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Friday, 3 April 1987
Page: 1826

Senator VANSTONE —My question is directed to the Minister representing the Prime Minister. I refer the Minister to the well-known cartoon featuring the Prime Minister at his desk with a punk hair-do and filing his nails with a rasp which has as its caption: `Youth of Australia, Priority Two. Don't call us, we'll call you'. I remind the Minister that today only 12 of the 300 Ansett Priority One: Young Australia traineeships which were announced in 1985 are in place. I ask the Minister: Firstly, when can the remaining 288 trainees expect a call? Secondly, what action is the Government taking to remedy the failure of the Priority One scheme to generate private sector traineeships? Thirdly, are certain unions holding up the negotiations and thereby denying young Australians the opportunities a traineeship would offer? Lastly, with 75,000 more 15- to 24-year olds, including 64,200 more 15- to 19-year olds unemployed since Priority One commenced, what steps will the Government take to deal with this serious problem?

Senator BUTTON —I do not have the command of detail which would enable me to answer all the specific questions in that general question which the honourable senator has asked, nor is my numeracy adequate enough to cope with all those figures. I want that to be understood. I will certainly try to get the honourable senator a detailed answer on the question.

The process of negotiating traineeships has been a difficult one. It was difficult initially with some of the unions. I do not think there are any difficulties remaining with the unions. There are still difficulties remaining with management in a number of areas. I am not seeking to buy into a whose fault type argument in saying that. I think that is the reality, that is the essence of the problem currently. I will try to get the honourable senator an early answer to the detailed parts of the question.