House debates

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Questions without Notice

Defence Industry

3:28 pm

Photo of Lucy WicksLucy Wicks (Robertson, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for Defence Industry. Will the minister update the House on how a strong economy allows the government to invest in Australia's defence industry and how this keeps Australians safe and secure?

3:29 pm

Photo of Steven CioboSteven Ciobo (Moncrieff, Liberal Party, Minister for Defence Industry) Share this | | Hansard source

On Monday of this week, I had the pleasure of joining with the Prime Minister and the Minister for Defence as we commissioned the construction of 12 new submarines for our nation—an investment in new capability for our country; an investment in thousands of Australian jobs—using Australian steel and being built in this country. That's what you can do when you have the budget under control. You can invest in making sure our nation's borders are strong and our nation is secure.

I'll go to the member for Robertson's question. I know she's passionate about border protection and the security of our nation, like all of us on this side. All of us are invested in making the hard decisions to restore the budget and make sure we can keep our nation secure. It stands in very stark contrast to the Australian Labor Party. Not only was 1989 the last year that the Australian Labor Party ran a budget surplus but, incidentally, 1989 was the last time the Australian Labor Party commissioned a new build of a vessel when it came to our defence industry. In fact, last time Labor were in power, for the six years that they were in control of this nation's security, they did not commission a single vessel. They ran budget deficits and were not able to invest in Aussie jobs or make sure that our nation was secure. It was because their priorities were all at sea. Their priorities were all at sea because we saw a complete blowout in the protection of our borders. We saw more than 50,000 illegal arrivals to our country. We saw, sadly, more than 1,200 fatalities. We saw more than 10,200 people in detention, of which 2,000 were children. They spent billions upon billions of dollars trying to clean up the mess that they caused when they tinkered with our nation's laws.

At the very time that the Liberal and National government is investing an extra $200 billion—making our country secure, boosting our Defence Force, providing maximum protection for our men and women in uniform and investing in Australia's defence industry—the Labor Party has once again put all of that in jeopardy by adopting a posture on border protection that weakens our nation's border and, importantly, threatens the budget position of our nation, which completely erodes any ability to ensure, if they were elected, they could continue to invest in our Defence Force. The simple facts are that it takes a Liberal and National government to protect our borders. It takes a Liberal and National government to restore our budget. It takes a Liberal and National government to invest $200 billion in defence and create thousands of jobs. (Time expired)