Perth brickie sparks row over Irish ban

The advertiser was saving both himself and others time and trouble as experience had obviously moved him not to hire Irish people. The ban on such advertising won't remove discrimination. It will just make it less visible. Even if he cannot advertise what he wants he can still hire on that basis as long as he keeps that basis to himself. This is a ban on speech, not a ban on discrimination

AN online job ad stating "no Irish" should apply has forced the Australian embassy in Ireland to defend the country's commitment to diversity and racial tolerance.

The ad posted on website Gumtree stated: “Bricklayer needed ASAP. $250 a day, no part-time workers and NO IRISH”, reports the Irish Independent.

The ad sparked immediate reader outrage after the Independent reported the ad was “in language reminiscent of the discrimination against the Irish in British cities in the 1950s”.

It has since been removed, but not before the man responsible - known only as “Simon” - defended his position stating he was sick of Irish people applying for jobs they were not qualified to do.

“I have no trouble with Irish people,” he told the Independent. “But I’ve had to fire a number of people. I’ve had lots of Irish people say they have experience bricklaying but come over and have no clue how to lay bricks. “I’m very busy and don’t have time to be watching over them.”

A spokesman for the Australian embassy told the Independent online: “The Government has an unwavering commitment to a multicultural Australia and greatly welcomes the contribution made by people of all backgrounds, regardless of origin, gender, or colour, to Australia's culture, society, and prosperity.”

He said Australia had no tolerance for racism and discrimination reflected in a broad range of anti-discrimination legislation.

Orla Tunney of the Irish Embassy in Canberra said they are very concerned at any instance of discrimination against Irish people in Australia. "We understand that the advertisement in question was illegal and has now been removed from the website where it appeared," said Ms Tunney.

"Thankfully, incidents of this type are very rare and in general we are aware of a very high level of respect in Australia for Irish workers. We very often receive positive feedback about the level of education and training of Irish workers and their ability to adapt well to Australian workplaces."

Race Discrimination Commissioner Helen Szoke confirmed with that this was a clear cut case of discrimination. “What’s important is that people understand that it is unlawful to advertise in this way and that there are grounds for people to bring a complaint of discrimination to the Australian Human Rights Commission,” Dr Szoke said.

“But it’s also unhealthy. With a job like bricklaying it’s pretty easy to ascertain what the requirements of the job are without being abusive on the basis of race.”

Dr Szoke said employment was the single largest area of racial complaints in Australia. “Section 16 of the Race Discrimination Act states that an advertisement could be understood as being unlawful if it treats people unfavourably on the basis of race,” she said. “This is a pretty clear cut case. It’s a clear exclusion of Irish people both in the advertising and in the employment practice – so there would seem there are grounds for lodging a complaint.”

The economic downturn in Ireland has led to a surge of Irish emigrating to Australia in search of work.


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