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Tuesday, 19 March 1985
Page: 388


Senator HARRADINE(3.14) —I rise to defend the youth of Australia from this type of nonsense. My concern is that if the sort of panacea that has been presented by the Liberal Party at the present takes hold two problems will emerge. Firstly, the youth will bear the unfair burden that has been placed upon them by successive governments in this country. Secondly, it will mean that, as with all panaceas, expectations will be raised in regard to youth employment or overall employment in this country and those expectations will not be achieved. The problem with Senator Messner's sort of contribution and other contributions that I have heard is that they are not disciplined enough. They do not look at the facts and figures that are staring us in the face. The facts that are staring us in the face have been outlined not only by the report of the Committee of Inquiry into Labour Market Programs-in five minutes it is impossible for me to say what I want to say about the report-but also by the latest report that has come down today, information on which has been published on the front page of the Australian and in other media.

Let us take the example of the Australian Public Service over which the Government has control. What has happened there? The Bureau of Labour Market Research indicates that, over a period of 10 years, 50,000 teenage jobs were wiped out. In 1966-frankly, I do not know whether these figures are as accurate as mine-youth comprised 22.7 per cent of the total Public Service work force. Today the figure has reached all time low of 6.6 per cent. Is that because youth wages were too high in the Public Service? Youth wages, as a percentage of adult wages in the Public Service, are virtually the same today as they were in 1966. We should look at that fact and at those figures. They tear down this stupid panacea that has been put forward.

I want the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations (Mr Willis) to analyse why that has occurred in the Public Service. Let us analyse what Dr Wilenski, the Chairman of the Public Service Board, is doing now. He is discriminating against youth in employment because he is demanding that departments employ adult women in youth jobs. He is in effect saying: 'Let us get more permanent part time works so that the wives of chief public servants in Canberra can have a job'. In one case, a half colonel retired on superannuation. The next day he competed with young people in the Public Service examination and he got the job. These are the sorts of things that people have to analyse right down to the last comment that can be made. Panaceas will not create jobs for young people. They will create more misery for them.