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Unemployment in Australia : comments by the Leader of the Opposition



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TREASURER ( release V- "y J

EMBARGO IMMEDIATE RELEASE

UNEMPLOYMENT IN AUSTRALIA :.COMMENTS BY THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

THE TREASURER (MR LYNCH) COMMENTED TODAY UPON THE

STATEMENT EARLIER THIS WEEK BY THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

(MR WHITE AM) DESCRIBING TiiE DECEMBER CES FIGURES AS

' "MISLEADING AND FRAUDULENT".

HE SAID THAT THE STATEMENT BETRAYED A CHARACTERISTICALLY

RECKLESS DISREGARD FOR - OR IGNORANCE OF - THE FACTS OF

THE UNEMPLOYMENT SITUATION.

MR WHITLAM* S REMARKS ABOUT THE FAILURE OF SCHOOL-LEAVERS

THIS YEAR TO REGISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT IN THEIR USUAL

NUMBERS HAVE ALREADY BEEN CLEARLY SHOWN UP BY THE MINISTER

FOR EMPLOYMENT AND INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS.

BEYOND THAT, MR WHITLAM’S CLAIM THAT THE TRUE LEVEL OF

UNEMPLOYMENT IS IN THE ORDER OF 100,000 ABOVE THE LEVEL

SHOWN BY THE CES REGISTRATION FIGURES DEMONSTRATES A

COMPLETE LACK OF UNDERSTANDING OF THE CURRENT LABOUR MARKET

STATISTICS AND THE NEED FOR CARE IN THEIR INTERPRETATION.

THE MOST RELIABLE MEASURE OF THE LEVEL OF UNEMPLOYMENT IN

AUSTRALIA IS PROVIDED BY THE QUARTERLY POPULATION SURVEY

CONDUCTED BY THE AUSTRALIAN BUREAU OF STATISTICS

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AT MID-NOVEMBER, THE LATEST DATE FOR WHICH THE RESULTS

OF THIS SURVEY ARE AVAILABLE, THE STATISTICIAN ESTIMATED

THAT 254,600 PERSONS WERE LOOKING FOR EMPLOYMENT; OF THESE

213,700 WERE SEEKING FULL-TIME WORK AND 40,900 WERE LOOKING

FOR PART-TIME EMPLOYMENT.

EVEN THE TOTAL NUMBER OF PERSONS ESTIMATED BY THE

STATISTICIAN’S SURVEY TO BE LOOKING FOR WORK (BOTH FULL-TIME

AND PART-TIME) WAS SIGNIFICANTLY LESS THAN THE 272,500 PERSONS

REGISTERED WITH THE CES FOR FULL-TIME EMPLOYMENT AT END-

NOVEMBER.

WHEN THE MORE RELEVANT COMPARISON IS MADE - THOSE ESTIMATED

IN THE SURVEY TO BE LOOKING FOR FULL-TIME EMPLOYMENT AND

THOSE REGISTERED WITH THE CES - THE EXAGGERATION OF

MR WHITLAM'S STATEMENT IS EVEN MORE PRONOUNCED.

THE DEFICIENCIES OF THE CES FIGURES AS A MEASURE OF THE

LEVEL OF UNEMPLOYMENT WERE, OF COURSE, CLEARLY RECOGNIZED

BY MR WHITLAM’S OWN GOVERNMENT WHEN IN OFFICE.

IN ANSWER TO A PARLIAMENTARY QUESTION ON 19 MAY 1975 THE

THEN MINISTER FOR LABOUR AND IMMIGRATION, MR CAMERON, SAID;

"IT IS TRUE, AS THE HONOURABLE GENTLEMAN STATES

IN HIS QUESTION, THAT THE AUSTRALIAN BUREAU OF

STATISTICS SURVEY SHOWS THAT THE NUMBER OF

PEOPLE REGISTERED FOR EMPLOYMENT WITH THE

COMMONWEALTH EMPLOYMENT SERVICE IS VERY MUCH HIGHER

THAN THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE OUT OF WORK ... THE

COMMONWEALTH EMPLOYMENT SERVICE STATISTICS HAVE NEVER

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PURPORTED TO BE ACCURATE STATISTICS OF THE

NUMBER OF PEOPLE OUT OF WORK. THEY HAVE NEVER

PURPORTED TO BE ANY MORE THAN REPRESENTATIVE OF THE

NUMBER OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE REGISTERED FOR

EMPLOYMENT. IT IS NOT ILLEGAL FOR A PERSON WHO

WISHES TO CHANGE HIS JOB TO HOLD ON TO THE JOB HE

HAS, REGISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT AND REMAIN REGISTERED

UNTIL HE CAN GET ANOTHER JOB THAT IS NEARER TO HIS

LIKING THAN THE ONE HE HAS ALREADY. THERE IS NOTHING

TO PREVENT A PERSON WHO HAD 2 JOBS AND WHO HAS

LOST ONE OF THEM FROM REGISTERING FOR EMPLOYMENT SO

THAT HE CAN GET ANOTHER SECOND JOB OR A PART-TIME

JOB. THAT IS BEING DONE ALL THE WAY THROUGH ..."

IN THE SAME ANSWER MR CAMERON REFERRED TO SPECIAL SURVEYS

OF PERSONS REGISTERED WHICH WERE CONDUCTED BY THE AUSTRALIAN

BUREAU OF STATISTICS IN 1963 AND. 1974, AS FOLLOWS:

"I THINK THAT ONE VERY INTERESTING FACTOR ABOUT

THE SURVEY CONDUCTED LAST YEAR (1974) COMPARED WITH

THE ONE CONDUCTED IN 1963 IS THAT 6 3 . 8 PER CENT OF

THE REGISTRANTS WHO RESPONDED LAST YEAR WERE IN

FACT UNEMPLOYED WHEREAS ONLY 53.9 PER CENT OF THOSE

WHO WERE REGISTERED FOR EMPLOYMENT IN 1963 WERE

UNEMPLOYED."

THE FIGURE OF 100,000 "HIDDEN" UNEMPLOYED IS ALSO

QUESTIONABLE ON OTHER GROUNDS.

ARISING FROM A SPECIAL QUESTION INCLUDED IN HIS QUARTERLY

SURVEY OF MAY 1976, THE STATISTICIAN FOUND THAT AT THAT TIME

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ONLY 34,000 PERSONS COULD BE DESCRIBED AS "DISCOURAGED"

WORKERS; HE ALSO FOUND THAT THERE WAS A SIMILAR NUMBER WHO

REPORTED THAT THEY WANTED EMPLOYMENT BUT WERE NOT ACTIVELY

SEEKING IT AT THE TIME.

IT IS, OF COURSE, NOT UNUSUAL FOR SOME POTENTIAL MEMBERS

OF THE LABOUR FORCE TO DEFER SEEKING EMPLOYMENT DURING

PERIODS OF ECONOMIC RECESSION WHEN JOBS ARE MORE DIFFICULT

TO FIND. -

HOWEVER, TO ACCUSE THE GOVERNMENT OF ISSUING "MISLEADING

AND FRAUDULENT FIGURES" BECAUSE OF THAT IS NOT ONLY THE

HEIGHT OF ABSURDITY BUT, IN THE LIGHT OF THE FACTS WHICH

HAVE BEEN QUOTED, IS MORE THAN USUALLY IRRESPONSIBLE.

NEEDLESS TO SAY, THE GOVERNMENT IS DETERMINED TO REDUCE

THE PRESENT LEVEL OF UNEMPLOYMENT, ITSELF THE PRODUCT OF

THREE YEARS OF MISMANAGEMENT OF THE AUSTRALIAN ECONOMY BY

MR WHITLAM AND HIS ERSTWHILE COLLEAGUES.

THE PRESENT GOVERNMENT’S POLICIES SINCE IT CAME TO OFFICE

HAVE BEEN DIRECTED TO BRINGING UNDER CONTROL THE RUNAWAY

INFLATION IT INHERITED AND THEREBY RESTORING THE ONLY

SURE FOUNDATION UPON WHICH JOB OPPORTUNITIES CAN AGAIN HOPE

TO BE CREATED AND UNEMPLOYMENT BROUGHT DOWN.

13JAK 1977 CAKBERRA ACT