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Wednesday, 20 February 2019
Page: 14104

Regional Australia


Mr CHRISTENSEN (Dawson) (14:10): My question is to the Deputy Prime Minister. Will the Deputy Prime Minister update the House on the risks and opportunity cost to regional Australia from weakening Australia's borders and not standing up for jobs?


Mr McCORMACK (Riverina—Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development and Leader of The Nationals) (14:10): I thank the member for Dawson for his question—a question from somebody who supports Central and North Queensland jobs. I tell you who else supports Northern Queensland jobs: the member for Flynn, the member for Capricornia, the member for Leichhardt. They support Queensland jobs.

Mr Rob Mitchell interjecting

The SPEAKER: Prime Minister, if you would just pause for a second. The member for McEwen is interjecting consistently. Just cease your interjections, okay? It's like a never-ending whipper snipper.

Mr McCORMACK: It's a shame the member for McEwen doesn't support more jobs, like members on this side of the House. There are any number of members who don't support jobs on that side of the House, and you know what? The AWU former president Bill Ludwig has called them out this morning. He wants them to support Queensland jobs.

The member for Dawson asked me about borders. We on this side of the House are strong on borders. Those on that side are not. They opened 19 detention centres. We closed them. Labor wasted $16 billion on its weak border policies. The Mackay Ring Road in the member for Dawson's electorate costs $800 million. Imagine what else we could build with $16,000 million. The Leader of the Opposition says one thing when he's campaigning in Mackay and another when he's in Moorabbin. He says one thing when he's in Townsville, in the member for Herbert's electorate; he says another thing when he's in Toorak. The people of Queensland do not trust the member for Maribyrnong. And I tell you what: neither do a lot of other people. Does he support Queensland jobs or does he not? I think he does not.

The member for Dawson certainly supports workers. Just today we heard an extraordinary contribution from the member for Corio, the shadow minister for defence, who said that an end to our biggest export earner, a $66 billion export industry, would be wonderful and a good thing. There are 55,000 workers in that industry, and he does not support them. He thinks that them losing their jobs would be a wonderful thing. Shame on him. The member for Dawson knows just how important those workers are. How on earth are we going to pay for the tanks and for the submarines if we lose that sort of export earner? The member for Corio should understand that. He should know that.

When Labor were in power with their weak border protection policies, they did not commission one ship for Defence. It wasn't that they were against ships. My goodness, they let 800 of them arrive on our shores! How on earth are we going to pay for defence investment and protect defence jobs if we don't have an export earning industry paying $66 billion? Shame on him. The member for Dawson supports jobs in Queensland. The member for Corio does not. (Time expired)