Wednesday, 31 July 2019
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for Regional Services, Decentralisation and Local Government and Assistant Minister for Trade and Investment. Will the minister update the House on how the Morrison government is on the side of Australian exporters by opening up new markets across a range of industries, helping to build a stronger economy and create more jobs?
I thank the member for Bass for her question. I know the member is on the side of exporters in northern Tasmania. I got a chance to meet those exporters late last year when I was down there hosting a free trade seminar. It is certainly a very productive and innovative area.
This government is getting on with making it easier for our exporters to connect to the rest of the world, selling our produce and our services. The latest data shows that there are nearly 52,000 businesses that export from Australia. That's a 16 per cent increase. Over the last five years, this government has created an additional 240,000 trade related jobs. So that's 240,000 Australians that now have a job thanks to our commitment to increasing jobs and boosting the economy by making it easier to connect our exporters to the rest of the world. Trade is critical.
Mr Bowen interjecting—
I'm pleased that the honourable member is interested in trade, because I don't think in their term of government they managed to sign one free trade agreement. So they will be interested to know that this government has delivered free trade agreements to China, Japan and Korea and, the gold standard of them all, the TPP-11.
Indeed, I was honoured to be in Tokyo in January to represent Australia at the inaugural ministerial meeting for the TPP-11 countries. This agreement not only connects countries in the local area but also gives preferential access to Canada and Mexico. This means that Australian exporters now have access to 2.8 billion consumers from around the world. These agreements are opening up our export opportunities for manufactured goods, education and financial services, as well as agricultural technology.
This weekend, Senator Birmingham will be in China to represent Australia at the next round of negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and, at the same time, our negotiators are working with the European Union and the Pacific Alliance on future trade agreements.
Trade has now contributed to a quarter of Australia's economic growth over the past five years. That means we now have a stronger economy which provides essential services which Australians rely on. But there is more to come. Australia has now signed FTAs with Indonesia, Peru and Hong Kong. There is an opportunity for those opposite to show interest in these agreements, as they will shortly be coming to the House for ratification. It is an opportunity for this House to support Australian exports— (Time expired)
My question is to the Assistant Minister for Trade and Investment. In his last answer the minister said that Labor didn't sign a trade agreement in its last term of government. Is that true?
Opposition members interjecting—
I might just give the minister the opportunity to correct the record. There are forms of the House which will have to be used otherwise, because that is a misleading of the parliament. He can fix it up.
The Leader of the Opposition, as much as he might like to, can't give the call to anybody. I am going to make that very clear. The question's been asked. I made it very clear the minister wasn't been relevant in his answer. He has now concluded his answer, which is his right. If there are other issues at other times in the House, that is a matter for members; it is not a matter for me. My job is to enforce the rules, which I've done. I just made it very clear. I asked the minister to be relevant and, in the few sentences that followed, he wasn't. But he has concluded his answer, which is his right.
Mr Albanese interjecting—
No, we are not going to break into a daylong dialogue on the subject.