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Wednesday, 28 February 2018
Page: 2265

Workplace Relations

Mr SHORTEN (MaribyrnongLeader of the Opposition) (14:16): 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 things even worse by supporting cuts to penalty rates for nearly 700,000 Australian workers whilst, at the same time, giving big business a $65 billion taxpayer handout?

Mr TURNBULL (WentworthPrime Minister) (14:16): Reducing business tax results in more investment, more productivity, more employment and better paid jobs, and that has been the consistent experience right around the world. The Leader of the Opposition used to say that. They're experiencing that now in the United States. The member for McMahon wrote a book about it. It is hardly rocket science. It has been the universal experience. That is why governments in the past of both the Labor persuasion and the coalition persuasion have reduced business taxes, and we've seen that result. That is how you drive jobs and jobs growth.

You have to be consistent about your policies. You have to be, as the Leader of the Opposition said in his GQ article where he was asked whether he was Clintonesque—and he didn't demur from that, of course. But what we've seen is a complete backflip by the Leader of the Opposition. He stood with the workers at Oaky North and, with the member for Gorton, he told them that he supported them. Tony Maher stood up and said, 'Bill Shorten is very pro coalmining, and I can tell you that from personal experience.' Tony Maher said that to those workers on the picket line while standing next to the Leader of the Opposition.

Then, after receiving thousands of dollars of generous hospitality—a reef tour with Wavelength Reef Cruises, a charter flight from Cairns to Carmichael River and Doongmabulla Springs and ending in Townsville, and accommodation; it's a long list—all of which was provided by the Australian Conservation Foundation, courtesy of Geoff Cousins, the Leader of the Opposition said to Geoff Cousins, 'No media.' It was done in secret. He didn't want anyone to know, especially not those workers at Oaky North.

The SPEAKER: The Prime Minister will resume his seat. The Manager of Opposition Business on a point of order?

Mr Burke: Mr Speaker, the question goes to penalty rates; the answer doesn't. Can he please be directly relevant.

The SPEAKER: The Prime Minister has addressed wages and the other aspects of the question. He is now moving away from the substance of the question. Has the Prime Minister concluded his answer?

Mr Turnbull: Yes, thank you.