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Keating blunders on jobs

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John Hewson Leader of the Opposition M e d i a R e l e a s e

15 June 1992 198/92


Mr Keating's attack on Melbourne's Herald Sun for focussing on jobs not only reveals his complete Insensitivity to the plight of the unemployed but is also a major political blunder.

To reject the Herald-Sun's jobs focus as Hpamphleting for the Liberal Party" is just arrogant, insensitive and wrong.

The Herald-Sun has chosen to echo the concerns of millions of Australians by paying prominent attention to the jobs issue and seeking solutions to Australia's worst unemployment record in sixty years.

The outlook for the almost one million Australians is very bleak indeed. Mr Keating should understand that unemployment is not just about statistics, it has a very real human cost.

For example, in an article in today's Melbourne Age, the Deputy Director of the Australian Institute of Family Studies, Dr McDonald is reported to have said that Federal Government policy was causing family breakdown and most of the unemployed

faced several "lost years" if they could not yet work soon.

Moreover, the article also pointed out that since February 10,000 people have contacted the Brotherhood of St Laurence seeking clothing and furniture compared to 5,800 people during the same time last year.

Those young Australians who are not only denied jobs but are also denied education and training face a situation which is nothing short of tragic.

For Mr Keating to argue that the Herald-Sun newspaper should not prominently discuss unemployment when youth unemployment in Victoria is 46 per cent beggars belief. Is he also going to attack the Age and any other newspaper that dares to examine unemployment and related social issues?

The Herald-Sun should be congratulated for providing a forum for discussion of the jobs issue, not berated by an

increasingly insensitive and out of touch Prime Minister.

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