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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Open slather: government, business and guest workers

Business now knows that under the Howard Government there is open slather in the workplace. They can do what they like. American Express claims it can't get appropriately skilled workers in Australia and has to import them from Japan. Now Miss Eagle might be a bit naive -but she has done some Economics studies at University level and she has listened to and read all the free market stuff since Milton Friedman became a household name that some of us which we had never heard.

If there is scarcity of a good, the price goes higher. So Amex doesn't get what it wants in this country. The problem may be not that the skills are not here. The problem is more likely that Amex is not prepared to pay - not prepared to pay the market price. Amex needs to learn that if they want the free market they get the whole kit and kaboodle, like it or lump it. But no, they want out from free market provisions that they regard as onerous and want to get skilled labour on the cheap. And the Howard Government has the system that will help.

Then there are the horrific stories coming out as guest workers become a factor in this country: something Australians never thought they would see.

Was a time when Australians and Australian unions supported the White Australia Policy with - as one of its specific aims - the idea that if Asian labour came in wages and standards of living would be lowered. When Miss Eagle married in 1963 and purchased her bedroom suite it had stamped on it 'Made with European Labour'. Australians have resiled from that attitude and our country has welcomed people from all continents.

Miss Eagle also believes in moral causation or karma. We reap the consequences of our actions. Perhaps the advent of guest workers could be seen in this context. We used racism to protect our wages and standards of living now our racism is being challenged along with our wages and standards of living on our own soil by the very people we tried for 150 years to keep out.

But this is beyond karma. There is justice and equity for no one in the guest worker program.
Will Australians wake up to this and tell government and business to desist?