CFMEU election ads encourage xenophobia

The CFMEU’s election advertising against 457 visas shows the appalling xenophobia that some unions are playing with. The union is running TV ads that claim “temporary overseas workers” will take jobs from locals.

Explaining why the union is targeting the marginal seat of Corangamite in Geelong, CFMEU Construction
National Secretary Dave Noonan said the area could be “flooded” with 457 visa workers by a Liberal government. This echoes the racist language used by the tabloid media about refugees.

He explicitly linked immigrants and unemployment, warning of plans “to flood Geelong with temporary visa holders at a time when you have major job losses”. This is particularly dangerous in an area savaged by cuts to jobs in the car industry—layoffs that have nothing to do with immigration.

The union’s national secretary Michael O’Connor also blamed 457 visa workers for unemployment, saying, “Young Australians are already missing out on jobs and training opportunities because of the 457 scheme.”
The union is spending $1 million on an advertising campaign targeting Tony Abbott with the claim he wants to massively expand the number of 457 visa workers. Fanning this kind of xenophobia can only encourage workers to blame immigrants, not the bosses, for job cuts and unemployment.


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