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Parliamentary Questions

Question Without Notice No. 397 asked in the Legislative Council on 12 May 2020 by Hon Charles Smith

Minister responding: Hon S.M. Ellery
Parliament: 40 Session: 1

Answered on


397. Hon CHARLES SMITH to the Minister for Education and Training:

I refer to the Australian Labor Party's immigration spokesperson Kristina Keneally rightly attacking the explosion in temporary visas across the Australian economy, claiming migrant workers were undercutting locals and contributing to Australia's chronically low wage growth.

(1) Can the minister explain what at first glance appears to be a contradiction between Labor's federal spokesperson and the McGowan government's stance on temporary work visas and international students in particular?

(2) Does the minister concede her support for back-door immigration through WA's tertiary education system is building an economy based on temporary migrants, as stated by Kristina Keneally?

(3) Why is the minister aiming to import over 100 000 international students, with a significant number having working rights on temporary visas, who compete head-to-head with our own kids for entry-level employment?

Hon SUE ELLERY replied:

(1)–(3) I reject the assumptions and the pejorative language in the honourable member's question. The international student market is an important part of the WA economy in normal circumstances. The current situation has greatly impacted international student numbers around the globe. It is important that Western Australia is in a strong position post-COVID-19 to attract international students and the $1.9 billion they contribute in export income to the Western Australian economy as well as approximately 14 600 full-time jobs in the sector. Questions regarding the federal Labor Party policy should be referred to the federal Labor Party.