Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard   

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Tuesday, 31 May 1994
Page: 911

Senator HARRADINE —My question is directed to the Minister representing the Prime Minister. Has the minister seen a paper entitled The White Paper: Job compact or compact jobs by Dr P.N. Junankar from the public policy program of the ANU, which was presented to the Economic Society of Australia on 24 May? It questions the effectiveness of the strategy of the white paper on employment. It makes the following statement:

There are some policies that are purely "cosmetic": they simply alter the administrative count of unemployment: they simply redefine the problem.

It also says:

Real policies to help the problem of—

the long-term unemployed—

must begin with an attempt to expand aggregate demand.

Given that the government's previous one-off increase in family allowances was adopted to stimulate demand—and successfully did so—will the government follow through and introduce real and permanent family tax relief to underpin the growth of demand and employment under the principles of social justice?

Senator GARETH EVANS —There are a number of questions running together there. So far as the bottom line about aggregate family allowances is concerned, the government has made its position clear in the budget. We have gone as far as we can go, for the moment anyway, in terms of family assistance. That record is one, as I said earlier, that any government can be proud of. Certainly we have been very concerned not just to talk the rhetoric of the family but to provide the wherewithal for families to survive and expand their purchasing capacity through the various strategies to assist the family that we have adopted.

  Of course, it is the case that for substantial economic recovery to occur, the benefits of which will be felt by every section of the community, the key is growth in the economy stimulated by demand by increases of one means or another.

  We are trying to improve, with our overall strategy both macro-economic and micro-economic, Australian competitiveness to the point where we can not only operate in an import substitution fashion but also, of course, penetrate, on an even greater scale than we have been doing so successfully in recent years, export markets including, in particular, in our own part of the world. The key to growth is exports and we are putting in place all the policies which are necessary to produce that result.

  As to the point at which Senator Harradine began about the general effectiveness of the strategy in the white paper, it focuses on a number of different things—investment encouragement, infrastructure, small and medium businesses and trade enhancement measures—but the centrepiece is the job compact and the job training part of it. As the government was at pains to point out, this is not just simply a social justice measure, not just simply an equity measure as important as it may be in that respect and not just simply looking after people in the short period; it is creating a capacity for long term growth in the Australian economy by removing inflationary bottlenecks and ensuring that we have a supply of well trained labour to meet those shortages as they undoubtedly will arise in the future and thereby ensuring, through the contribution of those who become employed one after another, that the economy as a whole will grow further as a result.

  The strategy adopted by the government across the whole spectrum of the issues raised is coherent and is designed to be effective and, I believe, will be effective.