Jennifer Meyer Smith mesures it nicely re Marge Abbott- the truth of the contention is born out in the hangdog expression seemingly permanently on the face of Margie.

  35. mars08

    I clearly remember the comments from working/middle class colleagues …about the anti-globalisation protests of the 90’s and early this century.

    There was a lot of growling about hippies, commies and greenies and bludgers. They had no idea of what was driving the protests. They had no idea about what was coming down the road… aimed directly at THEM!!! They truly believed that the WTO and the multinationals had everyone’s best interests in mind. They believed that they were going get a fair share of the bounty. They fell for the spin… and many still do.

  36. helvityni

    Kay Lee, I tend to agree with you about Margie ‘ she is a decent woman stuck with a dud husband’. I don’t think she’s had much say in anything, being a mere woman. I thought it painful how Abbott ignored her on their visit to Indonesia…and at other times…

  37. paul walter

    That is actually the sort of comment that you excell in, Helvi. It is easy to dump on Margie, but she probably has as little control over things as we do.

  38. townsvilleblog

    No wonder our unemployment rate is steadily growing in Australia, Labor left it at 5.2% it is up more than 1% since then. Labor should have knocked the 457 visa’s on the head expect for expertise that was unavailable within Australia, of course the LNP relish the high unemployment rate so employers can further dictate to employees its in their DNA. Kaye, I enjoy every letter you write and post them to my facebook page so that a greater number of people have the opportunity to educate themselves on the thing that affects us all, Australian politics.

  39. diannaart

    @ Wun Farlung

    I can well imagine the stand-over tactics by bosses and business owners. If Labor actually lived up to their name they should be making a huge case of the 457 rorting by employers, the discrimination that results against local workers and abuse of 457 workers. As usual we get crickets.

  40. Neil

    “Labor left it at 5.2%

    Wrong. Labor left it at 5.8% and trending up.

    Howard left it at 4.3% and trending down in 2007.

  41. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    @paul walter @1.26pm

    I endorse your views.

    Frightened people facing unemployment or under-employment, are not necessarily racist if they question why 457’s are instituted thus further causing more pressure on lessening jobs availability and working standards, if they happen to get a job.

    Well-meaning social advocates, who support poor workers of any demographics AND fearful unemployed or under-employed people in race sensitive pockets of our community ARE conceivably on the same side, if common ground is explored and advocated smartly.

    The main question is what can be done to eradicate 457’s or at least have them strongly monitored, so that NO abuses by employer groups take place.

    Abetz, Abbott, Morrisscum et al have no brains or will to create clever employment programs to create employment. It is up to us and the incoming Government Alliance of Greens, Labor etc to create those jobs.

  42. paul walter

    Thanks, Jennifer Meyer-Smith.

    The thing I fear is that they actually would like to generate a high unemployment recession, after Cameron of Britain, to punish ALL people outside the charmed circle and have them gratefully accept whatever crumbs the Morlocks throw their way.

  43. John Fraser


    "Tony Abbott is a man of great strength, great character, he's honest um I mean what he says he will do … etc"

    Margie Abbott.

    No use trying to sort the chaff from the wheat.

    All of Abbotts "Team Australia" roll in the slime and muck they have created.

  44. Annie B

    Ref a few comments here about Margie Abbott.

    It occurs to me, that she might be ‘hangin’ in there’ ( as many women with wealthy husbands do ) …. for the kudos at the end of it all … the promise of a brighter future ( after her husband has been ‘outed and ousted’ ) …… for a life of bliss and quietude, and a fair amount of dollars to spend.

    Other than that, to me, she seems a sad, almost shy, person. One of those two, in that marriage, has said “NO” to appearances alongside Tony. …….. not speculating as to which one !!!

    So many many former PM’s had their wives beside them on important occasions. Not this bloke.

    The one event that struck me particularly, was the Memorial service held at St. Pauls ( Anglican ) Cathedral in Melbourne, for the 38 victims from Malaysian Airlines MH17. ,,,,, Of ANY service or event, memorial in particular, it was that – where Margie Abbott should have been seen.

    But – she wasn’t.

    It honestly shocked me at the time.

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