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Wednesday, 26 June 2013
Page: 7120


Mr KATTER (Kennedy) (13:14): I have great respect for the member for Dickson. I think he has showed a lot of moral courage and intelligence on a number of occasions, but I have to disagree with him and the previous speaker on this issue on the Migration Amendment (Temporary Sponsored Visas) Bill 2013. I have had to live with it all of my life, trying to get nurses and doctors into rural Australia, and we now have eight new universities turning out doctors, with about 12 or 15 turning out nurses. The cavalry is on the way.

But what is happening is that we are getting people from overseas. In Queensland we had the dreadful case of Dr Death at Bundaberg, but there are many other cases similar to that. With a lot of the people coming in it is very difficult for the migration services, and I think the health services have been a little lax in allowing people in who are not qualified like our Australian doctors. We would like to think our medical training in Australia is superior to the rest of the world in the area of medical technology. It is one of the very few areas in which Australia is still holding its ground against the rest of the world. We would like to think we are very advanced in these areas. If we are, then rural Australia is getting the rough end of the pineapple; we are not getting as good a product as is coming out of our Australian universities.

But as always we are acting like we need 457 visas. We had never had 457 visas in our history until about 15 years ago. It is rather intriguing that the Liberals are advocating the 457 visas when they allowed only 38,000 in—God bless them—whereas the current mob are allowing 100,000 in. If we judge political parties on their performances then I would be giving an A to the Liberal Party and a Z to the Labor Party on this issue. I find the few points being put forward today rather ironic. I choose the word 'ironic', but there is obviously another word in my mind. Why, suddenly, in the last 15 years have we not had any nurses, any fitters, any miners? Mr Deputy Speaker, please do not insult our intelligence! At Boggabri there were 100 people from overseas, from one of the cheapest labour countries in the world. They decided they needed cutbacks, so there were 100 of them brought in and put there. Then they sacked all of the Australian workers. They are insulting our intelligence. This is about undermining pay and conditions.

The Leader of the Nationals was so stupid yesterday as to let the cat out of the bag, which we will make sure the people of Queensland and of other places know, when he said that the real problem here is that the base issues are the wages. Thank you, you have just said it all. The real problem is the wages, and we have to get the wages down. He did not say that, but it was implied in what he said. He gave the wage figures from New Zealand, the United States and Australia. He said $8 an hour. The implication of what he was saying was clearly that we should be working here for $8 an hour. A person on the opposition benches made such a stupid statement, and she at least had the decency to apologise to the Australian people; I doubt we will getting that out of the Leader of the Nationals. No, what we are talking about here is undermining our pay and conditions, having a totally supine workforce where the boss holds the deportation order and can crack the whip of the deportation order any time he feels like it. It is to the eternal shame of the Labor Party, and it will be remembered in history as the party that brought in 125,000 foreign workers on top of the nearly 200,000 that are coming in under the migration program.

I am not blaming anyone in my electorate, many of whom employ 457 workers. You would be a mug if you did not—you know you can pay them less! You know you can tell them to do whatever you want them to do. There is no issue of pay and conditions— (Time expired)