Monday, 8 February 2016
Questions without Notice
My question is again to the Prime Minister. On the weekend, Peter Hartcher asked in The Sydney Morning Herald: is the Turnbull government 'shaping up as the Abbott government with a more personable salesman'? Just what is the Prime Minister's tax plan and, in the words of Peter Hartcher:
What is the point of Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister?
I am glad that the honourable member for Sydney is at least able to find a question on her second attempt to quote a distinguished Fairfax columnist! Let me simply say this: our policy and our focus is on driving jobs and growth, it is on driving innovation and it is on driving technology. We have put in place measures already to do that. The National Innovation and Science Agenda, of which the minister spoke just a while ago, was a significant step on the road to Australia being able to compete effectively in the 21st century.
Right across the board, it is promoting science and STEM subjects generally in schools. The minister and I were at a preschool in Harrison in the ACT today. The agenda has provided additional funding to the CSIRO for its own innovation fund. It is providing new tax incentives to ensure that the early stage companies and start-up companies are more likely to get the seed funding they need to get started. Right across the board, those are the measures that we are putting in place.
What that is doing is changing attitudes in business in Australia to innovation. We now have a massive multitrillion dollar superannuation industry, which we are all very well aware of. People have lamented for years that, of those billions of dollars, far too few of them find their way into the start-up sector, into innovative industries and into the world of technology—that they are index hugging. That is the criticism that has been made.
We are starting to see that change because of the leadership our government is offering and because of the encouragement we are providing. We are starting to see that shift. We saw late last year that the first state, New South Wales, committed funds to one of the leading financial technology innovation investment firms; there will be more along those lines. We are moving towards a culture of innovation. Every element of our policy is designed to do that: sorting out the construction sector, ending lawlessness in the construction sector and ensuring that more women on lower and middle incomes can get access to child care to raise female participation in the workforce. We are doing all of those things, and on not one of those measures is the opposition providing any support. They stand in the way of a 21st century economy.
Mr Mitchell interjecting —