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Thursday, 23 May 1996
Page: 1319

Mr BROUGH(5.57 p.m.) —I felt it would be remiss of me not to rise tonight to make some sort of a response to many of the allegations which, over the past week, members of the opposition have made—and, in particular, in response to the rhetoric which has gone on regarding training. It seems that the opposition has an absolute fascination with training.

Training for the sake of training is an absolutely pointless exercise. I would challenge any of the opposition members to go and look at any one of the long-term training courses—for example, the 13-week plus—which just happen to ensure that anybody who has been long-term unemployed and who participates in one of these courses no longer appears as long-term unemployed but then goes onto the merry-go-round and becomes one of the short-term unemployed. I invite them to go and visit one of these courses as they come to completion and just have a look at the morale of these people. It does an enormous amount of good for someone who has been unemployed for a long time to build up friendships, build up experience and also to gain some feeling of self-worth on their completion of these courses.

The problem that I have, and the problem that I think most of these people have, with these courses is that the Labor government never addressed the next step. The next step, of course, was actually putting these people into employment. That seems to have been something that we could just brush over. In fact, with this issue, all we have seen over the last 13 years—and, in particular, the last four or five years—has been a complete effort to hide the figures and to ensure that the public were misinformed about the real situation.

Ms Macklin —A total of 700,000 new jobs.

Mr BROUGH —I thank the member for Jagajaga for her worthy interruption. Her 700,000 new jobs after the lowest point that we had been in for many years puts us back almost to the position we were in at the depths of the recession. What a great achievement of yours!

The fact is that now, today, we have seen introduced into this parliament a piece of legislation that will directly affect the impact that the job market is going to have. In my movements throughout the election I heard—and I am sure every member of this House on both sides heard repeatedly—that the one piece of legislation that has been so disruptive to business and disruptive to employment opportunities has been the unfair dismissal laws. We have seen those addressed in this parliament today.

It is important that the Australian people understand that the piece of legislation we introduced today is only one small piece of a very large document which will go a long way to addressing the draconian steps that were put in place by Labor supporting nothing but unions and union supporters and, in doing so, to the detriment of both employers and employees. I think it is important for the opposition to understand at this point that there are no jobs without employers. It is something which seems to have escaped it over the years.

We support employers because they, in turn, support employees. That is of importance to the Australian economy if it is to grow. Those opposite have also made lots over the last couple of days about commitments. March 2 was not that long ago and, in that short period, the Prime Minister (Mr Howard) has already—