Page 4843 - Week 15 - Wednesday, 14 December 2005

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children into detention.” They were Labor Party policies. The Chief Minister, the then chief adviser, was mute. They were the policies he worked for. He is hoist with his own petard.

When we talk about the reforms of the Howard government dating back to 1996, we really need to give credit where credit is due and think back to Paul Keating, who actually started some of these reforms in 1993. He understood that, without a strong economy in which people are employed, you cannot deliver productivity, bring down debt or deliver real wages growth to people. We should give credit to Paul Keating for starting this process.

Recently in England, at a speech to a conference of unionists, Tony Blair said that he would not be undoing the reforms of the Thatcher years because they had delivered jobs and growth. The stagnant English economy, which had been killed off by strident unionism, has been restored to a place where the English now have the best standards of living in the world. That is why the reform must go ahead, Chief Minister, so that we can continue to deliver more jobs, lowest unemployment, real wages growth and the lowest levels of industrial dispute since records were kept. That is why we should not be voting for this motion today.

I note that the motion was put on the notice paper on 18 October and that Mr Gentleman says he wants to retain workplace laws in their current form. The workplace laws have changed since this motion was listed. I wonder whether Mr Gentleman will amend the motion or whether he will congratulate the federal government for creating jobs, reducing debt and increasing real wages and for bringing about the lowest level of dispute, better productivity and a higher regard for Australia around the world.

MR QUINLAN (Molonglo—Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development and Business, Minister for Tourism, Minister for Sport and Recreation, and Minister for Racing and Gaming) (3.59): I want to say a couple of things. I thank Mr Smyth for pointing out where economic reform started in this country: under the Hawke-Keating government. It is a fair analysis to say that in fact today’s economy in Australia has a lot to do with those fundamentals and the growing market in China, because we have a commodity-driven economy. Neither of those things is down to any genius within the Liberal Party.

The economy has waxed and waned. The Howard government came to power at an incredibly fortunate time. They have worked well the advantage of the Bob Hawke accord and the reforms that were introduced. Since that time, I wonder what it is that the Howard-Costello government has done. Members opposite chuck around generalisations like “it has been good management” and “it has been responsible”. What did they do? You need a lot of luck in politics. There you go; they have certainly had it.

There are a couple of things that come up in this debate from time to time that ought to be mentioned. Some of the facile things that are said ought to be mentioned. We have laws. Most of the laws that we have in this country—virtually all of the laws, but most of the laws at least—are about the lowest common denominator; they are not for everybody. You guys do not need a lot of the laws that exist in this country because you are normal citizens that would live and let live anyway. The structure of the legal system,

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