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Wednesday, 21 October 2015
Page: 11990


Mr VARVARIS (Barton) (14:04): My question is to the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister update the House on key government decisions to build growth opportunities in the world's largest and most dynamic markets to strengthen and secure Australia's financial system and to ensure our social welfare safety net is robust and sustainable?

Mr TURNBULL (WentworthPrime Minister) (14:05): I thank the honourable member for his question. This is a great week for jobs, for business and for Australian families. It is a great week for Australia. The legislation to approve the historic free trade agreement with China is afoot in this parliament, and from today it carries bipartisan support. The suite of policy measures recommended by the Murray review to strengthen and secure our financial system, to provide greater choice for Australians planning their retirement, to give consumers a fair deal on issues such as credit card surcharges and a package of family benefit changes that will provide better childcare support for Australian families while delivering fairer outcomes for families most in need is all happening this week.

The business of government is to get things done. Australians expect us, their elected representatives, to deliver practical, common-sense policy that will improve economic security and general wellbeing. They expect that we, the government, will not allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good. If there are blockages, obstacles and dissent in the parliamentary system that we can overcome through sensible negotiation without sacrificing the preponderance of the policy objectives we have in mind, we will engage constructively. And if we can achieve our objectives by reaching agreement with the opposition, the Greens or the crossbenchers, we will do so.

So I say again, as I said earlier, we appreciate the common-sense response of the opposition on the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement. I had earlier, perhaps a little harshly, said that the Leader of the Opposition was just a cork bobbing in the slipstream of the CFMEU. Well, he has struck out; he is swimming, he is paddling himself, and it has been a great day for the parliament. You can see the enthusiasm with which he is embracing this important national objective, because he knows it underpins thousands and thousands of jobs—tariffs on dairy, beef, lamb, wine, horticulture abolished over four to 11 years; nearly all resources, energy and manufacturing tariffs gone in four; from implementation, 95 per cent of Australian exports will enter China duty free. This is an outstanding achievement, and it is above all a great tribute to the work of the Minister for Trade and Investment, Andrew Robb. He has brought this home. These negotiations were begun a long time ago, but the key thing is to close the deal, and Andrew Robb has done that, and it is a great day for the parliament and the nation that we have agreement on this historic deal.