Tuesday, 26 August 2014
Statements by Members
First of all, I want to acknowledge a school from my electorate, St Michael's, which is visiting Parliament House today. And I want to pick up from where the member for Lyons left off. It is a significant challenge that our nation faces. If we do nothing, we hit debt of $667 billion—that is $25,000 for every man, woman and child or for the next generation to inherit—and we have 5.7 people working today for every person who is not, and that hits a point of 2½ people working for every person that is not. So we do have to have a serious debate in this country about how government lives within its means. But we also have to have a debate about how we can go for growth in the private sector, because without growth and without people making more and earning higher real wages, we cannot collect more tax revenues to deal with those long-term structural challenges that we face as a nation.
I want to take this opportunity to congratulate this government and, particularly, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon. Julie Bishop, and the Minister for Trade, the Hon. Andrew Robb, on concluding two landmark trade agreements. There are one billion people in Asia coming into the middle class and they are going to want to buy our services and they are going to want to buy our resources. It presents an enormous opportunity for growth. By signing the free trade agreement with Korea and by signing an agreement with Japan—the first time Japan has ever signed an agreement with a major exporting country—we are opening up new market access for our exporters. We are opening up new growth and job opportunities, and, ultimately, greater tax revenues in future generations. (Time expired)