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Tuesday, 7 February 2017
Page: 42

Employment


Mr SHORTEN (MaribyrnongLeader of the Opposition) (14:35): My question is to the Prime Minister. It is a matter of record that 34,000 full-time jobs have been lost in the last year, that underemployment is close to a record high and that wages are growing at the slowest rate on record. Prime Minister, when 34,000 full-time jobs have been lost in the last year alone, why are you only worried about your own job and not theirs?


Mr TURNBULL (WentworthPrime Minister) (14:36): I thank the honourable member for his question, because it gives me the opportunity to remind him that in the last year there were 100,000 new jobs in manufacturing. It has been a long time since we have seen growth in manufacturing, and the reason we are seeing it is because of the big export markets we have opened up and that he would like to close in his new populist, protectionist guise.

This is the leader of the party that used to be the party of Hawke and Keating, that believed in cutting business taxes because they knew that that would create greater investment and more jobs. They knew that trade was good: trade means jobs! That is what Julia Gillard said—trade means jobs. Not anymore. Not any more—he wants to put the walls up, does the Leader of the Opposition. And, of course, having deprived Australian businesses of their export markets, what he now wants to do is to make energy unaffordable and unreliable. Not only is energy in that Labor testbed of energy management that is South Australia the most expensive in Australia, but businesses in South Australia—and I was with them only a few days ago in South Australia, in Port Lincoln—are having to spend millions of dollars in backup generators because they cannot rely on the electricity system of their state. And why is that? It is because of Labor's utterly unplanned, ideological approach to energy.

The fact is: we are creating the jobs and the opportunities in Australia. Everything we are doing, every single policy we have, encourages investment, whether it is our business tax cuts to improve the return on investment—you get more investment, you get more jobs—or the largest investment in defence capability in peace time in our nation's history: cutting-edge advanced manufacturing that is benefiting Australian businesses, right through the supply chain, across the nation. What did the Labor Party do in their six years in office? They did not commission one single naval ship from one Australian yard.

The reality is that the only achievements of the Leader of the Opposition when it comes to jobs were when he was a trade union leader—when he was a champion at trading away his members' penalty rates in return for contributions from employers to the union—and as a minister, when he was the absolute Olympic champion of 457 visas, never to be outdone.