Australia’s free trade pact with China won’t feel like freedom for workers | Van Badham

We expect everyone to get a fair go – including workers from overseas. Yet the free trade agreement with China doesn’t guarantee that will be the case

It was hard to remain unmoved by the recent Four Corners exposé into the exploitation of foreign workers in the agriculture industry. Images linger of cramped accommodation, underpayment, the young woman with a work-injured hand tearfully recounting the sexual harassment from a supervisor which she reported and her bosses ignored.

Australian workers have inherited a hard-won legacy of industrial rights – minimum wage, workplace safety, award conditions, penalty rates and collective bargaining; rights so valued that “WorkChoices” – the Howard government’s attempt to strip away some of these rights – brought that government down.

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