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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 09 Hansard (Wednesday, 12 August 2015) . . Page.. 2742 ..

1800s anti-Chinese worker campaigns, would understand that a free trade agreement that is going to create an average of 9,000 jobs per year and some 178,000 jobs for Australians by the time the agreement comes into full force in 2035 does not deserve this kind of savage attack.

As the shadow minister for multicultural affairs I am deeply concerned by the cringe-worthy, xenophobic, radically charged campaign of the CFMEU and what impact this kind of campaign will have on people of Chinese origin or Chinese people living in the ACT as well as around the country. This is nothing short of base union propaganda. It is very clear in the DNA of the union movement that their only interest in this case is creating terror in the hearts of hardworking people, drumming up fear and a sense of xenophobia towards the Chinese.

This kind of media campaign reminds me of 1855 when anti-Chinese legislation was passed in Australia. The Victorian government imposed a tax of £10 on each Chinese person arriving in the colony, plus a restriction on the number of Chinese people allowed to disembark in Melbourne to one Chinese person for every 10 tonnes of shipping. In 1857 South Australia limited Chinese immigration by imposing a £10 poll tax on all Chinese people entering the colony. In 1857 anti-Chinese sentiment heightened when riots took place in north-eastern Victoria on the Buckland River. About 120 miners attacked Chinese people in their camp, stole their gold and burnt their tents and all their belongings. Many Chinese workers died, drowning in rivers and getting lost after escaping into the bush.

What an embarrassment that this campaign harps on that kind of sentiment from our history! What an embarrassment! This is not the Australia I know. This is not the Canberra I know. Five thousand five hundred students from China live and study here. What an embarrassment to them to hear such an ad on the radio! Various visa holders in our community work for all of our benefit. They fill gaps and they allow us to have investment that we all benefit from. These kinds of campaigns take us back to a xenophobic debate, and I call on the government to condemn them.

Nine thousand jobs per year will be created by this agreement, and 178,000 jobs by the time the agreement comes into full force. Increased exports to Asian markets will increase by $20 billion over the next 20 years. A whole host of Australian jobs that would not exist without it will be created. Union claims are absolutely over the top and an embarrassment, and this government should not be standing by doing mental gymnastics to try and pretend that this is a campaign purely about the federal government. This is a campaign which brings up a history that we do not want to repeat in this country.

MR WALL (Brindabella) (3.45): It is fitting that just a week ago we were talking about the exact same union here, their experience in the royal commission and the allegations that have come to light. Last week we saw government members opposite refuse to distance themselves from that, refuse to suspend those relationships and continue to be the beneficiaries of the largesse of the CFMEU that props up their political campaigns, both Labor and the Greens, by in excess of $300,000 that they are all the richer for by continuing to side with this union.

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