Mr Shorten’s comments come after Pauline Hanson took to social media on Monday to welcome his ‘Australia first’ stance.
“When you look at Bill Shorten’s recent rhetoric it seems Labor is now taking its cues from Pauline Hanson’s One Nation. Good to see,” she said on Twitter.
The Labor leader had also declared himself not ‘a rampant greenie’ on Monday and recognised the future of fossil fuels in Australia.
On Tuesday, he said high unemployment rates were the basis of his tough stance on overseas workers.
Labor wants jobs to be advertised locally for at least four weeks before a foreigner is sourced.
“We hear constant reports of people coming in from overseas, by aeroplane, coming in on temporary guest worker visas and taking Australian jobs which could be done by locals,” Mr Shorten told reporters at a press conference in Queensland on Tuesday where he pushed for a crackdown on 457 visas.
“My approach to Australian jobs is based upon the simple truth that where you’ve got a lot of unemployed Australians, why on Earth have we got a visa system which is allowing the sorts of rorts and exploitation that we hear about from … building sites, hospitality to the farms … as recently as this morning,” he said.
“When you’ve got unemployment in the high five per cents, when you’ve got 700,000-plus unemployed Australians, when you’ve got a million Australians-plus who are recording they have insecure work … we will stand up for Australian jobs and no amount of out-of-touch rhetoric from Mr Turnbull will stop us from standing up for Aussie jobs,” he said.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called Mr Shorten a hypocrite, saying the highest number of 457 visas were granted when Labor was in power and he was in charge of the employment portfolio.
The Prime Minister also said Labor’s stance on temporary worker visas didn’t match their push to drop the proposed backpacker tax from 19 per cent to 10.5 per cent.
“Mr Shorten wants them to pay no tax at all,” he said.
“Rather than standing up for Australian workers, Mr Shorten’s message to Australian workers is ‘If you go out picking fruit, an Australian citizen, and you work alongside a backpacker, the backpacker will pay no tax’.
“This Leader of the Opposition is a rank opportunist.
“He is completely hypocritical on this issue.”
More than 95,700 foreign workers were in Australia on 457 visas as at September 30, with about 76,400 secondary visa holders (family members) accompanying them.
The visas allow businesses to employ foreign workers for a period up to four years in skilled jobs where there is a shortage of Australian workers.
The numbers are uncapped and there is no limit on the number of times they can travel in and out of Australia.