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Thursday, 11 October 1956

Mr HAROLD HOLT (HIGGINS, VICTORIA) - I shall examine the circumstances in the industry to which the honorable member has referred, but I believe it would be undesirable if. as a result of a series of questions about employment problems in particular sections of industry, any general impression were created that there was growing unemployment in Australia. In point of fact, although there have been retrenchments in some directions, and transfers of workers, the overall position in recent weeks has shown a decline in the number of recipients of unemployment benefit throughout Australia.

Mr Curtin - Does not the Minister get sick of saying that?

Mr HAROLD HOLT (HIGGINS, VICTORIA) - I do not get sick of telling the truth which, apparently, is not palatable to honorable members on the Opposition side. That is the general picture as suggested by official and authorative opinion that is coming to me. That does not mean that, in some particular section or other, there may not be a decline in the rate of activity formerly obtaining, but the policy of the Government, and its responsibility, are to endeavour to maintain sufficient buoyancy in the economy to ensure that there are adequate opportunities, for persons who are able and willing, to obtain jobs.

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