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Wednesday, 26 June 2013
Page: 7123


Mr MORRISON (Cook) (13:35): by leave—I move amendments (1) to (3), as circulated in my name, together:

(1) Schedule 2, item 2, page 6 (lines 10 to 22), omit subsection 140GBA(3), substitute:

(3) The labour market testing condition is satisfied if the Minister is satisfied that the approved sponsor has undertaken labour market testing in relation to the nominated position:

   (a) within a period determined under subsection (4) in relation to the nominated occupation; and

   (b) by means of advertising the position in the media in the manner prescribed by the regulations.

(2) Schedule 2, item 2, page 6 (line 26) to page 7 (line 18), omit subsections 140GBA(5) and (6).

(3) Schedule 2, item 2, page 7 (line 26), at the end of the definition of labour market testing subsection 140GBA(7), add ", by the means and within the period referred to in subsection (3)".

The amendments put forward achieve one simple purpose—that is, to give effect to the minister's own statement and the member for New England's own expressed desire of amendments to this bill and the discussions that were held with the coalition.

The minister said at the Skilled Migration National Employer Conference in Melbourne on Friday, 21 June—and I have heard him make this same statement on numerous occasions in relation to these measures:

Labour market testing is putting an ad in the paper, that's it—there are no other undertakings required from the employer.

As we know, that is plainly not true in the bill that was presented in this House in terms of the many other obligations that are put on employers in relation to the labour market testing that was introduced, found not to be effective, found not to be working and was abolished and replaced with the reference to the skilled occupation list.

These amendments are to ensure that we can be true in this bill to what the minister has represented for this bill and that the amendments that have just been put forward by the government are indeed what the law actually says. What these amendments do is simply ensure that the act will say that labour market testing means advertising the position in the media in the manner prescribed by the regulations—nothing more, nothing less.

What the coalition is suggesting here is that the labour market testing regime, which the government has forced onto this parliament, be restricted to only what the minister has said it is outside of this place and, indeed, inside this place—that is, it should only be to have an ad in the paper. So if the minister is true to his word, if the minister actually wants to reflect in the law what he has represented this bill to be outside of this place, then the government should support the amendments. The government should support ensuring that all that is required, to use his own words, is that labour market testing is putting an ad in the paper. That is it. There are no other undertakings required from the employer. That is what the amendments do. That is exactly what the amendments do.

What the government has done is bring amendments in here with the support of Independents, who all sought to have even greater regulatory burdens put on as a result of this bill. But also what the minister has said outside of this place is to just bring it back to the simple requirement to have advertising placed in the manner and form prescribed by the regulations. Why would we require it to be done by regulation? Obviously there is a need to specify what form this would take. Technologies change, readership patterns change: is it local, is it national, is it on the internet, is it on Seek.com, is it in the local newspaper? All of these things would need to be addressed. They are properly addressed in the regulations, not in the substantive bill.

What we have here is a con. We have the minister who we already know was caught out, when it came to his substantiation for this bill, making up the claim of 10,000—caught out. Now we have the minister caught out again in making representations outside of this place, and even inside of this place it would seem, suggesting that all the bill requires is an ad in the paper when it plainly requires far more red union tape than that. He has been caught out misrepresenting it again. And if the House wants further evidence of that, then in the one inquiry that has been undertaken into this bill, rushed through the Senate last week—the House inquiry that was to be undertaken on this matter before this parliament even considered it, was dodged by the government—Senator Cash asked the officials from the department of immigration:

… what Minister O'Connor stated. He stated, 'Labour market testing is putting an ad in the paper. That is it. There are no other undertakings required from the employer'—

quoting the minister, and she went on:

… upon what basis does Minister O'Connor make that statement?

That was the question to the official. And the answer was:

… I cannot speak to why the minister would have made that statement.

Once again, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship has left this minister hanging out to dry on another false claim that he has been making. Whether it is trying to make up the evidence for the bill that he has brought before the House or make up what this bill actually does, the minister has been caught out serially and seriously misleading what the true intentions and effect of this bill are. The government and the crossbenchers have the opportunity to make sure this bill only does what the minister has told the Australian people that it would do. It should just be an ad in the paper. That is what these amendments will require, and I call on members to support them.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The question is that the amendments be agreed to.

The SPEAKER: Order! The debate is interrupted in accordance with standing order 43. The debate may be resumed at a later hour.