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Thursday, 22 March 2012
Page: 4007

Economy


Mr SYMON (Deakin) (14:04): My question is to the Prime Minister. How is the government managing the economy in the interests of working people and getting things done for the many, not the few?


Ms GILLARD ( Lalor Prime Minister ) ( 14:05 ): I thank the member for Deakin for his question. It gives me the opportunity to inform the House that today I and the Minister for—

Mr Pyne: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The question asked, 'What is it like governing for the many and not the few?' How on earth could that question be in order given the new standards you are applying to be stricter on questions? Surely that is hypothetical. How could she possibly answer that question?

The SPEAKER: I will ask the member for Deakin to repeat his question and I will listen to it forensically.

Mr Symon: I said: 'My question is to the Prime Minister. How is the government managing the economy in the interests of working people and getting things done for the many, not the few?'

The SPEAKER: The question is in order.

Ms GILLARD: I understand that neither the question nor the answer will be of interest to those in this parliament who believe that their job is to represent the few. But those of us on this side of the parliament believe our job is to represent the many and want to see the House informed that today I had the opportunity, with the Minister for Industry and Innovation—

Mr Chester interjecting

The SPEAKER: The honourable member for Gippsland will leave the chamber under the provisions of standing order 94(a).

The member for Gippsland then left the chamber.

Ms GILLARD: the Premier of South Australia, Premier Weatherill, and the representative of the relevant union, Ian Jones, to announce that we are co-investing in the future of Holden in our nation. Holden is an Australian icon. People have known about Holden cars for all of the time that Holden has been here in our nation manufacturing motor vehicles. It is part of the Australian identity.

In January this year we faced a circumstance where it was possible that there would be no more Holden car manufacturing in this nation. That was a real risk because of changing global conditions and economic circumstances, including, in particular, the impact of the high Australian dollar on manufacturing, including car making. It gives me great pleasure to be able to say to the House that we have worked together with Holden and we have secured Holden to manufacture cars in Australia for the next decade. Holden will be manufacturing two new-generation motor vehicles here in Australia for the next decade. This is a great example of how you can manage your economy to meet the needs of the many, not the few, for the million Australians who rely on manufacturing for their living and who understand how much of a body blow it would be to Australian manufacturing if we lost the car-making industry.

At the start of this parliamentary session the Leader of the Opposition said he wanted to debate the economy. On this side, during the parliamentary session, we have continued to work on the economy, securing the future for Holden, getting the mining tax through the parliament, passing the means testing of the private health insurance rebate and securing ACCC approval for the structural separation of Telstra. New figures show 150,000 families are benefiting from paid parental leave and 27 per cent more students are at uni. There are new plans for HECS for skills. We are determined to keep managing the economy in the interests of working people; all we see on the other side is division and negativity as they pursue the interests of a privileged few. (Time expired)