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Monday, 29 October 2012
Page: 12234

Asian Century

Mr PERRETT (Moreton) (14:41): My question is to the Minister for Trade and Competitiveness and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Asian Century Policy. Congratulations to my neighbour on this recent appointment.

The SPEAKER: Order! The member for Moreton is using up his time.

Mr PERRETT: Will the minister inform the House of the opportunities for Australian businesses and young people arising out of the Asian century, and what is the government doing to support businesses to take full advantage of these opportunities?

Dr EMERSON (RankinMinister for Trade and Competitiveness) (14:41): I certainly thank the member for Moreton for his question. In fact, my heart was all aflutter when the shadow trade minister and Deputy Leader of the Opposition rose, because I thought I might get a question from the coalition on trade matters. But, alas, it has been 760 days since I have had a question—in fact, I never have. It makes the member for Moncrieff look like an incessant questioner. I thank indeed the member for Moreton for his question, because the Gillard government is rising to the challenge of the Asian century.

There are marvellous opportunities being generated from our participation in growth in the Asian century. We are doing this through, in the business area, a number of initiatives, bringing together the various instruments within the trade portfolio, such as the resources of Austrade, the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation and, indeed, the Export Market Development Grants Scheme, to concentrate on those frontier and emerging markets where we see these opportunities opening up—markets such as China, of course, Indonesia, India, Mongolia, Kazakhstan.

We have also announced a $6 million business engagement plan. This is designed to ensure that our business organisations, those bilateral organisations, have some extra support to take business missions to these countries, to develop what ultimately is the most important feature of engagement in the Asian century—and that is the people-to-people links. We can do as much economic modelling as we want, but ultimately relations with the communities in Asia depend on those cultural, economic and sporting links, and that is what we seek to build. So this is the sort of vision, of course, that we are unveiling through the Asian century white paper.

It does, of course, stand in contrast. I thought that we might get some questions on the Asian century white paper. Unfortunately, we have still got one-trick Tony. He cannot change his habits. He is old one-trick Tony, and he is running fast out of puff. He is running fast but he is running out of puff. He is running out of puff because this opposition knows nothing other than to oppose, to say no. And one-trick Tony is out of puff.

Mr PERRETT (Moreton) (14:44): Speaker, I ask a supplementary question. The minister has talked about the opportunities for Australia in the Asian century. What does this mean—

Mr Ewen Jones interjecting

The SPEAKER: Order! The member for Herbert will desist the constant interjecting. The member for Moreton will begin his question again.

Mr PERRETT: The minister has talked about the opportunities for Australia in the Asian century. What does this mean for businesses, schools, universities and families in my electorate and across South-East Queensland?

Dr EMERSON (RankinMinister for Trade and Competitiveness) (14:44): I can answer that question, because the member for Moreton is a staunch advocate of our engagement with the region and the benefits that will flow especially to young people—the fantastic diversity of career opportunities that will be available to young people right across Australia and certainly in South-East Queensland. I know the member for Moreton has a splendid diversity of ethnic communities within his own area. He might like to know—and I am sure he is aware—that 37,389 constituents of the member for Moreton are from various ethnic groupings from Asia. They, along with their counterparts who did not originate in Asia, have a fantastic opportunity to propagate the speaking of Asian languages. He asked about universities. In Griffith University, for example, we have a university which is very actively engaged in Asia. What this means in the end, when it comes down to it, is this fantastic diversity of career opportunities for young people—

Mr Pyne: Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I note that the minister is talking about education, but to be entirely relevant, as required by the standing orders, surely he needs to mention the $3.9 billion of cuts in MYEFO to education.

The SPEAKER: Order! The Manager of Opposition Business will leave the chamber under 94(a). Continual abuse of standing orders—

Dr Emerson interjecting

The SPEAKER: The minister is not assisting. Continual abuse of points of order will not be tolerated.

The member for Sturt then left the chamber.

Dr EMERSON: I could scarcely have been more relevant, and this is the contrast. We have had the coalition come here today flogging the dead horse of carbon pricing and yet you have the government with a vision for the future—interested in the future not only for next week or next year but for the next 25 years. The contrast could not be more stark. 'One-trick Tony' is out of puff.

Mr Wyatt interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Hasluck is denying the Deputy Leader of the Opposition the call.