Thursday, 25 February 2021
Matters of Public Importance
I rise to speak on the MPI. Firstly I'd like to say that this government is acting in the national interest of all Australians. We've heard from the member for Monash and the member for Bowman, who were quite eloquent in their speeches, about what this place is about and what our obligations and duties are as elected representatives to the people of Australia. We might talk about the definition of 'national interest'. On this side, the definition of 'national interest' is looking after the interests of the Australian population, SMEs, quiet Australians and all the people who live in and bear the benefits of being part of this nation. Those on the other side, though, have one other obligation which is higher than the national interest—that's their obligation to unions. We've seen that every time they talk about any of our programs. It's always about what the unions want. So their definition of the national interest is the interest of the unions.
Anyone who has played AFL or any team sports can see exactly what their tactics are now. As we know, when people get desperate in team sports, they play the man. They don't play the game anymore; they play the man. The member for Corio's beloved Geelong team is a perfect example. At the 1989 VFL grand final, Mark Yeates, the hard man from Geelong, broke the square and smashed into Dermott Brereton and broke two of his ribs. Dermott Brereton still took the hits, and what happened was the Hawks still went on to win by six points. So playing the man doesn't work. Play the game; don't play the man. What we've seen here in all the speeches from across the aisle is them attacking the Prime Minister—not talking about the national interest but just attacking the Prime Minister.
To get back to talking about the national interest, I'll just talk about some of the things this government has been doing in the national interest. As we know, COVID-19 has resulted in the most severe global economic crisis since the Great Depression. Across the world, the equivalent of 600 million people have lost their jobs. The global economy is expected to contract by four per cent this year, compared to just 0.01 per cent during the global financial crisis. So we can see a good contrast there. In April 2020, more than one million Australians lost their jobs or saw their working hours reduced to zero. In March, Treasury was contemplating a collapse in GDP of more than 20 per cent in the June quarter. In May, it was forecasting a GDP fall of over 10 per cent in the June 2020 quarter. In the June 2020 quarter, Australia's economy contracted by seven per cent. This compares to around an 11 per cent fall in New Zealand, a 14 per cent fall in France and a 20 per cent fall in the UK.
Now Australia's economy is fighting back. In the September quarter, the real GDP increased by 3.3 per cent on market expectations. This is the largest quarterly increase since 1976. Over seven months, from May to December, over 784,000 jobs were created. Ninety per cent of the 1.3 million Australians who either lost their jobs or saw their working hours reduced to zero are now back at work. Australia is one of the nine countries to have a AAA credit rating from the three leading credit agencies. Technically Australia's recession may be over, but our economic recovery is not. There remains a monumental task ahead in rebuilding our economy and supporting jobs in the national interest. As we heard today from the Treasurer, with more good news, the last quarter saw an increase of three per cent in capital investment, the best result in Australia since 2012.
Our economic recovery plan is that the Morrison government has a plan to rebuild our economy and create jobs. The JobMaker hiring credit will support nearly half a million young Australians in work. Our record investment in skills and training will strengthen Australia's workforce. Our manufacturing plan will support the recovery and build our sovereign capability. Tax incentives will help unleash a wave of investment across the country, and tax cuts will put more money into the pockets of 11 million hardworking Australians and their families. We are building the infrastructure we need for the future. We are guaranteeing health care and the essential services Australians rely on. We will do this by growing the economy, not by increasing taxes. Also, to unlock investment, the Morrison government is expanding the successful instant asset write-off. Over 99 per cent of business will be able to write off the full value of any eligible asset they purchase for their business. This government is acting in the national interest and making the right decisions and the right legislation to improve the economy and act in the national interest.