Fake Greens demand crushed wages, ruined environment


For 15 years, Australia’s left stood by silently or cheered while Australia’s immigration program was more than doubled:

This mass immigration experiment was an unmitigated disaster for Australia’s working class – crushing their wages, pushing up their cost of living, and degrading their quality of life.

However, it was a boon for the wealthy owners of Australia’s capital. Moguls like Gerry Harvey and Highrise Harry Triguboff – strong supporters of mass immigration – laughed all the way to the bank as they enjoyed an ever-growing customer base and paid lower wages.


With this background in mind, it has been interesting watching the testimony of Greens senator and immigration spokesperson, Nick McKim.

In May, senator McKim called for travel restrictions to be lifted for temporary migrants so that they could return to Australia:

Greens Senator Nick McKim has written to Acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge urging him to allow temporary visa holders to be permitted to return to Australia “under the same conditions required of a permanent resident or citizen”.

“Many of these people hold subclass 457,482, or 489 skilled visas, and have worked hard and payed taxes in Australia for many years,” Senator McKim wrote.

He said others were on bridging visas and were unable to renew them overseas, raising the prospect that they would never be allowed to ever return.


Yesterday, McKim repeated the call:

“Throughout 2020, the process for allowing critically skilled workers to enter the country has been ad hoc and arbitrary.”

“It’s time for clear answers for skilled visa holders about how long they are likely to have to wait before being allowed to travel here. People’s entire lives are on hold and they deserve far more information than they have been given so far,” Senator McKim told SBS Punjabi.

McKim has also called for temporary visa holders to be paid income support:


“The federal government has the resources to help and direct responsibility for Australia’s visa system.”

“People who hold temporary visas need proper income support and access to Medicare, both of which are federal responsibilities.”

Giving income support to temporary migrant workers would obviously incentivise them to stay in Australia to compete against local workers for scarce jobs. It would also cost taxpayers many billions of dollars.

This completely contradicts the initial purpose of Australia’s temporary migration program, which was developed to help plug “skills shortages” across the economy.


Temporary visas were also marketed as giving the economy flexibility: the migrant take could quickly expand when skills were needed but then in times of strife those on temporary visas could return to their home countries. Temporary visas were supposed to act as a shock absorber for the Australian economy.

Given the Australian economy has just experienced its biggest downturn since the Great depression, and labour underutilisation remains sky high (see next chart), this ‘flexibility’ must be allowed to take effect and temporary visa holders must be encouraged to return home.


There was still 1.9 million temporary visa holders in Australia in September 2020 – an extraordinary number in a country of less than 26 million people:

Keeping immigration artificially high will only worsen the unemployment queues and further depress wages, smashing Australia’s working class. It is also detrimental to Australia’s natural environment – something the Greens pretend to care about.


The left should never have allowed the migrant workforce to grow so massive in the first place. They should have been screaming from the rafters, rather than remaining deafly silent or encouraging mass immigration, as Nick McKim is doing here.

It’s high time the left stood up for Australian workers instead of behaving as useful idiots for the capitalist elites that gain from migrant slave labour.

About the author
Leith van Onselen is Chief Economist at the MB Fund and MB Super. He is also a co-founder of MacroBusiness. Leith has previously worked at the Australian Treasury, Victorian Treasury and Goldman Sachs.