Ciobo’s tall tales on Australian jobs and the TPP

Trade Minister Steven Ciobo has been caught out telling porkies about signing Australia up to trade deals that waive the requirement for companies to look for an Australian to fill a job before employing someone from overseas.

The now dead Trans Pacific Partnership waived the labour market testing requirement for more countries. This was confirmed by DFAT at Estimates:

“The countries that secured our commitments under the TPP [to waive labour market testing] on contractual service suppliers are Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru and Vietnam.”

(DFAT, Senate Estimates 20 October 2016) 

The Trade Minister either isn’t across the detail of trade deals his government had signed up to or he’s so embarrassed of the outcome that he has deliberately tried to mislead the community.

When asked on 2GB on 22 November, if he would work to reinstate labour market testing into the TPP, Steven Ciobo lied about it being removed:

“Well that’s completely wrong. I mean the fact is that we already do require businesses to look at employing an Australian first, and in fact you can only bring in a foreign worker where there is not an Australian who can fill the role. That’s what exists under all our trade agreements.”

(Steven Ciobo interview with 2GB’s Ben Fordham. 22 November 2016) 

But that’s not true, according to his Department, who told Senate Estimates:

“If by that you mean, ‘Have there been instances in our free trade agreements where labour market testing has been waived as part of the final deal in respect of the movement of natural person provisions in these agreements?’ the answer is yes, this has been a feature of a number of our trade agreements.”

(DFAT, Senate Estimates 20 October 2016) 

Labor wants to see good quality trade deals that put Australian jobs, businesses and farmers first.