Campaign alleges Coalition will expand 457 visa program
A $1 MILLION ad campaign alleging the 457 visa program would be expanded under a Coalition government has been launched in marginal seats across the country.
The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union campaign, featuring real workers whose jobs have been threatened by the skilled migrant visa, was launched in Brisbane on Monday and includes ads on free-to-air and subscription TV, radio, billboards and online.
Key Queensland seats including Flynn, Dawson and Capricornia, will be among those specifically targeted.
A program of grassroots workplace and community meetings will also take place concurrently across the country during the next month.
The crackdown on 457 visas began under former prime minister Julia Gillard in response to union pressure.
Campaigning in the western Sydney marginal seat of Lindsay, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott would not say whether he planned to expand the program if elected, but took aim at the union campaign.
"They (457 visa holders) aren't stealing our jobs, they're building our country and it appals me, it really appals me that the unions and Mr Rudd are running this campaign effectively to demonise the skilled migrants upon whose backs our country has been built," Mr Abbott said.
"Just about every Australian is a migrant or a descendant of migrants and frankly we should be honouring and cherishing the contribution that migrants who've come to this country, legally, the right way to join our team have made and Mr Rudd really should dissociate himself from this particular union campaign, particularly given one of the first things that he said on coming back into the prime ministership was I'm sick of all the politics of division."