Only the Palaszczuk Government will stand up for jobs in Queensland

 

Read the full speech below.

Ms BUTLER (Griffith) (13:09): I have to say that this is a motion which is so stupid that it is only rivalled for stupidity by the motion moved by the member for Fairfax earlier today about energy prices. How silly would you have to be as a Liberal or National member of this place to move a motion attacking the Queensland Labor government over energy prices, when the annual bill increase in Queensland has been 1.9 per cent for a typical household, whereas under the Liberal-National government in the last term of parliament in Queensland there was a 43 per cent increase in power prices for a typical household over that period? Talk about leading with your chin. I don't know whether this is a strategy or just complete foolishness on the part of the Liberal-National party, but I suspect it is the latter, because if it is a strategy it is a very, very subtle and obscure one.

Here we have a motion from the member for Forde, seeking to attack the Palaszczuk Labor government in relation to jobs. Let us have a talk about the state LNP's track record on jobs in Queensland. When they came to office in March 2012, trend unemployment in Queensland was 5½ per cent. When they left office it was 6.6 per cent. In fact, while they were in for that one, sole, lonely term of government in Queensland from 2012 to 2015, with Tim Nicholls as Treasurer, the jobless rate hit a high of 7.1 per cent. That is what Tim Nicholls did to unemployment in Queensland when he was the state's Treasurer for the LNP government. The LNP managed to get unemployment to 7.1 per cent. And they want to come into the federal parliament and move a motion about jobs in Queensland under the Palaszczuk Labor government? It is utterly ridiculous and another example of leading with your chin.

Let me remind the House what the Newman government—the Campbell Newman-Tim Nicholls government— did to jobs in Queensland. They sacked tens of thousands of public servants. We have just heard the member for Fairfax bashing public servants, pooh-poohing the idea that you might want to hire public servants, as though he does not have public servants living in his own electorate, who would be very disappointed to hear the way he has disrespected and dismissed them, and as though he does not understand that amongst those public servants that are being hired by the Queensland government are teachers, nurses and police officers.

Very interestingly, the Queensland Labor government has just announced that teacher aides will go into prep classes to support teachers, to help improve education. Thank God someone is doing that. Thank God someone in Queensland is investing in education, because the Turnbull Liberal government is not investing in education. We are seeing a $22 billion cut to schools funding across this country by the Turnbull Liberal-National government.

That is what we are seeing. The LNP opposition in Queensland will do nothing if they are elected at the election in Queensland but be a complete lap dog for Malcolm Turnbull and for the Turnbull Liberal-National government here in Canberra. That is what they will do. They will not be standing up against the Liberals and Nationals in Canberra, saying, 'No, we want our fair share for the state.' They will not be standing up for their fair share for education. They certainly will not be investing in education, like the Palaszczuk government is doing in Queensland at this very time, and not just the teacher aide funds: there is $500 million for two new high schools, including one in my electorate, which is sorely needed.

That is what Labor will do in Queensland, but what will the Liberals and Nationals do? We just heard the member for Fairfax belling the cat. They will go back to their old plans of slashing the public service and privatising everything. You talk about a six-pillar strategy. Their six pillars are sell it off, sell it off, sell it off, sell it off, sell it off, sell it off. But Labor does not stand for that. Under the LNP in Queensland, in their last term of government, we saw a fall of 12,900 people in full-time employment—380 jobs a month. During the LNP government's term in Queensland, 30,000 more Queenslanders were thrown onto the unemployment queue. The LNP had no plan then for dealing with unemployment, just a plan for selling off assets—and nothing has changed. They abolished Skilling Queenslanders for Work. What is the contrast with the Labor government in Queensland? We have backed in Back to Work in the regions, a $150 million regional Queensland program aimed at getting Queenslanders back into work, and a new program in the south-east with $27½ million for the same purpose. We are the only party who will stand up for jobs in Queensland. The LNP will not stand up for jobs in Queensland.

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