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Tuesday, 28 February 2012
Page: 2075

Mr BUCHHOLZ (Wright) (17:03): In continuation on the Customs Amendment (Anti-dumping Improvements) Bill (No. 2) 2011: unsurprisingly, Labor jumped on our proposal and accused us of being in breach of the WTO agreement. It should come as no surprise that these allegations were completely false. Not only are the preliminary affirmative decisions consistent with the WTO provisions; they are consistent with what Labor was advocating just a few months before. I imagine that must have been quite embarrassing for the honourable members involved.

Labor's disastrous record on manufacturing policy is best reflected in the 28 separate months of contraction in the sector and the loss of more than 136,000 manufacturing jobs in Australia since 2008. Those people who choose to listen in on parliamentary debates or choose to ferret through reams and reams of Hansard would now be starting to question and scratch their heads as the previous speakers, when they were debating the urgency of the need for the government to restore confidence in their management of the Australian economy, were saying something completely in contrast to that. Speakers in this House who will precede this part of the Hansard were making the point that a Labor government was actually creating jobs. Now I have got up as the next speaker and said that 136,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost. Someone is wrong.

I support this bill and I support the truth being told. I support this Customs amendment bill, as we do a number of bills, but the reason I want to make the point that so many jobs have been lost in the manufacturing sector is that last year we had a 0.02 per cent growth rate in employment. So when we hear people on the other side saying that these jobs have been created, they are telling half the story. They are talking about the jobs that have been created and neglecting the truth that for every job that has been created another job has been lost under their leadership by determination of a 0.02 per cent growth rate. We can all spin until our heads fall off, but the truth of the stats will never escape us.

Sadly, this is a government that has already seen fit to punish manufacturers relentlessly by increasing regulation, discouraging commercialisation, slashing incentives for research and development, and, worst of all, introducing a job-destroying carbon tax. It shows no signs that it will be interested in fighting for the growth of an Australian industry. Nevertheless, it is the view of the coalition that the amendments under consideration here today go some of the way towards addressing a few of the stakeholders' concerns relating to the national antidumping system, and I am happy to give my support to the bill. I am happy to give my support, because there are so many times that I have stood in this House for the betterment of the nation and supported bills that have been put up by this government.

I also bring your attention, Mr Deputy Speaker, to the government's continual line of the negativity of the opposition when I stand here giving support for a bill. We constantly hear the drone from the government that the opposition is so negative and it is 'no, no, no, no'. I am thinking, 'This is wrong,' because I know myself that I stand in this House and support bills. So, to add some fact to the debate, I went to the Parliamentary Library at the end of last year and I asked them to correlate for me (1) the number of bills that went through the House and (2) how many bills were supported by the opposition and how many were opposed. An interesting fact came out, and this is not party spin; this is actual fact from the Parliamentary Library. From memory, the opposition supported 97.4 per cent of the bills. So that is a far cry from the rhetorical spin that the government puts on about the opposition having this 'no, no, no, no, no'. When you go through and actually have a look at the bills that we said no to, including the cognate bills, I think the climate legislation had 15 or 21 pieces to it. I am counting those, but if you put that together and call it one bill then it actually means that we opposed only 13 per cent of the legislation that went through this House. So it is a far cry from the 'no'. If anything, the tide is actually starting to turn for who is saying no. Today, when we put up a suspension of standing orders, it was this parliament that said 'no, no, no' for the 42nd time to a suspension of standing orders.

Dr Leigh: Mr Deputy Speaker, I rise on a point of order on relevance. It seemed to me that the member for Wright was continuing the MPI.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Hon. BC Scott ): There is no point of order. The member is speaking on the bill. I remind the member for Wright of the bill before the House. I would also say that I thought I heard him say 'lying' during his address. If that was the case, I ask him now to withdraw that reference to the government benches.

Mr BUCHHOLZ: If I did say that, I do withdraw out of respect for your deputy speakership, sir. There is no way I would do such a heinous—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: No, you will just withdraw it.

Mr BUCHHOLZ: I withdraw it. You are dead right: there was no point of order. To conclude, I support the amendment.