Tony McRae

Tony McRae

Former Minister for the Environment; Climate Change; Disability Services

    Australians will not fall for Howard's distraction.

    4/09/2006 10:45 AM

    The Prime Minister’s latest attack on migrants is divisive and threatens Australia’s position as one of the world’s most successful migrant societies.

    Western Australian Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Interests Tony McRae has rejected the Prime Minister’s comments on Muslim Australians as shameful.

    “Instead of fostering a sense of inclusion and engagement, Mr Howard has continued his strategy of community division,” Mr McRae said.

    “He does this trick whenever he needs to divert attention from the real issues confronting Australian families - and this time it is his extremist industrial relations laws.

    “It is a great irony that in the same week that John Howard says Muslims are sexist, it is confirmed that Australian companies have made no progress on the representation of senior women for the past 10 years.

    “The issue John Howard cannot escape is how his industrial laws will undermine the security of Australian workers’ wages.

    “Australia’s intake of millions of migrants has been successful because we have had an IR system that ensured Australian workers wages were not undercut by migrants and people coming here were assured of not being ripped off.

    “For more than 100 years, our industrial award system has protected resident Australians and new migrants to this country.

    “Howard’s IR system will mean more resentment towards migrant workers who are forced on to lower wages.

    “Never before have migrants had to negotiate their pay as they will under John Howard’s IR laws - and this is what he should be talking about with the Australian people, rather than trying to divide us.”

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