We already have over one million temporary entrants in Australia who have work rights. We already have well over 700,000 people out of work. We already have a workforce participation rate at its lowest level for years. In my home state of Victoria the unemployment rate of 6.4 percent is the worst since January 2002. In the City of Hume, just north of my electorate, unemployment has risen 25 percent in the six months since the change of government and is well into double figures.
Against this background it is plain crazy to increase the 457 visa program. This program is already way too high. In 2009-10 there were 68,000 457 visas granted. Last year the figure had risen to over 126,000 temporary migrant worker visas. If you allow employers to bring in as many 457 workers as they like once a sponsorship is approved this figure will continue to skyrocket.
These workers are prepared to work for less than Australian workers, which suits employers. But the 457 visa program is a dagger at the heart of Australian workers, who end up working for less than decent wages and conditions, or languishing indefinitely without any work at all.