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Wednesday, 5 March 2014
Page: 1743

Mr HUSIC (Chifley) (15:46): Deputy Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to speak on this matter of public importance. I think we are being tough on the coalition, because I remember those days in the lead-up to the election when the then Leader of the Opposition, now Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, would be everywhere, holding up this plan. His knuckles would be going white. He would be showing it. I was waiting for him to photo-bomb people while he was holding the plan. There he was, telling everyone, 'We have a plan.' This is the plan that said:

We will generate one million new jobs over the next five years …

'We will generate one million jobs'! 'We will'! Then we started looking at it and people started checking it out. Actually how will they generate those one million jobs? Here is a story. I just happened to come across this one back on 2 January this year, written by David Wroe under the headline 'Broken vows pile up as coalition's pledge of one million new jobs refuted'. It says:

The Abbott government faces further pressure over broken promises with a new analysis showing it will fall well short of its pledge to create 1 million jobs over five years.

This is only in a space of less than six months and they are already falling short. The article continues:

By combining employment data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics with Treasury's jobs growth forecast in last month's mini-budget, the library—

the Parliamentary Library—

calculated the Australian economy would add about 620,000 jobs over the next four years. Even allowing for a fifth year, the figures show the government will fall well short of 1 million new jobs.

Then I noticed another article by David Wroe. He was on a roll in early January. See what holidays do for you? They give you time to think. He says:

The Abbott government came up with its pledge to create 1 million jobs—

Wait for it. This is how they came up with their pledge 'We will create one million jobs'—

Ms Ryan: Solemn, hand on heart.

Mr HUSIC: Hand on heart indeed, Member for Lalor. It says here:

The Abbott government came up with its pledge to create 1 million jobs in five years solely on the employment growth rate achieved under the former Howard government, a Coalition insider says.

So there was no map; there was no economics; it was just: 'We'll just pull out the history books and see what they did and we'll apply it here.' That was the great level of analysis that went into this.

I admit I have got here the Diaz version of the master plan. It has got bigger text and a lot more pictures. It has the member for Wentworth here. He needs no airbrushing, the jaw of Bondi! Look at that square jaw right there! There he is. It is a good front cover. We went through it. We had the Minister for Small Business talking to us about how well they were going to help small business. I checked it out in here as well. This is well thumbed—you would think I would get straight to this. They talk about lowering taxes and reducing business costs for small business. What is the first thing they do when they get in? The asset tax write-off, gone; loss carry-back, gone. How does that help small business?

All these things have happened and now we are getting this move back, this move that says: 'It's not us that creates the jobs,' like there was an asterisk at the end of that pledge 'We will create one million jobs.' There is none of that. Now it is: 'It's business. We are going to help business create those jobs. That's what we meant.' I actually remember the Prime Minister coming in here and saying, 'It's not us; it's you. You don't understand English as we say it.' They now say it is others that have to create the jobs: 'It's business. We'll make the environment right.' I actually reckon, now that I have got the Diaz plan, I am just going to make a quick amendment and put here 'Real excuses for all Australians'.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Hon. BC Scott ): The member for Chifley knows that props are disorderly.

Mr HUSIC: This is the plan. It is always someone else's fault, Deputy Speaker. It is always someone else's fault that we are not going to be doing handouts, or it is: 'We're standing in the way of Qantas. We want to provide more foreign investment.' But, when you look at GrainCorp, what happened there? What happened on GrainCorp? There they were wanting to get more investment to help their operations, and what happened there? The government denied it. Why? Not because it was not in the national interest; because it was not in the Nationals' interest. That is why they blocked it.

The problem with the other side is there is no consistency in the way that they are making their decisions. They are happy to turn their backs in terms of providing the type of help needed and working with business to make sure jobs stay here, to make sure that employment is not undermined, to not see a slowdown in economic activity and to ensure that people will be able to take a pay cheque home.