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Wednesday, 15 September 1971
Page: 1310


Mr BARNARD (BASS, TASMANIA) - I direct my question to the Prime Minister and refer him to the alarming growth in unemployment in recent months and his forecast that 100,000 people would be out of work by January. Is the right honourable gentleman aware that the unemployment benefit for a man with a dependent wife and one child is only 22 per cent of average weekly earnings? Further, is he aware that the unemployment benefit for a single man is only 11.3 per cent of average weekly earnings? With a substantial rise in unemployment expected because of the Government's budgetary policies, will the Prime Minister consider an immediate increase in the present benefits of $10 for a single man and $19.50 for a man with a dependent wife and one child?


Mr McMAHON - There are 2 statements made by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition that are false. First of all, as to the growth of unemployment, he obviously fails to distinguish between the real figures and the seasonal figures. In terms of the real figures there was a fall last month of over 2,400 in the number registered for employment. Therefore, the first part of his statement is not only incorrect but it should be known by him to be incorrect. The second incorrect statement related to a forecast. I made no forecast whatsoever. If the honourable gentleman . will look at my words he will see that I used the word could' and I referred specifically to the statement that had been made by the Leader of the Opposition in reply to the Treasurer's Budget Speech. In other words, I gave no prediction whatsoever. However, I did point out that if one looks at the figures for January and relates them to what has been said by the Leader of the Opposition one will see that over a long period of time there is not much difference between the 2 sets of figures.







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