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Wednesday, 30 May 2012
Page: 6278

Olympic Dam

Mr ABBOTT (WarringahLeader of the Opposition) (14:03): My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer her to today's report of the Minerals Council and to recent comments from the chairman of BHP both indicating that the proposed investment at Olympic Dam in South Australia is at risk because of higher taxes, higher energy costs and greater uncertainty. Will the Prime Minister apologise to the people of South Australia for jeopardising investment and jobs by breaking her solemn pledge that there will be no carbon tax under the government she leads?

Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:04): The Leader of the Opposition in his question refers to a Minerals Council report that was reported in today's newspapers and has been the subject of some discussion since. I think it is worth noting that that article, which was in the pages of the Australian and the Financial Review today, was written by Angus Taylor. That name may be familiar to some because he has just been preselected as the Liberal candidate for the seat of Hume at the next election—a very important point.

Is it of any surprise to me that a man who is presenting for election as a candidate for the Liberal Party at the next election is talking the economy down? That is of no surprise to me whatsoever. Is it of any surprise to me that someone preselected as a Liberal candidate for the next election is making absurd claims about carbon pricing? Well, no, that is of no surprise to me either. It is not of any surprise to me that he is actually a very vocal and proud supporter of Work Choices? Apparently he has not got the memo yet that tells members of the opposition to not be truthful about their support for Work Choices.

What the Leader of the Opposition ought to be acknowledging in this parliament are the following facts: our economy is strong—

Mr Pyne: Madam Deputy Speaker, I rise on a point of order. This is the largest mine expansion in the world. It is a very serious issue and the Prime Minister should answer the question, not make light of it.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms AE Burke ): The Manager of Opposition Business will resume his seat. The Prime Minister has the call.

Ms GILLARD: It is a serious issue. It is too serious for the petty politics of the opposition, far too serious for that. Running the economy is a serious issue. Making sure our economy is the envy of the world has required serious work. Making sure that there are $500 million of investments in the pipeline has required serious work. And at every step of the way, this government has worked with the government of South Australia because we want this Olympic Dam project to go ahead. We worked hard with the government of South Australia to achieve that result. What will not help the achievement of that result is a reckless negativity, talking the economy down and making false claims about carbon pricing. Those things are calculated to destroy jobs and opportunity in South Australia and right around the country.