Looking to America, Australia’s politicians are reaching out to voters feeling left behind in times of economic transition. The push by Labor and the government to restrict access to the skilled 457 visa for foreign workers is an example. Michelle Grattan tells University of Canberra vice-chancellor Professor Deep Saini that this is “picking up on the Trump feeling”.
“The question of foreign workers coming in, taking Australian jobs inevitably comes to the surface, as it did this week and we saw both sides responding,” Grattan says.
“We need to interpret this in the terms of that overall political messaging. We are saying, on both sides of politics, ‘well we hear the pain, we understand your feelings. We need some foreign workers but there will be some tough rules.’”
Authors: Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra