The Guardian • Issue #2059


  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2059

The Retail Supply Chain Alliance – a coalition of the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association, the Australian Workers’ Union, and the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) – has welcomed new laws announced by the Albanese government to better protect migrant workers in Australia. Among the key features of the legislation are protections against visa cancellation, the implementation of flexible visa requirements for future sponsorship visas, and the introduction of a short-term visa for workers to bring wage claims against exploitative employers. The legislation includes a significant extension of the time sponsored migrants are allowed between sponsors from 60 days to 180 days, allowing these visa holders to engage in part-time or casual employment while they are between sponsored employers. “This legislation is the result of many years of tenacious advocacy and we’re very grateful to finally see it,” said AWU National Secretary Daniel Walton. “It should enable migrant workers to safely address wage theft and escape from exploitative employers without risking their visa status.” The new laws promise to extend Australian workplace protections to all workers, regardless of immigration status, signalling a commitment to ensuring fair and safe working conditions for everyone. “This crucial amendment to the Migration Act means that all workers, including undocumented ones, are entitled to workplace protections under Australian law,” noted TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine. “While we applaud these reforms, we know there is still significant work ahead. We look forward to engaging with all stakeholders, including the Department of Home Affairs, in the co-design process of these protections to ensure they are robust, effective and centred on the needs of migrants.”

PARASITE OF THE WEEK: The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) has joined a chorus of civil society groups raising concerns over the apparent winding back and delay on draft legislation that would have helped to stymie tax dodging by multinational corporations. Efforts were being made to enact mandatory public Country-by-Country Reporting for large corporations operating in Australia from 1st July 2023. However, it is feared the process has been put on the backburner after the federal government last night referred its Making Multinationals Pay Their Fair Share – Integrity and Transparency bill to a senate committee for review. NSWNMA Assistant General Secretary, Michael Whaites, said it was a deeply disappointing move, particularly on global Public Service Day (23rd June). “Country-by-Country Reporting is extremely important towards holding major corporations to account and ensuring they pay their fair share of tax in Australia, tax dollars that go towards funding our aged care reform, public health systems and affordable housing,” said Whaites. “To have this draft bill watered down and referred to a senate committee on the eve of Public Service Day is very disappointing and raises concern about the perceived influence big businesses continue to have in Australia. Given the recent allegations against PWC, it is clear more transparency is needed, not less, and not the status quo. “We stand with other civil society professionals seeking tax justice in Australia and call on the federal government to be bold on integrity and transparency of the multinationals who operate willingly throughout our great country.”

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