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Tuesday, 23 October 1984
Page: 2173

Senator CHANEY (Leader of the Opposition)(10.14) —I indicate on behalf of the Opposition that it will not be supporting Senator Harradine's motion. Like the Government we do that without wishing in any way to take away from the importance of the matter which he has raised. Indeed in considering whether we should interfere with the remaining business of the Senate, we considered the fact that late last week we supported Senator Harradine in bringing on a matter of public importance which, whilst not on this specific aspect of youth employment, was on the general issue of youth unemployment. Senator Harradine had the chance to bring this forward and, indeed, he did promote a debate in which both the Government and the Opposition participated with the Australian Democrats on the very significant problem which is faced by many young Australians in finding a job.

Our attitude to this matter is essentially dictated by the fact that we have the Appropriation Bills before us and other legislation which must be dealt with . We have a limited amount of time. Senator Harradine has been able to bring forward one aspect of the matter recently in a debate and it was appropriate that the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Button) said, as he did a moment ago, that he would draw the matter to the attention of the Public Service Board. I was a little surprised by the statistics that were brought forward when Senator Harradine gave notice of his motion yesterday. I think it is a matter which warrants consideration and I would certainly wish to put on the public record that in our view the Government and the Board should give very careful consideration to measures which will ensure to the maximum extent possible that young Australians are given an opportunity to obtain work in the Commonwealth Public Service. I know I speak on behalf of all Opposition senators when I say we share the concern that Senator Harradine has. We do see it as a matter of significance, but we do not think it would be appropriate to set aside the business which has been laid down by the Government in order to bring this matter on for debate.