Question time - trade with China

  • Transcript, E&OE

Mr GOODENOUGH (Moore) (14:16): Myquestion is to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Will the minister update theHouse on the competitive advantage which the China-Australia Free TradeAgreement will yield for Australian businesses? Are there any obstacles thatwill be presented to this?

Ms Chesters interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Bendigo will cease interjecting. The member forBendigo is warned!

Mr Champion interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Wakefield will leave the House under standingorder 94(a). I have warned him three times in 15 minutes.

The member for Wakefield then left the chamber.

Ms JULIE BISHOP (Curtin–Minister for Foreign Affairs) (14:17): I thank the member for Moore for his question. From WesternAustralia to New South Wales, from the Northern Territory to Tasmania, thisgovernment has shown that every state and territory will benefit from thesigning of a China-Australia Free Trade Agreement. On this side of the House,we have already informed colleagues opposite and, indeed, the Australian publicof the benefits to the resources industry, the agriculture industry, thehorticulture industry and the manufacturing sector in Western Australia, butthere will also be benefits across the nation and, specifically, for ourservices industry.

This is a deal that will deliver for the people of WesternAustralia and the people of Australia. Competitors outside Australia understandthis. They understand what the Labor Party here does not. There are advantagesto us that our competitors are quite concerned about. New Zealand's PrimeMinister, John Key, thinks that Australia should sign the free trade agreementdespite it being against New Zealand's competitive interests. He said:

Having negotiated an agreement that is high quality, you'd liketo grab it with both hands. New Zealand will be quite happy if you don't.

Inother words, John Key is saying they want to upgrade their own free tradeagreement with China to get what we have got. The Leader of the Opposition doesnot understand this. New Zealand's own free trade agreement has alreadydelivered benefits that are 11 times greater than the most optimistic commentatorscould come up with, yet the Leader of the Opposition wants to reject ouragreement with China. China itself sees the benefits to Australia.

Ms Chesters interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Bendigo is warned!

Ms JULIE BISHOP: MadamFu, the chair of China's foreign affairs committee, told me yesterday inCanberra that Chinese companies will be competing against Australian companiesnow, particularly in the beef and dairy industries. So blocking this free tradeagreement means denying jobs in industries that are so pertinent to ourcountry.

Indeed, in the electorate of Canning there are beef producersand dairy producers who will benefit from this free trade agreement. Given thatthere is a by-election on Saturday, the people of Canning will have anopportunity to vote for Andrew Hastie, the Liberal candidate who supports afree trade agreement, rather than the Labor candidate, who does not. They willbe voting for the party that believes in jobs and opportunity, and that is theLiberal Party with the National Party. The coalition believes in jobs andopportunity. When the Leader of the Opposition was a union boss, he tried toprevent an agreement with China by denying it market economy status. The Leaderof the Opposition has a history of double-dealing on free trade agreements,saying one thing publicly and another privately. Labor terminated funding tonine government departments and agencies to prevent the free trade agreementcontinuing with China. So on Saturday the electors of Canning will have achoice: vote 1, Andrew Hastie. (Time expired)

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