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29 March 2017

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Dear Peter, It is not off target at all.

The Australian government and especially the former foreign minister Alexander Downer in the Howard era did absolutely nothing during the house arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi.

When the US shouts jump Australia just replies, "How high".

This a bit off target, but it is noteworthy that the Australian government has said little about the plight of Rohingya refugees which are now being targeted for human trafficking and sexual exploitation by criminal organisations.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-20/sexual-predators-human-traffickers-target-rohingya-refugee-camps/9068490

it is merely indentured servitude or peonage.

The 7-11, Domino Pizza and exploitation of migrant fruit pickers in the Bundaberg and Swan Hill regions is Dickensian.

Chloe Shorten is a senior executive with a major provider of contingent labour hire to the resources sector and its CEO is on the board of WHS Queensland.

The gig economy has polarized society and The Precariat by Guy Standing is worth reading:

https://www.hse.ru/data/2013/01/28/1304836059/Standing.%20The_Precariat__The_New_Dangerous_Class__-Bloomsbury_USA(2011).pdf


Is there any info emerging of the recent attendance of P.M. Turnbull at a conference (Solomons, I think) at which conversation was had re Pacific workers?

It seems that this scheme was set up to simply exploit overseas workers.

Curiously, a similar scheme in New Zealand works well.

Also curious is the fact that many PNGs work in Australia with exactly the same conditions and pay as everyone else. The chef at one of two hotels here in remote Tumby Bay is a Kiwai from Daru for instance.

The scheme needs to be scrapped in its present form.

The abuse of Pacific workers on Australian farms continues.
_________

Escaping slavery in Cairns to land in danger in Mildura

"Paul" was lured to Cairns from Papua New Guinea, with the promise of a TAFE education and good work but was conned by a Far North Queensland banana farmer.

"I was working 6:00am to 6:00pm driving tractors and eating bread and cordial for breakfast and lunch, and boiled mince meat for dinner. I lived in the shed with a dog," he said.

He did not see a cent in pay and instead, when Paul asked the farmer for his pay, he was told it was being saved up to pay for the TAFE course.

After six months Paul discovered dozens of other foreign workers on the farm in the same trouble.

"I drove the tractor over to the other side of the farm to where I knew a Fijian worker was and he told me he'd been there seven years," he said.

Paul managed to escape and in June 2016 banana farmer Sona Singh Bhela of Cairns was jailed for three and a half years for a visa scam involving 43 Punjabi migrants.

But Paul's troubles were not over. He arrived in Mildura, western Victoria, to work on a dozen farms in the district.

Living in squalid, cramped conditions, his pay was less than a tenth of the legal wage.

"I was paid cash and I was left with only $60 to $70. We lived in bunks, four to a room," he said.

"They took our money, the contractors, to pay for fuel, pick up, food and (the farmer) gets all the rent. We are just left with $60.

"They threatened us too and said 'the cops are going to come [so] if you [don't] want to go back to PNG, you'd better show up and stay quiet'."

http://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2017-10-19/debt-bondage-in-horticulture-sector-akin-to-slavery-in-australia/9057108

Peter, Australia is still considered by many Pacific Islanders as the best country to work in and even live.

Yet momentum on the seasonal workers scheme in PNG has slackened off. Not much of it is being talked about or reported. Or shall we say it has died a natural dead?

The concept is good and can work. Maybe more stringent measures need to be in place, and even closer examination and selection of the players in the sectors.

There could be other factors like the use of illegal labor that has affected the smooth flow of the scheme. As it is as a concept, I think it is still a very good concept if managed well.

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