Monday, 21 October 2019
Customs Amendment (Growing Australian Export Opportunities Across the Asia-Pacific) Bill 2019, Customs Tariff Amendment (Growing Australian Export Opportunities Across the Asia-Pacific) Bill 2019; Second Reading
I take your point about the telephone. Immediately when it rang I told them not to ring me.
The previous speaker in this debate on the Customs Amendment (Growing Australian Export Opportunities Across the Asia-Pacific) Bill 2019 and related bill is from Newcastle. I find the level of ignorance of members of parliament here absolutely extraordinary. She represents a coalmining area, arguably the biggest coalmining area in Australia—and where in the world is the biggest coalmining area going to be? In Indonesia.
Ms Claydon interjecting—
She is ignoring what I am saying—and I would be ignoring it too if I were her—but I am going to say this. It is going to go on the public record and I am going to send it to the Newcastle newspapers. She's saying that our jobs and working conditions will be protected. We are now directly competing against Indonesia, who is potentially the biggest coalmining country in the world. Our workers are going to be working and competing against them for wage structures, and she is saying, 'Oh, we're going to protect the wages.' How are you going to protect the wages? You just agreed to a free trade agreement. No wonder the unions are walking away from the ALP. No wonder there is now open warfare in my state. The government in Queensland wants the coal and sugarcane industries closed down. Well, we only have two industries in Queensland: the sugar industry and the coal industry. I would hate to think what's going to happen to the ALP at the state elections next year.
You have to be judged upon your outcomes. You don't come here with highflying motives and highflying principles but don't back it up with hard reality. I'll give you the hard reality. A person who used to walk around this place—who has since passed on, so I can't condemn him—said that we were going to be the food bowl of Asia. What we'll be is the begging bowl of Asia. I have the figures for fruit and vegetables. We import $2,403 million and we export $1,059 million. So much for being the food bowl of Asia! This country is importing twice as much fruit and vegetables as it exports. We import more pork than we export. We import more fish and fish products then we export. What the hell do we actually export positively? The first industry to be deregulated was the wool industry.
Mr Coulton interjecting—
Ms Kearney interjecting—
Dr Leigh interjecting—