House debates

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Bills

Export Finance and Insurance Corporation Amendment (Support for Infrastructure Financing) Bill 2019; Consideration in Detail

6:47 pm

Photo of Mark CoultonMark Coulton (Parkes, Deputy-Speaker, Assistant Minister for Trade) Share this | Hansard source

I'm deeply saddened but not surprised at this predictable action taken by the member for Melbourne. This bill, with bipartisan support, is on a fairly tight time frame to get through the processes of this House and the Senate so that it can be put in place and we can do the good work that this bill, with the support of the majority of members in this House, is designed to do. The actions taken by the member for Melbourne now are unfortunately going to put another bend in that road, making it more difficult for this legislation to pass both houses of this parliament.

I'm also rather disgusted that he is using this bill, which is designed to improve our engagement with our Pacific neighbours and also help improve their lifestyle and future opportunities, to make a cheap political point. It always amazes me that the member for Melbourne, who represents probably one of the most altered electorates in Australia—if you can find a piece of the natural environment in the member for Melbourne's electorate, I would ask you to do so—wants to work against an industry that supplies direct jobs for 53,000 Australians, all in regional areas. We have a bill which is going to help people in our less-prosperous neighbouring countries to become more prosperous in the future, and the elitist Greens member for the seat of Melbourne, from his ivory tower somewhere up in one of those glass castles, is not only stopping this parliament from doing what the majority of its members want it to do but is also attacking the coal industry—our No. 1 export earner, which probably pays for a lot of the services that are supplied to his constituents in Melbourne.

But the changes in the bill—this monstrous conspiracy theory that he talks about—also can go to fund rare earth mines, cobalt mines and lithium mines—all those things, Member for Melbourne, that the electric cars that you are so fond of need. I might add, Member for Melbourne, that you also need coal to build an electric car. That's the hypocrisy of the member for Melbourne in this place. The party that's supposed to stand up for the downtrodden and the battler is now slowing down a bill that's going to help our neighbours in the Pacific and also attacking an industry that employs 53,000 Australians in regional Australia. I oppose his amendments.

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