Wednesday, 6 September 2017
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources and Minister for Resources and Northern Australia. Will the Deputy Prime Minister outline to the House how the government is committed to the long-term development of our resources sector and the economic prosperity of regional Australia? Is he aware of any threats to existing and future jobs in regional Australia?
I just want to make a statement to the House before the Deputy Prime Minister resumes his answer. There's been a number of occasions now where the Manager of Opposition Business has moved that the Deputy Prime Minister be no further heard and he has done that under standing order 80. As members will know, I'm required to put that motion immediately without debate, which we've done on each occasion. I have also made clear, I think, on the first occasion when there was a dispute about the clock, which I think we have got past, that—
Government members interjecting—
No, members on my right, if this continued, potentially the Leader of the House could move every time the Leader of the Opposition asked a question that he be no further heard. Question time is designed for openness and accountability. It's a central feature of the day, where ministers are questioned. I'm now going to refer members to standing order 78, which does say:
Should any of these questions be negatived—
which they have today—
no similar proposal shall be received if the Speaker is of the opinion that it is an abuse of the orders or forms of the House, or is moved for the purpose of obstructing business.
So I am ruling now that I will not be accepting any further motions this week. The Deputy Prime Minister can resume his answer.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, and I thank the honourable member for her question. The honourable member would understand what a great outcome it has been for Australian resources, and especially for agricultural resources, that of the percentage point contribution to year-on-year GDP growth of 1.8 per cent, the largest was agriculture. Agriculture has been the standout industry. In fact, under this government we've completely turned around the agricultural outcome of our nation, and that's providing jobs in Rockhampton, in the Fitzroy basin and it's supporting the jobs of the meatworkers.
It's a shame that some would see it as an opportunity to walk away or walk out, but it is also very important for what we are doing in the mining industry. We stand behind the mining industry; we stand behind the coal industry. We believe in labourers; we believe in people who work for a living. This is vitally important. Today we have seen a clear example of where the Labor Party resides as far as coal workers and the coal industry go. The member for Hunter was elbowed out of the way, then he was ruled out, and then the member for Shortland was thrown out. They do not believe in supporting the coal industry; they do not believe in the power industry. They do not come in here and stand up for labourers in this country. They do not stand up for the industry of this nation; they do not have the ticker anymore to stand behind what used to be their constituency. The member for Herbert does not stand behind the coalworkers; The member for Shortland will not stand up for coalworkers; the member for Hunter will not stand up for coalworkers. They've thrown the towel in for workers. The member for Newcastle has refused to go in to bat for coalworkers. They refuse to stand by them. We now see what is happening to power. Under their policy we will see the fiasco of South Australia become the fiasco of Melbourne and Sydney. We will see under their power policy that—
Mr Rob Mitchell interjecting—
the lights will stop. They will take our nation's economy to oblivion because of their desire to chase every vote in Balmain and Annandale, but they will never stand up for the people of Cessnock, Townsville and Rockhampton. The Labor Party is completely bereft of any belief they once upon a time had in the labourers of Australia.