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Wednesday, 31 August 2016
Page: 125


Mr STEPHEN JONES (Whitlam) (13:51): For the eight long, excruciating weeks of the federal election campaign the daily mantra of the coalition representatives was 'Jobs and growth', and 'Protect our borders'. We know when it was exposed to the faintest of scrutiny that it was nothing more than a hollow slogan devoid of any content—particularly if you are a merchant seafarer. You are confident that the jobs and growth slogan did not apply to you because all you have seen for the last two years is a government colluding with the workers and colluding with the bosses to remove you off your boat, to take down the Australian flag and replace it with a flag of a foreign country so that you could have your job replaced with foreign crew.

Even more extraordinary than this was the government's willingness to ignore and sweep aside immigration and visa control to ensure that foreign crews could be used to replace Australian workers in the offshore oil and gas industry. Thankfully, we have checks and balances in this country, because at lunchtime today the High Court of Australia handed down a decision that said that the minister's, Senator Cash's, special purpose visas, which were used to flout the law, were, quite simply, illegal. She has been caught out; she has been caught red-handed. The High Court has shut it down and sent a clear message to the minister that she is not above the law. It is time for those opposite to do exactly the same thing and support Australian workers. (Time expired)