CABOOLTURE RSL nearly became an ideological battleground on October 27, when the Australian Council of Trade Unions challenged Member for Longman Wyatt Roy to a debate on the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA).
General Secretary of Queensland Council of Unions Ros McLennan said that the trade deal posed problems for trained local workers who may miss out on work due to the importation of foreign workers.
"The ChAFTA is bad for local employment because on jobs of over $150 million, Chinese companies only need to invest 15% before they can bring over their own workforce," she said.
Mr Roy was unable to attend due to overseas commitments due to his role as Innovation Minister.
Ms McLennan said that instead of conducting a debate, the unions outlined the issues they had with the ChAFTA and the concessions that Labor had leveraged against the Federal Government to achieve the deal.
She said that the people that attended seemed to share the ACTU's disappointment at Mr Roy's absence.
"This was his opportunity to face the voters of Longman and speak with the people of Caboolture."
Mr Roy said that the Coalition and shadow governments have worked together to boost employment chances for Australians.
"This landmark agreement is now assured of boosting jobs locally across a range of industries including manufacturing and farming," he said.
The union, by advertising the event as a debate despite no confirmation from his office, was accused of "grubby politics" by Mr Roy.
"The unions' political stunt on the ChAFTA is nothing but cheap and nasty politics," he said.
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