Electrical Trade Union state organiser Craig Giddins.
Electrical Trade Union state organiser Craig Giddins. Chris Ison

UPDATE: Flynn MP won't attend China FTA union debate

UPDATE: FLYNN member Ken O'Dowd will not be attending Monday's Union debate over the China Free Trade Agreement.

The National Party member said "I refused to be drawn to an event that would cause division between the large multicultural community in the Flynn electorate".

"The unions do not run this country and all they are doing is causing senseless panic among the hardworking Australians who stand to gain from the FTA."

Yesterday the Coalition Government came to an agreement over ChAFTA under which employers had to prove they made genuine efforts to recruit Australian workers before seeking sponsored 457 visa workers.


ORIGINAL STORY: FLYNN MP Ken O'Dowd is yet to respond to an invitation to a unions debate on October 26, that will focus on the Chinese Australia Free Trade Agreement.

Electrical Trade Union central Queensland state organiser Craig Giddins believes the agreement allows Chinese companies to bring in their own workers at the expense of local jobs.

The debate is one of 23 being held around the country with the main point of contention for the unions that Chinese companies investing more than $150 million in a project are not required to advertise for employees at a local level.

Mr Giddins has invited Mr O'Dowd to the debate, held at the Gladstone bowls club on later this month. 

He wants Mr O'Dowd to explain why he continues to support the free trade agreement after a report, that was funded by the unions, found the agreement would affect employment and wages.

Mr Giddins hoped people from all political persuasions would attend.

"It's a community meeting. We want all members of the community with any ideology and have two debaters discuss what the issue is around the China free trade deal," he said.

"If we have missed something and Ken has some information it would be in his best interest to tell the people what it is. It is an election year after all."