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Monday, 9 December 2013
Page: 1938

Australia-Korea Free Trade Agreement


Mr PASIN (Barker) (14:56): My question is to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. I remind the minister of Friday's historic announcement that Australia has secured a free trade agreement with South Korea. Will the minister advise the House of what benefits Australians will see from that free trade agreement?


Ms JULIE BISHOP (CurtinMinister for Foreign Affairs) (14:56): I thank the member for Barker for his question. I congratulate him on his first speech, in which he demonstrated what a passionate advocate he will be for his electorate. I can confirm to him that the Australia-Korea free trade agreement that was announced on Friday is undeniably good news, not only for agricultural producers in his electorate but also across Australia. It is going to help grow our economy, it will provide certainty for investors and it will certainly create an environment for more jobs in Australia. This Korea-Australia free trade agreement will lift key tariffs off key agricultural products. Some Korean tariffs are as high as 300 per cent and we will see a number of them reduced to zero on key agricultural products, particularly beef. Beef producers were estimated to be losing $1.4 billion because the agreement was stalled under Labor. Tariffs also go to zero on wine, wheat, canola oil, seafood, tomatoes, grapes and others.

I point out that the Australian government has now delivered on an election promise to complete this agreement. Within 100 days of coming to office, we have concluded this agreement—something that the Labor Party could never do. We were able to make a pragmatic decision and put aside Labor ideology. We put the interests of the exporters and producers first. I congratulate the Minister for Trade and Investment, Andrew Robb, on an outstanding job in concluding a comprehensive, high-quality agreement with our third-largest export partner, our fourth-largest trading partner. It is a quality agreement, not only in agriculture but also in resources and energy and manufacturing. It creates a new market for services. In fact, this is the best free trade agreement that we have concluded in relation to market access for services—an outstanding outcome. It is also reducing investment barriers.

Mr Perrett interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Moreton is warned!

Ms JULIE BISHOP: So this free trade agreement, which was concluded by Minister Robb and which could never have been concluded by those opposite because of their ideological barrier, will create more jobs and grow our economy. It is an outstanding win for an Australian minister, it is an outstanding win for the Australian government and, most of all, it is a win for the Australian people. This will create jobs. I congratulate Minister Robb.

Ms Plibersek: Madam Speaker, could I ask that the foreign minister table the agreement?

The SPEAKER: That is quite out of order unless that is your formal question. I call the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. Was that formally a question? Was that an interjection?

Ms PLIBERSEK: No, it was a point of order.

The SPEAKER: It is not a point of order. If you wish to ask the minister to table any documents from which he was reading, that is in order.

Ms PLIBERSEK: It was a request to table a document to which he was referring.

The SPEAKER: To ask as an interjection for the tabling of something else is not.

Mr Pyne: The standing order relates to documents that a minister was referring to. The minister was standing here without a note. I know the Deputy Leader of the Opposition is very inexperienced in parliamentary practice, but she should really try and get those basics right.

The SPEAKER: The point is: if you wish to ask for documents to be tabled to which the minister is referring, that is in order. But to get up and interject and ask for a document to simply be out of the ether produced is not in order.