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Tuesday, 8 November 2016
Page: 3158


Mr DRUM (Murray) (16:07): It is a great opportunity to be able to stand in this place and talk about employment and jobs, especially when the opposition has put the MPI forward. Since the coalition came to office in September 2013, 474,000 jobs have been created, with employment standing at over 11 million in September 2016. Under this government employment has been steadily rising by 1.4 per cent over the last year. Compare that against Labor: in the six years that Labor was in government, the job queues grew by over 200,000 people. In that period, when Bill Shorten was the workplace relations minister, the number of unemployed people rose by 72,000. During the two years in which Labor's carbon tax was in place, they lost 125,000 positions of employment. Labor made it very difficult for people to employ anybody by hitting employers with a $9 billion a year carbon tax, hitting them with a mining tax and abolishing the Australian Building and Construction Commission.

It is also interesting that we have some Labor members who want to talk about how we were somehow party to the demise of the Ford Motor Company. It is a historical record that the Ford Motor Company decided to stop manufacturing in Australia under the Gillard government. It was in May 2013, not long after they had taken a nice handout from Prime Minister Gillard, that they then decided to turn around and stop manufacturing, at the end of Labor's six years. And we all understand that, once one of the three motor vehicle manufacturing companies decided to stop their manufacturing processes, it was always going to flow on and make it much more difficult for Toyota and GM Holden to continue to manufacture in Australia—when you took away so much of the critical mass.

Talking locally about what is important in the seat of Murray, you cannot help but think about what is going on in this House right now in relation to the backpacker tax. We have just heard from the Deputy Prime Minister—

Honourable members interjecting

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The member for Hunter!

Mr DRUM: The Deputy Prime Minister has put down the Labor Party as one that is prepared to introduce a tax into this place that is going to see overseas workers pay half the rate of tax that Australian workers pay. I do not know how the Labor Party is planning to explain this to the workers around Australia—that they are happy to have overseas workers—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The member for Hunter on a point of order.

Mr Fitzgibbon: I know he is a new member, but he cannot mislead the House. He does know that Australian workers have a tax-free threshold, as well as backpackers.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The member for Hunter will resume his seat. The member for Murray has the call.

Mr DRUM: As we know, there will be Australian workers working in the field with overseas workers and the overseas workers will be paying 10 per cent tax. This is a ridiculous proposition that has been put forward by Jacqui Lambie and is supported by the Australian Labor Party, the party that is supposed to support and look after Australian workers. It is an absolutely ludicrous situation. Worse than anything else, the Labor Party understands that this is a time-critical issue. As I said yesterday, what you should always do in opposition is be very careful about doing no harm. When you are in opposition and want to attack the policies of the government that is fine, but, whatever you are attacking, make sure you do no harm to the industry. The way the Labor Party is going at this one is that they are just going to go ballistic and attack whoever, and they do not care whether any damage is done to the industry itself, providing they can have a go at the government.

I also want to touch on the member for Bendigo. During the signing of the last free trade agreement, the member for Bendigo spent most of the negotiating period attacking the free trade agreement as some horrendous attack on Australian workers, making out this free trade agreement was going to be the worst deal for Australia you could ever have signed. Then, once it was signed, without anything different being done, the member for Bendigo was on the front page of the Bendigo Advertiser saying what an amazing deal this free trade agreement was going to be for the wine growers— (Time expired)

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! The discussion has concluded.