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Thursday, 12 December 2013
Page: 2636


Mr HOCKEY (North SydneyThe Treasurer) (15:49): Enough of the hypocrisy. It is rather ironic that today Paul Keating was in the building addressing the caucus.

Ms Macklin: You are no Paul Keating.

Mr HOCKEY: I am no Paul Keating. I can assure you I am no Paul Keating. I say that emphatically because at the same time that the Labor Party was placing Paul Keating on a pedestal today, I was reminded of Paul Keating's comments in the Sun-Herald of 1991. The article said:

Taxpayers are paying $1.6 billion a year, or $4,000 a car, to keep the car industry afloat. Treasurer Paul Keating has described this level of protection as a disgrace.

It was $4,000 in 1991. Today it is $4,961 per car. It is not the same in real terms, but does Paul Keating hold that view today? Did he say that to the Labor Party caucus today? Please spare us the hypocrisy on this. Please spare us the hypocrisy about caring for workers.

Paul Keating, the man who appeared in caucus today, said in 2000:

What do I say—

to people who lost their jobs—

What is your new job like? One of the 2.5 million created since the early 1980s. People have found better jobs. I mean, did we ever hurt anybody liberating them from the car assembly line?

That was said by Paul Keating, who appeared in the caucus today. He said, 'Of course we did not'. The way people talk about this free trade and fair trade, as if the economy is static and not dynamic, and a job lost is not a job replaced, is just bunkum—that is Paul Keating.

So today, when Paul Keating is in caucus and they are holding him up on a pedestal as the man who delivered economic reform, they come into this place and rail against the failure of the government to massively increase the amount of subsidy for car production in Australia and they say there is something wrong with change in the auto industry.

But let us deal with the facts, because the facts need to be stated. In 2000, 44 per cent of the cars sold in Australia were Australian made. In 2005, that fell to 30 per cent. In 2010, that fell to 19 per cent. There has been a transformation. In 2007-08, when the Labor Party was elected to government, they commissioned Steve Bracks to look at the entire car industry. In February 2008, Mitsubishi closed their operations in Adelaide under Labor. Did we cry about that? No. But I will tell you who celebrated that.

Mr Bowen: You should be hiding in your office.

Mr HOCKEY: Listen to this, Sunshine. I know that you are on your L-plates, but listen. Lindsay Tanner, the former finance minister, said this in March 2008, one month after Mitsubishi closed:

The Rudd government is committed to upholding the tradition of reform established in the Hawke-Keating era. We have resisted the temptation to bailout Mitsubishi.

That was Lindsay Tanner, the Labor finance minister, one month after Mitsubishi closed their doors under Labor. Save us the hypocrisy.

Ms Kate Ellis: You haven't talked about Holden.

The SPEAKER: The member for Adelaide will desist.

Mr HOCKEY: When the Labor Party committed $573 million to the automotive sector in 2008-09, Ford announced 350 redundancies. And Labor responded and committed $6.2 billion in a 13-year long plan to create environmentally friendly cars. Then in 2010 they came up with a new policy; a new plan: Cash for Clunkers. We remember that. People could get grants for $2,000 to scrap their pre-1995 motor vehicles. But at the same time that they were announcing putting in more money, our share of global production of cars had halved since the year 2000. The Australian motor vehicle industry is selling fewer cars in Australia and is exporting fewer cars—half the percentage of global production of what it was a few years earlier. But Labor committed more money.

Ms Kate Ellis: Say the word 'Holden'.

The SPEAKER: The member for Adelaide is warned!

Mr HOCKEY: In August 2010, they announced Cash for Clunkers. Just a few months later in January 2011 they announced the abolition of Cash for Clunkers—the abolition of something announced earlier. What is more, the Labor Party then announced that they were closing the Green Car Innovation Fund that Steve Bracks announced, saving $861 million

Ms Kate Ellis: Can you say the word 'Holden'?

The SPEAKER: Does the member for Adelaide wish to leave under 94(a)?

Mr HOCKEY: Hang on: Labor announced Cash for Clunkers and then withdrew it, they announced that they were putting money into a Green Car Innovation Fund and then they closed that and then they announced the closure of the LPG vehicle scheme. That is $1.4 billion of promises to the motor vehicle industry, and then the Labor Party pulled the rug out from under them.

What was the reaction of Mike Devereux? Listen to what he said in June 2011:

We cut a deal with the prime minister of the country in the Lodge back in ’08, showed our business plan, as did Ford, as did Toyota, made investments and then midway through ... the rules of the game changed.

Listen to this—Mike Devereaux, the head of Holden, said:

So it certainly worries a multinational parent—

company—

when sovereign risk begins to be something that is bandied about in terms of doing business with Australia.

That was in June 2011 when the head of Holden was warning that the Labor government was creating sovereign risk here in Australia for General Motors. But wait: there is more.

Ms Kate Ellis interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Adelaide will remove herself under 94(a).

Mr HOCKEY: In January 2012, the Julia Gillard went down to Ford and pledged $34 million. She said:

As a result of us making $34 million available to join with Ford in new investment to keep car manufacturing here, we’ll actually see the number of jobs grow. There will be an additional 300 jobs as a result.

So, 300 jobs when they put in an extra $34 million. Six months later, Ford sacked 400 people. That is a 700-person turnaround after Julia Gillard went down there and gave them and extra $34 million. But there is more.

In March 2012, Julia Gillard went to Holden and announced an extra $215 million. Listen to what the Labor Prime Minister at the time said:

Holden will be here in Australia producing cars for at least the next 10 years. That's great news. … So this is a great day for Australian car-making, to be able to announce that Holden will be here for the next decade and we've been able to secure that by working together.

Seven months later, Holden sacks 180 people at the Elizabeth plant and a few months after that Holden announces a further 500 sackings.

Mr Husic: Your guilt is burning you: 50,000 people have lost their jobs because of you.

The SPEAKER: The member for Chifley will remove himself under 94(a).

Mr HOCKEY: Hang on: the Labor Party kept giving them more money and announcing job security and then months later Holden would sack workers and Ford would sacks workers.

Then along came the carbon tax. Listen to what Mike Devereux had to say on the carbon tax:

There is no question that a tax on electricity, in making it more expensive in input costs, makes it more difficult for me to make money building cars.

That is what Mike Devereux, the head of General Motors Holden, said about the carbon tax. He said, 'It makes it more difficult for me to make money building cars.' Holden then announced 500 redundancies.

Mr Bowen: They have gone under on your watch.

Mr HOCKEY: The member for McMahon was the most incompetent L-plated Treasurer in Australian history. We thought that John Kerin walking into a cupboard was incompetent. The member for McMahon was only in for 84 days but, wow, what an 84 days. He announced a $1.8 billion fringe benefits tax that saw car sales plummet. We got rid of it.

Mr Bowen: I did not lose Holden; you lost Holden.

The SPEAKER: The member for McMahon will desist!

Mr HOCKEY: Let me tell you the real reason why Holden went: it was a perfect storm. That is what they said at General Motors Detroit. When I heard that term 'perfect storm', I knew that I had heard it somewhere else. Kim Carr in 2013 in his book said this: 'In many ways, the automotive industry was already weathering a perfect storm.' Kim Carr was talking about a perfect storm months before the General Motors announcement the other day. Stop the hypocrisy, Labor. You are looking really foolish.

The SPEAKER: The question is that the amendment be agreed to.

The SPEAKER: The question now is that the motion as amended be agreed to.

Question agreed to.