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Tuesday, 14 February 2017
Page: 939


Mr VASTA (Bonner) (14:54): My question is to the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment. How does the government's trade agenda create jobs for hardworking Australians and how important is affordable and reliable energy for Australian exporters? How does this compare with alternative approaches that would threaten Australia's trade competitiveness?

Mr CIOBO (MoncrieffMinister for Trade, Tourism and Investment) (14:55): I thank the member for Bonner for his question because it goes to the core of the government's agenda with respect to our export policies and our strong focus on building the right framework in terms of the trade agreements that Australia will follow to boost the opportunities for Australian exporters, especially those small- to medium-sized exporters. Those on this side of the chamber know that creating export opportunities and getting access to markets is great for growing Aussie jobs. I think about, for example, in the member for Bonner's own electorate, the visit that I had to Grove Juice, where Andrew Ross, the CEO of Grove Juice, said: 'Because of the increased exports, we have had to hire extra staff in our processing production area, which is good for regional development.' I also know examples such as Ausab. They are exporters of abalone. They have got expansions underway in Port Lincoln and Portland in Victoria, and they have employed 75 extra Australian workers in preparation for the increased demand out of China and Japan as a result of the coalition government's free trade agreements that we have put in place. So we know, on this side of the chamber, that we have got to continue opening export markets to keep economic growth and to ensure that more Australians have jobs.

But we also know on this side of the House that crucial to being able to maximise the opportunity from access to these export markets is reliable and affordable power and knowing that there is, of course, the supply that businesses are expecting when it comes to energy policy. It is a point of difference—a point of contrast—because, if we actually were to see Labor's policies put in place and we saw the high-risk policies of the Labor Party, which would directly affect power supply, then it would be a very different set of circumstances.

I know it is Valentine's Day today and I know that the Leader of the Opposition would like us all to be having a candlelit dinner every single night if Labor's policies were put in place. Every single night, you could see us sitting down to our candlelit dinner they would be having. They have had a real interest lately in preference deals. You could see the Leader of the Opposition sitting down across the candlelit table with Richard Di Natale talking about their preference deal, and the member for Melbourne with his little solar panel, trying to get enough light from the candle to make sure the lights stayed on. It would be a very romantic occasion.

But I have got to say: the real concern that Australians have is about the character of this guy, the alternative Australian Prime Minister. As I said, Australians recognise a 'Counterfeit Bill' when they see one. They know examples of a 'Counterfeit Bill', including the fake deal that we saw when Clean Event workers were sold out and dudded for the benefit of union bosses. They know fake Medicare text messages when they see them. They know fake support for coalminers who are being dudded by deals with the Greens on Labor's crazy renewable energy policy. What we know is who is going to take the 'Counterfeit Bill' out of circulation: the member for Sydney— (Time expired)