A pharmacy owner has expressed disappointment after Queensland politician Bob Katter accused his staff of not speaking adequate English
During a debate on the Migration and Other Legislation Amendment (Enhanced Integrity) Bill 2017, Member for Kennedy Bob Katter railed against immigrants, particularly those on 457 visas, saying they had been “taking jobs off hardworking Australians”.
The Bill introduces several measures which are part of the reform package to abolish the subclass 457 visa and replace it with a new temporary skill shortage visa.
Mr Katter claimed that the Coalition Government has brought 637,941 people to Australia, “to an economy that is only generating 200,000 jobs”.
He also launched an attack on Australians of Chinese background.
“The Chinese government has declared all overseas citizens to be citizens of their country. So, if we have 10 or 15 million Chinese in this country that are actually declared citizens of China, through our trade partnerships and agreements and free market—bloody rubbish—they can see you,” he said.
“They set up a corporation here and want to bring all their workers in from China. Under the China free trade agreement, quite frankly, they can.”
He said stores at the Brisbane airport were staffed with “foreign people,” including the airport’s pharmacy.
“Everyone would have encountered this,” he claimed.
“I came in at 9.15 one night on an aeroplane into Brisbane. I went to the pharmacy. There were six people working there. None of them spoke fluent English. They were all foreign.
“I went down to the Red Rooster. I counted 12 people down there. They were all clearly foreign people. I counted two in the after-hours centre.”
Gavin, who owns the Direct Chemist Outlet Brisbane Airport, told the AJP that he was “actually quite upset” about the remarks.
“If you walk into my pharmacy, I’m pretty much here all the time,” he said. “This is just not appropriate.
“Australia is really diverse in terms of its races, it’s a multicultural country and everyone pretty much carries an accent, depending on where they’re from and what their background is.
“But at the end of the day I reckon most of us speak pretty good English, it’s just with an accent. Otherwise it would be pretty hard to communicate with people and get around with daily activities!
“So it’s just rubbish. We’re all about customer service, health advice and customer health and wellbeing here, it’s our main priority.”