Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant the accuracy of closed captions. These are derived automatically from the broadcaster's signal.
Australian Agenda -

View in ParlView

(generated from captions) This program will be live captioned by Ai-Media

Good afternoon. I'm David

Spears. Welcome to the

program. A slight

improvement in today's

Newspoll puts wind in the

Prime Minister's sails today.

The primary vote for Labor is

ticked up to 32%, as one ticked up to 32%, as one

minister put to me today, a

strong supporter of Julia

Gillard, that is only a

couple of points shy of where

they need to be at the midway

point of a parliamentary term

to be competitive at the next

election. But perhaps more

importantly, the Prime Minister's own ratings went

up. She's now back in front

of Tony Abbott as preferred

Prime Minister. The

Opposition Leader has

suffered a slump in his

personal support. This

follows a week of intense and

at times ugly debate over

Craig Thomson and the view within Labor is that Tony

Abbott is being punished for

going too hard, for going too

far, in his pursuit of Craig Thomson. The view within

Labor is also that this poll

will buy Julia Gillard some

more time. The leadership

talk will die down for a

while at least. Even Tony

Abbott seems to agree that

Julia Gillard isn't going

anywhere immediately. He

told Coalition MPs in their

party room meeting today that

"Julia Gillard won't lie down

and die and while there's

life, there's fight". Well,

the Prime Minister took that

as a compliment. Take a

look A little bit earlier

today the Leader of the

Opposition was in his party

room referring to me and for

once he got it right, because

let me say to the Leader of

the Opposition, I will stand

up and fight for working

people and their families and

I will do that every day

between now and the next

election. I will stand up

and fight and make sure that

working people benefit from

our strong economy. The

other interesting thing in

Parliament today, there was

no sensure motion from the

Opposition and, in fact, no

mention from Tony Abbott of

Craig Thomson at all.

Instead, in light of this

Newspoll result, he shifted

the focus back to the carbon

tax. Now, we are just weeks

away from the carbon tax

being introduced and the

Coalition is obviously keen

to exploit and highlight any

example of a business that is

going to be feeling the pain

or is feeling the pain in

anticipation already with

this carbon tax coming in.

Today it seized upon an

announcement from brind billa

Airlines it's axing two

routes because of in part the

carbon tax, which it says is

a major factor for these

decisions. The Government, though, accused Tony Abbott

of not providing the whole

story Is the Prime Minister

aware that Brindabella

their Airlines are about to cease

their Canberra to Albury and

Brisbane to Armidale air

services because "the

imposition of the carbon tax

was a major factor and the

final nail in the coffin".

I'm advised by the Minister

for Transport that Reks is in

fact expanding its operations

and number of flights. Once

again we have the Opposition

in this place trying to

missload about the impact of

carbon pricing I seek leave

to table a statement from the

airlines from chief operating

officer -- Leave is not

granted -- carbon tax -- The

member for North Sydney will

resume his seat. Then we get

to the shadow Treasurer's

email, ripped off half of it,

and it starts "Dear Steve",

to a Tory staffer "Dear

Steve, in line with our

discussion this morning, I

can confirm that whilst not

the primary reason for

cancelling the above" - you

are a joke. This scare

campaign will be exposed for

what it is. The Minister's

time has expired. Expect

carbon tax in plenty more of this over the

carbon tax in the coming

weeks and months. This will

be the central political

debate all the way until the

next election. Today Labor

also settled its

disagreements and differences

over the deal announced last

week to allow foreign workers

to come into the country, or

at least, on the surface, it

appears or wants to look as

if it's settled its

differences. They've agreed

to set up a new caucus

subcommittee to look at these issues, but will anything

really change? We'll explore

that this hour. We'll talk

to the CFMEU boss, Dave

Noonan, one of the union leaders concerned about bringing in foreign workers

on big mining projects.

We'll also hear from the mining industry as well,

though. They believe these

agreements are absolutely

necessary for these projects

to go ahead. All of that is

coming up. First we'll look

at the top stories this hour.

Back to Vanessa in the news centre Hello, everyone. A

fire at a shopping centre in

Qatar has left 19 people

dead, including 13 children.

The blaze ripped through the

Dohar mall, with children and staff at the centre's child

care facility trapped with no

way of escaping. Among those

being cared for at the time

were New Zealand triplets,

who the country's Prime

Minister has today confirmed

are among the victims. A

triple tragedy for a New

Zealand family living in

Doha. Two-year-old triplets

Back to Vanessa in th news were among 13

centre He lo, everyone. centre Hello, everyone. Back to Vanessh in the news

centre Hel centre Hello, everyone. A

fire at a shspping centre in fire at a shopping centre

fire at a shopping centre i

Qatar has left 19 people dead, including 13 children. dead, ihcluding 13 dead, including

The blaze ripped through The blaze rippe through the The blaze ripped through the

Dohar mall, with childre and Dohar mall, with children

staff at the centre's child Dohar mall, with children and

staff at the centre s child care facility trapped with no

way of escaping. Among those

were Nes being car being cared for at the ti e being cared nor at the

were New Zealand triplets, who the countryys Prime were New Zealand tripl ts,

who the country's Prime

Minister has today confirm d Minister has tod y confirmed

are among the victims. are among the victims. A triple tragedy fory triple tragedy for a New triple tr gedy for a New Zealand family living in

Doha. Two-year-old riplets

Doha. Two-year-old triplets

were among 13 children were among 13 child en who were among 13 childre who died in the blaze. died in the blaze.

The family obviously The family obviossly are The family obvioutly are

dealing with thF terrible

dealing with the terrible gr eve grieve they have at this

time. The consulate is coming over from Saudi c coming over from Saudi Arabia

and Riyad to support the

family. The grandparents

here in New Zealand are here in New cealand are going here in New Zealand are g ing

to Qatar this evening. te Qatar this evening. The to Qatar this even ng. The

grandfather says his daughter

contacted him shortly contacted him shortly after

the fire. She and her hus the fire. She and her hus,

Martin, are numbed by the

loss She was still just

loss She was still just as

numb, I suppose, and just as nu b, I suppose, and just as empty as my e pty as my wife and empty as my wife and I feel

right now and the rest of right now nd the rest of our right ow and the rest of our family and friends Four of the other children the oth r children were

Spanish and one was French.

The fight to put ohe fight to put out The fight to put out the fire The figh to put out the fire was oas complex was complex and frantic. Dozens of rescuers Dozens of re cuers from Dozens of rescuers from

Qatar's small fire service

tackled the blaze at tackled th blaze at one of

the country's largest

shopping centres. .

These conditsons These conditions probably These onditions probably explain why ia explain why wt took

explain why it took so long

to rescue people and why to rescue reople and why many to rescue people and wh many

didn't make it. didn't make it 13 didn't make it. 13 c ildren, didn't make it. 13 children, all four years all our years and all four years and younger, are known tof are kn wn to have are known to have died, with themutwo

them two adults and four

firefighters. Many more firefightlrs. Many more were firefighters. Many more were

injured. Photographs of what injured. Photograp s of what was clea ly was clearly a very was cle,rly a very tricky w s clearly a very tricky evacuation evacuateon show evacuation show young children taken to safety There wasi safety There was a safety The e was a lot safety Th re was a lot of safety There was a lot of noise, but not noise but not noise of noise, but not noise of the noise, but no noise of the

actual event itself, it was noise of the emergency services people shouting services peopl shouting instructions, what sound d instructions, what sounded like women crying, wailing like women cry ng, wailing in like women cryiag, wailing in

fact. Truly a very facts Truly a very sad fact. Truly a very sad and

disturbing fight The fire's origin has 't origin hasn't yet been origin hasnet yet been revealed but most of the dead

were in a nursery on the first floor of fir t floor of the

first floor of the mass ve first floor of the massive

complex. Despite plumes of

smoke escaping from part in the investigation.

Signing their own

termination letters but for

hundreds of sacked

electricians meeting in

Melbourne, the message was

clear, it isn't your

fault Hastie's problems were

greater than what anyone

realised. It's dragged not

only us down but many other

service companies around

service companies around Melbourne Yesterday, like

thousands of other Hastie workers, they were told to

continue working for free for

the next 28 days We've

reached agreement with the

administrator they can now

access their redundancy funds

and we can try to help them

find more work. We were

employed but weren't to be

paid, which wouldn't allow us

seek work elsewhere They can access unemployment benefits too. For too. For the workers, many

still young apprentices,

their future is now unknown Hopefully try to get

another job - hopefully. But

as times are tough as well in

Victoria, there arntdz' many

jobs around. Yeah, not too

sure. Go on the job queue

with everybody else, I

guess Hastie is likely to be

carved up and sold to businesses once competitors.

It's a big fall for a company

that was the

that was the large country's

largest installer of

industrial refrigeration It

only became clear probably on

the Friday that it was

looking as though it was

going to go downwards The

side-effects of the collapse

will hit the construction

sites all of these

electricians were working

on It's probably just as much an inconvenience to them as

to us It's bittersweet news

for the workers, on the one hand they have hand they have the

termination papers, but on

the other they need to find a

job now They have to accept

the tragic fact they've lost

their jobs, through nothing

of their own Workers are

likely to receive their

termination notices by

Friday Perth's lord mayor

says the West Australian

Premier has missed an

opportunity to promote the

State. Lisa

State. Lisa Scaffidi has

told nooinz the decision to

name the new waterfront

development Elizabeth Quay is

disappointing King's park,

QEII hospital, Princess Margaret hospital, a royal

street, a king street, a

Queen Street, and we walk

down London Court to get to

now Elizabeth quay. The name

should be more reflective of

the brand we want to see

Western Australia giving off

to the international stage at

this time in our city's evolution The royal family,

though, has approved the

name. Her majesty and Prince

Philip attended a big

barbecue on the waterfront

following last year's CHOGM

meeting. The the $440

million Elizabeth quay

project will be completed in

2015 The co-chairman of

reconciliation Australia

wants a proposed referendum

on recognising indigenous

Australians in the

constitution delayed because

of bitterness in the current

political climate. Dr Tom

Calmer has used National Rec conciliation Weeks to voice

his concerns to hold the

referendum at next year's

election? It's important we

get multi-party support on

any referenda that goes up if

we have a success. At the moment I think all the political parties are a

little distracted Mean time,

SA announced earlier this

week that Aboriginal people

will be formally recognised

in their State's constitution

as the first Australians.

More details are emerging

about the horrific killing about the horrific killing of

scores of Syrian citizens in the worst massacre there

since the uprising began.

New reports describe how

soldiers went from house to

house brutally killing

residents, a claim the Assad

Government vehemently denies.

The man that can be heard

crying out for God's help in

the background is said to be

in this Syrian town. Activists claim the footage was taken during the

country's one of the worst

massacres since the start

uprising 14 months ago. Shot

last Friday, it shows civilians coming under fire

from heavy artillery.

Residents try to escape what seems to

seems to be shelling as they

assist an injured man. More

than 100 people, including

dozens of children, were

killed during the attack.

This frozen video purports to

show some of those young

victims. They appear to have

been shot at close range.

Most of the images are too

graphic to show. At whose

hands they died remains a

matter of contention, but

witnesses and observers point

the finger at pro-government

militia. All the evidence

suggests that the united

nation-backed ceasefire is

not being implemented and the

250 UN observers appear

powerless to halt the

killing. The six-point plan

must be implemented

comprehensively and this is

not happening today North

-east in the city of Hama,

they witnessed another day of

gunfire and shelling. Makeshift hospitals are again

full of dead, dying and injured, after what

opposition groups allege were government attacks on residential areas. But

despite the condemnation from

the Security Council, the

position of the international

community so far remains the

same. A quick look at the

forecast tomorrow for you.

Showers in the east coast,

rain developing in the

tropics, mostly sunny elsewhere It's 14 past 4

eastern time. Back to David

Spears in Canberra as PM Spears in Canberra as PM Agenda continues Vanessa,

thank you. A quick break and then we'll look at the

outcome of a Labor Party room

meeting today on the

contentious issue of bringing

in foreign workers to help

build large mining projects. .

Welcome to the program.

I'm David Spears. After much

huffing and puffing and

threats of a Caucus showdown,

Labor MPs are apparently now

happy and united over plans

to allow foreign workers into

the country to work on big

mining projects. The deal

announced on Friday to let

Gina Rinehart bring in 1700

foreign workers to build, to

construct, along with about 6,000-plus Australian

workers, the giant Roy Hill

iron ore mine in the Pilbara

sparked an immediate and

quite strong backlash from

union leaders and some in the

Labor Caucus. Doug Cameron,

for example, said a 747

Airbus could be driven through this policy in terms

of its protection for workers. workers. So has that Airbus-sized hole in the

policy now been closed?

Labor Caucus spent quite a

bit of time discussing this

issue today, 17 MPs in all

speaking about it. Doug

Cameron moved a motion which

was passed, a resolution

which was passed. It said,

in part - look at this -

"Caucus believes that min

industries should continue to

communicate with each other

and should consult caucus on

matters relating to the

resources boom". It talks

about setting up a new

subcommittee of caucus as

well. It's got a catchy

title, it's called "Spreading

the benefits of the resources

boom subcommittee", which

will, amongst other things,

look at the granting and

operation of these enterprise

migration agreements, they're called. But

called. But Chris Bowen, the Immigration Minister who is

responsible for these agreements, told Parliament

this afternoon there was

complenty of consultation

with other ministers and with

the Prime Minister's office

as well before this Gina

Rinehart deal was announced.

He also made it very clear in

parliament this afternoon

that in the end, despite the creation of this subcommittee

of Caucus, it will be him, the Minister, that still makes decisions on whether

these things are approved or

not The Minister for

Immigration approves

enterprise migration

agreements, that is the

situation, the continuing

situation. It's a positive discussion this morning,

there was a very positive

discussion this morning which

recognised the benefits of

enterprise migration So what

changes? Dave Noonan is head

of CFMEU, one union leader very critical of these sorts

of decisions. He joins me

now. Dave Noonan, has

anything changed in the way

this policy will work, from

your perspective? Well, good

afternoon, David. We welcome the announcement that the

Prime Minister made on the

weekend that an emphasis

would be there that

Australian workers should be hired, local workers should

be accessed for these resources projects first, and

the Government's announcement today appears to underline

that even more strongly What

announcement is that, setting

up a caucus subcommittee? Oh,

yes, but there's a number of

things said there that

recognise the need for there

to be an opportunity for

Australians to get the jobs

before companies go overseas, and that's very important.

What has been said on that that satisfies your

concerns? Well, I'm not

saying our concerns have been

satisfied, David. I'm saying

that the Government and the

Prime Minister have spelt out

a number of important

principles that were absent

on Friday from the announcement, and they are

that there will be firm

measures to ensure, firstly,

that there is a jobs board in

place that enables Australian

workers to go and register

their interest, their skills

and their ability, to work on

these projects, and that

contractors who want to

access labour should go there

first before they go hiring

lots of workers from

overseas. They're important principles which were absent

from the announcement on

Friday and I think that the

widespread community concern

about this has been heard by

the Prime Minister and the

Government So this jobs

board, which, as you

mentioned there, the Prime

Minister has referred to -

how do you see that working

in practice? We haven't had

a lot of detail around this.

You've said workers who want

to go and work on one of

these mine sites can put

their name on it and, what, the mining companies will

have to clear that list

before they can go overseas,

shop overseas, for more labour? Well, the precise

details of how a jobs board

might work still have to be

worked through, David, but

this is a proposal -- Surely

this should have been backed

before the announcement of these sorts of

agreements? We'd like to have

seen it happen a long time

ago. Unions proposed this a long time ago. The principle

of the jobs board was

endorsed by the Australian

Labor Party's national

conference. It's not a new

concept at all. So we

understand that Minister

Shorten's department are hard

at work on developing a jobs

board. We understand there

will be some consultation

with stakeholders about the

format and the ability of

people to access that, but,

importantly, we also

understand the principle is

that contractors hiring

labour should go there and access local labour before

they head off overseas. But

as you've said there, this is

something still Bill Shorten

is working on, it isn't in

place yet. Apart from that,

they've set up a subcommittee

to consult more on this.

Will it really make any difference to the concerns ufb' raised about more

Australians getting jobs on

these mine sites? Well, that

remains to be seen, but certainly things are heading

in the right direction and I

think that the widespread community concern about this

has been heard. You see,

David, some people have tried

to say this is about a few

union leaders like myself

going crook about the

announcement. In fact it's a

lot more than that. This is

about a situation where many,

many people in the Australian

community feel that there

have been a lot of job losses

in construction and manufacturing around

Australia, particularly down

the eastern seaboard.

There's also a very strong

feeling that there are high

levels of youth unemployment

in many, many parts of

Australia, including even

Perth, let alone regional areas and indigenous

communities. Now, the

workers in the announcement

that Minister Bowen made on

Friday - and it's a minimum

of 1700 workers, not a

maximum, as has been

reported, by the way - workers in the non-trades

areas, riggers, scaffolders

and plant operators, they are

all certified areas and in

fact in order for any workers

to come from the countries

apparently nominated, being China, China, Indonesia and the Philippines, those workers

will need to be trained and certified. You don't actually have certification

for riggers, scaffolders and

crane drivers in any of those

countries. Given that means

there is an obvious need for training to take place of

guest workers before they're

brought here, our point has

been why aren't we looking in

areas like Kwinana in Western

Australia, why aren't we

looking at some workers retrenched down the east

coast who might be able to

fly in and fly out, why

aren't we looking at areas of

endemic disadvantage, such as

many of our indigenous and

regional communities Just to

be clear, then, by the sounds

of that, you still have real

concerns, despite what has

been announced today to show the Government is dealing

with this issue? You still

have some real concerns? I

think that the announcement

the Government has made is

going down the right track. We've been in this discussion

for a long time. It's not

new to us. We certainly will

continue to remain in the

discussion, all of the trade

unions in the construction

area and the ACTU, to ensure

that there is a position

where there is an attempt to address the whole impact of

the resources boom on the

economy and, in particular, economy and, in particular,

that we don't see the

emergence of a two-tier labour system in Australia,

as exists in a lot of other

countries, a two-tier labour

market. The other thing that

needs to be addressed here,

frankly, David, we have an alternative Prime Minister

here who I see as interjecting a lot in the

parliament, making a lot of

points. What's Tony Abbott's

position on this? Does he

support real protections for support real protections for

Australian workers? Does he

support a system where

employers have to hire

locally before they go

overseas? In particular,

does he support going back to

the Howard years, when

employers were able to pay

workers on 457 visas legal ly

lower amount of money than Australian workers, because that was the Howard

Government policy. So it's a

debate for all politicians

And for the Australian community Just what's

happening right now, on the

matter of foreign workers

perhaps getting less than

they should when brought into

the country, the immigration

department how is

investigating claims hundreds

of Chinese workers in the

Pilbara are getting about half what they should be.

That would be a breach,

wouldn't it, of the 457 visa

rules? If those allegations

were made out, it would be a

breach. These are

allegations that were brought

to us by a number of workers who've been involved with

that project. They are

allegations that we have put

to the Government. We've put

them to the Fair Work

Ombudsman and we've put them

to the immigration department

for around about 18 months.

Up until now, the level of cooperation between the immigration department and immigration department and the Fair Work Ombudsman was

absent and the necessary will

to properly investigate these

allegations has been absent.

So if we can at least have

highlighted the problem, we

would hope that there is now

a bona fide, fair-dinkum

attempt to get out there and

make a proper investigation

about what we think are very

serious allegations Dave

Noonan from the CFMEU, thanks

for that Thanks very much,

David After the break, we'll

discuss these issues a little

further and look at what's

going on in the polls at the

moment. Paul Kelly, the 'Australian''s editor at

large, joins us.

In a moment we'll look at

the outcome of this stoush

within Labor over bringing in

foreign workers and the

politics of this. Paul Kelly

will join us. First a quick

check of the news headlines

with Vanessa Two-year-old

triplets from New Zealand are

among 19 people killed after

a fire swept through a

shopping mall in Qatar.

Lily, Jackson and Wilshere

Weeks were among the 13

children killed in the fire

which broke out in the mall

in dough har. The triplets'

grandfather, Ron Turner, says

the parents are numbed by

their loss. The New Zealand

Government is offering

consular assistance to the

family. Prime Minister Julia Gillard has received a bump

in the polls and is now back ahead Tony Abbott as

preferred Prime Minister.

Support for Ms Gillard has

jumped to 40%, while Tony

Abbott is down on 37. The

Newspoll, published in the

'Australian' today, also shows support for the

Government has crept to its

highest level in three

months. Labor's primary vote

is up to 32% and the

Coalition is on 46%. Labor

has also climbed slightly on

the two-party preferred

vote More than 300 Victorian

workers stood down in the

wake of the Hastie collapse

will be able to access

benefits after the union

struck a deal with the

administrator. Workers were

told at a mass meeting that Hastie administrators have

agreed to sign termination notices, which will give them

access to benefits. The electrical trades union

Victorian branch secretary

says the workers can now

access their redundancy

funds, but the loss of their

jobs is still a devastating

blow. Clkt Clkt 7

The Australian Defence

Force is again under the

spotlight for another sex

scandal. A 21-year-old army

cadet from Singapore has

appeared in court over an

alleged incident - indecent

act. The man #34r50eded not

guilty to enterering the cadet's room in May and

committing acts of indecency.

He's been granted bail on the

condition that he does not

make contact with five other

cadets at the academy. Kofi

Annan is calling on every

Syrian to lay down their arms

as the conflict in the

country escalates. The UN's

special envoy to Syria is in

the Damascus ahead of talks

with President Bashar

al-Assad and other senior

officials. He spoke of his

own horror when he learnt of

the massacre of more than 100

people. The former UN chief

said those responsible for

the massacre must be held to

account. Steve Mattai will

miss Manly's next two NRL

matches after accepting an

early guilty plea for a high

shot on Penrith's Danny

Gillea. It's a massive blow

for the Sea Eagles, who take

on St George Illawarra on

Friday night. The weather - showers in the east coast,

rain developing in the tropics, mostly sunny

elsewhere. Vanessa, thanks

very much for that. We'll explore a little further the

issue of bringing in foreign

workers on big mining

projects, the enterprise

migration agreement, that

have angered union leaders,

as we just heard from Dave

Noonan, but also angered some

on the cross-bench as well.

A bunch of them today made

that anger once again pretty

clear. Take a look. We

don't have that, I'm told.

Apologies. We'll bring that to you as soon as we can. In

the mean time, let's get more

on this. Steve Nott is CEO

of the Australian Mines and Metals Association. He joins

me now to look at where

things are at on this. Thank

you for your time. The

Caucus today agreed to set up

a subcommittee to have more

consultation on this. The

Prime Minister has also said

she wants a jobs board to

link up unemployed workers

with available jobs in mining

projects. What do you make

of this? Will this make any

difference to the way this policy is meant to

operate? No, look, we've sunk

to a new low in Australian

politics, I've got to say

this whole debate about

mining magnates and foreign

workers and so forth - I did

an interview this morning and

Dave Cameron was on before me

and I thought I'd thrown back

to the 70s. It's absolutely

disgraceful. The industry is

best placed to determine who

should go into the sector,

not the Government, not the

union movement. There's

already a jobs board in

place, so if the Government

wants a jobs board link, they can set that up

overnight What do you mean

it's already in place? The

industry decided some time

ago, last year, we're trying

every leaver to deal with the

skills shortage issue. The

not for profit group, the

industry employers group, set

up a jobs board. There's

over 100 companies already advertising their jobs on

that jobs board, mining oil

and gas jobs.com -- Not a

government board, though? No,

it's an industry board set up

for industry and the industry participants know what they

need on the resource sector

side, not government and not

people sitting around on a

subcommittee. You need people who are responsible

for the safety of workers,

you need people who know what

the remuneration arrangements

are. We need people who know

where the location of the

sites are Can people prepared

to go from Sydney, Melbourne,

Brisbane, wherever, prepared

to go and work on one of the

mine sites, go on that and register their

interest? Absolutely. We had

14,000 people come through a jobs expo in Perth on

Saturday. The lines outside

the Burswood Casino, anyone

would have thought Kenny

Rogers and Dolly parton were

in town. The industry is

doing everything they can, doing things with women in

resources, we have a joint

government initiative that's

positive to lift female

participation, indigenous employment initiatives,

including the Roy Hill initiative going forward.

They have apprenticeship, leadership, indigenous employment training, they

have their own jobs board,

too Can you understand the

union position on this? Why,

then, do we see big job

losses in manufacturing in

the eastern states, big job

opportunities in the west?

Why can't they be matched

up? Well, it's fairly simple,

and that is Martin Place is a

lovely place, Chapel Street

is a lovely place. When

people get to the reality

they may have lost their job

in the manufacturing sector,

and unfortunately we're

seeing that on a daily basis,

they've been doing 38-hour

weeks, nine-day fortnights,

then they realise, we're

bringing in people from all

around Australia and even New Zealand at the moment to the

Pilbara that fly in, fly out,

is not for them in some

cases. They have to go to Perth and then another

two-hour flight and a

four-wheel drive, a long way

away, 12-hour shifts. It's

highly skilled work, it's a

fairly robust environment and

highly paid, but it's not for everyone That's the point,

isn't it, there's not enough people willing to do

that? What's not understood

on the east coast, in

particular, is the extent of

the boom going on over there.

We're facing 90,000

shortages. People talk about

the Roy Hill project, they've

just gone first and because

Gina is a lightening rod to

some in the Labor Party and

the union movement. You should look around at some

other projects on the go,

north of 40 billion, another

one 20 billion, a couple of hundred billion is already in

the pipeline. If we're really serious about the

foreign labour issue, we

could push away investment

for another $300 billion

worth of projects. Most of

the projects have local

content, most of them employ

locals, and even in the Roy

Hill announcement, where they

are taking up to 1,700

workers, there are 2,000 Australians who will get

trained. The nonsense about

poor pay rates, they have to

be paid market rates. The

nonsense in that communique

today about having special

protection for OH & S is

insulting to the industry.

To suggest the industry would

treat anyone differently

because of where they came

from - it's just terrible and

a throwback to the 70s. We

need to move on What in this

statement, this resolution

that Caucus has passed today,

changes anything? Do you

think it will make any

difference to the way the

EMA, enterprise migration

policy, works? I think most

people have seen what took people have seen what took

place last week. Three

ministers, the Immigration

Minister, special minister of

state and the Resources

Minister. They know the

policy dynamic well, they've

been working on it for years.

It was announced on Friday.

We saw union officials in

Canberra, their heads were

almost exploding with anger

and the Government's run

around to feed into the

debate about Chinese workers,

low wages, poor safety. It's

a real indict ment on where

we are in the political cycle

at the moment Despite all the

things said by Doug Cameron

and the like, does anything

change? This policy will

still operate as is, won't it

- a bit more consultation? The definition

is 2 billion and 1500 people

on the job. There's another

20 projects that fit that

category. So there are other

people lining up to look at

rolling out enterprise

migration agreements. We're working with working with six companies at

the moment, two are in an

advanced stage. We should

encourage that to get these

projects off the ground. To

try to push away a very small

part, but a key component of

the labour supply thing and

demonise them, it's

terrible What about these

claims about Chinese workers

and the Sino iron project

being paid half what they

should be. Do you know

anything about this? Well,

like most of the industry,

members of ours and we don't

want to go into the

specifics, other than to say

that enterprise migration

agreements, the approval

process there is for major

projects -- This isn't one of

those It isn't one of those,

so there will be full investigation into all that.

At the end of the day, since

2009, there is a requirement

those workers be paid market

rates. That's the law.

Those ol gagss will be investigated. If they are

true, the company will be prosecuted I think the

argument or the suggestion is

from the union these workers

are brought in as a highly

skilled labour, but then put

on lower skilled work and

paid less. Does that

happen? Absolutely not. Now,

when you bring these workers

in from overseas, it costs

the employ about 20% or 30%

more than Australian workers.

You have to repatriate their family, the international

fares, you have to make their

qualifications are verified,

it's an expensive exercise.

So the overwhelming imagine

orthicon of people, and

there's the odd situation

that comes up with 456 and

4578 visas, they pay market rates, treat their people

fairly, have the same safety

standards for foreign workers

as Australian workers Just in general, you touched general, you touched on it

there, the cost of bringing

in these foreign workers -

you've got to pay flights and

the rest of it - and there

may be language barriers for

some of them as well, which

may be an issue. But surely

there's a clear benefit here for these companies in doing

it. Why are they so

desperate to do it? It must be cheaper at some

point? Absolutely not. It's

more expensive and what they

are doing, though, is going

to the market - a lot of

these projects are waiting

final investment decision.

So they have to be able to say we can build this thing.

There's something up the road

$40 billion, something in SA

another 20 billion, up in

Queensland another $80

billion worth of projects on

the go. We need to convince

the market we have the labour

here to get these things off

the ground. I think Gina

Rinehart should be commended

for going first and taking

the heat on the issue, but

raising the broader issue we

don't have sufficient skills.

Hopefully people watching

your program will jump on the

mining, oil and gas board and

look at what they have to do

to get careers in the

resources sector. That's the

upside of the debate. The

downside is foreign workers

being treated poorly when

they get market rates and

anyone - if you've been to a

mine or oil and gas site, you

know the safety induction

process. To put all that in

there and rhetoric about

having to have freedom of association standards to say

that Australians won't comply

with international laws, it's

insulting Steve Knott, thanks

for that that. Stay with us,

we'll be back after the break.

Welcome back to the

program. We're having a bit of trouble establishing our

link to Paul Kelly at the 'Australian'. 'Australian'. Apologies for

that. We'll get there if we can re-establish that. In

the mean time, we're going to

look at the plight of Palestinian refugees.

Australia today pledged $90

million to help those

Palestinian refugees living

in absolute poverty in

refugee camps in Lebanon,

Jordan, Syria, Gaza. Today

there has been a visit associated with this

announcement of the UN's -

the head of the UN Relief and

Welfare Agency, Philip

Grande, he's been talking to

officials in Canberra about

the plight of the Palestinians and also what

the Israelis should be doing

to ease, lift some of the

border blockade restrictions

into Gaza. Sky News

political reporter caught up

with him a little earlier in the

the day Thank you very much

for your time. What will

this Australian aid money be

used for? This is a fairly

important contribution. It's

a substantial amount of money

over a period of five years

that goes directly into our

core work, so it's education

for 500,000 Palestinian

refugee children, it's health

care for almost 5 million Palestinian refugees, and

it's assistance to the

poorest among these people.

It's great because it's

substantial, it's long term

and it's predictable Can you

quantify how many refugees it

will actually help? Well, in

the schools it will help everybody, because education

is our core activity,

covering about 60% of our

budget, so that's where the

bulk of the money will be

used These are UN schools run

by the United Nations,

staffed by the United

Nations, is that right? These

are UNWAR schools. UNWAR, an

agency of the United Nations,

is the only organisation of

the UN which does direct work

with its beneficiaries, so we

recruit the teachers, recruit

the doctors, the nurses, the

social workers and that money

will be used to support this

system of aid to the

Palestinian refugees I'm interested to know about what

the conflict in Syria, which

continues to deteriorate -

what impact that's having on

the 500,000 or so refugees from Palestine that are from Palestine that are in

Syria at the moment The good

thing is that these people,

these Palestinian refugees in Syria, have not been involved, generally speaking,

in the conflict, they've

stayed out, and I think

that's very, very positive,

because any involvement would

result in them being targeted and increasing their

hardship. But of course they

share with the rest of the

Syrian population all the

other hardships of being in

the middle of a very difficult situation. For

example, many of them who

were employed by small

business locally lost their

jobs and their means of

livelihood as a result of the

conflict, so there's a

general impoverishment of the population, of which they

also suffer. Being refugees

and therefore being more

vulnerable, they're more exposed than other categories

of people in Syria Have many

of them felt the need to flee again? Mercifully, very few

have moved so far. We try to

avoid them moving because of

economic circumstances and

that's why we provide additional financial

assistance to those of them

that are most exposed. But

of course if fighting

increases, if violence

increases, you cannot exclude

there will be more population

movement. We hope not, but

the risks are there, given

the gravity of the

situation Just more generally, Syria has gone

from being a recipient of

refugees to being a country

that has its own displaced

people. What impact is that

having on the wider region? Well, of course

refugee movements are always

destabilising for the refugees themselves first and

foremost, but also for the communities which host them

and for the states that host

them. This is, of course, a

bad sifrpton. All I can say

about this is that of course

we, as a UN agency, together

with the rest of the UN

system, very much hope that

the Kofi Annan plan can be

implemented. There's no

other way out of this

difficult crisis and it is of

paramount importance for the

civila ns that we care for,

together with other agencies,

that the plan be implemented

as soon as possible In two

weeks time it will be five

years since the Gaza blockade

was set up. What impact is

that having on Palestinians

today? Well, Gaza is home to

1.5 million Palestinians, of

whom 1 million are refugees registered with

registered with UNWAR. We

play a big role in Gaza,

we're very present there,

through a large operation.

The blockade has been very

devastating for all civilians

in Gaza. The blockade has

been eased two years ago, we're pleased about that, we've been cooperating with

the Israeli Government in

trying to bring more goods

into Gaza, but it's not

enough. The blockade first

and foremost is illegal, according to international

law. It's a punishment of civilian populations that

shouldn't happen, so our

first and most important

appeal is for the blockade to

be lifted. But we

understand, we appreciate,

all the complexities around

the blockade and we think

that until the blockade is

there and at least the

Israeli Government should

accelerate the measures to

ease it and to allow for more

passage of goods and people

from Israel into Gaza. This

is vital for the welfare of a

very, very affected and

impoverished

population Commissioner General, thanks very

much Thank you. Talking

there to David a little

earlier in the day about the

plight of those Palestinian

refugees. That's all we have

for today's program. We'll be back at the same time

tomorrow. Hope to see you