From: Phil Shannon [Email him]
What is going on with the Australian economy, asks the political and economic commentator, Tim Colebatch ( Why is unemployment still so high?, Inside Story, April 18, 2018 ). GDP is healthy and jobs growth is at record levels yet unemployment can’t seem to limbo under 5.5%, underemployment at 8.3% is amongst the highest in the Western world, and wages are stagnating.
The “single biggest reason” why high jobs growth has not reduced unemployment in Australia, says Colebatch, is hinted at in a recent Treasury/Department of Home Affairs report, Shaping a Nation. The two federal government departments are enthusiastically pro-immigration (despite Home Affairs being tough on illegal dhow-arrivals) because more immigration means more people buying more stuff and making more profits for companies and more tax revenue for governments.
The report’s “starting point and conclusion is that immigration is always good for us, whatever the circumstances”, says Colebatch, yet in a buried paragraph, the report notes that recent immigrants accounted for two-thirds (64.5%) of all jobs, and 72.4% of full-time jobs, created between 2012 and 2017. “Let those numbers sink in”, says Colebatch:
Seven of every ten new jobs have gone to recent migrants. Only three in ten have been available for Australian jobseekers.
Why the immigrant favouritism? Because “the government has simply given employers what they want”, such as off-the-shelf skilled immigrants, for example. “Australian jobseekers don’t get a look-in” because, for example, trades education and apprenticeships cost employers too much money which could otherwise be going to profits. The National Broadband Network (Australia’s $60 billion high-speed internet cable rollout), for example, lets out contracts to Indian IT/Communications firms, which then import their entire skilled Indian workforce under government immigration work visas.
“It’s an ideal time to be an employer, and to take on new, compliant workers”, says a frustrated Colebatch, adding that “you can be pro-immigration and still conclude that right now we have far too much of it”. Be careful, Mr. Colebatch, such statements could unmask you as yet another xenophobic, racist, white nationalist, far-right extremist.
Phil Shannon is a veteran Australian working class socialist and Vdare.com supporter