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Wednesday, 16 September 1936

Senator COLLINGS (Queensland) . - It is true that the method at present adopted in the compilation of statistics covering a number of matters such as those to which Senator Hardy has referred, including unemployment and incomes earned and not earned, leaves much to be desired. In regard to the unemployment figures secured from the trade unions it is contended that they show only a proportion of the persons employed or unemployed as the case may be, but such particulars are valuable as providing a means of comparison, because they are the only basis upon which figures relative to unemployment arc obtained. As the basis is always the same the percentage increase or decrease over a given period can always be ascertained. It is true also - and this is a vital pointthat in obtaining figures in that way no notice is. taken of the tens of thousandsof youths who are approaching manhood, but who, since leaving school, have never had a job, and consequently are not members of trade unions and cannot be counted in the lists of unemployed supplied by them. Senator Hardy made a mistake in the figures which he cited regarding the number of breadwinners.

Senator Hardy - I did not use the word " breadwinners " ; I said persons.

Senator COLLINGS - The honorable senator at any rate said that there were over 3,000,000 persons who were not in receipt of any income at all.

Senator Hardy - The figures which I cited are shown at page 11 of the census return for 1933.

Senator COLLINGS - According to the Commonwealth Year-Booh for 1935, in which the census figures of 1933 are published, Senator. Hardy has greatly exaggerated the position. Does the honorable senator seriously suggest that of a total of 6,500,000 persons in Australia, half are not earning anything? Whilst the compilation of statistics in Australia is a discredit to this Parliament, I think it would be unwise to allow the figures cited by Senator Hardy to go unchallenged.

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