457 visa victory is historical to the Kennedy electorate
KAP Member for Kennedy, Bob Katter feels today’s abolishment of the 457 visa is a poignant moment.
Mr Katter said, “I’ve asked Question after Question in the house, I’ve given numerous speeches in the house railing against section 457s.
“I always salute a life size portrait of Charlie McDonald, the first Member for Kennedy.
“Charlie and his union movement secured arbitration and with it livable pay and conditions.
“One in 30 of us went down the mines and died from mining or in mining. The foreign-owned mining companies moved to bring in coolies to work the mines and kanakas to work the cane fields and Charlie McDonald ranted and raved as I have 100 years later against the 457 visa.
“The ALP will take a justifiable beating on this – it was Bill Shorten as Minister who increased 457’s from 35,000 per year to over 165,000 per year.
“The only two voiced I’ve heard on this issue is that of the CFMEU and myself and my KAP State colleagues, Member for Dalrymple, Shane Knuth and Member for Mount Isa, Robbie Katter. We call them 4FI FO’s (4 Fly In Fly Out).
“The announcement today is a great vindication of the massive attacks we have made upon the ALP and then the LNP. In our most pointed question which we asked again and again, ‘how Prime Minister, can you avoid national bankruptcy if you are bringing in 204,000 migrants per year, 292,000 overseas students and 126,000 Section 457 and related visas (2012-2014)?’
“For those that say, ‘oh we can’t get anyone to do these jobs,’ in the second last year of the Howard Government there was only 20,000 457s. Everyone was doing the work then, why is it that we suddenly were unable to get the Australians to do it?
“In the poultry factory in Mareeba, almost all the Australians were laid off to put almost all 457 workers on.
“There are meat works in Australia that fail to employ a single Australian - why? To quote the head of Australian Meat Holdings, John Keir, they’re being paid 30% less than the Award.
“It has been a great break through. To the people who have fought the good fight, God bless them they’ve been good Australians – we thank the Prime Minister and Minister Dutton for their decision.
“But most of all the much maligned CFMEU, power to them for this victory. I feel proud that I’ve been a fierce of supporter of theirs throughout this battle.”