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China-Australia FTA compromise proposed to avoid parliament stalemate

Staff writer ▼ | September 30, 2015
A former senior Australian government minister has proposed a compromise to the China- Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) that would force employers to consider local workers for positions before turning to cheaper overseas labor.
Craig Emerson
Trade talks   Craig Emerson has proposed an amendment to the Migration Act
Craig Emerson, trade minister under the Gillard government from 2010 to 2013, has proposed an amendment to the nation's Migration Act that could satisfy both government and the Opposition stances on the deal, as the Labor Party has been hesitant to rubber-stamp the agreement.

Labor has even threatened to block the FTA in Australia's parliament, saying that it would force hardworking Australians out of jobs, but the government has steadily maintained that Australian workers would be protected under the Migration Act.

Emerson said the "simple solution" to the stalemate would force employers to test the local market to fill positions before turning to cheaper overseas workers.