‘The Feed’ Absolutely Destroys Michael McCormack’s Ridiculous Fruit Picking Comments
McCormack told Pacific Islanders that fruit picking in Australia will save them from climate change. He needs to brush up on his history.
Over the weekend, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack made some pretty cooked comments about Pacific Island nations facing climate change. Shortly after Australia refused to take meaningful action on climate change to support our Pacific neighbours, McCormack announced that Pacific Islanders will be totally fine because they can come to Australia to pick fruit.
“I also get a little bit annoyed when we have people in those sorts of countries pointing the finger at Australia and saying we should be shutting down all our resources sector so that, you know, they will continue to survive,” McCormack said.
“They will continue to survive, there’s no question they’ll continue to survive, and they’ll continue to survive on large aid assistance from Australia.”
“They’ll continue to survive because many of their workers come here and pick our fruit, pick our fruit grown with hard Australian enterprise and endeavour and we welcome them and we always will.”
There’s a lot to unpack there. For one, the suggestion that fruit-picking jobs will help save island nations at risk of being eroded and submerged by rising sea levels is farcical.
But there’s also a deeper history of exploitation involving seasonal workers in Australia’s fruit-picking industry — one that runs from several centuries ago to very, very recently. From the 1860s onwards, Australia was actually involved what’s called blackbirding, aka kidnapping or coercing people to come and work on farms for little to no pay.
It’s a kind of slave trade that occurred here, in Australia, and isn’t talked about very much.
If that’s not ringing any bells for you, it’s time to sit down and watch The Feed’s Michael Hing explain it in the video below, which nails the bigger problem with Michael McCormack’s comments. It’s little wonder our Pacific Island neighbours have had enough.