When not doing a cross-promotion with The Chaser last night, Today Tonight was following a good story showing where the buck can stop when major companies outsource employment: the cleaners working for $12 an hour for Coles, Woolworths and Bunnings, no tax, no super. “And if they don’t like it, they can f-ck off.”
Unfortunately, TT’s first pass at the yarn was tainted with a racist angle, as nailed by Chinatown.com.au. Nonetheless, the core is a nice expose of dodgy sub-sub-contractors preying on those with little or no English language skills.
It is a workplace conditions story so surely that it’s just a matter of cue the ALP spokeswoman for the sequel – but Julia refused to play. Wayne Swan allegedly had agreed to comment, but changed his mind. Less surprise that on the Government side, Kevin Andrews wasn’t speaking. (Maybe Kevin was saving his outrage for attacking a much safer target: the US State Department over its finding that Australia’s guest-worker programs could be linked to illegal labor trafficking.)
With an election in the offing, the most sensitive issue in politics right now might well be anything to do with migration. Both sides know we need it and need a lot of it, but neither wants to stir the nation’s Paulines.
A gentleman’s agreement then: don’t mention the 300,000 immigrants arriving next year or anything that might be related to it. Unless, of course, another Tampa turns up.