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Monday, 13 February 2012
Page: 846


Mr HOCKEY (North Sydney) (14:21): My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer the Prime Minister to recently announced job losses at Westpac, the Royal Bank of Scotland, Holden, Toyota, BHP, Reckitt's, Manildra, Norsk, Tomago, Thales, Don and Macquarie Group. Given that ANZ have just announced 1,000 jobs are to go in the next few months, does the Prime Minister now regret referring to these job losses as growing pains?

Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:22): To the shadow Treasurer I would say: do not verbal me. If he wants to quote one of my speeches then bring it in and quote it in full, because the idea that I have ever exhibited anything other than concern for Australians who have lost their jobs is completely untrue and I am not having the shadow Treasurer come in, as part of the campaign of fear and misrepresentation by the opposition, and pretend that is true. The people who have used workers and their jobs as political playthings in this parliament sit on the opposition front benches. They are very, very happy to walk into a steel-manufacturing business to stand alongside a steelworker while the cameras are rolling and then, as soon as the cameras have gone, they come into this place and they vote against the future of that industry by voting against the Steel Transformation Plan. They are very, very happy to go and stand in a car-manufacturing plant and look at the cars being made with the very highly skilled workers who make them, but when it comes to being counted in supporting the car industry they stand for a half a billion dollar cutback now and the end of assistance in 2015. They want every worker in the car industry to be out of a job. Of course, we know too that, whilst they pretend to be the friend of small businesses and to care about the people who work in small businesses, in this parliament they voted against tax breaks for small businesses and an instant asset write-off which would have put them into a better position and enabled them to employ people and to continue to generate jobs. They did that because they would prefer to give more money to some of the most profitable mining companies in the world.

The SPEAKER: Order! The Prime Minister will return to the substance of the question.

Ms GILLARD: So to the shadow Treasurer I would say that as Prime Minister I have been explaining to the Australian people and the Australian community the nature of the structural change in our economy today. Our economy is strong. The strength of our economy is driving further changes: the strong Aussie dollar, the opportunities that will come in the region of the world in which we live which is continuing to grow. That is bringing changes—painful changes—in parts of the economy and we are working with those sections of the economy and those working people in these days of change, working to increase their skills because that will be so important for the jobs of the future, working to give them the best of technology because they cannot compete if they do not have the NBN, working to get business tax right including tax breaks for small businesses, working with manufacturing through my manufacturing task force and the assistance we are providing industries like the car industry. We will never treat working people with the kind of contempt that is routine for the opposition. (Time expired)

Mr Hockey: Mr Speaker, I seek leave to table the Prime Minister's speech where it actually says that.

Leave not granted.