Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
The future of employment



Download PDFDownload PDF

V

9^ $ , -

> ■ ■ \ -r

3 > 0 . ,Vr , · c- ;■ .. · , ': v ‘v

' *-» »

ζ έ β ·

^ ADDRESS BY

THE HON. IAN MACPHEE, M . P . , M IN IST E R FOR PRODUCTIVITY

AT

THE THIRD ANNUAL CONVENTION

INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS SOCIETY OF TASMANIA

AUGUST 1 3 , 1 9 7 7

34-CU

cTHE FUTURE OF EMPLOYMENT

I T I S A SAD COMMENTARY ON OUR SOCIETY THAT IT IS .O N L Y WHEN WE REACH

UNACCEPTABLE LEVELS OF UNEMPLOYMENT THAT WE BEGIN TO SERIOUSLY D ISC U SS

THAT SU B JE C T . ·

I AM PLEASED TO BE ABLE TO BE PRESENT TODAY AND TO PA R T IC IPA T E IN THE

D ISCU SSIO N AND I CERTAINLY CONGRATULATE THE INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS SOCIETY

OF TASMANIA ON CHOOSING T H IS THEME.

I HOPE, HOWEVER, THAT NO ONE SERIOUSLY EXPECTS THAT THE UNEMPLOYMENT

WHICH NOW WORRIES US ALL WILL BE BANISHED OVERNIGHT - NO MATTER HOW

DETERMINED WE ALL MAY BE THAT I T SHOULD B E .

THE REASONS FOR THE E X IS T IN G LEVELS OF UNEMPLOYMENT MAY BE SUMMARISED AS

BEIN G : . .

. POOR DOMESTIC ECONOMIC MANAGEMENT;

. UNFAVOURABLE INTERNATIONAL TRADE PATTERNS;

. UNDERLYING STRUCTURAL CHANGES IN THE .ECONOMY; .

/o

«. ·> . .* I . .

»fV V-::.'.-- ·

- 2 -

AND THE SA LIEN T FACT I S THAT EVEN THOUGH THE F IR S T OF THOSE FACTORS HAS ‘•Λ < * · - . ·

• - - . · UNDOUBTEDLY IMPROVED AND THE SECOND SHOWS PROMISING SIG N S OF IMPROVING,

THE UNDERLYING STRUCTURAL CHANGES S T IL L BEDEVIL U S . .

T H IS ASPECT OF OUR UNEMPLOYMENT HAS BEEN EMERGING FOR SOME YEARS AND WE

ALL FA ILED TO ID EN TIFY THE PROBLEM UNTIL THE F IR S T TWO FACTORS HIGHLIGHTED

THE OVERALL PROBLEM SO DRAMATICALLY.

T H IS PROBLEM OF STRUCTURAL CHANGE, THEREFORE, EMERGED GRADUALLY AND I T WILL

T H IS FACT WAS, PRESUMABLY, RECOGNIZED BY YOUR ORGANIZING COMMITTEE WHEN

THEY USED. THE T IT L E "TH E FUTURE OF UNEMPLOYMENT" AND IN V ITED THE M IN ISTER

FOR PRODUCTIVITY TO SPEAK ON THAT SU B JE C T . . .

• ' . ;· ‘ '

' ' . ' _ _

HAD THEY CHOSEN SIMPLY "UNEMPLOYMENT" THEY WOULD, PRESUMABLY, IN V IT E D MY

COLLEAGUE TONY STREET AND ASKED HIM TO EXAMINE P O S S IB L E SHORT TERM

EMPLOYMENT SCHEMES AND TO EXPLAIN WHAT THE GOVERNMENT HAS DONE.TO DATE BY

WAY OF IMMEDIATE TRAINING AND EMPLOYMENT SCHEMES. MANY OF YOU ARE

FAM ILIAR WITH THE REVISED AND EXPANDED NEAT SCHEME, AND THE CRAFT AND. CYSS

PROGRAMS. SOME OF YOU MAY WISH TO D ISCUSS THEM IN THE CONTEXT OF VARIOUS

PAPERS AT THE CONFERENCE. . ' '

MY CONTRIBUTION W IL L , HOWEVER, BE RELATED TO MY PORTFOLIO AND TO THE

FUTURE RATHER THAN TO THE PR ESEN T. ,

F IR S T I SHOULD SAY A L IT T L E ABOUT MY DEPARTMENT.

. THE M INISTRY OF PRODUCTIVITY WAS ESTABLISHED BY THE FRASER GOVERNMENT

IN RECOGNITION OF THE FACT THAT AUSTRALIANS WHETHER IN GOVERNMENT; .

ONLY BE SOLVED GRADUALLY O

- 3 -

_ p ^ '· '· v .

", ‘ · ■ ■

^ ' ·'■ MANAGEMENT OR THE TRADE UNIONS HAVE BEEN TOO SHORT TERM IN TH EIR THINKING . . · · · > » · . ·

ABOUT SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC P O L IC IE S . TH IS CONCENTRATION ON THE SHORT ·*. ·*·*·' · · .

TERM HAS BEEN UNDERSTANDABLE. FOR ONE THING GOVERNMENTS TEND TO RESPOND

TO THE SHORT TERM THINKING OF TH EIR VOTERS - VOTERS WHO PLACE A GREAT

• EMPHASIS ON THE H IP POCKET NERVE. FOR ANOTHER, OUR PATTERN OF ELECTIONS

. BETWEEN OUR SEVEN GOVERNMENTS KEEPS P O L IT IC IA N S CONCENTRATING ON THE SHORT

TERM (AND THE MEDIA CERTAINLY NEVER ENCOURAGE THEM TO.DO O TH ER W ISE). T H IS

IN TURN FOCUSES GREAT ATTENTION UPON THE ANNUAL BUDGET WHICH, BECAUSE OF

THE NATURE OF OUR ELEC TIO N S, CAN RARELY PLACE LONG TERM MATTERS IN THE

q FOREFRONT UNLESS THEY HAVE POPULAR APPEAL.

ONE RESULT OF T H IS PREOCCUPATION WITH THE SHORT TERM WAS OUR FAILURE TO

SEE THE UNDERLYING STRUCTURAL CHANGE GOING ON W ITHIN AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY.

THESE STRUCTURAL CHANGES WERE LARGELY OVERLOOKED BY GOVERNMENTS,

MANAGEMENT AND THE UNIONS BECAUSE THE PROSPEROUS ECONOMIC CONDITIONS

WHICH PREVAILED FOR A GENERATION AFTER WORLD WAR TOO D ISG U ISED SOME OF

THE TRENDS WHICH, DURING THE ECONOMIC RECESSION OF THE LAST FEW YEARS,

HAVE BECOME ALL TOO EV ID EN T. CONSEQUENTLY, WHILST I T I S PO SSIB L E TO

RESTORE OUR PATTERN OF ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT BY GOOD BUDGET

(" . MANAGEMENT, OUR GREAT HOPE FOR A RETURN TO SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC PROSPERITY . L IE S IN A CONCERTED NATIONAL EFFORT TO IMPROVE PRO D U CTIV ITY .

• ONE OF THE D IF F IC U L T IE S FACING THE M IN ISTRY OF PRODUCTIVITY I S THE FACT

THAT- THE TERM "PRO D U CTIV ITY " IT S E L F I S VIEWED WITH SU SPIC IO N BY THE TRADE

UNIONS AND I S MISUNDERSTOOD BY MANY PEOPLE IN THE COMMUNITY, INCLUDING

SOME IN MANAGEMENT. THERE ARE MANY D E F IN IT IO N S OF PRODUCTIVITY BUT I T I S

GENERALLY ACCEPTED AS BEING A REDUCTION IN THE UNIT COSTS OF PRODUCTION

OF GOODS AND S E R V IC E S . I T DOES NOT NECESSARILY MEAN PRODUCING MORE GOODS

AND S E R V IC E S , BUT I T DOES MEAN PRODUCING AT A LOWER U N IT COST. T H IS MAY

BE DONE IN MANY DIFFERENT WAYS AND NOT ALL OF THEM I S APPLICABLE TO EVERY

- M . . .

INDUSTRY. THE DEPARTMENT OF PRODUCTIVITY I S REQUIRED BY THE GOVERNMENT TO

HELP IMPROVE THE PRODUCTIVITY OF ALL INDUSTRY - WHETHER IN THE PUBLIC OR

PRIVATE SECTOR, AND WHETHER PRIMARY, SECONDARY OR TERTIA RY . I T ’I S THEREFORE

CONCERNED WITH MACRO-ECONOMIC POLICY AND MUST MONITOR THE CHANGES WHICH ARE

FORESEEABLE IN THE MARKET PLACE AND IN THE INTERDEPENDENT RELATIONSHIP WHICH

THE VARIOUS SECTORS OF THE ECONOMY HAVE WITH EACH OTHER. I T I S CHARGED

WITH THE R E S P O N S IB IL IT Y OF FORMING P O L IC IE S IN RELATION TO TECHNOLOGY AND

PE O PL E . IN RESPECT OF TECHNOLOGY I T I S RESPONSIBLE FOR A S S IS T IN G

AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY TO IMPROVE IT S PRODUCTIVITY BY THE INSTALLATION OF

EQUIPMENT WHICH I S DESIGNED TO IMPROVE PRODUCTIVITY, AND IN MANY CASES IT

WILL ENCOURAGE AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY TO DESIGN IT S OWN MACHINERY RATHER THAN

IMPORT MACHINERY WHICH HAS BEEN DESIGNED FOR QUITE DIFFERENT MARKETS AND

WHICH MAY NOT MAKE A SUBSTANTIAL IMPROVEMENT TO OUR PRODUCTIVITY WITHOUT

CONSIDERABLE ALTERATION OR COMPLETE R ED ESIG N . . ■ .

THE RESOURCES OF THE DEPARTMENT IN RESPECT OF TECHNOLOGY ARE VERY

. CONSIDERABLE AS I T CONTAINS THE ESSENCE OF THE FORMER DEPARTMENT OF

SUPPLY WHICH WAS RENOWNED FOR PRODUCING VERY F IN E AUSTRALIAN I INVENTIONS

SUCH AS THE IKARA M IS S IL E , THE J IN D IV IC PIL O T L E S S A IR C R A FT, THE NOMAD

A IRCRA FT, AND NOW IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT, THE

REVOLUTIONARY AIRCRAFT LANDING SYSTEM KNOWN AS INTERSCAN. THE DEPARTMENT

OF PRODUCTIVITY HAS. BEEN GIVEN THE R E S P O N S IB IL IT Y FOR DEVELOPING INTERSCAN

TO THE PO IN T WHERE I T MAY BE INSTALLED THROUGHOUT THE WORLD, THEREBY

IMPROVING CONSIDERABLY THE SAFETY OF AIRCRAFT OF ALL K IN D S . T H IS SYSTEM

HAS ALREADY RECEIVED RECOGNITION FROM THE INTERNATIONAL C IV IL AVIATION

AUTHORITY, AND L IK E THE NOMAD AIRCRAFT WHICH HAS RECEIVED UNITED STATES

C E R T IF IC A T IO N , THE PROSPECTS FOR INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION OF T H IS

TECHNOLOGY ARE VERY BRIGHT IN D EED . THE QUALITY OF AUSTRALIAN

ENGINEERING, S C IE N T IF IC ENDEAVOUR AND CRAFTMANSHIP HAVE BEEN CLEARLY

DEMONSTRATED BY THESE AND OTHER PROJECTS AND ONE OF MY.TASKS W ILL-B E TO

CONVINCE AUSTRALIANS THAT THEY CAN PRODUCE TECHNOLOGY OF GREAT QUALITY

An d ' s o p h i s t i c a t i o n , a n d t h a t t h e y d o n o t n e e d t o c o n s t a n t l y BORROW f r o m

OTHER PE O PL E . FOR, IN ADDITION TO OUR GENERAL FAILURE TO THINK IN A

LONG TERM WAY WE HAVE FAILED TO BELIEVE IN OURSELVES AND OUR OWN

C A P A B IL IT IE S AND HAVE TAKEN THE VIEW THAT I F I T I S SOMEONE E L S E 'S IDEA

I T MUST BE GOOD, BUT I F I T I S AUSTRALIAN I T CANNOT BE GOOD. THE FEDERAL

GOVERNMENT I S DETERMINED TO PROMOTE A SEN SIB LE B E L IE F BY AUSTRALIANS IN

TH EIR OWN C A P A B IL IT IE S - THEREBY HELPING TO CREATE NEW, SKILLED JO B S .

A SIM ILA R KIND OF LEADERSHIP WILL ALSO BE PROVIDED BY THE DEPARTMENT IN

RESPECT OF THE HUMAN ASPECTS OF PRODUCTIVITY IMPROVEMENT. THE DEPARTMENT

W ILL BE CONCERNED TO DEVELOP RETRAINING PROGRAMS WHICH CAN BE DESIGNED TO

PLACE PEOPLE IN EMPLOYMENT IN AREAS WHICH ARE NECESSARY FOR OUR FUTURE

ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT; IN JOBS WHICH ARE APPROPRIATE TO THE

INCREASED EDUCATIONAL ACHIEVEMENTS OF SUCCESSIVE GENERATIONS OF .

AUSTRALIANS AND IN JOBS WHICH ARE DESIGNED AS MUCH AS P O S S IB L E HAVING

REGARD TO THE A B IL IT IE S OF THE PEOPLE WHO ARE TO F IL L THEM, AND THE ■ ‘

EXTENT TO WHICH THEY D ESIR E INCREASED R E S P O N S IB IL IT Y . WE ARE AIMING NOT

MERELY FOR JOBS BUT SA T ISFY IN G JO B S .

NOT EVERYONE WANTS TO HAVE GREATER R E S P O N S IB IL IT IE S AT THE WORKPLACE BUT ·

GREATER ATTENTION WILL HAVE TO BE GIVEN TO THE WAY IN WHICH R E S P O N S IB IL IT Y

I S DELEGATED SO THAT THOSE WHO ARE CAPABLE AND W ILLING MAY ASSUME GREATER

R E S P O N S IB IL IT Y AND IN JE C T T H E IR OWN IDEAS INTO THE WAY IN WHICH EN TER PR ISES

OPERATE. THE MINISTRY I S ALSO CONCERNED WITH THE QUALITY OF THE PHYSICAL

WORKING ENVIRONMENT ON MATTERS SUCH AS L IG H T IN G , HEATING, VENTILATION AND

N O ISE LEVELS IN ORDER THAT THE QUALITY OF L IF E AT WORK MAY CONFORM AS

CLOSELY AS PO SSIB LE WITH THE QUALITY OF L IF E M UCH MOST EMPLOYEES ENJOY .

OUTSIDE THE WORKPLACE. T H IS AGAIN I S IMPORTANT TO ENABLE EMPLOYEES TO

WORK WITH GREATER JOB SA TISFA CTIO N AND LESS ABSENTEEISM , JOB TURNOVER AND

- 6 -

■ ~ · ± : ί : ·

- · .. ■ · ’ ι '

" · DISGRUNTLEMENT AT WORK - FACTORS WHICH IM PA IR PRODUCTIVITY. WE ARE ALSO

CONCERNED TO ENCOURAGE MANAGEMENT AND IT S EMPLOYEES TO ESTABLISH BETTER

L IN E S OF COMMUNICATION THAN NOW GENERALLY E X IS T IN ORDER THAT AS MANY

IRRITA N TS AS. PO SSIB L E ARE ELIM INATED, AND THAT EMPLOYEES HAVE IMPARTED

TO THEM MATTERS OF MUTUAL CONCERN BETWEEN THEM AND MANAGEMENT SO THAT

THEY IN TURN MAY MAKE CONSTRUCTIVE SUGGESTIONS TO MANAGEMENT ABOUT THE

WAY IN -'WHICH THE SYSTEM OF WORK AND OTHER ASPECTS OF THE COMPANY'S

OPERATION ARE PERFORMED. '

MANY OF THESE MATTERS HAVE ALREADY BEEN TACKLED BY THE MORE PROGRESSIVE

COMPANIES BUT MUCH MORE REMAINS TO BE DONE. THE COMMONWEALTH GOVERNMENT

I S COMMITTED TO A S S IS T IN G PEOPLE TO EXPLORE THESE MATTERS FOR THEMSELVES

AND WE HAVE NO INTENTION OF IMPOSING SOLUTIONS UPON THEM BECAUSE THERE ARE

NO UNIVERSAL ANSWERS TO THESE KINDS OF PROBLEMS. ALL THAT WE CAN HOPE TO

DO AS A LONG TERM ORIENTATED DEPARTMENT I S TO HELP CREATE A CLIMATE IN

WHICH PEOPLE CAN MAKE TH EIR OWN D EC ISIO N S REGARDING TH EIR OWN FUTURE

OPERATIONS. I F WE CAN CREATE AN AWARENESS OF THE HARD QUESTIONS WHICH

HAVE TO BE FACED UP TO BY LABOUR AND MANAGEMENT AND TRY TO PROVIDE GUIDANCE

AS THEY FACE UP TO THOSE QUESTIONS THEN WE WILL GO A LONG WAY TOWARDS

HELPING PEOPLE TO IMPROVE TH EIR OWN PRODUCTIVITY. AT THE SAME TIME I T

WILL BECOME EVIDENT TO ME AND TO THE DEPARTMENT THAT OTHER AREAS OF

M IN IST E R IA L R E S P O N S IB IL IT Y ARE INVOLVED AND THAT OTHER P O L IC IE S OF

.< GOVERNMENT MAY HAVE TO BE CHANGED IN ORDER TO PROVIDE THE MOTIVATION AND

ENCOURAGEMENT FOR PEOPLE TO A S S IS T THEMSELVES OVER THE RANGE OF MATTERS

WHICH CONCERN PRODUCTIVITY IMPROVEMENT. AND I T I S ONLY WITH SUCH ■

PRODUCTIVITY IMPROVEMENT THAT WE WILL CREATE AND SUSTAIN SECURITY OF

SA TISFY IN G EMPLOYMENT. '

THE RANGE OF THESE MATTERS I S TOO GREAT TO MENTION - IN A SHORT ADDRESS.

I HAVE REFERRED TO A NUMBER ALREADY AND SHOULD ADD THAT MATTERS SUCH AS

OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND THE PHYSICAL HANDLING AND D ISTR IB U TIO N OF GOODS

t . 5

v .

► -Λ-.,· _ 7 _

' "-V. < V ... ■ / ■

i: · - . ’

■ r^v> ··.·' :

Λ * , ;.>?Μ ϊ :' ' ■ ··* · .

. I S OF CRUCIAL CONCERN TO MAXIMISE THE EFFECTIV E U T IL IS A T IO N OF ALL OUR

- i - r .

: · . RESOURCES. ... .

■ ■ ■ . · - · ■ ’ .

. THERE W ILL ALWAYS BE LEGITIM ATE AREAS OF DIFFERENCE. BETWEEN MANAGEMENT

. AND IT S EMPLOYEES BUT OUR ATTENTION HAS BEEN CONCENTRATED TOO MUCH ON

THOSE DIFFERENCES AND NOT ENOUGH ON THE AREAS OF COMMON ANXIETY. I T I S

. QUITE OBVIOUSLY IN THE MUTUAL S E L F -IN T E R E S T OF MANAGEMENT AND LABOUR TO

WORK TOGETHER AND S T IL L HAVE L EG ITIM A TE. ARGUMENTS ABOUT HOW THEY WILL

SHARE THE FRU ITS OF INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY. .

C. · .WHEN P O L IC IE S ON MATTERS SUCH AS THESE BEGIN TO EMERGE WE WILL HAVE GONE A LONG WAY TO MAKE CAPITAL WORK HARDER AND TO ENABLE PEOPLE TO WORK MORE

EFFEC TIV ELY . THERE I S NO DOUBT THAT AT THE MOMENT BOTH CAPITAL AND

EMPLOYEES ARE WORKING BELOW CAPACITY IN BOTH ENTERPRISES IN AUSTRALIA.

BECAUSE OF OUR D ESIR E FOR HIGH INCOMES AND OUR SMALL MARKET WE S T IL L NEED

’ TO BE EVEN MORE E F F IC IE N T IN OUR USE OF RESOURCES THAN ARE OUR INTERNATIONAL

COMPETITORS WHO HAVE GREATER ECONOMIES OF SCALE. I T I S AS I HAVE S A ID , THE

R E S P O N S IB IL IT Y OF GOVERNMENTS TO TAKE THE LEAD AND TO BE MORE INVOLVED IN

MONITORING CHANGE AND IN HELPING TO MODERATE THE RATE OF CHANGE IN SOME

. D IRECTIONS AND ACCELERATE I T IN OTHERS IN ORDER TO TRY AND HARMONISE THE

RATE OF TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGE WITH THE RATE OF R ETR A IN IN G . THUS, WE MAY

. AVOID ANY FUTURE SHARP FLUCTUATIONS IN THE EMPLOYMENT P IC T U R E . THAT I S

• NOT TO SAY THAT WE WILL NOT HAVE CYCLES OF VARYING PROSPERITY BUT MUCH

OF THAT WILL THEN BE ATTRIBUTABLE TO INTERNATIONAL TRADE FACTORS AND

DOMESTIC ECONOMIC MANAGEMENT. I F WE CAN PRODUCE AN UNDERLYING ST A B IL IT Y

IN OUR PATTERN OF ADJUSTMENT TO CHANGE WE WILL HAVE AN ASSURED STEADY

STREAM OF PRODUCTIVITY IMPROVEMENT WHICH WILL HELP US GREATLY TO HARNESS

ADVANTAGES WHICH COME OUR WAY WIEN DOMESTIC MANAGEMENT I S EXCELLENT AND

WHEN TRADE PATTERNS ARE FAVOURABLE. SIM ILARLY THAT ST A B IL IT Y OF

PRODUCTIVITY GROWTH WILL HELP US TO CUSHION THE WORST EFFECTS OF .

MISMANAGEMENT AND UNFAVOURABLE TRADE PATTERNS

■ . ' '· V ■ ' · · ‘

THERE . I S NO DOUBT THAT OUR ECONOMIC AND FUTURE WELL BEING RESTS UPON A ^ '

COORDINATED EFFORT BY STATE AND FEDERAL GOVERNMENTS, EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES

AND TH EIR R ESPECTIV E ORGANISATIONS TO ID EN TIFY AND SEPARATE THE AREAS. IN .

WHICH THEY MAY HAVE LEGITIM ATE AND GENUINE DIFFERENCE OF O PIN IO N AND \

THOSE UPON WHICH THEY MUST HAVE FOR TH EIR MUTUAL WELL B E IN G , A COMMON GOAL.·

AND PO L IC Y . · ·

IN SHORT, TO A S S IS T FUTURE EMPLOYMENT PRO SPEC TS, GOVERNMENTS MUST NOT

MERELY REDUCE IN FLATION BY SOUND ECONOMIC MANAGEMENT (A VITAL BEG IN N IN G ,

AS EVERYONE A G R E E S ), BUT THEY MUST ENSURE THAT THEY PROVIDE THE LONG TERM

FRAMEWORK W ITHIN WHICH THERE MUST BE MAXIMUM COOPERATION BETWEEN ALL ·

INTERESTED P A R T IE S . - RE BOTH "TECHNOLOGY" AND "P E O P L E ". .

NOT ONLY MUST GOVERNMENTS WORK CLOSELY TOGETHER - FEDERAL AND STATE - BUT

THERE MUST BE CLOSE COORDINATION BETWEEN LABOUR AND C A PIT A L , SK IL L S AND.

TECHNOLOGY. , . .·.'

IN A S S IS T IN G TO BRING T H IS ABOUT, MY DEPARTMENT WILL HAVE A MOST*IMPORTANT "

ROLE. ONE HOPES THAT I T WILL BE P O S S IB L E , WHEN WE HAVE REALLY BEGUN TO

ACHIEVE AND SEE THE FR U IT S OF T H IS COOPERATION, TO BE ABLE TO FORETELL

REASONABLY WELL THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME. UNFORTUNATELY WE DO NOT NOW

PO SSESS EITH ER THAT DEGREE OF INFORMATION OR A CRYSTAL BALL. D ISC U SSIO N

CAN BE A S S IS T E D , HOWEVER, BY REFERENCE’ TO THE P A S T .

' UNTIL THE LATE 1 9 6 0 ’ S , AUSTRALIA HAD AN ENVIABLE POST-WAR EMPLOYMENT

RECORD, ASSOCIATED WITH NOTABLE POPULATION GROWTH, S IG N IF IC A N T ECONOMIC

AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT, NEG LIG IBLE UNEMPLOYMENT AND RELATIVELY STABLE ,

P R IC E S . THERE WERE MINOR AND SHORT-LIVED ERUPTIONS - LABOUR SHORTAGES

IN THE 1 9 5 0 ’ S AND 1 9 6 0 ’ S , D IF F IC U L T PERIODS IN AGRICULTURE AND IN SOME

CONSUMER GOODS IN D U STRIES - BUT GENERALLY THESE DID NOT CAUSE LOSS OF

CONFIDENCE NATIONALLY IN GROWTH WITH RELATIVE ECONOMIC S T A B IL IT Y . .

• /Q

- 8 -

/ ·,·%': "'·.·/

•V V < v

.·,· c .

■'W N

c

c.

· . · . ·. . ■ - 9 - . .

.. · ' ■ ' '

THE MORE S IG N IF IC A N T FEATURES WERE - .

- ‘ . TOE LABOUR FORCE GREW AT A STRONG RATE - A L IT T L E LESS THAN

' . 3% PER ANNUM - ALTHOUGH FLATTENING OUT WAS EVIDENT FROM

AB0UT 1 9 7 1 . .

. ' POST 1 9 4 7 , IMMIGRATION CONTRIBUTED OVER 60% TO GROWTH OF .

- THE LABOUR FORCE; WITHOUT T H IS IMMIGRATION, LABOUR FORCE .

-· " GROWTH WOULD HAVE BEEN SEVERELY CURTAILED IN THE EARLIER

PART OF THE P E R IO D . . .

. . THE FEMALE LABOUR INCREASED AT AROUND TWICE THE RATE OF THE

MALE LABOUR FORCE.

. THE R A PID LY -IN CREA SIN G YOUTH POPULATION - DUE TO THE LOW

BIRTH· RATE OF THE " 3 0 ’ s " , THE DRAMATIC INCREASE IN THE BIRTH

RATE AFTER THE WAR AND ALSO TO THE IMMIGRATION PROGRAM -

BROUGHT PRESSURE ON ALL LEVELS OF THE EDUCATION SYSTEM, AND

. ‘ I n c r e a s e d d e m a n d s i n i n d u s t r i e s c a t e r i n g f o r y o u t h - i n ,

.. FACT MANY IN D U STRIES WERE INFLUENCED BY THE VAGARIES OF

. YOUTHFUL TA STE.

'. THE FA ST-IN CREA SIN G POPULATION, FROM BOTH AUSTRALIAN ^BORN

* AND THE IMMIGRATION PROGRAM, ALSO CREATED A LARGE DEMAND FOR

CONSUMER GOODS, CAPITAL GOODS AND ASSOCIATED COMMUNITY

■ SERVICES - H O SPIT A L S, SCHOOLS, POWER, HOUSING, E T C . '

. . THERE WERE S H IF T S IN EMPLOYMENT BY IN D U STRIES WITH EMPLOYMENT

y IN AGRICULTURE FALLING FROM 1 2 .8 % TO 6 .2 % OF THE LABOUR FORCE

‘ BETWEEN 1 9 5 4 AND 1 9 7 7 , THE PROPORTION IN MANUFACTURING FALLING

FROM 3 0 .0 % TO 2 1 .5 % , THE PROPORTION IN BUILDING AND -

€ CONSTRUCTION FALLING FROM 8 .9 % TO 8 .3 % AND THE PROPORTION IN

OTHER IN D U STRIES (ESSENTIALLY' TERTIARY) INCREASING FROM 4 8 .3 %

• TO 6 4 .0 % . (THESE S T A T IS T IC S ARE NOT STRICTLY COMPARABLE AS

. THEY ARE FROM DIFFERENT S E R IE S , BUT THE DIFFERENCES ARE NOT

SUCH AS TO DISTORT THE DEGREE OF RELATIVE CHANGE.) .

/ 1 0 . - .

■ ,· TECHNOLOGY ADVANCED APACE WITH SIG N IF IC A N T DEVELOPMENTS

· IN IN D U STR IES SUCH AS AUTOMOBILES, A IRCRA FT, PETROLEITM,

. SY N TH ETICS, ELECTRONICS.

. . WITH GREATER NUMBERS PROGRESSING TO HIGHER EDUCATION, ·

• THE AGE AT WHICH THE YOUNG, IN GENERAL, BEGIN TO SEEK WORK

INCREASED - '^LAGGING" ENTRY TO THE LABOUR FORCE. ■

THOSE FACTORS INDUCING GROWTH AND CHANGE IN THE PAST - IMMIGRATION, THE

ENTRY OF MORE WOMEN TO THE LABOUR FORCE, RAPIDLY INCREASING YOUTH

POPULATION, NEW IN D U STRIES - NOW HAVE LESS INFLUENCE. FURTHER, AUSTRALIA

I S EXPERIENCING HIGH IN FL A T IO N , AND CHANGES ABROAD ARE IMPACTING MORE ON

THE ECONOMY. . . y

THE LABOUR FORCE, IN MORE RECENT YEARS, HAS BEEN GROWING AT A SLOWER RATE

- ABOUT 1 .8 % PER ANNUM IN THE 10 YEARS ENDED MAY 1 9 7 7 COMPARED WITH ALMOST

3% OVER MOST OF THE POST-WAR YEARS. A PRIME REASON FOR TH IS WAS THE

REDUCED IMMIGRATION PROGRAM. FROM A NET GAIN OF 1 2 9 ,0 4 6 IN 1 9 6 9 WE

EXPERIENCED A NET LOSS IN 1 9 7 5 AND 1 9 7 6 . ■ ·

FOR MOST OF THE LAST 3 0 YEARS, POPULATION GROWTH AND IMMIGRATION HAVE BEEN

SEEN AS NECESSARY FOR THE ACHIEVEMENT OF VARIOUS NATIONAL O B JE C T IV E S .

THE FUTURE OF EMPLOYMENT THEN WILL BE MUCH INFLUENCED BY D E C ISIO N S OF

GOVERNMENT ON IMMIGRATION. THE S I Z E , COMPOSITION AND D IST R IB U T IO N OF .

POPULATION WILL HAVE A MAJOR INFLUENCE ON THE NATURE OF FUTURE SOCIETY

AND THE CAPACITY TO ACHIEVE PERSONAL AND NATIONAL O B JE C T IV E S . I S THERE

AN OPTIMUM S IZ E ? SHOULD WE BE CONCERNED ABOUT A VERY EVIDENT SLOW-DOWN?

WHAT OPTIONS AND IM PLICA TIO N S FLOW FROM DIFFEREN T LEVELS OF POPULATION

IN CREA SE, AND HENCE, LABOUR FORCE INCREASE? ..

SOME REGARD RAPID POPULATION THESE ARE NOT EASY QUESTIONS TO ANSWER.

GROWTH, INCLUDING LARGE SCALE IMMIGRATION AS NECESSARY TO SUSTAINING

ECONOMIC GROWTH. OTHERS COULD SEE TH IS AS L IM IT IN G INCREASES IN STANDARD

OF L IV IN G . THE UNITED STATES COMMISSION ON POPULATION GROWTH AND THE .

AMERICAN FUTURE CONCLUDED THAT ZERO GROWTH WAS APPROPRIATE FOR 2 1 0 MILLION

AMERICANS. ' .

I T CAN FAIRLY BE SA ID THAT EVER SIN CE 1 7 8 8 AUSTRALIA HAS, BY AND LARGE,

PURSUED ACTIVE POPULATION P O L IC IE S AND THE TIME SEEMS R IP E IN 1 9 7 7 TO ASK,

WHAT SORT OF P O L IC IE S DOES AUSTRALIA NEED FOR THE FUTURE? OF THE FOUR

PR IN C IPA L VARIABLES WHICH DETERMINE POPULATION S IZ E - B IR T H S , DEATH,

EMIGRATION AND IMMIGRATION - ONLY IMMIGRATION I S THE VARIABLE AMENABLE

TO CONTROL. .

I F WE ARE TO AVOID FURTHER CONTRACTION IN POPULATION GROWTH RATES, THE

PROCESS OF RENEWAL MUST HAVE IT S O RIG IN S ELSEWHERE, AND IMMIGRATION APPEARS

TO BE THE ONLY SOURCE.

THE GREEN PAPER ON IMMIGRATION P O L IC IE S AND A U ST R A L IA 'S POPULATION HAS

EXAMINED MANY OF THE D IFFE R IN G VIEWPOINTS ON THE IMPACT OF IMMIGRATION ON

THE ECONOMY. I T HAS NOT ATTEMPTED TO REACH CONCLUSIONS, MERELY TO RA ISE

IS S U E S . I T DOES SAY, HOWEVER, THAT IN THE LONGER TERM THE EXPANSION OF

OUTPUT INDUCED BY THE NEEDS OF MIGRANTS MAY SECURE THE GAINS IN .

PRODUCTIVITY AND E FFIC IE N C Y WHICH, IN CONJUNCTION WITH TECHNOLOGY, ENSURE

THE LONGER TERM B A SIS FOR INCREASING REAL INCOMES. '

I F GOVERNMENT I S TO DECIDE IN A RATIONAL AND INFORMED WAY UPON THE

POPULATION AND IMMIGRATION P O L IC IE S PURSUED BY AUSTRALIA IN THE FUTURE,

IT WILL BE HEAVILY DEPENDENT UPON THE ADVICE I T RECEIVES FROM W ITHIN THE

AUSTRALIAN COMMUNITY. SIN CE PERSONAL JUDGEMENT AND COMMUNITY VALUES ARE

OF ESSENTIAL IMPORTANCE TO TH IS TASK, I T I S IM PERATIVE THAT GOVERNMENT

LOOK BEYOND TECHNICAL ADVICE IN ORDER TO REACH IT S D E C IS IO N S . IN VIEW

OF THE COMPLEXITY OF THE IS S U E S CONCERNED, I T I S IMPORTANT ALSO THAT THE

ADVICE COME FROM A D IV ER SITY OF SOURCES, NOT JU S T FROM ONE AREA OF .

E X P E R T IS E . .

THESE ARE MATTERS OF CONCERN TO MY COLLEAGUE, THE M IN IST E R FOR

IMMIGRATION AND ETHNIC A F F A IR S , WHO I S CURRENTLY DEVOTING MUCH ATTENTION

TO THEM. AS M IN ISTER FOR PRODUCTIVITY, AND BEARING IN MIND THE EMPHASIS

I HAVE PLACED ON DEMOGRAPHIC MATTERS IN T H IS PA PER , I SHALL BE D ISC U SSIN G

THE MATTER WITH MR M acKELLAR. . ■

THUS, DEMOGRAPHIC FACTORS INDUCE SOME OF THE CHANGES. AT PRESENT WE HAVE

A RELATIVELY YOUNG POPULATION. IN 1 9 7 1 , THE MEDIAN AGE WAS 2 8 YEARS.

I F THERE I S NO S T E P-U P IN IMMIGRATION, THE POPULATION WILL "A G E" .

SIG N IFIC A N TLY AND THERE WILL BE A S H IF T IN DEMAND AWAY FROM IN D U STRIES

SERVING YOUTH AND AN INCREASE IN DEMAND FOR SERVICES FOR OLDER P E O P L E .

EMPLOYMENT IN THE BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION IN D U STRIES COULD BE AFFECTED.

D E S P IT E THE POLICY EMPHASIS ON SK IL L S A C Q U ISIT IO N DURING OUR YEARS OF

HEAVY IM M IGRATION, AUSTRALIA HAS ALWAYS BEEN SHORT OF SKILLED WORKERS.

THERE I S NO NEED TO DWELL, BEFORE AN AUDIENCE L IK E T H I S , ON THE SHORTAGES

AUSTRALIA HAS BEEN BESET BY THEM SIN C E THE WAR, · THEY HAVE P E R S IS T E D IN

MOST SK ILLED TRADES D E S P IT E THE ECONOMIC D IF F IC U L T IE S OF RECENT YEARS

AND THEY LOOK L IK E BECOMING MORE ACUTE IN THE YEARS AHEAD AS THE

PROPORTION OF YOUNG PEOPLE IN THE POPULATION DECREASES.

I REGARD AS A PR IO R IT Y TASK FOR THE DEPARTMENT, THE NEED TO BREAK DOWN

THE BARRIERS TO THE TRAINING OF TRADESMEN. I T SEEMS UNUSUAL IN TH IS DAY

AND AGE WHEN WE SEEK TO REMOVE DISCRIM IN A TIO N PRACTICES IN EMPLOYMENT, .

THAT IN MOST OF THE C R IT IC A L METAL TRADES YOU HAVE TO COMPLETE YOUR .

TRAIN IN G BY AGE 2 3 , OR NOT AT ALL.

L !·.·:· . ' TH IS I S , O F COURSE, A MOST S E N S IT IV E AREA AND PROGRESS CAN ONLY BE MADE .

. ?V ·'. . ’ - ·â– 

V. - I F THERE I S COOPERATION BETWEEN. THE UNIONS, STATE GOVERNMENTS AND THE

. T R IPA R T IT E NATIONAL TRAINING COUNCIL. .

I T I S AGREED BY. ALL THAT TRAINING AND RETRAINING ARE OF GREAT IMPORTANCE

.. AND TO A ID T H IS , THE COMMONWEALTH GOVERNMENT AND THE UNIONS HAVE ALREADY

. . AGREED TO TACKLE SERIOUSLY THE QUESTION OF MANPOWER PLANNING O R , IN

N O N -SEX IST TERMS, HUMAN RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT. THE EMPLOYERS W IL L , OF

- COURSE, BE INVOLVED ALSO IN THOSE D IS C U S S IO N S . I EXPECT TO BE WORKING

r r CLOSELY WITH TONY STREET AND MIKE MacKELLAR ON THAT SU B JE C T . V. · · ■

IN INDIVIDUAL ENTERPRISES THERE I S A STRONG CASE FOR INVOLVING EMPLOYEES

IN MANPOWER PLANNING RELATED TO TH EIR JOB SEC U R ITY .

THE COST OF UNEMPLOYMENT I S FAR TOO HIGH FOR US TO TOLERATE AT CURRENT

LEVELS - BOTH IN THE LOST CREATIVITY AND ENERGY AND IN TERMS OF THE COST

OF UNEMPLOYMENT B EN EFITS (NOW NEARLY $ 7 0 0 M ILLION P . A . ) .

. I

' THERE ARE IN D ICA TIO N S THAT THE FUTURE FOR EMPLOYMENT MIGHT BE INFLUENCED ■

( B

. BY THE CONTINUING TREND- TOWARDS SHORTER WORKING HOURS, LONGER HOLIDAYS,

AND A SHORTER WORKING L I F E . AVERAGE WORKING HOURS HAVE CONTINUED TO

. FALL AT A FAST RATE AS A RESULT OF THE VARIETY OF FEATURES INCLUDING

' INCREASED PART TIME WORK. . ' ■ . ' '

ANOTHER IMPORTANT TREND, THAT OF INCREASED EDUCATION, M S TENDED TO REDUCE

BY ABOUT .TOO AND A M L F YEARS SIN CE THE EARLY 1 9 5 0 's , THE WORKING L IF E OF

THOSE ENTERING THE LABOUR FORCE, BUT T H IS TREND HAS TENDED TO SLOW DOWN IN

' ·. RECENT YEARS. AT THE OTHER END OF THE AGE STRUCTURE, RETIREM ENT, AS WE

. - KNOW I T , I S A COMPARATIVE MODERN PHENOMENON, AS MANY WORKERS USED TO

. CONTINUE IN EMPLOYMENT OF SOME KIND FOR AS LONG AS THEY WERE PHYSICALLY

ABLE. PUBLIC AND PRIVATE INSURANCE SYSTEMS ALLOWING OLDER WORKERS TO

14

- -. EARLY 1 9 5 0 's AND SIN CE THEN THERE HAS BEEN A STEADY DECLINE IN THE

R ETIR E A L IT T L E EARLIER HAVE ONLY BECOME GENERALLY AVAILABLE SIN CE THE

RETIREMENT AGE. ·

I AM CONCERNED THAT THERE ARE IN D ICA TIO N S THAT THE ALLOCATION AND _

. MOBILITY OF LABOUR I S BECOMING LESS F L E X IB L E . IN GENERAL, A RAPIDLY GROWING

LABOUR"FORCE TENDS TO BE MORE MOBILE SIN CE NEW ENTRANTS THEREIN ESPECIALLY

MIGRANTS, CAN BE DIRECTED MORE READILY TOWARDS THE FASTER GROWING SECTORS.

- IN THE FUTURE, WITH LESS SCOPE FOR TRANSFERS FROM RURAL AREAS AND POSSIBLY

LESS IMMIGRATION, THERE COULD WELL BE PROBLEMS IN SEEKING TO ENSURE A

BALANCED SUPPLY OF DIFFEREN T LABOUR SK IL L S REQUIRED.

I T I S CLEAR THAT INCREASES IN PRODUCTIVE INVESTMENT WILL BE REQUIRED TO

O FFSET THE SHORTAGES OF MANY LABOUR SK IL L S AND TO PROVIDE ADDITIONAL ...

EMPLOYMENT O PPORTUNITIES IN OTHER AREAS. , , ,

AS I HAVE S A ID , IN ORDER THAT THESE SHORTAGES MAY BE O FFSE T , A GREAT

DEAL MUST BE DONE TO FORMULATE FUTURE TRAINING P O L IC IE S . I N ,T H I S REGARD,

THE D EPA R T M E N T 'S.PR IN C IPA L R E S P O N S IB IL IT IE S REGARDING NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL

TRAINING POLICY ARE: . _

. ' COORDINATION OF NATIONAL RESEARCH INTO INDUSTRIAL TRAINING '

NEEDS; ·

DEVELOPMENT OF APPROPRIATE P O L IC IE S AND PROGRAMS FOR .

GOVERNMENT CONSIDERATION; - , '

COORDINATION OF APPROVED PROGRAMS AND EVALUATION OF TH EIR '

. E FFE C T IV E N E SS; ·

L IA IS O N WITH APPROPRIATE FEDERAL, STATE AND OTHER BODIES AS

NECESSARY;. AND

PROMOTE PRODUCTIVITY IN INDUSTRY THROUGH INDUSTRIAL TRA IN IN G .

15 - *v ' « - κ ' ν.,ί

T r.

>

A .

’ - .·

τ ,/v .· i

■ ·. >·â– * x/1 »' p, -

\ * · .

" i AM FREQUENTLY ASKED HOW QUICKLY WILL AUSTRALIA BE ABLE TO RETRAIN ; · ; . ■ .

TRADESMEN FOR THE SK IL L S WHICH ARE NOW SO OBVIOUSLY LACKING IN AUSTRALIA.

THERE I S NO UNIFORM ANSWER TO T H IS QUESTION BECAUSE THE SHORTAGE VARIES

FROM CATEGORY TO CATEGORY AND THE A V A ILA BILITY OF PERSONS FOR RETRAINING

ALSO VARIES CONSIDERABLY. I CAN ONLY SAY THAT THE GOVERNMENT I S GIVING

GREAT ATTENTION TO THE NEED FOR IMPROVED TECHNICAL TRAINING AND THAT, IN

CONJUNCTION W ITH.THE STA TES, WE ARE SEEKING TO OVERCOME A SHORTAGE OF

SKILLED TRADESMEN AS QUICKLY AS P O S S IB L E . '

I WOULD L IK E TO COMMENT BRIEFLY UPON THE PRODUCTIVITY OF SMALL B U S IN E S S .

THE P O L IC IE S WHICH HAVE BEEN ADOPTED CONSISTENTLY BY THE GOVERNMENT SIN CE

I T CAME INTO POWER HAVE BEEN AIMED AT REDUCING INFLATION BY REDUCING PUBLIC

EXPENDITURE AND THE LEVEL OF WAGE DEMANDS. THE GOVERNMENT IS DETERMINED TO

REDUCE INFLATION AND KNOWS THAT NO INDUSTRY AND NO PERSONS EMPLOYED BY

INDUSTRY CAN PROSPER IN REAL TERMS UNLESS INFLATION I S REDUCED. WHILE

IN FLATION RUNS RAMPANT THERE I S A L IM IT TO THE EXTENT TO WHICH ANY .

GOVERNMENT CAN DESIGN P O L IC IE S OF S P E C IF IC B EN EFIT TO SMALL B U S IN E S S . THE

W ELL-BEING OF SMALL BUSINESS ESSENTIALLY RESTS ON THE W ELL-BEING OF BUSIN ESS

GENERALLY. NONETHELESS THE GOVERNMENT DID RELAX THE EFFECTS OF D IV IS IO N 7

TAX IN THE LAST BUDGET AND I KNOW THAT MY COLLEAGUE, SENATOR COTTON, WHO I S

THE M IN ISTER RESPONSIBLE FOR SMALL BUSINESS P O L IC Y , I S GIVING ERNEST

CONSIDERATION TO ALL ASPECTS OF THE PROBLEMS CONFRONTING SMALL B U S IN E S S .

AT PRESENT PRODUCTIVITY TENDS TO IMPROVE AT THE EXPENSE OF EMPLOYMENT AND

THE GOVERNMENT'S P O L IC IE S ARE AIMED AT IMPROVING THE VOLUME OF PRODUCTION

AS WELL AS GAINING IMPROVEMENTS IN PRO D U CTIV ITY . I T I S THE GOVERNMENT'S

AIM AND THE COMMUNITY'S WISH FOR AUSTRALIA TO RETURN TO HIGH LEVELS OF

Εϊ-rPLOYMENT AND WE CAN REALLY ONLY DO THAT WHEN WE ARE EXPANDING OUR

VOLUME OF PRODUCTION OF GOODS AND SE R V IC E S , WHILST AT THE SAME TIME

REDUCING THE UNIT COSTS OF THOSE GOODS AND S E R V IC E S . WHEN THERE I S THE

APPROPRIATE GROWTH IN THE ECONOMY ACCOMPANIED SY PRODUCTIVITY IMPROVEMENT

16 -

. , . ^ . . .

"i*·'; s ;·â–  .·'· ■ .

‘ . WE CAN EXPECT TO RETURN TO HIGH LEVELS OF EMPLOYMENT.

- · · : · V ■: . ■ ■ . .

T H IS I S THE TASK FOR WHICH COMPLETE COOPERATION I S NEEDED IN THE MUTUAL

S E L F -IN T E R E S T OF ALL P A R T IE S . THE COMMONWEALTH GOVERNMENT HAS NOW

TAKEN THE LEAD AND MY TRAVELS IN ALL STATES LEAD ME TO BELIEVE THAT STATE

GOVERNMENTS, MANAGEMENT AND UNIONS WILL RESPOND P O S IT IV E L Y . UPON THE

QUALITY OF LEADERSHIP DISPLAYED IN ALL THESE AREAS MUCH OF OUR ECONOMIC

FUTURE W ILL DEPEND.

* * A