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Monday, 26 November 2012
Page: 13141

Economy


Ms BRODTMANN (Canberra) (14:16): My question is to the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister update the House on how the government has delivered a stronger economy and a fairer society over the last five years; and how are we getting on with our plan to build a stronger future?


Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:16): I thank the member for Canberra for her very important question about the difference that a Labor government is making to Australians and to our nation, including those Australians who live in her electorate right here in Canberra, in the ACT. On Saturday we mark the five-year anniversary of the Rudd government and of the government that I lead. Across those five years of Labor government, we can say we are proud of the achievements that, working with the Australian community, we have brought to our nation—and I do say very strongly 'working with the Australian community' because when you are looking to deliver profound change, when you are looking to deliver major improvements for Australians, it requires government to act, but it also requires businesses to play their part, unions to play their part and civil society to play its part. I am proud of the way in which we have been able to work together with business, with unions and with civil society for change.

First and foremost, because we are a Labor government we made decisions during the days of the global financial crisis that would keep the maximum number of people in jobs. We have created over 800,000 jobs and we are also ensuring Australians feel the benefits of work by ensuring that there is a tripling of the tax-free threshold and people get to keep the first $18,200 they earn without paying a cent of tax to the taxman. We are proud that we abolished Work Choices and we have introduced fairness and decency at work, and we have added to it this year, in this parliament, through better arrangements for those in shipping, better arrangements for truck drivers around the country and better arrangements for building workers, for clothing and trades workers, for public servants who are getting pushed out of work by state Liberal governments and for workers when they lose their jobs in circumstances where their entitlements are not fully paid.

We are also very proud of what we have done to create an opportunity agenda—improving education so people genuinely get a chance at a decent life through having the skills to realise a secure job, or a series of secure jobs, over their working life. We have readied our nation for this time of change in our region in what will be the Asian century. We have delivered major reforms in the environment, including the most recent work of the minister on the Murray-Darling Basin. We have rolled out the National Broadband Network. We have delivered a huge infrastructure package for this nation's future and, proudly, this week we will introduce into the parliament an entitlement for every Australian child to an excellent education and the creation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme. That is our positive agenda for 2013.