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Tuesday, 15 August 1972
Page: 11


Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) Did the Leader of the Government in the Senate see a report last week that Friday, 1 1 th August, was a bumper day for companies announcing profits? One was a Sydney property developer which boosted its profits by 105 per cent and others had increased their profits by as much as 35 per cent and 63 per cent.


The PRESIDENT - Order! I have just warned honourable senators about giving information. Thai is covered by Standing Order 99. The honourable senator should ask his question.


Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) - ls the Minister also aware that this morning it was reported that over 112,000 Australians are out of work? Will he agree that these 2 reports, appearing within 3 days of one another, highlight the hopeless and unjust policies of this Government? Will he agree that the ordinary Australian citizen is entitled to a more equitable distribution of the wealth of this country?


Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSON -

Probably for the first time today we have a question which has obvious political overtones. I can say with complete frankness that I did not see the statement which Senator Douglas McClelland saw on 11th August and which referred to the profits of a particular company or companies. But had I done so I would not necessarily have drawn the conclusions that the honourable senator has chosen to draw from it. The simple economic fact, which I should think even Senator Douglas McClelland would appreciate, is that company profits are related to a whole series of matters such as capital investment and to circumstances which apply at a particular time. Senator Wright, who represents the Minister for Labour and National Service in this place, already has answered a question in relation to the release of the July unemployment figures. I believe that what he said was completely accurate.

This Government has always sought a condition of full employment in Australia and has been able to achieve that since 1949 when it came into office. But even in a state of full employment there is always some movement up or down in the employment figures. It is a fact that the July figures revealed a movement - not a dramatic one, but nevertheless a movement. If the honourable senator looks at the document published by Mr Lynch he will find that the very first sentence says:

The number of persons registered as unemployed with the Commonwealth Employment Service fell by 2i during July.


Senator Keeffe - You do not believe everything that he says, do you?


Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSON

If that remark was meant as a reflection on a Minister I ask that it be not persisted with. 1 believe that whatever the Minister says officially in a document he will be prepared to back. He does not have to go around the corner to substantiate what he says. A point that must be borne m mind is, as I have said so frequently here, that Australia is a primary producing country whose employment figures often move in accordance with seasons and in accordance with other conditions. I am certain that the situation reflected in the July figures will improve significantly as the months go on.

I wish to add to something said by Senator Wright because of my personal experience overseas during the recess. Lt is true that I was away on health matters and found the task very strenuous and exhausting, but in every country that 1 visited, when I, as every honourable senator does if he is proud of his country, told people that we in Australia have an unemployment figure which runs between 1.4 per cent and 1.7 or 1.8 per cent of the work force, most of them would not believe me.


Senator Cavanagh - Do you think that justifies the present situation?


Senator Ssr KENNETH ANDERSON - 1 am answering the question. If the honourable senator wants to ask a further question later I shall reply to him then. We cannot expect much better figures than those I have cited. During the life of a previous government the unemployment rate was much higher than it is now. Do not let us walk away from that.


Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) - How much of the profits are being transmitted abroad?


Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSON -

That does not necessarily have a relationship to the question which was asked. The question to which 1 am replying was loaded, so I am taking a little time to give an extended answer.







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