Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 09 Hansard (Wednesday, 12 August 2015) . . Page.. 2748 ..
broadly and in relation to the impacts these have on workers in Australia and from other countries.
A point that is worth dwelling on, which I mentioned earlier, is that we have seen unions in Australia standing up for foreign workers who are being exploited as well. So to suggest that these unions are taking a racist or xenophobic position simply does not stack up against the facts. The China Australia free trade agreement also needs close scrutiny, particularly on the question of what impact it will have on the long-term prosperity of Australians.
I will not be supporting the motion, particularly because of the broad, sweeping statement that it makes and also because I believe there are legitimate discussions to be had in the policy areas that Mr Smyth has canvassed today.
MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (4.06), in reply: In the words of Lord Byron, bigots, fools or slaves—people can work out for themselves what category those opposite fall into. It is interesting that when I go to the website “China free trade agreement: the facts”, I cannot find reference to a Japan free trade agreement website or a Korea free trade agreement website. What is so special about picking out the China-Australia free trade agreement that has got the CFMEU so cranky? You go to the website and it runs all the old myths—it will remove labour market testing, it will reduce migration safeguards, it will remove mandatory skills assessment, it will cost local jobs. It is interesting because most of the reports seem to suggest it will create jobs for Australians. In fact, it will create thousands of jobs for Australians because it opens up new markets for and gives us greater opportunities.
The Centre for International Economics—I am not sure they have ever been accused of anything—says that the China-Australia free trade agreement provides Australian services providers with considerably greater access to the Chinese market compared to competitor countries. We are getting a bit of bargain here; we are getting better access by reducing significant barriers to service trade. What is Canberra? It is mainly a service trade location. Improved access is granted in legal services, telecommunication services, tourism-related services, health and aged-care services, construction and engineering services, manufacturing services, architecture and urban planning, transport and other services. Canberra is a service business community. We provide exactly those sorts of services.
It is interesting that the Chief Minister is mute today. The Chief Minister, the Minister for Economic Development, the Leader of the Labor Party has not deigned to grace us with his presence to tell us what he thinks. He does not have to—he told us that when he tabled his ministerial statement on the delegation to China. What does he say on page 6? And let me read it to those opposite:
Discussion also focused on the opportunities presented following the recent completion of negotiations for a China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA). Now ratified the Agreement presents major trade and export opportunities in the tourism, education, healthcare and professional services sectors. Each of these fields present significant opportunities for the ACT’s private sector and research partnerships, and also complement the ACT