December 11, 2012

PHILIPPINES 1, AUSTRALIA 0 IN HUMANS RIGHTS MATCH-UP

Dec 11, 2012

Australia is opening the door for business executives to import live-in help while dragging its heels on measures preventing them being sold into effective slavery.

United Voice assistant secretary, Mel Gatfield, says the “dark end” of the burgeoning international market in domestic labour is “modern day slavery”.

“The world is moving to deal with the problem but the Federal Government has told us it is not a priority for them. Well, it’s a priority for us and for millions of domestic workers around the world, the vast majority of whom are women,” she said.

United Voice members will take part in an ACTU rally outside the Philippines consulate in downtown Sydney tomorrow. They will highlight Australia’s lack of support for ILO Convention 189 which delivers legal protections for domestic workers by congratulating the Philippines, which has voted to ratify the convention.

The Sydney action is part of an international mobilisation to push governments into supporting the protections.

“Australia was a vocal supporter of the convention when it was first raised which was great but now is the time for Canberra to put its money where its mouth was,” Ms Gatfield said.

“We hear horror stories of domestic workers being used as sex slaves, and even murdered, in other countries and Australia even offered a special 457 visa for domestics to work in the homes of immigrant business executives.

“The very least any Labor Government should do is sign a convention that would provide vulnerable people with basic labour protections. It is a human rights issue.”

Supporters at tomorrow’s rally will also collect money for victims of Typhoon Bopha which has killed more than 600 people in the Philippines.

Venue: The Philippine Centre, 27-33 Wentworth Ave, Sydney:
Time: 12 noon

More Information: United Voice media officer, Jim Marr 0448 912892

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