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Tuesday, 25 February 2014
Page: 765


Mr SIMPKINS (Cowan) (14:21): My question is to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Can the minister update the House on her discussions with the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs and the steps the Canadian government has taken to increase economic growth and job opportunities and any lessons that holds for the Australian government?

Ms JULIE BISHOP (CurtinMinister for Foreign Affairs) (14:21): I thank the member for Cowan for his question. I know that he is concerned about job opportunities in his electorate of Cowan. Yesterday I had the opportunity to meet with Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird, and this evening Foreign Minister Baird and I will be addressing the Australia-Canada Economic Leadership Forum, which I know the Prime Minister addressed last evening. We have a strong bilateral relationship with Canada, based on our common values, our shared experiences. But in many ways our economies are competitive. We are both export oriented, open trading economies. Our strengths are in mining and resources and agriculture.

It is interesting to note that the Harper government, like the Abbott government, has a strong focus on economic growth and job opportunities through a plan to pay off debt, to get their budget back into surplus, to have smaller government and lower taxes and to cut out wasteful spending. And like the Abbott government they are also pursuing a very ambitious free trade agenda for job opportunities for businesses in Canada. One of the most critical steps undertaken by the Canadian government was to reject a carbon tax. As Prime Minister Harper's Parliamentary Secretary Calandra said last year:

Our government knows that carbon taxes raise the price of everything, including gas, groceries, and electricity.

Parliamentary Secretary Calandra went on to say that the Canadian government:

… has reduced greenhouse gas emissions while protecting and creating Canadians jobs—greenhouse gas emissions are down since 2006, and we've created 1 million net new jobs since the recession—and we have done this without penalising Canadian families with a carbon tax.

This was the election promise of the Abbott government. When those opposite shed crocodile tears over job losses, they should remember the words of their own climate change adviser, Ross Garnaut. He warned the opposition, when in government, when he said:

… regions that are vulnerable to large-scale loss of livelihood as a result of the implementation of a carbon price.

Their own adviser warned them that there would be large-scale loss of livelihood as a result of the implementation of a carbon price. So not only are emissions set to go up under Labor's carbon tax; they have also been warned about large-scale loss of livelihood. The lesson from our great friends in Canada, the lesson from the Canadian government, is that this opposition should support the repeal of the carbon tax, support the will of the Australian people and support our plan to give business an opportunity to create more jobs.