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Tuesday, 24 February 2015
Page: 1122

Mrs McNAMARA (Dobell) (16:10): I see the member for Shortland is here. I don't know if that's a gold medal, Jill—more like a gold Oscar!

But it gives me great pleasure to speak to this matter of public importance, because the Australian people deserve the truth. We are delivering more jobs for the people of Australia. I will start with a couple of facts that may be of interest to members opposite and in particular the member for Gorton. Firstly, there are more Australians in work today than at any stage under your six years of government. This means more jobs in the Australian economy that any stage under Labor's six years of government. Secondly, the wages and conditions of Australian workers are not set by the government, so clearly you missed the info session on how the Australian industrial relations system works.

The minimum wage and penalty rates are determined by the Fair Work Commission, an independent umpire. The government has made it clear in the media that, even if there are recommendations from the Productivity Commission about minimum wages or penalty rates, the government will not move on them; so, quite frankly, with each passing day I am finding it harder to take the members opposite seriously. I think all of us are finding it very hard. You are devoid of ideas and you are so steadfast in your opposition to everything that it makes you wonder where your expertise on wages and conditions of Australian workers come from. You do not have an original idea between you, so it must come from something in your past, but what could that be? Who could that be? Perhaps it comes from your ticket into federal parliament—a trade union membership? Or perhaps it comes from Labor's favourite son, and who is that? Craig Thomson, the post boy of denial and self-indulgence whose economic philosophy focused on getting more bang for his buck—sorry, I meant the HSU members' bucks—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! As with the member for Fairfax, let's not stray too far from the topic here.

Mrs McNAMARA: I am getting to the point.

Mr Champion: Why don't you tell us about fundraising?

Mrs McNAMARA: Don't even go there! That is irrelevant.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Direct your remarks through the chair. The member for Wakefield is warned again. Come on.

Mrs McNAMARA: Why don't you ask Obeid while you're on the subject?

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: That's enough out of you too!

Mrs McNAMARA: The hypocrisy! To get back to the MPI: how rich is it that members opposite come in here and attack this government on wages when they sat in this parliament and defended the actions of Craig Thomson? To get back to the relevance—

Mr Dreyfus: Eight by Five. Is that what you're going to tell us about?

Mrs McNAMARA: I have nothing to tell you or anyone else. You are nothing but a hypocrite.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The member for Dobell will resume her seat. The member for Dobell will withdraw.

Mrs McNAMARA: I withdraw.

Mr Dreyfus: The member for Dobell has been now several times warned by you—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Sit down. The member for Dobell will be relevant to the topic, thank you very much—and direct your remarks through the chair.

Mrs McNAMARA: All right. To get back to the MPI: Australians will only have wages and conditions as long as they have a job, and let's not forget what happened to Australian jobs under Labor's watch. Two hundred thousand more Australians were unemployed, 129,000 manufacturing jobs were lost—over one in 10 disappeared completely—and, in the period that the Leader of the Opposition was Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, unemployment rose from 5.2 per cent to 5.7 per cent and the number of unemployed people increased by 80,000. During Labor's time in office, unemployment went from 4.4 per cent in November 2007 to 5.7 per cent in September 2013. Getting back to the other topic we were talking about before, the reality is that, under Labor's watch, in Dobell more small businesses shut their doors than anywhere else in Australia, and under Labor 412,000 jobs were lost in small business.

Unlike members opposite we saw this as a serious problem that needed to be addressed, and unlike members opposite we have a plan to build a stronger economy, to get more people off welfare and into jobs, and to support the growth and sustainability of Australia's small business. It is our plan to see more Australians in jobs. (Time expired)

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The discussion has concluded.