Thursday, 20 September 2018
I rise to speak in support of the TPP-11, another trade agreement signed by the coalition government.
Over the last five years it has been a focus for the Liberal and National government to deliver those new trade openings, and we have signed or updated seven free trade agreements. Why is that important? Because in my area we rely predominantly on trade, whether that is the tourist trade, the agricultural trade, the services trade or even education, in terms of those international students that come to Australia to get the Australian experience and an Australian education. In fact, while in a previous portfolio role I found a Queensland trained student from the Griffith University working as a protocol officer in Fujairah, and who was also a North Queensland Cowboys supporter. They haven't had a great year this year, but I'm sure there'll be an opportunity for that gentleman in the next season.
I notice that the member for Grayndler is in the chamber, and I acknowledge his long support of the South Sydney Rabbitohs!
But we are here to talk about trade. Those signed agreements account for 70 per cent of our trade, and current negotiations stand to take that to 88 per cent. This is about security for our producers and about security for our manufacturers. Looking at the TPP-11: it alone will deliver $15.6 billion net annually in benefits to Australia.
We should also look at the opposition, because reports in recent days and weeks are that they are once again split. We know they're split on border security and we know they're now split on the TPP. In fact, a report from Rob Harris and James Campbell in the Herald Sun on 18 September said that there was a slight majority of 23 MPs in the Labor caucus that opposed the TPP.
So I say to the people of Australia: here are your choices. At the next election, you can vote for a Liberal-National Party government which will continue to have strong trade agreements, which will continue to protect your hard-earned and which will continue to provide you with opportunities, particularly for your product to go into the nations with which we sign these trade agreements. The benefit for you is very straightforward: any tariff reduction provides for you the opportunity for a forward-facing price which is cheaper than your competitor's price. This means you can sell more of your products, it means we can employ more Australians and it means we can deliver more products overseas. Can I say, having travelled to many locations in a previous portfolio, that we provide products that they want; the world wants our trade products. They want our agricultural products and they want our resources.
So, once again, the decision is quite straightforward. But I also want to point out comments—apparently, reported or allegedly—from Cathy O'Toole, the member for Herbert, who said that if Labor backed the TPP, 'I don't know how we sell that message'. Well, it's a pretty straightforward message to the people of Herbert, the people of Queensland and the people of Australia: trade means jobs and more trade means more jobs. The more trade agreements we can deliver, as a Liberal-National Party coalition, then the better the opportunity for our people. Shame on the Labor Party if they do not support it.