POLITICS

George Christensen Wants To Ban Foreign Worker Visas In North Queensland

The conservative MP declared 'Australian jobs should be for Australian workers'.

15/11/2016 4:43 PM AEDT | Updated 15/11/2016 6:02 PM AEDT
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Fairfax: Andrew Meares
Christensen said 'Australian jobs should be for Australian workers'.

Conservative Coalition backbencher George Christensen has called for a ban on 457 foreign workers visas in Central and North Queensland, declaring that 'Australian jobs should be for Australian workers'.

The Liberal National Party MP, whose electorate spans from Townsville to Mackay, on Tuesday said the visas should no longer be issued for jobs in large parts of Queensland until unemployment rates drop.

"The unemployment rate throughout Central and North Queensland is higher than the national average. In some instances, much higher," Christensen said on Facebook.

"As such, there is no need for the issuance of any further 457 foreign worker visas in our region."

In a statement posted to his website later on Tuesday, Christensen said the region has experience a "major economic downturn" and is leaving thousands of people jobless.

"The explosion of 457 workers that we saw under the Labor Government, which peaked in 2012, saw many foreigners come to the region to take up jobs and many of those workers remain," Christensen wrote.

"This has caused considerable resentment and public backlash in a community where Australian workers have lost jobs and cannot find new ones."

The comments come after Opposition Leader Bill Shorten called for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to crackdown on the foreign worker visas and force employers to provide genuine evidence they have tested the Australian market before hiring foreign workers.

In a speech on Sunday, Shorten said "it is time to build Australian first, buy Australian first in our contracts and employ Australians first".

"Mr Turnbull needs to stop acting for the global economy, talking about the easy movement of labour around the world, and recognise that what Australians want is they want to make sure that their kids are getting a fair crack at the jobs that go here."

Turnbull has slammed Shorten's comments as "breathtaking hypocrisy" claiming the highest number of 457 visas were granted when Shorten was employment minister.

"Around a third more 457 visas were granted when he was employment minister than have been granted over the last 12 months," Turnbull said.

"Bill Shorten was in the Olympic grade of granting 457 visas."

The debate comes after Donald Trump's election in the U.S. has prompted a global debate around elites ignoring the working class, voter dissatisfaction and immigration.

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