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Migrant labour could cause racist response -

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ELEANOR HALL: Unionist and New South Wales Senator-elect Doug Cameron is warning that the influx of
migrant labour into Australia could lead to a racist backlash.

Mr Cameron points to the increase in foreign labour in Britain as a factor in the rise of the
British National Party at the recent UK local elections.

And he's urging the Government and business to carefully manage immigration to avoid a similar
trend here.

Samantha Donovan reports.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: The ALP's Doug Cameron enters the Senate on July 1.

He says cases of mistreatment of foreign workers in the 457 visa scheme have raised his concerns
there may be a backlash against immigrant labour in Australia and that this country needs to learn
from the US and the UK where the British National Party now holds more than 50 local council seats.

DOUG CAMERON: In the UK, the British National Party have used this issue of migration to build a
support base for an extreme right wing group and I don't want to see that happen within Australia.

The Labor Party has got long experience and good experience at managing multiculturalism and the
migration scheme and it is very important that the Labor Party handles this sensitively, smartly
and doesn't give any opening for any racist views arising from the introduction of this increased
migrant intake.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: Doug Cameron believes an increase in foreigners working in the construction,
manufacturing and hospitality sectors could create resentment among the community and that the
immigrant labour scheme must be properly managed.

DOUG CAMERON: If it is done sensibly. If workers are treated as human beings and not just some
economic commodity then I think we can manage this but I am just raising the concerns that have
been raised right around the world and we can't be immune from what academics and the press are
saying is happening all around the world and that is a backlash against this immigration.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: But the chief executive of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Peter
Anderson says Mr Cameron's concerns about a possible backlash are inflammatory.

PETER ANDERSON: We need in Australia to recognise that we are part of a global economy. Capital is
global and labour is global. What Australia needs is a sensible and rational debate about migration
policy, migration policy. Migration policy needs to move with the social and economic times and any
suggestion that we can't have a sensible debate without fuelling xenophobia is really silly.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: Peter Anderson is confident that good leadership will avert resentment of foreign
workers in the community.

PETER ANDERSON: Good leadership amongst our community leaders and our political leaders and for
that matter from our business leaders.

What it means is making sure that we don't add to the tone of a discussion, hysterical element.
That we ensure that we not only have balanced policies but we explain the balance of those policies
to the community.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: And Immigration Minister Chris Evans is also rejecting Doug Cameron's fears of a
backlash against foreign workers.

CHRIS EVANS: I think the reality is that Australia has matured about those issues. Australia is a
country of migrants and it is a country that has accepted migration, large scale migration over the
years, provided people settle well and provided that people are convinced that people coming into
the country are needed for the growth of the economy and that they are not undercutting Australian
wages and conditions.

ELEANOR HALL: That is Immigration Minister Senator Chris Evans.