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Monday, 26 November 2012
Page: 13150


Mr PERRETT (Moreton) (14:48): My question is to the Minister for Trade and Competitiveness. Will the minister advise the House of recent developments in trade policy? How do they build on the government's plan to support a modern and competitive economy?

Dr EMERSON (RankinMinister for Trade and Competitiveness and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Asian Century Policy) (14:48): I thank the member for Moreton for his trade policy question. Indeed, it is the 24th question from the government side of this chamber on trade policy. The contrast is that I have, in the 788 days since walking into this chamber as trade minister, received not five, not four, not three, not two, not one question—

Mr Frydenberg: Give us a song! Give us dance!

The SPEAKER: The member for Kooyong might be getting a song and dance soon if he is not careful!

Dr EMERSON: from the Deputy Leader of the Opposition and shadow trade minister but none. In fact, the last time I received a policy question from the opposition was 1,022 days ago. In that amount of time, Captain Cook left England, he went to Tahiti, he sailed past New Zealand, he discovered Botany Bay, he documented Botany Bay, he explored Botany Bay, he left, he went to Indonesia, he got some repairs and he headed home to England—1,022 days!

The SPEAKER: The minister will come to the question.

Dr EMERSON: The fact is: in the last week, we have finalised the Malaysia-Australia Free Trade Agreement, which will provide 99 per cent duty-free access for Australian exporters into Malaysia. That will go through the parliament tomorrow or the next day. Last week, the Prime Minister and I were in Phnom Penh, where the Prime Minister participated in the launch of a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement covering 30 per cent of the global economy. The Prime Minister and I participated in a meeting of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement parties. That was chaired by President Obama. Both of these are pathways to a free trade area for Asia and the Pacific. While we were in Phnom Penh, we promoted Australia's plan for the future—Australia in the Asian century, offering fantastic career opportunities for young Australians. That is our plan for Australia. Here is the contrast: we have got a government with plans and policies; we have got an opposition with fear and smear—two years of fear and now we are on to smear. The reason for that is that the Leader of the Opposition is a policy weakling. So much is he a policy weakling that there is Essential research out today that shows—

Mr Dutton: How is this relevant?

The SPEAKER: The minister will return to the question.

Dr EMERSON: There is Essential research out today that shows that the carbon price is much more popular than the Leader of the Opposition. So miserably has he failed in his fear campaign that they are on to smear. This parliament is going to witness a triumph of plans over fear, of policy over smear—and you will get what is coming to you from this smear campaign that you have engaged in. (Time expired)