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Monday, 2 May 2016
Page: 4101


Mr RAMSEY (Grey) (11:52): There are things that I would concur with the member for Wakefield on. Certainly, my faith in the steel industry in Whyalla is still strong and the need for the steel industry to survive for Whyalla, for South Australia, for Australia and for the people that live in Whyalla is exceedingly strong. A very good case can be made. Over the course of some time, I hope to be able to bring to this House the reason that I believe that there will be a future for the steel industry.

Of course, the member for Wakefield did visit Whyalla. He and his friend Senator Carr addressed a union organised rally there. I attended that quite happily. I spoke to the rally. But let me tell you about Senator Carr's contribution. I was reminded of Frank Blevins. You might remember Frank Blevins, Member for Wakefield.

Mr Champion: He was a good man.

Mr RAMSEY: He once stood in front of a farmers rally outside Festival Theatre in Adelaide. He said, 'You are just basking in the politics of the warm inner glow.' That is what Senator Carr did. He just played to the union crowd, offered nothing constructive but inflamed anger for no good reason.

Mr Champion interjecting

Mr RAMSEY: Let me go on.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! The member for Grey will resume his seat. Does the member for Wakefield have a point of order?

Mr Champion: Frank Blevins was a great man. Sadly, he has passed. We should not speak ill of the dead.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! There is no point of order. The member for Wakefield will resume his seat.

Mr RAMSEY: If the member had been listening, he would know I did not speak ill of the dead. I just reported what Frank Blevins told that congregation. That is what Senator Carr was doing in Whyalla. Let me come to the response the Labor Party is putting up, because they are here to 'rescue' the Australian steel industry. It is worth remembering that they inflicted the carbon tax on the Australian steel industry. But don't worry about that! They put an extra $100 million into the Steel Transformation Plan. We were told at the time by Julia Gillard and others that this had nothing to do with the carbon tax, that it was about building a new Australian industry, a transformed industry.

Mr Champion interjecting

Mr RAMSEY: The member for Wakefield would do better to listen with his ears than his mouth, let me tell you. The $100 million was supposed to give us a modern, competitive Australian steel industry. What did it do? It went to pay your carbon tax. That is the problem here. And now the latest raft of remedies they have for the steel industry is to establish not one, not two but three new government bodies to have a look at the situation. They will appoint a board—

An honourable member interjecting

Mr RAMSEY: I will tell you what I have done in minute, mate. It is to appoint a board to the Australian Industry Participation Authority to provide a new national steel supplier advocate and establish another body—a tripartite Metals Manufacturing Investment Council. Really? That is three new government committees—none of them with any teeth—but the member just wants to waste the Australian taxpayers' money and their time. The member for Wakefield had a go at Malcolm Turnbull. Malcolm Turnbull came to Whyalla and he dropped off an 80,000 tonne order for Australian rail.

Mr Champion interjecting

Mr RAMSEY: Madam Deputy Speaker, I ask that you pull the member for Wakefield into gear.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Member for Wakefield, I ask that you allow the member for Grey to finish his contribution.

Mr RAMSEY: It is an appalling piece of behaviour. What he did on that day was drop off an order for 80,000 tonnes of rail—one of the most important things. The Whyalla steel smelter is capable of producing 1.2 million tonnes of steel. At the moment it is doing 950,000. This is a very important order. It is like a motel. If the motel is running at 50 per cent, the motel owner is losing money. If it is running at 100 per cent, he is making money. That was a very important order—and it was not a fit-up and it was not mickey mouse—because it brought forward rail work that had to occur within the next six years, and it increases the capacity of the line by going from 47 kilograms per metre to 60 kilograms per metre, enabling an extra eight tonne of truck. In addition to this—and I hope to continue on this in a little while—we have made enormous changes with the Anti-Dumping Commissioner. The Anti-Dumping Commissioner— (Time expired)