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Beazley playing race card: Vanstone -

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Beazley playing race card: Vanstone

Broadcast: 14/09/2006

Reporter: Craig McMurtrie

The Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone has launched a scathing attack on the Opposition Leader,
accusing Kim Beazley of fanning fear of foreigners.

Transcript

TONY JONES: The Immigration Minister has accused Kim Beazley of playing the "race card" and the
Prime Minister is supporting her view. In a stinging opinion feast, Senator Vanstone has lashed out
at Mr Beazley's criticism of the number of foreign workers entering the country on skilled
migration visas. But John Howard says it doesn't mean racism is back in politics. Political editor
Craig McMurtrie reports.

CRAIG McMURTRIE: After months of trading insults over the use of 457 visas, which are designed for
skilled migrants to enter the country as temporary residents, the Immigration Minister has lashed
out in print, accusing Kim Beazley of flirting with xenophobia over his opposition to the program.

TANYA PLIBERSEK, LABOR FRONTBENCHER: I really am left speechless by the notion that Amanda Vanstone
would be pointing the finger at anyone.

GRAHAM EDWARDS, LABOR MP: The Immigration Minister is in absolutely no position to make statements
like that.

CRAIG McMURTRIE: Kim Beazley says low paid foreign workers are being abused under the scheme, which
is also driving down local wages and conditions. The Opposition highlighting the case of workers
like Jack Zhang brought in from China who was living on just $280 a week.

KELVIN THOMSON, LABOR FRONTBENCHER: What we are doing is seeking to protect the interests of
Australia and Australians.

CRAIG McMURTRIE: But Senator Vanstone sees it as an attack on foreign workers, writing that in a
week marking the 10th anniversary of Pauline Hanson's maiden speech to Parliament, "It's a fan to
the racist fire".

VOICE OF AMANDA VANSTONE, IMMIGRATION MINISTER: He isn't a racist but he's prepared to fan the
racist card for electoral advantage.

CRAIG McMURTRIE: John Howard has heard that himself more than once.

REPORTER: Is this a strategy that you are happy with, Prime Minister?

JOHN HOWARD: I don't think racism is back.

CRAIG McMURTRIE: The Prime Minister says the biggest source of skilled migrants on 457 visas is the
UK and not Asia. He's standing by his minister's remarks.

JOHN HOWARD: Amanda is a very colourful person. She's pugnacious and she has her own turn of
phrase.

CRAIG McMURTRIE: The Prime Minister has also ruled out the Labor leader's idea of an Australian
values pledge on visa application forms, but the government is about to release its own long
awaited discussion paper on the idea of a new citizenship test.

JOHN HOWARD: Having a good knowledge of English will feature prominently.

CRAIG McMURTRIE: The paper is expected this weekend.