Mr BUCHHOLZ (Wright) (16:30): How the mighty have fallen! Once we used to see a proud Labor Party stand on the other side of this chamber and debate the issues that affected the nation. What we have seen the Labor Party revert to is a small band of merry men and women who are now focused on Western Australia and Western Australia only.
On this MPI, 'the government's failure to protect the interests of local workers and consumers', I inform the House that I have local consumers and local workers in Queensland. I have local workers in New South Wales. We heard nothing of that from those on the other side. What we did hear from the other side was some quite eloquent political commentary from the first speaker, the member for Perth, about the Western Australian government and debt and deficit. The member for Cowan spoke about how she wanted to talk about trust, and I am looking forward to having a chat about Labor's track record on trust, given the Medicare scare campaign. The member for Burt kindly informed the House about the MYEFO 12 per cent infrastructure funding, yet Western Australia is 11 per cent of the population. The member for Brand gave us a very comprehensive resume on some state members. The member for Fremantle probably made the most sense out of all of you—so congratulations to the member for Fremantle.
I tell you what we did not hear during this debate. We did not hear members from the other side of the House talk about the real effects of Labor on small business. We did not hear them talk about the effect of Labor Party policy on the free-trade agreements when they opposed them. We did not hear those on the other side of this place talk about the effects of Labor Party policy on small businesses in and around the ban on live cattle exports. Northern Western Australia was drastically affected by that. The Northern Territory was affected by that. Northern Queensland was affected by that, and my local operators through those areas. We did not hear them speak about the effect of Labor Party policy on those local communities, those businesses and those farms who may in some circumstances only get one cheque per year. We did not hear about the transport operators that were adversely affected and we did not hear about the maritime operators that were affected.
We did not hear those on the other side talk about their leader and how he represented the removal of shift penalties for cleaning staff. We did not hear any of that, yet they want to prosecute a debate about how they supposedly support local workers. We saw more recidivist behaviour by the Leader of the Opposition when we saw him in action in the Chiquita situation. We did not see those on the other side of the House come in and talk about the 35,000 owner-operators that would be forced off the road as a result of Labor's road remuneration tribunal.
Opposition members interjecting—
Mr BUCHHOLZ: I will stand here and defend those operators in my electorate every day of the week. I am a small business operator. I have trucks on the road. What you guys on the other side of this House did was nothing short of shameful, and you should be condemned for it. It was appalling the way that you handled that piece of policy.
Mr Keogh: Saving lives?
Mr BUCHHOLZ: I want to take that interjection. The member for Burt claimed that the remuneration tribunal was about saving lives. I assure you that it was from a union perspective. It was nothing more than getting owner-operators off the road so that they could have union drivers in company trucks, pushing small businesses out. And then Labor have the audacity to come in here and debate 'the government's failure to protect the interests of local workers and consumers'. It is a joke, an absolute joke, in and around that policy section.
We did not see them come in here and talk about the environment and how Labor policies of the future want to shut down the coalmines because they no longer have an appetite for it, and they scoff at us as a government when we say that coal-fired power stations will be part of the energy mix into the future. That is our policy position. We will make sure that our coal-fired power stations are clean into the future.
Those opposite did not come in here and talk about Labor's track record on 457 visas. It is appalling. Under the coalition, since we came to office, we have created over half a million jobs, with employment standing at a record high of nearly 12 million since December 2006.
We are the only government, a government that is a broad church primarily made up of small business, that can represent small business, consumers and growth in this country.