Alister Henskens portrait
Alister Henskens portrait

Jobs Growth

Construction Workers on Road Upgrade

14 February 2018


Mr ALISTER HENSKENS ( Ku-ring-gai ) ( 15:30 :26 ): I move:

That General Business Notice of Motion (General Notices) given by me this day [Jobs Growth] have precedence on Thursday 15 February 2018.

My motion should be accorded priority because jobs growth is a topic of vital importance to this State. To paraphrase Oscar Wilde—jobs is a word that Luke Foley dare not speak its name. I cannot remember a time when the Leader of the Opposition said the word "jobs". It is no glib mantra to say the Coalition parties are now the parties of the worker. As the hero of Labor Paul Keating once said, "The best way to help a worker is to give them a job." By that criterion, the Australian Labor Party [ALP] has failed dismally. In January 2010, the CommSec State of the States report showed that New South Wales was at the bottom of the pack with an unemployment rate of 5.9 per cent. Under Labor, the New South Wales unemployment record was higher than any other State.

Things have changed under the Coalition. In 2017, 140,000 jobs were created in this State, which is in stark contrast to the legacy left by the ALP. For the past 31 consecutive months, New South Wales unemployment has been the lowest in the nation. The rate of unemployment in New South Wales is currently 4.8 per cent, which is nearly a full per cent lower than the nearest State. The Leader of the Opposition cannot bring himself to say the word "jobs". There should be no doubt that the unemployment rate in New South Wales would again be the highest in the country if Labor were ever again in office in New South Wales. Labor does not care about the economy, jobs, or the people of New South Wales. It does not care about the way that jobs have an impact on people's lives. Labor has opposed the Metro, NorthConnex and WestConnex—all of the major projects that have delivered money as a result of more jobs being created in New South Wales.

The SPEAKER: Order! There is too much noise in the Chamber.

Mr ALISTER HENSKENS: Labor also opposed the tax cuts given to business, which has created jobs in New South Wales.

The SPEAKER: Order! The member for Wollongong will cease interjecting.

Mr ALISTER HENSKENS: Labor does not care about the economy. This Government is rightly proud of its record on jobs growth, which is why the Liberal Party and The Nationals should be acknowledged as the parties of the worker. This motion should be accorded priority because the importance of a strong economy and jobs in New South Wales can never be overestimated.


15 February 2018

Mr ALISTER HENSKENS ( Ku-ring-gai ) ( 11:44 :59 ): I move:

That this House:

(1) Congratulates the Government on having the lowest unemployment rate in the nation.

(2) Notes that the Government has achieved the lowest unemployment rate in the nation for a straight 31  months, entrenching New South Wales as the jobs capital of Australia.

(3) Welcomes the near 140,000 jobs created in 2017 alone.

(4) Notes that the Opposition has opposed the Government' s tax cuts and infrastructure investment , which have driven jobs growth across the S tate.

(5) Notes that the L iberal and National parties are now the parties of the worker.

It is a self-evident truth, which Labor does not seem to understand, that if nobody had a job then there would be no workers. The concept of jobs and workers go hand in hand. That is why it is alarming that in all the time I have been a member of this House I cannot remember the Leader of the Opposition uttering the word "jobs" or speaking about the economy. A reasonable and legitimate question to ask is: If Labor won the next State election, who on its team would keep the New South Wales economy powering and jobs creation continuing? We know that the Leader of the Opposition has no interest in economics. It is hardly surprising because he has never really had a job, only ever having been a union official or a political hack.

Mr Paul Lynch: Point of order: My point of order relates to Standing Order 73. If the member for Ku‑ring‑gai wants to launch an attack on the Leader of the Opposition he should do so by way of another motion, not as part of this motion.

Mr ALISTER HENSKENS: That is ridiculous.

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER: I was not paying attention. I will read the motion of the member for Ku‑ring-gai.

Mr ALISTER HENSKENS: I ask that the clock be stopped.

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER: I will stop the clock.

Mr ALISTER HENSKENS: It is a typical, ridiculous objection by the member for Liverpool, who specialises in doing this.

Mr Paul Lynch: Stop pontificating.

Mr ALISTER HENSKENS: He is a failed lawyer and a failed politician and he is wasting the time of the House.

Mr Paul Lynch: And you were Hartcher's silk—the lowest insult that anyone could hurl.

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER: Order! Under Standing Order 73 and Standing Order 74 I ask the member for Ku‑ring‑gai to withdraw his remarks.


The ASSISTANT SPEAKER: About the member for Liverpool.

Mr ALISTER HENSKENS: Being a failed lawyer and a failed politician?


Mr ALISTER HENSKENS: Isn't truth relevant to this House?

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER: The member for Ku-ring-gai has the call.

Mr ALISTER HENSKENS: Nobody on the Opposition frontbench has the wit or experience to manage the New South Wales economy, which is the powerhouse of the national economy and one of the largest economies in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. In the public interest, it is essential to have a debate about the economy and jobs. The record of the New South Wales Coalition speaks for itself. Under Labor, New South Wales had the highest unemployment rate of any State in the nation. It now has the lowest. Nearly 140,000 jobs were created over the past year, representing employment growth of 3.7 per cent. That is above the long-term average of 1.6 per cent. More than 44 per cent of the full-time jobs created nationally over the past year were created in New South Wales, and many of those jobs were in regional parts of the State. For 31 consecutive months the New South Wales unemployment rate has been the lowest in the country. The unemployment rate is now 4.8 per cent—nearly a full percentage point lower than the nearest State.

Jobs growth has not come by accident. It has been the product of hard work by the Government. Strong economic management means governments can embark on record infrastructure programs like our current four‑year $80 billion program. It means that governments can invest in projects like WestConnex, NorthConnex, hospitals, and heavy and light rail projects. It means that governments can give tax cuts. All of those things create jobs. Labor has opposed most of our infrastructure initiatives. It opposed our asset recycling program that has done so much to create wealth and jobs. During the course of the Coalition Government, this State's net worth has increased and the unemployment rate has decreased. Labor does not seem to care about the economy or about jobs. What is Labor's plan to create jobs? In seven years of opposition it has never articulated one economic policy or initiative that would create one job for a citizen of New South Wales.

While we can talk all we want about economic indicators and numbers, important social issues lie behind them. The numbers reflect real human beings. The employment statistics represent meals on tables and roofs over families' heads. They reflect social cohesion rather than social division. Paul Keating said that the best thing you can do for a worker is give them a job. The Labor Opposition has turned its back on the workers. This motion should be agreed to because jobs are important. They represent the integrity of individuals and the economic wellbeing of families. They also represent a good and bright future for this State and its citizens. That is why the Coalition is doing so much for the workers and why the Coalition parties can rightly claim to be the parties of the worker. That is why it is important to debate this motion and why this House should agree with its terms. This House should note and appreciate this Government on having the lowest unemployment rate in the nation for 31 consecutive months and for creating 140,000 jobs in the past year. I commend the motion to the House.


Mr ALISTER HENSKENS ( Ku-ring-gai ) ( 12:26 :28 ): In reply: This debate has been very illuminating in relation to the priorities of the different political parties that are represented in this House. On a motion to speak about jobs, six Coalition members and I have made contributions, but only one member of the Labor Party has done so, and those opposite denied leave for more Coalition members to speak about jobs. The people of New South Wales are entitled to ask: What have those opposite got against jobs and why are they stopping a Liberal member of Parliament, representing a regional area, from speaking about the great jobs that have been created in regional New South Wales by this Government? Why is "jobs" one word that does not seem to be able to pass the lips of the Leader of the Opposition? We have never heard him talk about jobs. The member for Rockdale was mute, chirping only from the sidelines—he never got up to the lectern to speak about jobs. It is a shame that Labor members of Parliament will not talk about jobs.

The ASSISTANT SPE AKER: Order! The member for Rockdale and the member for Kiama will come to order.

Mr ALISTER HENSKENS: The member for Rockdale, who is an engaging, avuncular sort of fellow who can talk about anything at any time to anybody, has refused to speak about jobs. What has Labor got against jobs? Why will Labor not talk about jobs? Why will Labor not come up with some ideas to create jobs? Why does Labor oppose infrastructure projects time and again? What has Labor got against the New South Wales Government creating wealth and jobs in this State? Why is there nothing? Why does the only plan put forward by the shadow Treasurer involve some sort of restrictive, anti-competitive, anti-free enterprise type of policies? Are they Labor's only policies? In seven years of opposition is that all Labor has?

If the shadow Treasurer were ever to become the Treasurer of New South Wales, we could all confidently predict that the great jobs growth that has taken place over the past seven years would hit a brick wall. It would be a full stop like no-one has ever seen. It would be an economic handbrake on New South Wales the likes of which we have not seen since Paul Keating was the Federal Treasurer in 1991—the recession he said we had to have. The member for Coogee quite eloquently spoke about that. The members for Coogee, Davidson, Seven Hills, Camden, Myall Lakes and Epping all spoke about the great social cost of unemployment and the impact that it has on the lives of real people. They said that what the Coalition Government was doing was wonderful for the families and individuals of this State because it was creating so many jobs.