Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Monday, 23 November 2015
Page: 8662

Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaMinister for Finance and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate) (17:39): I explained this in my previous answer. Maintaining strong public support for a foreign investment review scheme that has integrity and where the public can have confidence that any foreign investment proposal that is contrary to the national interest is picked up through that process and does not proceed is actually an important part of making sure that all of the very good foreign investment that we attract to our country to facilitate development in agriculture areas, the resources sector, the economy as a whole, the services sector—you name it. In order to attract all of the very good foreign investment and continue to be able to attract that, maintaining public confidence in the integrity of the foreign investment review arrangements is actually very important.

This government has made an absolutely unprecedented effort when it comes to cutting red tape costs for business. So far we have been able to reduce red tape costs for business by more than $2 billion a year over the past two years as part of an effort to bring down the cost of doing business as part of the effort to improve our international competitiveness and to help Australian businesses be even more successful moving forward. Of course, our free trade agenda is very much part of our efforts to help Australian exporters be more successful in some of these key markets with which we have been able to finalise agreements—for example, China, Japan and South Korea. The Minister for Trade, Minister Robb, is now working very hard to secure agreements over time with India and the European Union.

This government has a very clear and demonstrated record when it comes to pursuing policies that deliver strong growth and more jobs. The evidence is there as well when you look at what has been happening to the employment market even over this past year.

Senator Wong asked about some comments that Senator Whish-Wilson made about this just being the start. Senator Whish-Wilson is of course entitled to express his aspiration in terms of future policy action from the Greens' perspective. From the government's perspective the extent of our agreement is reflected in this letter. That is not to say that there will not be further conversations in good faith with senators from any party in the Senate. We as a government are of course always keen to discuss public policy with well-intentioned senators, whether they are from the Labor Party, the Palmer United Party, the Greens, Senator Xenophon's party or whichever party or independent grouping they come from. We are always all ears in the pursuit of common ground when it comes to advancing good public policy.

To directly answer the question that was asked by Senator Wong: the extent of the government's agreement is clearly spelled out in this letter co-signed by Treasurer Scott Morrison, Minister Barnaby Joyce and the Leader of the Australian Greens, Senator Di Natale. I think it is self-explanatory.