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Thursday, 9 February 2017
Page: 536

Economy


Mr HASTIE (Canning) (14:28): My question is to the Treasurer. Will the Treasurer outline to the House what the government is doing to ensure that Australia has a strong economy that creates jobs and reduces cost-of-living pressures? How does a competitive economy help hardworking Australians get ahead, especially in regional parts of Australia like Canning?


Mr MORRISON (CookTreasurer) (14:28): This is coal. Do not be afraid. Do not be scared. It will not hurt you.

The SPEAKER: The Treasurer knows the rule on props.

Mr MORRISON: It is coal. It was dug up by men and women who work and live in the electorates of those who sit opposite—from the Hunter Valley, as the member for Hunter would know. It is coal that has ensured for over 100 years that Australia has enjoyed an energy-competitive advantage that has delivered prosperity to Australian businesses and has ensured that Australian industry has been able to remain competitive in a global market. Those opposite have an ideological, pathological fear of coal. There is no word for 'coalophobia' officially, but that is the malady that afflicts those opposite. It is that malady that is affecting the jobs in the towns and the industries and, indeed, in this country because of the pathological, ideological opposition to coal being an important part of our sustainable and more certain energy future.

Affordable energy is what Australian businesses need to remain competitive. They cannot fizzle out in the dark as those opposite would have them do, as businesses in South Australia are now confronting. On this side of the House, you will not find a fear of coal anymore than you will find a fear of wind—except for that which comes from the Leader of the Opposition; you will not find a fear of sun; you will not find a fear of wave energy; you will not find a fear of any of these sources of energy. What you will find is a passion for the jobs of Australians who work for businesses that depend on energy security that those opposite want to switch off, just like the South Australian Labor government is switching off jobs, switching off lights and switching off air conditioners and forcing Australian families to boil in the dark as a result of their Dark Ages policies.

That is not the only thing we are doing to stand up for Australian businesses; our company tax cuts that those hypocrites opposite used to support and now oppose—here he is; the whinger from Watson!

The SPEAKER: The minister will return to the despatch box. He will withdraw two unparliamentary remarks.

Mr MORRISON: I withdraw, Mr Speaker, unreservedly. When it comes to our company tax cuts, when it comes to energy prices, what I do know is that there is someone else who knows a lot about digging things out of the ground for the great prosperity of Australians, and that is Twiggy Forrest—do not worry, Leader of the Opposition, he will give you a dinner invitation later! You can tuck your knees under his table, too, as the Prime Minister said yesterday. This is what Twiggy Forrest said today:

We've kept our power prices high, which lowers the standard of living, and if we keep our tax rates high we will jack up unemployment and keep people out of work.

That is the policy prescription from those who sit opposite, and they should be ashamed.