Senate debates

Tuesday, 25 June 2013


Australian Jobs Bill 2013; Second Reading

1:55 pm

Photo of Richard ColbeckRichard Colbeck (Tasmania, Liberal Party, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries and Forestry) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise to contribute to the debate on the Australian Jobs Bill 2013. It is a bit incongruous that here we are in the dying sitting days of this parliament and the government decides to bring in the Australian Jobs Bill—given that their impact on the jobs situation in Australia has been so devastating. Over the term of these last two parliaments they have added to the cost of doing business, made it more difficult for business and cost Australia thousands and thousands of manufacturing jobs.

The government had a steel industry reconstruction plan, the objective of which was to see the steel industry half the size it was when they came to government. Their record in the car industry is absolutely devastating. We are seeing the hollowing out of the food industry in Australia under this government. We see new taxes, additional costs and more difficult conditions for Australian industry. And they expect us to believe that in their last few days the Australian Jobs Bill is going to magically turn the situation around. It is the costs they themselves have imposed on industry over the last three years that have had a negative impact on industry in this country.

We have seen the negative impact of the carbon tax, we have seen the negative impact of the mining tax, we have seen increased energy costs impacting on business and small business right across this country, we have seen an unfriendly industrial relations system put into place by this government and we have seen inconsistent industry policy. We have seen them promise hundreds of millions of dollars to the car industry only to withdraw it. We have seen them change their mind and move around all over the place on industry policy.

And now what they want to do in their dying days is introduce a new bureaucracy that they believe will assist Australian industry to grow jobs. How a new bureaucracy is going to do that is absolutely beyond me. How does putting 50 people into a new government agency create any new jobs other than for those 50 people? How does imposing additional costs on business, which this bill does yet again, improve the situation for business? Every time we have one of these new pieces of legislation the government brings in, they say, 'It is only a little cost; it is only a little bit.' The carbon tax was just a little bit. This is just a little bit—but they all add up. All these costs add up and impact negatively on business in this country.

Senator Cameron interjecting

Senator Cameron starts his rant, yet what has he done? He has worked to impose additional costs on business and industry and to increase shipping costs around the coastline, which impacts negatively on business and industry in this country.

What the Labor Party does is impose additional cost and add red tape and expect that out of all that we will see an increase in industry and an increase in jobs. Because of these measures we have seen devastating negative impacts on the steel industry, on the car industry and on the food-processing sector. All of those industries are shedding jobs. And the government expects us to believe that in the last sitting week before an election this piece of legislation is actually going to generate new jobs.

Debate interrupted.