30 September 2014
Mr WILKIE (Denison) (14:11): My question is to the Prime Minister. Prime Minister, the cost of Bass Strait remains the biggest brake on Tasmania’s economic development and the easiest to fix. Although the current subsidies help and must be retained in full, they are insufficient and full of gaps. Please, Prime Minister, will you commit to effective subsidies applying to all people, vehicles and freight going both north and south, including all Tasmanian exports bound for international markets?
Mr ABBOTT (Warringah—Prime Minister) (14:12): I thank the member for Denison for his question. It is good that he has asked me this question once. The member for Bass, the member for Braddon and the member for Lyons have asked me this question absolutely dozens of times. I cannot go into the party room without being asked that question. These cauliflower ears were produced not by too many scrums but by chewing! These members from Tasmania—Bass, Braddon and Lyons—have been chewing my ear constantly about the freight equalisation scheme. I say to them and, indeed, to the member for Denison—
Ms Collins interjecting—
The SPEAKER: The member for Franklin will desist!
Mr ABBOTT: that the coalition invented the freight equalisation scheme, we continued the freight equalisation scheme and we support the freight equalisation scheme.
Mr Albanese interjecting—
The SPEAKER: The member for Grayndler will desist!
Mr ABBOTT: It is safe with us now and forever.