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Wednesday, 19 August 2015
Page: 8871

China-Australia Free Trade Agreement

Mr TAYLOR (Hume) (14:07): My question is to the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister update the House on the benefits to the economy of the free trade agreement between Australia and China? Are there any threats to the jobs and growth that will be created by this agreement?

Mr ABBOTT (WarringahPrime Minister) (14:08): I do thank the member for Hume for being amongst those at the Bellvale cattle yards near Yass this morning in his electorate. They were there to talk about the benefits of the China free trade agreement—benefits the agreement will bring to hundreds of thousands of businesses right around our country. Let me just remind the House, and particularly members opposite, that under the China free trade agreement tariffs on Australian beef will drop to zero within four years. Already, in the process of trying to do this free trade agreement, we have seen enormous improvements in our beef sales to China. China has gone from 12th to third as an export market for Australian beef. Meat and Livestock Australia estimates that the China free trade agreement alone will be worth $11 billion to that particular sector by 2030.

We understand that trade means jobs, and more trade means more jobs. Once upon a time even the Leader of the Opposition appeared to believe that, because, when President Xi was in this chamber late last year, the Leader of the Opposition said, 'We believe in open markets and liberalised—

Government members interjecting

The SPEAKER: Members on my right!

Mr ABBOTT: driving economic growth, expanding the middle class, raising living standards and eradicating poverty. We believe—

Mrs Griggs interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Solomon is warned.

Mr ABBOTT: in bilateral agreements.' Not only did he support the free trade agreement, but then he tried to claim credit for it. But his mates in the labour movement—there's the CFMEU going around trying to sabotage a deal that will set up this country for the future. Let me tell the Leader of the Opposition and his mates in the CFMEU: under this agreement there are no changes to Australia's labour relations laws and no changes to 457s. Investment Facilitation Agreements mirror the provisions of Labor's—

Mr Taylor interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Hume.

Mr ABBOTT: Enterprise Migration Agreement. A campaign of xenophobic lies is being master-minded by the CFMEU and this Leader of the Opposition is silent in the face of racism—silenced in the face of racism by the CFMEU. I say—

Mr Sukkar interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Deakin is warned.

Mr ABBOTT: the Leader of the Opposition should be a bit less two-faced on this free trade agreement. He was two-faced on the North American free trade agreement; he tried to sabotage that one as well. This is an opposition which needs to say where it stands. This government knows where we stand on jobs and growth. Where does the Leader of the Opposition stand?

Government members interjecting

The SPEAKER: Members on my right will cease interjecting.