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Wednesday, 28 February 2018
Page: 2261


Mr SHORTEN (MaribyrnongLeader of the Opposition) (14:00): My question is to the Prime Minister. This Prime Minister has presided over the lowest wages growth on record, so why is this inept Prime Minister making life harder for working Australians by making them pay $300 more income tax every year and at the same time handing away $65 billion of taxpayer money to big corporations?

Mr TURNBULL (WentworthPrime Minister) (14:01): The honourable member opposite knows full well that we are seeking to pay for the NDIS, which the Labor Party did not fund and which needs the guaranteed financial security Labor would not provide it with. We are seeking to do so in precisely the same way that the Labor government did in part when they were in power.

But the honourable member asked me about big corporations and inequality. Well, most people, when they go snorkelling on the Barrier Reef, pay for it themselves, but not the Leader of the Opposition. Oh, no! We heard the indignation about Point Piper, the suburb I lived in. He's down on those millionaires in Point Piper, but he wasn't above taking thousands of dollars from the Australian Conservation Foundation. Geoff Cousins reported on the trip that they funded for the Leader of the Opposition, which was only disclosed after Mr Cousins came out with his report. It was amazing!

Now, what was the name of that other donor to the Leader of the Opposition? Unibilt? Was that a donor that only came out after the event? Well, there's a bit of a pattern there!

Government members interjecting

The SPEAKER: Members on my right!

Mr Fletcher interjecting

The SPEAKER: The Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Cities will cease interjecting. The Manager of Opposition Business on a point of order?

Mr Burke: Thanks, Mr Speaker. I would just ask the Prime Minister to be directly relevant to the question he was asked, not the answer he prepared.

The SPEAKER: Before I call the Prime Minister, whilst the question did mention large companies—and the Prime Minister is entitled to compare and contrast—I do agree that he is now drifting off the subject matter of the question.

Mr TURNBULL: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Let me return to the subject of jobs, which the honourable member also raised. What about the jobs of coalminers? What about the jobs of members of the CFMEU? We remember on 6 October last year—not so long ago—what Tony Maher said at the rally where the member for Gorton and the Leader of the Opposition were 'spewing', in the words of the Leader of the Opposition—

The SPEAKER: Could the Prime Minister resume his seat for a second. Whilst I'm appreciative that the Prime Minister's got off the previous topic, he's now onto another topic that I—

Honourable members interjecting

The SPEAKER: Well, I don't think the question related to jobs.

Mr Shorten: Wages growth!

The SPEAKER: Wages growth, certainly. There was wages growth, large companies and tax increases.

Mr TURNBULL: Wages growth is driven by the laws of supply and demand. If there is no demand for the jobs of coalminers, their wages won't go up. There is no better way to stop—

Ms Butler interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Griffith is warned.

Mr TURNBULL: the growth in coalminers' wages than to do precisely what the Leader of the Opposition has done, which is to tell the miners he backs them when he is there on the picket line, but then, secretly, with a donation from a Point Piper millionaire—ooh they are dreadful people!—go up to the Barrier Reef and give a commitment to revoke the licence. (Time expired)

Mr Christensen interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Dawson will cease interjecting.