My matter is directed to the Minister for Industry and Trade. The 2008 annual
statement of government intentions presented on Tuesday by the Premier
reinforces the imperative for this government to have policies, programs and
legislation to encourage and foster strong families, strong communities and
strong economic growth. Of course jobs are central to this platform.
Yesterday in this chamber the opposition made claims that the
Brumby Labor government is sitting on its hands, lacks the backbone to support
local manufacturing and that the Howard government had been the white knight to
the vehicle industry in this country.
The Howard government had no vehicle industry plan, it had no
appreciation for the industry, it had no ideas, it had no commitment to
innovation, and it kept demanding that the car companies implement draconian
industrial laws. It went so far as to intervene in enterprise bargaining
agreement negotiations and to tell the companies that they could not go ahead
with clauses that had been negotiated by the parties.
Mr Atkinson — On a point of order, President, I am enjoying
the propaganda process. It is unfortunate that you were not tuned into the
member and that you were distracted by another member of the house only in the
sense that the member has been engaging in an assessment or a critique of the
Howard government which is clearly debating the matter in terms of her
adjournment matter. But more importantly, as far as I know, the minister to
which she has referred her matter has absolutely no jurisdiction over a former
federal government, which has been the substance of the adjournment item.
The PRESIDENT — Order! Mr Atkinson is correct. Members may
only provide such information necessary to assist the minister’s understanding
of the issue. They should avoid debating the issue because it may invite a
response from other members — which it clearly has in this case. I ask Ms Tierney to take on
board what I am saying and provide the necessary information. I understand there
is some legitimacy in backgrounding it, but maybe Ms Tierney would like to consider how
far she has gone with that already.
Ms TIERNEY — Essentially I was attempting to create a
context and indeed aligning the situation to the fact that the car industry is
quite used to having Johnnies-come-lately and people searching for their own
relevance making inaccurate claims about the industry. It has led me to ask the
minister not just to undertake a series of discussions with the Rudd government
but also to develop a car plan that will ensure the continuation of vehicle
manufacturing not only in this country but in Geelong and in this state.