House debates

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Questions without Notice


2:33 pm

Photo of Luke HowarthLuke Howarth (Petrie, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for Jobs, Industrial Relations and Women. Will the minister please update the House on how the government's plan for a strong economy is helping to drive job creation? What are the risks of taking a different approach to economic management?

2:34 pm

Photo of Kelly O'DwyerKelly O'Dwyer (Higgins, Liberal Party, Minister for Jobs) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for his question and I'm very pleased to be able to inform the House that the government's strong economic plan is working for Australian workers and for Australian businesses. This has been confirmed yet again today with the latest release of data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, revealing yet more record highs for Australian workers. Under this government, there continue to be more Australians in work than ever before. And, under this government, there are more people in full-time employment, which we have seen climb to a record high. And this is true for women in full-time employment—again at a record high under our government. We have seen unemployment drop to five per cent, the very best result that we have seen in six years.

But it's not just good news on the job front. We've also been able to bring forward tax cuts for small, medium and family sized enterprises that will benefit more than three million small businesses across the country that employ more than seven million Australians. It helps the member in his electorate of Petrie. More than 12,000 small and family businesses in his electorate will be able to invest more in their businesses so that they can continue to create economic opportunity for their fellow Australians.

I'm asked: are there any risks? I'm sad to inform the House that there are, and they are sitting opposite. Rather than backing small business to create more jobs, the Labor opposition would rather back militant unions like the CFMMEU, a union that only this morning was ordered by the Federal Court to pay more than $300,000 in fines for, amongst other things, threatening to smash small businesses and to smash contractors at Sydney worksites. In handing down this fine, the judge observed the CFMMEU—which, by the way, has received more than a million dollars worth of fines this year alone—as seeing these penalties as simply 'the cost of doing business'.

What sort of response do you think this deserves? Does it deserve supporting the government's legislation in the Senate that would weed out these rogue elements in the union movement? We would like to see that, but those opposite would rather block it because they would rather stand not with small business but with militant union leaders—the people who are thugs and bullies and standover men who would smash contractors and subbies and small businesses right across the country, who would actually see the lawbreakers become the lawmakers. The Leader of the Opposition needs to stand up. He needs to be more like Bob Hawke, who stood up to the BLF. Why is he just a militant union marshmallow man?