Modern slavery right here on the Southside - Terri Butler MP, Labor for Griffith

Modern slavery right here on the Southside

I was horrified to read yesterday's article in The Courier Mail about 57 Taiwanese nationals being kept as 'slaves' right here in Morningside and South Brisbane. 

The people being held against their will were on working holiday visas. Reports published last year show that exploitation of holders of these visas is rife. In response to yesterday's article, I've written to the Turnbull government wanting answers on what they're doing to deal with the exploitation of people on working holiday visas.

Not all exploitation of people on working holiday visas involves this type of horrifying modern slavery. But there are other types of exploitative practices that require real action - like underpayments, and sexual harassment.

When the Fair Work Ombudsman's report on exploitation of people on these visas came out last year, the Turnbull government's response was to set up a taskforce. We were critical of that, at the time, as being a weak response.

Labor took to the election plans to ensure the temporary work visa system prioritises Australian jobs and addresses temporary worker exploitation; to licence labour hire firms; and to allow workers to pursue franchisors for wage underpayments.

It is only Labor that will put people first, strengthening and protecting workers’ rights at work.


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