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Tuesday, 7 February 2017
Page: 56

Employment


Mr CRAIG KELLY (Hughes) (15:26): My question is to the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection. Will the minister update the House on steps the government is taking to ensure foreign workers are a supplement to and not a substitute for Australian workers? And how does this compare with other approaches?


Mr DUTTON (DicksonMinister for Immigration and Border Protection) (15:27): I thank the honourable member for his question. It is an important question because the Prime Minister just made reference to a speech given by the Leader of the Opposition at the Press Club only last week where he trumpeted the fact that he wanted to be the champion of Australian jobs, but do you know what? Do not trust this Leader of the Opposition. Do not trust this Leader of the Opposition because he says one thing to one audience and then he does the complete opposite when he thinks people are not watching. I will tell you what: this Leader of the Opposition, when he was a minister in the Rudd and Gillard governments, did exactly the same. So, when Australians around the country have a hesitation when they see this Leader of the Opposition on their television sets at night time, they have their instinct right, because this Leader of the Opposition cannot be trusted. He cannot be trusted because he is more interested in the interests of the union bosses than the workers. He has demonstrated that throughout his working life. That is the lot of this Leader of the Opposition.

It is true that this Leader of the Opposition, when he was the employment minister in the good old days of the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd years, was the champion of jobs for some workers. The trouble is they were overseas workers. So in his speech last week the Leader of the Opposition wanted Australians to believe that he was going to put Australians first for Australian jobs, but the reality is that, when he was employment minister during the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd years, he did exactly the opposite. He has complained about the 457 visa program where we put workers first. The policy of this government is to find Australian jobs and to put Australian workers into those jobs, and if we cannot fill those jobs then people can come in under 457 visas. This Leader of the Opposition thought it opportunistic last week to come out and criticise the government for the number of 457 visas that we have issued. The trouble is the number was many times more during his period as employment minister.

So how can you trust Labor's Leader of the Opposition? He was untrustworthy to Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd and he was untrustworthy to workers, whom he pretended to represent as a union leader. He is in this place pretending to represent Australians, when really he has done the complete opposite every day he has been in this place. We know, for example, that in 2015-16 there were just over a thousand 457 visas issued for registered nurses. Do you know the number in 2012-13 under Labor?

A government member: Tell us!

Mr DUTTON: There were 2,853. Let me say this in closing: we are not going to be lectured by a hypocrite. We are not going to be lectured by a person who is unworthy of the high office that he holds—

The SPEAKER: The minister will withdraw the term 'hypocrite'.

Mr Dutton: I withdraw.