Mr WILSON (O'Connor) (14:45): My question is to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Will the minister explain how this government's China-Australia Free Trade Agreement will deliver jobs and growth to the resources and energy industry, particularly in Western Australia? Are there any threats to the realisation of these benefits?
Dr CHALMERS: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order.
The SPEAKER: I will hear the point of order, but I remind the member for Rankin that I have already warned members that I will not entertain frivolous points of order.
Dr CHALMERS: I understand, Mr Speaker. Page 555 of the Practice makes it very clear that ministers are not to be questioned on opposition policies.
The SPEAKER: No, I am sorry. I have dealt with this matter already, member for Rankin. You sat and you listened to me deal with this matter within the first couple of days of my speakership where I referred to the practice before 2008. The member for Hotham raised a number of points of order on this. It is a frivolous point of order. The member for Rankin is warned!
Honourable members interjecting—
The SPEAKER: I addressed this at great length. The question did not mention the opposition.
Government members interjecting—
The SPEAKER: Members on my right will cease interjecting.
Mr BURKE: Mr Speaker, I rise on the point of order. It is accepted that people will be warned for frivolous points of order. When someone is actually quotingPractice it is hard to argue that it is on the frivolous side of points of order.
The SPEAKER: The Minister for Foreign Affairs has the call.
Ms JULIE BISHOP (Curtin—Minister for Foreign Affairs) (14:47): I thank the member for O'Connor for his question. I particularly welcome that intervention from the member for Rankin because he backs Bob Hawke's view of the free trade agreement. The member for Rankin says that Bob Hawke is right and calls upon the Leader of the Opposition to get out of the way of signing the free trade agreement. Well done Bob Hawke, and you backed Bob Hawke so I thank the member for Rankin for his timely intervention.
The member for O'Connor is well aware of the importance that mining, resources and energy play in providing jobs in the Western Australian economy and across our nation. Every member of this parliament should be supporting the China free trade agreement so that the full benefits of more Australian jobs and more export opportunities for our businesses, small, medium and large, can be realised. China is Australia's largest resources and energy market. Exports were worth more than $85 billion in 2013-14. Under the free trade agreement all tariffs on resources and energy products will be eliminated within four years. In fact, most of them will occur as soon as the free trade agreement enters into force. What we will see is the agreement locking in zero tariffs on major resource exports such as iron ore, gold, crude petroleum oils and LNG. This will give Australian mining, resource and energy companies a huge competitive advantage in the Chinese market. It will lead to more mining, resource and energy projects and more jobs here in Australia.
The biggest threat to more Australian jobs and more opportunities under the free trade agreement is, in fact, the Leader of the Opposition. In trying to derail the China free trade agreement he would prefer to see these jobs go to competitive countries, and these Australian jobs will go to competitive countries if this agreement does not go ahead. The opportunities will be taken up by other countries. Our businesses and our workers will miss out. Of course, the Leader of the Opposition has form on free trade agreements. We know from the Labor Party pick for Prime Minister, Mark Latham, that the Leader of the Opposition cannot be trusted when it comes to free trade agreements. He said:
… Public Shorten against the FTA, Private Billy in favour of it.
The Leader of the Opposition is actually double dealing on this free trade agreement, as he did on the US free trade agreement. Mark Latham reminded us in September 2005 in a Lateline interview:
… how do you consult with a union leader like Shorten, who's saying one thing publically and exactly the opposite privately?
… … …
I think it's a … black mark against … Shorten's name.
He went on to observe that Shorten spoke with contempt for the members of his union and tried to walk both sides of the street. The Leader of the Opposition should remember to put the national interest first— (Time expired)
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