Published: 19 Aug 2015
Plans to undertake a taxpayer funded advertising campaign on the China Australia Free Trade Agreement highlight the failure of the Abbott Government to sell its own policies to the Australian people.
The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union said no amount of advertising spin would change the unpopular anti-worker provisions in the Agreement.
“The crisis-ridden Abbott Government has failed to sell its own policies. It will now waste more taxpayers' money on an expensive advertising campaign to try and tell the Australian public that black is white,” CFMEU National Secretary Michael O’Connor said
“If the China Free Trade Agreement was good for Australian workers, the Abbott Government would have had no problem in getting that message across.
“They've already wasted $80 million of taxpayers' money on a now-proven partisan Royal Commission.
“Having failed to convince Australian workers that the China Free Trade Agreement is good for them, they want to spend even more on spin.
“An ad campaign would almost certainly be a waste of public money - our polling shows that voters in key marginal seats hate the China Free Agreement.
“No amount of advertising will change the anti-worker provisions in the Agreement - they need to remove them if they want to win the public back over.”
Under the China Free Trade Agreement, Chinese companies will be able to bring in their own workers on projects worth as little as $150 million (down from $2 billion), a move that will lock qualified Australian workers out of many construction and mining projects.
The Agreement will also allow Chinese companies to bring in semi-skilled workers for the first time – a completely unjustifiable change when there are now more than 800,000 Australians unemployed – the first time it has reached this number since 1994.
“This Free Trade Agreement is unprecedented and with unemployment at highest levels since 2002, it is completely unjustified.”