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Thursday, 3 October 1974
Page: 1640

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - I ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate who represents the Acting Prime Minister whether he is aware that the Minister for Labor and Immigration said in Adelaide on 1 3 August that he would rather go out of office than be responsible for having 250,000 people out of work. In view of that statement by the responsible Minister, and in view of the current unemployment figure of 120,000, can the claim yesterday by the Acting Prime Minister that unemployment is not serious be seen as anything but an attempt to sweep under the carpet a problem which has reached alarming proportions?

Senator MURPHY (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Attorney-General) -Whatever happens in the field of employment, the honourable senator can be certain that no unemployment will be caused by the actions of the present Minister for Labor and Immigration who is bending his every effort towards creating a prosperous society in which there will be full employment. I think everyone would recognise that not only the Minister for Labor and Immigration but also the whole Government is endeavouring to achieve that objective. I indicated yesterday in the Senate that there were severe shortages in Australia of certain commodities produced in this country. I referred to 90 products, with another 25 under consideration for duty free entry because of the shortage of those commodities in Australia. In many areas there are opportunities and the Government is encouraging industry and the whole community to take advantage of the enormous resources we have and our skilled manpower.

The Leader of the Country Party in the Senate would recognise that judged in world terms we are one of the most prosperous countries in the world with a high standard of living and a very low level of unemployment. The Government is doing everything it can to reduce even that low level because it is wasteful in any society to have unemployed people who can work. If we are to have higher productivity overall we want to be using the maximum resources of our people. That is the Government's aim. The Leader of the Country Party in the Senate was a Minister in a government that failed entirely and I suggest that instead of offering carping criticism he ought to assist us to achieve these laudible objectives.

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