The Currency Lad challenges “Laborite bloggers and columnists” to discuss the AWU’s opposition to Chinese workers as guest workers in the fruit picking industry. I’m happy to take him up on it. The Labor Party was rightly condemned for some marginal seat campaigning in the election which sought to raise fears about “foreigners taking our Aussie jobs”. The AWU may well have some legitimate concerns, but to the degree that their stand has resonances with racism (and they ought to be aware of these resonances), they stand condemned. This debate ought rather to be couched in terms of the problems of productivity and labour shortages which are only belatedly and half-heartedly being addressed by the Federal Government.
In turn, I hope that right-wing bloggers and commentators will join me in lauding the contribution made by refugees as workers in regional Australia in particular, and in a call for the conditions under which refugees who are making a productive contribution can transfer from TPVs to permanent residency to be liberalised and reformed.
Oh, and I disagree with Rafe Champion writing at Catallaxy that this vindicates Keith Windschuttle.
ELSEWHERE: Rob Corr at Kick & Scream has also posted on this issue.