Morrison Government to sign wage-crushing Indonesian FTA

By Leith van Onselen

Australia will reportedly sign a free trade agreement (FTA) with Indonesia on Monday. From The ABC:

Australia and Indonesia will sign a free trade agreement next Monday, ending months of uncertainty.

The ABC understands Trade Minister Simon Birmingham will fly to Jakarta with a business delegation on Sunday ahead of the signing the following day, with his counterpart Enggartiasto Lukita…

Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox, who will be among those travelling with Mr Birmingham, said the deal showed maturity in “a relationship that has had its ups and downs”…

“Skill sharing as our economy changes shape and we become more focused on technology is going to be very important to both countries and will tie us closer together as we look forward”…

Indonesia wants greater access for Indonesians to work in Australia as well as support for its crude palm oil industry.

The Coalition previously admitted that an Indonesian FTA would further open the immigration floodgates by permitting “a few thousand” more Indonesians working rights:

Senator Birmingham… said the deal included provisions to grant more working holiday and working while studying visas to Indonesians.

“We want to make sure that at the professional services end there’s an effective free flow”…

Asked to put a figure on the additional numbers, Senator Birmingham said: “A few thousand”…

Therefore, an Indonesian FTA means more temporary migrant rorting and more low cost labour for business, which will further undermine Australian wages and working conditions.

The Productivity Commission (PC) has frequently derided the efficiency losses associated with FTAs, claiming that Australia’s trade negotiations have been “characterised by a lack of transparent and robust analysis, a vacuum consequently filled at times by misleading claims”, and has called on the “final text of an agreement to be rigorously analysed before signing”.

At a minimum, Labor and the cross-bench must seek a full PC assessment of the costs and benefits from an Indonesian FTA before ratifying the agreement.

[email protected]


  1. Australia is clearly not a democracy, very few members of the public support these deals yet we are constantly signing them, with Labour not offering any significant protest. If we had a direct democracy citizens could chuck this farce of an agreement out along with the vermin that supported it.

  2. reusachtigeMEMBER

    Good! Labour costs are a massive leech on profits in this country and an impediment to business.

      • reusachtigeMEMBER

        Will the girls leave their towels on their heads while doing the massage? These are the finer details of the agreement that will be interesting to see when it all plays out.

      • Reusa – you NEED to be on the trade delegation next time. I am worried some of these pencil necks negotiating the deal don’t understand the needs of the most important class of australians – the real estate speculators.

  3. Great timing, just as thousands of tradies are going to go from working 6 days a week to be lucky getting 2 or 3 days, and this is already happening.

    No problem though won’t show up in unemployment figures

    • proofreadersMEMBER

      +1 Yep, just as long as they happen to scratch out an hour of work for the month, they are employed?

      And let’s not forget the LNP core promise – jobs and growth … at any cost.

      Nothing to see here – move on.

  4. “Indonesia wants greater access for Indonesians to work in Australia as well as support for its crude palm oil industry.”
    Er … no and no …

  5. “And there are components there about skill sharing. “Skill sharing as our economy changes shape and we become more focused on technology is going to be very important to both countries and will tie us closer together as we look forward.”

    WTF is this thing called “skill sharing”!!!! It is some new euphemism for offshoring/uncontrolled “skilled” immigration?

    Because of Scummo’s Israel embassy stupidity they would have had to go crawling to indo and give them everything they wanted = work rights for Indonesians in Australia.

    • It is where you train your replacements under the guise of skill sharing and cultural collaboration before the ev’bal neoliberal clan members opens up an offshore factory/call center and closes down locally.

    • We learn the skill of working whilst complying with frequent prayer requirements; and the skill of working with minimal nutrition during a particular month each year.

  6. Great idea Aus, support palm oil…oh yeah, have you seen what the Indo’s have done to the forests there so they can expand that crappy industry, they illegally set fires in the most pristine spots and so far out of the way that they cannot be put out, once burning finished they bulldoze whats left and make vast palm oil plantations, Govt turns blind eye…Singapore gets p1ssed as the fires cause massive pollution, they are the only ones trying to stop it…just have alook out of the plane window next if you fly into Singapore over Indo and see the devastation these plantations cause… all corrupt and no environmental cares…

    • Wrong – Gov does not ‘turn a blind eye’, members from within a reasonably often the instigators.

      Burning sh!t is the national pastime.

      Allowing Aussie uni’s to open up shop here will be a game changer for future relations. With a big portion of Indo youth being influenced by Aussie thinking and custom via (presumably) a large cohort of Aussie educators (although it would not surprise me at all if our esteemed institutions simply market the ‘internationalness of their brand’ but hire locals on the cheap to run the classes to maximise profits).

      Time will tell.

    • Whilst I agree with the jist of your argument, we as a country can’t say much with our history of land clearing and making animals extinct. I think we hold the record for it in fact.

    • I’ll bet Pyne is looking at defeat in Sturt. Can’t be bothered fighting a losing election.
      What commitment to his electorate…

      • Morgs, I believe he is following his dreams and will be the CEO of a fishnet stocking manufacturer!

    • Been expected for months.
      Let’s hope he’s gone for good.
      The whole Turnbull cohort of backstabbing traitors needs to go.

  7. TailorTrashMEMBER

    Those “few thousands” will set up as immigration agents and they will have 300 million customers . Garn Straya !

  8. What a relief ScoMo’s thought bubble about moving our embassy in Israel didn’t scupper this. So much win!

  9. We need to strip all immigration control powers from the federal government – both DHA (Dept of Home Affairs which includes Borders & Immigration) & DFAT, Dept of Foreign Affairs & Trade.

    This Indonesian migrant guestworker racket is a aDFAT colluded ‘trade concession’ deal.

    Australians need to put all immigration/Citizen/PR and non resident visa policy & access settings under the authority of a politically independent & Australian representative controlled authority.

    A Royal Commission is the only way to force that change.

    1st March 2019.
    🔹2.561 million non resident migrant guestworkers in Australia. 5.7% growth rate in the last year.

    🔹In March 2018 we had 2.431 million Migrant Guestworkers onshore.
    Fact check.

    The March 2018-March 2019 Yearly growth was 5.7% across all visa categories based on the DHA quarterly updates.

    That is 130,000 extra TR migrant guestworkers in the last year.
    Getting close to the entire PR intake of 190,000.

    🔹 So the March 1st 2019 estimate is : 2,561 million Migrant Guestworkers.

    And now for the repetition.. 😊

    🔻Sydney 1.31 million or 1 in 4 people a non resident migrant guestworker.
    🔻Melbourne 1.05 million, or 1 in 5 people a non resident migrant guestworker.
    🔻And 250,000 elsewhere, mostly other state capitals.

    Indonesian migrant guestworkers?
    So why not bound to Northen Territory & North WA.
    Isn’t that the migrant to the regions plan?

    • The closest you’ll get to the Greens doing anything is maybe the infantile Jenny Leong flipping the bird at the FTA. So edgy….

      • I think she is more likely to flip the bird at the people of Sydney again. No way will she flip the bird at $2/day workers imported under the FTA.

  10. Hang on, you cannot complain about Australia not being competitive enough internationally due to high wages and then complain about low wage growth.

    Which is it to be MB??