POLITICS

Shorten Challenges Turnbull To Act On 'Extraordinary' Migrant Exploitation

Labor wants a debate on the 457 visa scheme.

29/10/2016 11:31 AM AEDT | Updated 29/10/2016 12:14 PM AEDT
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Bill Shorten has addressed the Queensland ALP state conference.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten has teed off on workplace relations, telling Labor Party faithful that the federal government is failing to protect the rights of migrant workers.

Speaking on the Gold Coast, Shorten described Labor as "the party of jobs", challenging the coalition to bring on a debate about industrial relations.

He was especially fired up about the alleged exploitation of workers on 457 visas, which he said saw many people "risking their lives" at work.

"If the Liberals want to have a talk about workplace relations, let's get to the bottom of the extraordinary allegations of bribery and corruption in the front-line of the worker visa system," Shorten said told the Queensland ALP state conference on Saturday.

"No-one wins when people are brought in from overseas to work in worse conditions for less money. There are the good employers, the good companies, who do the right thing -- they're put at a competitive disadvantage."

He also slammed proposed government changes to paid parental leave and backed Labor's commitment to curbing family violence.

The speech comes on the same day as a report in The Guardian reveals claims of serious exploitation among Korean workers in Australia.

The report reveals some Korean workers on temporary visas are being housed in overcrowded accommodation and being forced to work in slave-like conditions in industries like construction and restaurants. Some are being paid as little as $9 an hour, according to The Guardian.

Shorten's comments also follows Fairfax Media and ABC reports last year about widespread exploitation of migrant workers at 7-Eleven franchises across the nation.

Earlier this month, the government launched a new migrant taskforce charged with stamping out exploitation of guest workers in Australia in response to ongoing concerns.

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