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Thursday, 5 May 1994
Page: 341

Senator CAMPBELL (3.22 p.m.) —I will commence by saying that there are a number of fundamentals in this package that remain very much up in the air. Firstly, the government has not told us why, only a few months ago, it actually abolished the junior wage with the industrial relations so-called reform bill, yet here we are, only a few months later, reintroducing a form of traineeship wage. The traineeship wage scheme itself is not defined as it has yet to be defined. The government has met with a high level ACTU committee—which probably means that one or two of them sat in a room at Kirribilli or something—saying, `Look, I think we can get this through, past the ACTU council, if we are lucky. We will work on the numbers, and you give us a hand, Paul—or Simon.' This crucial element of this package has yet to be resolved. Indeed, if the negotiations amongst the trade unionists fall down, basically the whole fundamental tenor of the package falls to pieces.

  It is gross hypocrisy to have abolished junior wages under the reform bill last year and now to try to introduce a trainee wage, having attacked, as Senator Watson said, our trainee wage during the last election. Senator Gareth Evans spent minutes and minutes of question time saying how terrible $3 an hour was. I am reliably informed that the government proposal is actually $3.20. I am sure everyone will be really pleased about the 20c. When I was a kid I could buy a can of Coke for 20c; I would get about one gulp of Coca-Cola for 20c now. But I am sure all the young people without jobs—many of them have not had jobs for 12 months—will be really pleased to get $3.20 an hour from this government.

  Secondly, we need to be told by the government whether these trainee wages will be subject to industrial relations law. If they are going to be, will the government alter every single award and therefore introduce the trainee wages that way or, if they are not subject to the IR legislation, what is the situation? All these things are left up in the air. People need to know these things before the whole package falls to pieces.

  The One Nation statement was about a one-week wonder. It was a PR exercise to make it look at though the government had energy—as Mr Keating said this week, a sort of reinvigorated, energised government. We have reinvigorated the government now with people like Carmen Lawrence—who is so vigorous that she lost the last state election—a recycled, failed premier.

Senator Knowles —Chris Schacht.

Senator CAMPBELL —As Senator Knowles says, Senator Schacht stands here today criticising the opposition and saying that Senator Boswell in the only person who knows anything about small business when I know that just about every colleague of mine has had intricate knowledge of, if not personal involvement in, running small businesses. The only relationship that I think Senator Schacht has had with small business is visiting the odd sandwich shop. I just wonder whether he did visit the famous sandwich shop out in Moonee Ponds.

  I know that Senator Brownhill wants to make a contribution, but the final matter I want to mention is the location of the jobs. We heard on the Lateline program last night from an expert commentator whose name I forget that we need about $6 1/2 billion worth of public and private sector investment each and every year for the next six years to get to the government's target. I have never seen such a `yes minister' type of figure sitting in front of a television camera trying to worm his way out of a question than Senator Cook when Kerry O'Brien asked him where the $6 1/2 billion worth of investment would be coming from. Senator Cook did a tremendous job of not answering the question.

Senator Gareth Evans —Wait until the budget next week.

Senator CAMPBELL —So are we going to get $6 1/2 billion worth of public sector investment, are we? That $6 1/2 billion is going to be in the budget, is it?

Senator Gareth Evans —Sorry, you said what?

Senator CAMPBELL —I asked where the $6 1/2 billion of new public sector and private sector investment is going to be that is needed each and every year for the next six years to get this country down to five per cent unemployment. I hope we get it. I would like to see it. Each month we wait. We wait to see the investment suddenly come flooding in.

  I sure as hell hope it does because so many people out there need to see that investment. But at the moment all this package is doing is creating jobs, and it is creating them in only one place. As Senator McMullan said on 2CN this morning, it will be great for Canberra because all these new bureaucrats will be working there to administer all these new programs. The thing that people out in the states need to know is that yet again this Labor government is introducing more jobs for bureaucrats in Canberra and not helping to create any private sector jobs out in the states.