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ABC News Breakfast -

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(generated from captions) You are watching ABC News

Breakfast. The government says

it is disappointed by the axing

of 100 jobs by - 1800 jobs by

Pacific Brands yesterday but

treasury is predicting 300,000

jobs will go by mid next year.

The opposition says the new

job losses prove the government's first stimulus

package has not worked and for

more Andrew Southcott is the

opposition's employment

participation spokesman. He

joins us from Canberra. Good

morning. Good morning Joe.

The government rang this

company and said to them, what

can we do for you. And were

knocked back. Could the

government have done anymore?

The most extraordinary thing

about that I find is that the

government were aware of this

three weeks ago. This was an

announcement which took the

workers at Pacific Brands

completely by surprise. And

yet the government has known

about this for three weeks.

Kevin Rudd and for Julia And the real issue here for

Gillard is to be upfront with

the Australian public. And let

them now how many redundancies

are they now aware of which are

coming in the weeks and months

ahead. There have been reports

that the government gave this

company $15 million in

assistance over the last couple

of years. Do you think that

assistance should have been

tied to particular guarantees

from the company? Could they

have got guaranteed they would

keep Australian jobs? Well,

look I have seen those reports

as well. What it shows is that

has failed. But more

importantly the $10 billion

cash splash has failed. The

Treasurer famously said that

this was leading to people

buying socks and jocks. And

yet what we have seen, that in

the space of only two months

the government has gone from

promising to create 75,000 jobs

to now only supporting 75,000

jobs. Now to the position

where they are preparing people

for large scale redundancies in

the weeks and months to come.

But isn't it a bit rich for

you to be pushing that argument

because at least in relation to Pacific Brands because the CEO

of this company has made it

clear that this plan has been

in train for a year. Well

before the stimulus package.

Well, all I am saying, we have

been warning about the jobs

outlook at least since last

year's Budget. And we could

not get the government to focus

on jobs in May or June last

year. But you are saying this

Pacific Brands incident

highlights the facts or that

you say the stimulus package

didn't work. Well clearly it

didn't. The government said in

December that it would create

75,000 jobs. They are sliding

away from that to saying they

would only support 75,000 jobs.

And now they are just preparing

people for redundancies down

the track. Now on the

government's own forecast they

do predict an extra 300,000s

sob out of work by -

Australians to be out of work

by June next year. 100,000

will be people who lose their

jobs. And we had 2,000 only

yesterday. And what we would

like the government to do, as

front with the Australian an opposition, is to be up

public. They have known about

this for three weeks. It

caught the workers by surprise

and yet they knew. And also

they made a big announcement

the day before on early intervention in employment

services. Which the opposition

have been asking for since

August last year. And it is

very cynical when the

government has actually known

about this for three weeks.

Clothing tariffs are now

17.5%. They are being phased

out over the next several

years to 2015. Do you think

that program should be stopped?

I am not going to get into the

issue of tariffs, I am

specifically focussed on the

issue of jobs. How would you

have saved these jobs? How

pumped into the economy in much money would you have

December last year? The most

important thing that any

Federal Government can do to

create jobs is to create a

climate in which people have

confidence to investment and

confidence to employ people for

the future. And we have seen

that in America with President

Obama, with the chairman of the

Federal Reserve actually

inspiring a bit of confidence.

So you are continuing with

this line that.... that the

Federal Government has been

talking down the economy but we

have heard Kevin Rudd say over

and over in the past several

months Australia is in a better

position to handle this situation than other countries

in the world. They were left

in a very good position. No

debt. Strong budget surpluses

and extremely low unemployment.

Unemployment around 4%. But

the real issue here is the

government needs to be be able

to create and inspire a bit of confidence. At the moment they

are not doing that. They are

actually preparing people for

more redundancies down the

track. But on one hand you

are saying tell people how it

is, which is pretty bleak. And

on the other hand you are

saying they should be talking

economy up. What's the rationale why that argument?

They need to be up front. And

the thing I find quite extraordinary, we have had a

number of announcements from

the government offer the last

couple of weeks, they have

known all along that these ren

dundsies were coming. I am

presuming they know about a lot more redundancies down the

track. Which we are not aware

of, as the opposition, which

the workers themselves are not

aware of. And I think that

they should be upfront. So

finally Andrew, how much worse

do you see this situation

getting? Well, we can only go

on the government's own

forecasts. And they have

progressively up graded the

forecast for unemployment.

They upgraded it in the budget.

They upgraded it in MYEFO in

November and they upgraded it

during their $42 billion cash

spending package. So the

government's own forecasts are

for unemployment to reach 7% by

June 2010. That's an extra

300,000 Australians out of

work. We work on the

government's forecast. There

are a lot of other economic

analysts who say that

unemployment could go much

higher than that. And you

agree with them? Look, we can

only go on what the government

says. We don't have the

resources of the government to

be able to make that kind of

forecast. Andrew Southcott in Canberra thanks very much for

talking to us this morning.