Toxic Guardian turns propaganda outfit for wage-destroying business


It’s weird to the point of ideological absurdity. The commitment of The Guardian Australia to its ideology of ‘migrant welfare before all’ is now so extreme that it’s spent the last several days digging up every wages-destroying business blood-sucker it can find to give them a platform against any tightening in visa requirements.

No other publication has done this. Only The Guardian which sees itself as champion of the Left.

On Friday it led all day with this:

Australia accepted just 162,417 permanent migrants in the past year, a decrease of more than 10% on the previous year and the lowest level in a decade.

The reduction, confirmed by the home affairs minister, Peter Dutton, on Friday, was the result of a departmental crackdown after Dutton and former prime minister Tony Abbott unsuccessfully advocated for a lower migration cap, prompting accusations the government has cut migration by “backdoor means”.

The results were criticised by Migration Council Australia, which warned cabinet should set the migration level, while a reduction in numbers could slow economic growth.

In May a group of peak bodies coordinated a broad alliance including the Australian Council of Trade Unions and the Australian Industry Group that called for the permanent migration intake to remain at 190,000.

The Ai Group chief executive, Innes Willox, said although the migration intake often falls short of the cap, it was “disappointing” that migration levels had dropped “so significantly below the 2017-18 intake”.

Why does The Guardian think that Innes Willox wants more immigration? As it happens, he told us recently when he attacked new regulation to prevent migrant exploitation implying he supports cheap foreign wages:


Anti-business rhetoric in Victoria has reached fever-pitch, risking jobs and investment.

By parroting overly emotive unions terms such as “wage theft”, the State Government is supporting a divisive agenda that will only serve to drive employers away.

Running businesses is risky, complex and tough. The populist race to the bottom with the unions to describe wage underpayments by a tiny minority of businesses as “wage theft”, effectively labels all employers, large and small, as potential “thieves”.

It is a divisive invitation by the unions to indulge in old-fashioned class warfare rather than supporting a serious conversation about building the economy for everyone’s benefit.

Such language may result in more internet hits but the implication that such activity is rife and that existing penalties are small or rarely imposed does not bear any scrutiny whatsoever. There is no need for this click-bait legislation.

Then The Guardian headlined the weekend with this garbage:

Regional Australia and smaller metro areas are the “victims” of the “populist sentiment” that has driven the reduction of Australia’s migration intake by more than 20,000, the head of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has said.

James Pearson made the comments to Guardian Australia in response to news that 162,417 people permanently migrated to Australia in 2017-18, well under the 190,000 cap and down from 183,608 the year before.

The home affairs minister, Peter Dutton, said the reduced numbers are the result of his department cracking down on skilled migrants exaggerating their qualifications and scrutinising whether applicants for spousal visas were in genuine relationships.

But Pearson said the government is “effectively throttling back the rate of migration by stealth”.

“We know that processing times have slowed right down, we know that visa application costs and the cost of [employer] sponsorships have gone up and the government has reduced the number of eligible occupations,” he said.


Why does Pearson want more migrants? Cheap wages. Indeed, for those without the blinkers on, it’s hilariously obvious:

  • For years we have seen Dominos, Caltex, 7-Eleven, Woolworths and many other fast food franchises busted for rorting migrant labour.
  • The issue culminated in 2016 when the Senate Education and Employment References Committee released a scathing report entitled A National Disgrace: The Exploitation of Temporary Work Visa Holders, which documented systemic abuses of Australia’s temporary visa system for foreign workers.
  • Mid last year, ABC’s 7.30 Report ran a disturbing expose on the modern day slavery occurring across Australia.
  • Meanwhile, Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO), Natalie James, told Fairfax in August last year that people on visas continue to be exploited at an alarming rate, particularly those with limited English-language skills. It was also revealed that foreign workers are involved in more than three-quarters of legal cases initiated by the FWO against unscrupulous employers.
  • Then The ABC reported that Australia’s horticulture industry is at the centre of yet another migrant slave scandal, according to an Australian Parliamentary Inquiry into the issue.
  • The same Parliamentary Inquiry was told by an undercover Malaysian journalist that foreign workers in Victoria were “brainwashed” and trapped in debt to keep them on farms.
  • A recent UNSW Sydney and UTS survey painted the most damning picture of all, reporting that wages theft is endemic among international students, backpackers and other temporary migrants.
  • A few months ago, Fair Work warned that most of Western Sydney had become a virtual special economic zone in which two-thirds of businesses were underpaying workers, with the worst offenders being high-migrant areas.
  • Dr Bob Birrell from the Australian Population Research Institute latest report, based on 2016 Census data, revealed that most recently arrived skilled migrants (i.e. arrived between 2011 and 2016) cannot find professional jobs, with only 24% of skilled migrants from Non-English-Speaking-Countries (who comprise 84% of the total skilled migrant intake) employed as professionals as of 2016, compared with 50% of skilled migrants from Main English-Speaking-Countries and 58% of the same aged Australian-born graduates. These results accord with a recent survey from the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre, which found that 53% of skilled migrants in Western Australia said they are working in lower skilled jobs than before they arrived, with underemployment also rife.
  • The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) latest Characteristics of Recent Migrants reportrevealed that migrants have generally worse labour market outcomes than the Australian born population, with recent migrants and temporary residents having an unemployment rate of 7.4% versus 5.4% for the Australian born population, and lower labour force participation (69.8%) than the Australian born population (70.2%).
  • ABC Radio recently highlighted the absurdity of Australia’s ‘skilled’ migration program in which skilled migrants have grown increasingly frustrated at not being able to gain work in Australia despite leaving their homelands to fill so-called ‘skills shortages’. As a result, they are now demanding that taxpayers provide government-sponsored internships to help skilled migrants gain local experience, and a chance to work in their chosen field.
  • In early 2018 the senate launched the”The operation and effectiveness of the Franchising Code of Conduct” owing in part to systematic abuse of migrant labour.
  • Then there is new research from the University of Sydney documenting the complete corruption of the temporary visas system, and arguing that Australia running a “de-facto low-skilled immigration policy” (also discussed here at the ABC).
  • In late June the government released new laws to combat modern slavery which, bizarrely, imposed zero punishment for enslaving coolies.
  • Over the past few weeks we’ve witnessed widespread visa rorting across cafes and restaurants, including among high end establishments like the Rockpool Group.

In neither article did The Guardian seek any counter-comment to balance the coverage and it ignored LVO’s evidence that there is no immigration cut anyway, just a shuffling of visas.


Why would a self-appointed newspaper of the Left distort its journalism to support those that are clearly out to destroy wages, the very core of the stuff the Left should be defending. There could be three reasons:

  • it is owned by capital not labour;
  • business strategy to corner a niche media market of bourgeois hypocrits;
  • political bias;
  • whack ideology.

It’s not the first so it must be some combination of the other three. We know this anyway because Greg Jericho, who constantly complains about falling wages, told us so:


Immigration – because there are many desperate to hate – must be treated with extreme care by politicians and journalists, and certainly with more care than Abbott seems capable. The inherently racist parties will seek to use any discussion and any seeming evidence of the negative impact of migrants as fuel to burn their fires of hate.

I mean, seriously, guys? You’re now a Lefty propaganda outfit promoting wages-destroying business. This is farce. We can have a conversation about the need for lower immigration so that the pressure comes off working classes without succumbing to racism. The haters are going hate whatever comes.

The ultimate irony is that if The Guardian succeeds in defending the high immigration, low wages nexus it is creating the very lived experience of class warfare that will tilt workers towards the haters given the paucity of centrist alternatives. The big swing against immigration now apparent in all polls is their warning.


I mean, hello…Donald Trump and the US working classes.

About the author
David Llewellyn-Smith is Chief Strategist at the MB Fund and MB Super. David is the founding publisher and editor of MacroBusiness and was the founding publisher and global economy editor of The Diplomat, the Asia Pacific’s leading geo-politics and economics portal. He is also a former gold trader and economic commentator at The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, the ABC and Business Spectator. He is the co-author of The Great Crash of 2008 with Ross Garnaut and was the editor of the second Garnaut Climate Change Review.