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Wednesday, 25 October 2017
Page: 11984

Mr TIM WILSON (Goldstein) (15:56): I start my address on this matter of public importance by making a confession, a confession that I'm not proud of, but it's important to put it on the record. I was one of those people who paid full price for a copy of the shadow minister's Hearts & Minds book.

A government member: Surely not!

Mr TIM WILSON: I did! There aren't many Australians who can claim that, because it was such a low print run and it has, as the Assistant Minister to the Treasurer conceded, gone straight to the reject bin. But I have done so, and I have then had the dubious honour of reading said Hearts & Minds. The principle that sits at the heart of it is actually that you create economic opportunity by creating economic growth. A shocking proposition, I know! A shocking proposition! Something that's come from the shadow Treasurer's mouth and in words as well as in deed.

But, in practice, everybody on this side of the House knows that's a statement of the expletive obvious. And that's what's at the heart of this motion: an absurdity—the idea that you can get up and pander and postulate to the parliament about how you think you can create a better society by simply sharing the dividends rather than creating the opportunity that this nation needs. The Assistant Minister to the Treasurer was 100 per cent right: those opposite take economic opportunity and growth as a given, rather than recognising it as a cause we must strive for continuously if we want to create the prosperity and opportunity for the children in the gallery that so many on the other side simply seek to gesture to.

The absurdity of their position is how much hypocrisy sits at the heart of the arguments put by those opposite. They talk about the challenges of wage growth—and there are challenges to wage growth; I'm not going to pretend otherwise. But hypocrisy sits at the heart of it when, for the past 12 months, the member for Fraser has done a job and never got paid for it because of factional union deals over the past 12 months. Only because of a recent reshuffle has he been honoured with the commitment to a boost in his income that he was entitled to in fulfilling his role as a shadow minister. These people like to talk it, but they don't like to deliver it—especially when it's one of their own.

Inclusive growth is about creating economic opportunity for every Australian. It's about creating an opportunity society, and at the heart of it is actually understanding some pretty basic propositions of economics. Firstly, you have primary industries, which create the economic opportunity and the wealth that make this nation rich. Secondly, you use that wealth to create a manufacturing sector to value-add and to create opportunities for the next generation, which is ultimately provided for by a service based economy—the sector in which millions of Australians work. But, if you do not create the right economic environment for those primary industries, the country is cactus. And that is what they are doing every single day when they seek to regulate and legislate them out of competitiveness.

Their policy on energy fundamentally undermines the opportunity for our mining industries, our agriculture and our manufacturing services economy to compete, and it slugs households and businesses at every step of the way. That's the point of the National Energy Guarantee. It provides a framework for making sure we get investment in new technology and new energy to make us competitive, so that we can reduce our costs and improve the opportunity for households to reduce their electricity bills.

On top of that, you have to judge what they want to do to our economy against the outcomes of the Turnbull coalition government. Let's face facts: in the year 2016-17 we have had but a measly, a dolorous, if you take the position of the opposition, 371,000 new jobs. Apparently creating job opportunities is not inclusive growth. We have been delivering job opportunities for 371,000 Australians, completely against the rubbish narrative that is being run in this motion today. And 315,900 of those jobs are full time, creating opportunities for hundreds of thousands of Australians to be able to stand on their own two feet, to understand the dignity and opportunity that comes with being able to work and to provide for their families and pay their mortgages. There are so many things this government has done to deliver inclusion and opportunity for Australians. It's about time the opposition woke up and recognised it.