Question time - trade with China

  • Transcript, E&OE

Ms MARINO: (Forrest–Government Whip) (14:19): Myquestion is to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Will the minister explain howthis government's free trade agreement with China will deliver jobs and growthto the services industry? Are there any risks to the realisation of thesebenefits?

Ms JULIE BISHOP: (Curtin–Minister for Foreign Affairs) (14:19): I thank the member for Forrest for her question. Herelectorate includes the beautiful Margaret River, where tourism services playsuch a key role in the local and indeed the national economy. While theservices industry represents approximately 70 per cent of Australia's grossdomestic product and is responsible for employing approximately four out offive Australians, services make up less than 20 per cent of our total exportvalue. There is obviously great potential for growth, and the China-Australiafree trade agreement will be opening the door for new opportunities in theservices sector, including in the tourism industry.

Already our largest export market for services, worth nearly $7½billion in 2013-14, China's services commitments represent the best package ofoutcomes it has provided to any foreign country. But, incredibly, Labor isthreatening this agreement as it dances to the tune of its union bosses. Are weto believe that Labor is really convinced of its own dishonest assertions or isit being two-faced? You see, the Leader of the Opposition has form on freetrade agreements, and it is relevant and revealing to understanding his trueattitude to free trade agreements. The man that Labor wanted the Australianpeople to vote in as Prime Minister in 2004, one Mark Latham, apparentlydiscussed the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement with the then union boss, nowLeader of the Opposition. This is very instructive:

Little Billy (Shorten) was inmy ear about the (free trade agreement with the United States), telling me theparty has to support it. I said that I thought both he and his union wereagainst it, to which he responded, 'That's just for the members. We need to saythat sort of thing when they reckon their jobs are under threat.

Mr Danby interjecting
Ms O'NEIL: MrSpeaker, I rise on a point of order.

The SPEAKER: The member for Melbourne Ports will cease interjecting. His nextinterjection will be his last for this day. I give the call to the member forHotham, bearing in mind that I will not accept frivolous points of order.

Ms O'NEIL: Ido not think it is frivolous at all.

The SPEAKER: What is your point of order?

Ms O'NEIL: MrSpeaker, my point of order is on relevance. The question was about theChina-Australia free trade agreement–

The SPEAKER: There is no point of order. The member for Hotham will resumeher seat.

Ms O'NEIL interjecting
The SPEAKER: The member for Hotham is warned.

Ms O'NEIL interjecting
The SPEAKER: The member for Hotham will cease interjecting. The member forHotham is reflecting on the chair. You can reread my rulings on relevance. Theminister is entirely relevant and staying on the topic of the question. She isentitled to quote from a book. You will cease interjecting.

Ms JULIE BISHOP:Justto recap, this is the man that Labor wanted as Prime Minister of this countrytalking to 'little Billy Shorten'. He said:

Great, the two faces oflittle Billy Shorten: Public Shorten against the FTA and Private Billy infavour of it … Political courage is not his long suit.

Well,it is about time the Leader of the Opposition showed courage and supported jobsand supported this free trade agreement.

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