JIM CHALMERS MP
MEMBER FOR RANKIN
LABOR CANDIDATE FOR DICKSON
THURSDAY, 14 OCTOBER 2021
SUBJECTS: Future made in Australia; 138,000 Australians lost their jobs in September; Morrison Government removing support as unemployment rises; Cleaner and cheaper energy means more jobs and more opportunities; Scott Morrison putting the National Party before the national economic interest; Victorians in lockdown; Norm Provan; Scott Morrison waiting on a permission slip from Barnaby Joyce to attend Glasgow.
ALI FRANCE, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR DICKSON: Good morning everyone. It's really great to have our Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers here today in Brendale, in Dickson. We've just had a tour of this amazing company behind us Elexon Electronics and their production facility. This company is a great Queensland story and it's based right here in Brendale. And I want to thank Peter and the staff for taking the time to give us a tour. Elexon has been producing high-tech solutions and products for the mining industry, and for wildlife, and water monitoring, amongst a whole host of other things. And they've been doing that for over 15 years now. Elexon is the type of company that we hope will benefit from Labor's Buy Australian Made policy. It's also the type of company that we want to see benefit, and we want to encourage, as a result of our $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund, which will be focused on manufacturing jobs. I'm really, really happy that Jim's been able to see the work that Elexon is doing right here in Brendale. I'm now going to hand over to Jim, thanks for coming Jim.
JIM CHALMERS, SHADOW TREASURER: Thanks very much, Ali. This place is amazing and I'm really grateful to you Ali for the opportunity to spend time with Peter and his team here to understand really the quite remarkable things that they're doing here, him and his 90-strong team here in Brendale. We want the economy to recover strongly; we want jobs and opportunities to be created; we want a future made in Australia; and businesses like this one are so absolutely crucial to that, as are communities like this one here on the north side of Brisbane. Ali France understands all of that, and that's why she should be the new Member for Dickson after the next election.
Today we had new job numbers released by the Australian Bureau of Stats. 138,000 Australians lost their jobs in September and 129,000 Australians gave up looking. This Government wants to withdraw economic support while unemployment is rising. This Government wants to pull the rug out from under small businesses and workers at the same time as hundreds-of-thousands of Australians either lost their job or gave up looking for work.
We want the unemployment rate to be as low as possible. But the unemployment rate doesn't tell the full story of underemployment and job insecurity in this economy. We've got something like almost two million Australians who can't find a job or can't find enough work, at the same time as parts of Australia are going through skills shortages. We've got issues here with job insecurity, and wage stagnation, and underemployment, which existed well before this pandemic. The defining feature of this Government's economic mismanagement has been in the jobs market, where we've seen this insecurity, we've seen this wage stagnation - not for the last couple of years, but for much of the last eight years.
So it beggars belief that this Government wants to pull economic support from an economy, which is still in many parts doing it tough. We don't want this Government to withdraw economic support and pull the rug out from people while unemployment is still rising. The economic support should be tailored to the economic conditions. Unemployment is rising. Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg shouldn't be in a rush to leave so many workers and small businesses in this country behind at a really difficult and really delicate time.
If you care about jobs, you have to care about climate change policy. Cleaner and cheaper energy means more jobs and more opportunities here and right around Australia. Instead, we've got an LNP Government under Scott Morrison which has had for much of the last eight years a job-destroying, opportunity-thieving, economy-wrecking approach to climate change. Scott Morrison's inaction on climate change is costing Australian jobs and seeing Australian opportunities go begging.
The Reserve Bank today has said that the global movement towards net zero and cleaner and cheaper energy risks leaving Australia isolated and risks leaving Australia behind. Scott Morrison is leaving us isolated in the world and isolated at home when it comes to the jobs and opportunities which can flow from cheaper and cleaner energy. Australia doesn't have to choose between Glasgow and Gladstone. We can do the right thing by the climate, we can do the right thing by emissions, at the same time as we grab these jobs and opportunities but, instead, Scott Morrison has been content to see these opportunities to go begging.
Scott Morrison will always put the National Party before the national interest. Scott Morrison will always put Barnaby Joyce before Australian jobs. And that's what we're seeing right now with this embarrassing spectacle of Scott Morrison waiting until Sunday afternoon to get his instructions from the National Party when it comes to climate change policy. In this Government the tail wags the Treasurer, the tail wags the Prime Minister, they're waiting for their instructions from Barnaby Joyce and all of the others who don't understand the climate opportunity and what it means for new jobs and new opportunities and new sources of energy in Australia.
This is a Government which staggers from one stuff-up to another. Yesterday, it was revealed that the Treasurer's 450,000 promised jobs from JobMaker delivered barely 1% of that. Just like the Treasurer, that policy was a dud.
We've also heard that the Treasury and the International Monetary Fund have both downgraded growth for Australia this year. Whether it's rising unemployment, whether it's downgrading economic growth, this is the price that ordinary Australians are paying for the mistakes that Scott Morrison has made this year on vaccines, and quarantine, and the premature withdrawal of economic support. Australians are paying the price for that, they're paying the price in the jobs market, paying the price in terms of climate policy. We want to see this Government take responsibility for the jobs market, for rising unemployment, for the too early withdrawal of economic support, and eight years of inaction on climate change.
Scott Morrison has Tony Abbott's interim targets on climate change. What we have said, is the Government needs to be more ambitious. Glasgow is just around the corner, we still don't even know if the Prime Minister's attending or not, we still don't know what his policy is on those targets, we still don't have Australia signed up to net zero. That's leaving us isolated in the world.
Two important final matters before we finish up. First of all, all of Australia stands in strength and solidarity with Victorians who are seeing, unfortunately, another very high number of cases today, well over 2,000 cases in Victoria. We know that Victorian brothers and sisters have been doing it really tough throughout this pandemic and especially lately. So we're thinking of them today as they deal with the news that there's well over 2,000 cases down there.
And lastly, the loved ones of Norm Provan are in our thoughts today. The passing of Norm Provan, one of the immortals of rugby league, a gladiator of Rugby League. He will be remembered for all time as one of the greatest rugby league players ever, in one of the greatest rugby league sides ever – the St George teams of the 50s and 60s. He has been immortalised in the NRL trophy, that remarkable embrace with Arthur Summons after the Grand Final. We send our best wishes and our thoughts to the family of really one of the great Australians.
JOURNALIST: When it comes to unemployment Jim, is the Government just going to turn around and blame COVID?
CHALMERS: The labour market was weak before COVID, during COVID, and without any change in Government attitude it will be weak after COVID. The labour market is about the unemployment rate, but it's much broader than that too. It's about wages, it's about job security, it's about underemployment. And the defining failure of this Government when it comes to their economic mismanagement is all of that underemployment, all of that job insecurity, and all that wage stagnation, which has characterised much of the last eight years.
Never forget, this is a Government which racked up a trillion dollars in debt and still says in its Budget that real wages will go backwards for ordinary working families over the next four years. And that is a tragedy when you consider working families have been crying out for a much stronger jobs market, which delivers much better wages. That's why Labor, under Anthony Albanese, with Ali France as a key member of our team from here in Dickson, we've made our priority supporting working families, making sure there are secure well-paid jobs, and making sure that there's a future made in Australia. In order to do that, we have to get our energy policy right. We need to get our teaching and training policies right. We need to turn our ideas into jobs. All of that, in one way or another, is represented by this remarkable company here.
JOURNALIST: Okay, and now onto Glasgow. Why hasn't the Prime Minister or Frydenberg committed to this?
CHALMERS: Well, the Prime Minister is still waiting for his instructions from the dinosaurs in the National Party. The National Party and Scott Morrison, for much of recent times, has been more interested in dividing Australians and picking a fight over climate policy, than actually grabbing the jobs and opportunities which cleaner and cheaper energy make available. The Business Council of Australia, in their very welcome
The BCA intervention on the weekend confirms what many of us have known for some time, that doing something about cleaner and cheaper energy means more jobs and more opportunities, not fewer. The National Party, Scott Morrison, Josh Frydenberg even, have been part of eight years of inaction on climate change, spreading lies about the impact of going for cleaner and cheaper energy. That's left us isolated in the world and isolated at home. We don't have to choose between Glasgow and Gladstone. We can have more jobs and more opportunities, and do the right thing by by the climate and by our environment. In Australia, people understand that; state governments of all political persuasions understand that; the business community, including the miners, and the farmers, and the biggest employers in this country, all the countries with which we compare ourselves, everybody seems to understand that - except for Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg, and that's because they haven't gotten their riding instructions yet from the fringes of the National Party backbench.
JOURNALIST: Prince Charles was quite shocked that the Prime Minister hadn't committed. Is this an embarrassment for Australia?
CHALMERS: I'm less worried about what Prince Charles says about this, I'm worried about what the economic modelling says about this. We cannot afford as a country to see a couple of hundred thousand jobs that the BCA has identified go begging because Scott Morrison wants to play politics with climate change and placate the weirdos on the National Party backbench. We want to see the Australian economy recover strongly from this pandemic. We want to make sure that part of that is cleaner and cheaper energy, because that means jobs and opportunities. The majority of Australians understand that, even if Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg don't.
JOURNALIST: All in all, he should be on that plane to Glasgow?
CHALMERS: Ideally, we would be represented properly in Glasgow. Ideally, the Prime Minister would be going to Glasgow with a robust policy to get our emissions down, by going for cleaner and cheaper energy which creates more jobs and more opportunities right around Australia, including in the regions of Queensland. There is a big opportunity here which will go begging if Scott Morrison prioritises politics over jobs, Barnaby Joyce over jobs, and if Scott Morrison keeps putting the Nationals before the national interest. Thanks guys.