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Thursday, 5 December 2013
Page: 1804

Foreign Investment


Mr BOWEN (McMahon) (15:05): My question is to the Prime Minister, although he may ask the Minister for Agriculture to answer given today's precedent. I refer to the Treasurer's weak decision to reject a major foreign investment bid in GrainCorp and the resulting 25 per cent fall in GrainCorp's share price. Given the Prime Minister has said that with a coalition government Australia is open for business, why is the government now making decisions that show Australia is closed for business, the complete opposite of what he promised?

Mr McCormack interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member will resume his seat. There was a shouting match going on across the chamber, and that behaviour will simply not be tolerated.

Mr Mitchell: Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The language—

The SPEAKER: The member will resume his seat. We will not have shouting matches across the chamber.

Mr Pyne: Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I am sure you would have noticed the argument at the beginning of the member for McMahon's question. There was a particular word that should not have formed part of the question. I would ask you to rule the whole question out or potentially he could rephrase the question.

The SPEAKER: I think he should rephrase the question, particularly leaving out the obiter.

Mr BOWEN: I refer to the Treasurer's decision to reject a major foreign investment proposal in GrainCorp and the resulting 25 per cent fall in GrainCorp's share price. Given the Prime Minister has said that with a coalition government Australia would be open for business, why is the government now making decisions that show we are closed for business—the exact opposite of what the Prime Minister promised?








Mr ABBOTT (WarringahPrime Minister) (15:07): I thank the Treasurer for his question—I mean the shadow Treasurer: he was the Treasurer for much of the time in question. In fact, the foreign investment application in question lay on his desk for months. He says, 'It should have been approved.' He had months to do it and he did not.

Mr Bowen interjecting

Mr Hockey interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for McMahon and the Treasurer will stop their personal exchange. We are listening to the Prime Minister.

Mr ABBOTT: Thank you, Madam Speaker. Let me make it absolutely crystal clear: of 131 significant foreign investment applications, 130 have been approved. By any standard, Australia is open for business. The Minister for the Environment has in the last eight weeks given environmental approval for projects worth $160 billion. By any standard, this country is under new management, it is open for business and the only people who are trying to shut it down are members opposite.

Mr Burke: Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. During the questions about rephrasing the question by the member for McMahon there was an attempt to ask for a withdrawal from the member for Riverina. The names that were being thrown across the chamber were clearly unparliamentary.

The SPEAKER: I did not hear what he had to say, but to assist the parliament the parliamentary secretary may withdraw.

Mr McCormack: To assist the parliament, I withdraw.