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Opinion

Australia's shameful attempt to squeeze Southeast Asian workers dry

New ASEAN visa scheme will exacerbate exploitative conditions on farms

| Australia
Farmworkers prune Merlot vines on a farm near Griffith, Australia: they talk of piece rates that can sometimes yield as little as 3.00 Australian dollars an hour.   © Reuters

Hamish McDonald is a former foreign editor of The Sydney Morning Herald and regional editor of the Far Eastern Economic Review.

Out of sight, out of mind could be the Australian government's mantra when it comes to awkward worker compensation issues. At the start of the supply chain that brings Australian fruit and vegetables to consumers in both domestic and overseas markets, there have long been troubling stories about the workers who labor in fields and orchards to harvest the bounty.

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