Tuesday, 9 February 2010
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Prime Minister. Does the Prime Minister agree with Australian Food and Grocery Council that the average household supermarket trolley of fresh and manufactured food products will increase because of the government’s emissions trading scheme by $520 a year unless 300,000 relatively well-paid Australian workers are sacked and all such goods are imported from low-cost countries like China? Why is the government putting jobs of overseas workers ahead of jobs in Australia?
I thank very much the rehabilitation of the member for O’Connor because he is back in harness. It is good to have him back fully engaged in the deliberations of the parliament. His question asked about the priority of jobs relative to other government measures. That was how he concluded his question, so let me go to that. I simply say this: today we had the Leader of the Opposition out there saying that keeping Australia out of recession was a big waste of money or words to that effect. I will let him justify exactly what he meant by that. When it comes to protecting Australian jobs, can I say to the member for O’Connor that the first priority we had, and not supported by him and other members opposite, was to back the national economic stimulus strategy. By keeping Australia out of recession the government’s priority has been to protect Australian jobs—hundreds of thousands of them. Had we taken his advice and the Leader of the Opposition’s advice and not brought forward the national economic stimulus strategy, we know from our own Treasury modelling that Australia would now be in recession. Furthermore, we also know that we would have put at risk 200,000 Australian jobs. The member for O’Connor asked a question about the priority which the government attaches to jobs. That is it. On the question of the impact of consumer price on the CPRS, I draw his attention to my earlier statements.