The blogosphere discusses the Pacific Island worker scheme.

Labour mobility: Making the neighbours feel at home. It is incumbent on the Australian government and horticultural industry to implement a well-designed program to ensure that Australian horticultural production benefits from the more reliable supply of labour, that Pacific Island workers get real financial benefits from the opportunity and that Australia’s relations with its nearest neighbours are enhanced by this significant shift in the way Australia engages with the region.The Interpreter

Pacific seasonal workers. Given the problems we’ve had with 457 temporary worker visas in this country, I guess I’m always a little wary of “guest worker” schemes. The concern is exploitation. So I tend to prefer that immigrants be brought here with full rights and the real opportunity of citizenship—with all the protections thus provided—than shipped in and out to (in theory) plug skills and labour gaps in our economy. — Tim Dunlop

Mundine: Get Aborigines picking fruit. Indigenous leader and ALP powerbroker Warren Mundine has called on the Rudd Government to get unemployed Aborigines jobs picking fruit rather than bringing in Pacific islanders to do the job. — The Australian

Bartlett responds to Mundine. [His comments] adopt a ‘them and us’ mentality which is doubly unhelpful in regards to pacific islanders – particularly given our history and the intertwining links between some Australian Indigneous and south sea islander communities (certainly in central and northern Qld). — Andrew Bartlett (comments)

Peter Fray

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