Mr BOB KATTER : We people in the mining industries or representing the mining industries of Australia are particularly perturbed because it’s very rare now for a coal miner or a hard-rock miner to get three years of continuous work. It’s all done on contract now, and the CFMEU, God bless them, have pointed out again and again the nature of the casualisation of labour in Australia. If you don’t have a permanent job, you can’t buy a house. The bank won’t loan you money. If you haven’t got a permanent job, you can’t buy a car. The bank won’t loan you money. So it is all part of the new contractor, fly-in fly-out mining.

Everyone accepts fly-in fly-out mining, which is quite remarkable because I was brought up in a world where it was rejected totally. It was banned in Western Australia under Charles Court, which precipitated WA Inc. Some $240,000 was donated to a stamp album so that Alan Bond could fly in his workers to his diamond mine, the Argyle. So fly-in fly-out mining was born in corruption. In Queensland, it was banned under the Bjelke-Petersen government. Here are two of the most conservative governments in Australian history. Neither of them would allow fly-in mining. There are destructive implications for families from fly-in mining. If you’re a fly-in miner, you don’t see your daughter at the eisteddfod or the ballet. You don’t see your son playing football on the weekend. Do we work to have a life, or do we have a life to work? That is the question that is always asked.

The ALP are not the innocents in this. Thirty-six thousand were coming in under the LNP, and that was raised to 147,000 under the ALP. So as far as fly-in fly-out workers from overseas are concerned—section 457, which is what we’re talking about here today—the naughty boys were the ALP. You took it from 36,000 under the LNP up to 147,000, which was pointed out with great venom, God bless him, by Michael O’Connor, President of the CFMEU, no less, to the then Prime Minister, Julia Gillard. He said, ‘Don’t go blaming the Tories, because, Prime Minister, it was you, and this union is not going to brook any further section 457s coming into this country.’

And they say, ‘Oh, we can’t get Australians to work these days.’ Well, as an Australian, I don’t particularly like being called a bludger, and the people I mix with I wouldn’t call bludgers either. So who exactly are these Australians? Fifteen years ago we didn’t need any section 457 workers. There were virtually none coming into this country. So how come suddenly, in 15 years, the people of the country have all become bludgers and we need to bring in section 457 workers from overseas?

The illustrious and highly respected cabinet minister at the dispatch box, no less, referred to the fact that welfare will jump from 25 per cent of the federal budget to 50 per cent of the federal budget over the next 10 years. Why? Because we’re bringing 640,000 people a year into this country on long-term visas, which means they’re not going to go home. They get four years and they can extend it for four years. They’re never going to leave the country. Like Mexican wetbacks, once they cross that border you won’t ever get them out. They haven’t done it in America and you’re almost certainly not doing it here, in respect of the major parties.

There are 640,000 people and there are only 200,000 jobs. And there are over 200,000 school leavers. We’ve got 840,000 people chasing 200,000 jobs. Something has got to break here. I suspect it’s the social welfare system. And, as Minister Porter pointed out, the welfare budget is going to jump from 25 per cent to 50 per cent of the federal budget—of course it is. You’re bringing in 640,000 people a year from overseas. Australians are losing the jobs, because preference is being given to people from overseas— (Time expired)

Chamber House of Representatives on 8/02/2018 Item BILLS – Migration Amendment (Skilling Australians Fund) Bill 2017, Migration (Skilling Australians Fund) Charges Bill 2017 – Consideration in Detail Speaker :Katter, Bob, MP / Source: Attributed to Parliament of Australia website Including Image/  website is provided under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0