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Tuesday, 22 June 2010
Page: 6104

Mr ABBOTT (3:13 PM) —My question is again to the Prime Minister. I refer the Prime Minister to yet another Indigenous leader who is concerned about the impact of his great big new tax on mining. This time it is the former President of the Australian Labor Party, Mr Warren Mundine, who said today of the mining tax:

I’ll be quite honest—it was badly handled upfront … I have concerns as a Labor Party member that the resource super profits tax is totally absorbing all the energy of the government …

Mr Mundine went on:

The mining industry is a major player in getting people out of poverty … It’s the highest indigenous employer in the country—they’re providing the break to the indigenous people on a major scale.

We need to ensure that indigenous people are not forgotten.

That is what Mr Mundine said. So I ask the Prime Minister: why won’t he forget about modelling based on false assumptions, listen to the concerns of real people and dump this bad tax?

Mr RUDD (Prime Minister) —In response to the Leader of the Opposition’s question, had we followed his prescription in response to the global crisis there would have been 200,000 more people out of work. Had we followed his prescription, we would have done the New Zealand model and had 200,000 to 300,000 more people out of work. When the Leader of the Opposition speaks about jobs and he speaks about employment, he speaks with a complete want of sincerity. Rather than follow his prescription for the challenge facing this economy for jobs for Indigenous people and for jobs for non-Indigenous people, when the challenge was there to act we acted through a stimulus strategy to generate employment for the entire country.

Mr Abbott —Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order on relevance. The question was about Mr Warren Mundine, and out of respect for Mr Warren Mundine the Prime Minister should answer his concerns.

The SPEAKER —If the Leader of the Opposition carefully looks at his question, he will see that it went on to much wider matters towards the end. The Prime Minister has the call.

Mr Pyne interjecting

The SPEAKER —Order!

Mr RUDD —That was the first point. The second is that in terms of Indigenous employment I find it interesting that suddenly the Leader of the Opposition wages into this debate. On the question of Indigenous employment, can I remind the Leader of the Opposition of the range of measures this government has taken to support Indigenous employment across the country, including through direct support of Indigenous employment and training programs within the mining industry as well.

On the overall question of, shall I say, uniformity of view on tax reform proposals, I would draw the Leader of the Opposition’s attention to the interventions in this debate by his predecessor the member for Wentworth, who himself has come out and indicated there are many arguments in favour of changing the tax system in order to make it profit based as opposed to volume based. If the Leader of the Opposition was fair dinkum about economic investment, fair dinkum about the economy, fair dinkum about jobs he would not have simply hauled up the white flag—

Mr Pyne interjecting

The SPEAKER —Order! The member for Sturt will leave the chamber for one hour under 94(a).

The member for Sturt then left the chamber.

Mr RUDD —If the Leader of the Opposition was fair dinkum about jobs, why did he go missing in action during the global crisis? Why did he say there was no room for stimulus? Why did he say that we should have followed the New Zealand road? Had we followed his prescription and sat on our hands and done nothing, 200,000 to 300,000 more Australians would have been out of work. This government stepped up to the plate, took the action necessary and generated the jobs that Australia needs.

Mr Hockey —You are so full of it.

The SPEAKER —The member for North Sydney!

Mr Hockey —Well it’s true.

The SPEAKER —The member for North Sydney perhaps should take a voluntary walk and come back. He might be in a better mood.