Exploiting people because of their background, language, skin colour or religion is the antithesis of Australian multiculturalism.
In recent years, public awareness of worker exploitation has grown as a result of the shocking cases brought to light by people brave enough to stand up, and also as a result of good journalism. Too often these people are new migrants, international students and young people, who lack the power or support to even receive their minimum entitlements, like an award wage.
Systematic exploitation undermines our multicultural society by excluding the very people we should be welcoming.
This is why I am heartened to see many organisations and groups are working to redress exploitative practices. The Government, through the Fair Work Ombudsman and other agencies, has a major role to play. However, it is civil society and businesses where the biggest gains will be made.
One positive example is the ‘Welcome to Work’ campaign, supported by the SDA and UnitedVoice, highlighting that every worker is entitled to a minimum wage and basic working conditions. Established this year and promoted during O-Week, this campaign promotes understanding of entitlements to international students. I congratulate the SDA and UnitedVoice on this campaign and look forward to seeing future campaigns.
Labor supports these efforts and has put forward a plan to combat worker exploitation.
Eliminating worker exploitation of new migrants will be one of the defining outcomes for a 21st century multicultural Australia. We will all benefit from working together to fight exploitation.
For more information:
- Welcome to Work website - http://welcometowork.com.au/
- The 7/11 hotline – 131 732
WEDNESDAY, 30 MARCH 2016