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Monday, 26 May 1997
Page: 4042

Mr BEVIS(10.20 p.m.) —I am going to be very brief. This bill is yet another example of the window-dressing the government is bringing to bear—

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Nehl) —No, we are debating the amendments.

Mr BEVIS —Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker. The amendments to the bill are going to improve the bill and make sure that it does more than window-dress, and actually goes some way to dealing with the problems of unemployed people—not unlike a number of the other programs this government has embarked upon, I might say. The very title of the bill gives the import of what this government is on about. It is about blaming the victims. It is about not recognising the dilemma that those people confront and, in more ways than one, it appears to me to complement the other programs—such as the Green Corps program—that this government has done which it has announced with great fanfare but which in fact have done very little, if anything, to resolve the underlying problems.

Mr Martin Ferguson —How many have been employed?

Mr BEVIS —It is interesting that the member for Batman asked that question. I put a question on notice to the minister about those matters and discovered, to my amazement, that the much vaunted Green Corps in fact employed 40 people in the state of Queensland. Forty! And out of that 40 people, 15 of them had a job beforehand. In the whole state of Queensland, it is employing 40 people and 15 of them had a job beforehand—and only six of them were long-term unemployed. This is on a par with that. It does not provide any comfort for the unemployed. It does not address the problems of long-term unemployed people and, in the very way in which it has been framed, it is de signed to blame the victims rather than to treat the problem.

The amendments moved by the member for Jagajaga (Ms Macklin) go some way to making this a decent program and to ensuring that the people who are unemployed will get some benefit from the scheme rather than simply being treated as pawns and victims of this government's cynical attitude towards them.

Question put:

That the amendments (Ms Macklin's ) be agreed to.