Readers of The Australian may have noticed that the paper has been on one of its campaigns – drip feeding details of workers employed by state Labor governments and unions on 457 visas. Implicit in this reporting is a claim that this demonstrates hypocrisy on the part of the federal ALP.
(Never mind the fact that most of the state government employees are health workers in areas where there are skills shortages, the whole point of the visa, and that the union employees are paid standard wages and enjoy the same conditions as others. There’s no doubt a policy issue about the mobility of labour here, but it’s not being reported or discussed in The Australian.)
Now Troy Bramston, normally the in-house Labor critic, turns his sights on The Greens, writing a polemical piece which includes rhetoric such as this:
But now the Greens have egg on their faces. The position on Sheikh’s campaign may have required a working visa. It may have also breached the Fair Work guidelines for volunteering.
Sandell informed me on Friday that the position had been filled by a person living in Canberra. I was assured that there are no foreigners working on Sheikh’s campaign.
Nevertheless, the advertisement for a foreign worker makes a mockery of the comments of Greens leader Christine Milne. “If the Prime Minister was serious about protecting local jobs,” the senator said last month, it should “get behind the Greens legislation to advertise jobs locally first.”
In truth, this is just another way to denigrate foreign workers and to exploit racist fears in the community. After all, the Greens are backed by several unions and have never embraced the virtues of open markets, whether they are labour or product markets.
Yeah, ok, Troy, have an iced vovo, a cup of tea and a nice lie down. Maybe a Bex while you’re at it. I worry about your blood pressure.
All this confected controversy over a leaked email seeking expressions of interest from international Greens in a voluntary Data Manager. Political parties are increasingly part of an international web of campaigning expertise, and there’s no great surprise here.
All campaigns use volunteer workers. Underfunded ones do in particular. No doubt visa issues could have been sorted. How long a bow is being drawn? No story here, move along…
In all this hooha, the real story is completely missed.
The emailed letter in question includes this para:
It would be a great opportunity to work on an incredible campaign with a small, innovative team – and make a huge difference to progressive politics here – and stop the carbon price being repealed!
I can only read that as suggesting that Greens campaigners are proceeding on the basis of an Abbott win. That would be sensible, of course. But surely this is the actual story?