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Tuesday, 12 May 2009
Page: 3517

Mr RANDALL (5:07 PM) —I am pleased to speak on this matter of public importance today because it goes to the failure of the Rudd Labor government to create, protect and support jobs. As Phil Coorey pointed out in the Sydney Morning Herald today:

TODAY’S federal budget will forecast a record deficit of $58 billion for next financial year while also claiming that the Government’s stimulus packages will save 200,000 people from losing their jobs.

Sounds good, but here’s the rub:

With the two stimulus packages worth a combined $52 billion, the average cost of each job saved—

wait for it—

will be $260,000.

So, on their own figures, to do anything about these jobs will cost $260,000 per job.

As I have said a number of times in this place, the Labor Party walk around this country pretending that they are the friend of the worker. They would have you believe, Mr Deputy Speaker, that they are the party for the workers. Well, they might have been in the past, when real people like Mick Young did wash their hands in Solvol, but in this place today they are all academics, ex-staffers and ex union officials who do not have grassroots working backgrounds. They are the people that are in this place today and they use workers rather than treat workers as their real friends.

The fact of the matter is that, if the Labor Party were true to workers, they would make sure workers had a job. But their record on this is abysmal. Every time the Labor Party get into government, both at a federal and a state level, what happens? Unemployment goes up. We know that in the Keating years unemployment went to nearly 11 per cent.

Dr Southcott —Almost a million people.

Mr RANDALL —Almost a million people were without a job in the Keating years. It took a coalition government to do something about it. When the previous government, the Howard government, came to power in March 1996, the unemployment level was 8.2 per cent. Gradually, as the Howard government’s policies worked, the unemployment level came down. Who would have thought that, with an eight per cent level, we used to fantasise about having a ‘five’ as that figure. We then got excited because we were actually going to put more people in jobs and create a four per cent unemployment level. During the Howard years, the golden years of government in this country, the unemployment level came down to 4.2 per cent—that is what it was when we left office. It had almost halved.

Two million jobs were created in that time. In the less than half a term of this government, they have suddenly reversed that trend and a million people are going to be out of work. Their own forecasts and the forecasts of all reliable commentators in this country say that, by the end of this year, almost a million people are going to be out of work. So much for doing the right thing by the workers! The best thing you can do for a worker is to give them a job. If you really want to represent the workers of this country, make sure they have a job, they are meaningfully employed. That is how they can get a mortgage, they can pay for their own, they do not have to be welfare dependent and they can have self-esteem—unlike the 50,000 people who lost their jobs last month and the 50,000 who lost their jobs the month before that. A rogue figure came out last month of an increase in employment by 20,000. Nobody believes that figure. Even the Prime Minister said the other day that that figure is a rogue figure.

Next month, after this budget, expect the unemployment figure to blow out. In the previous budget, in May last year, they forecast an extra hundred-odd thousand people to be out of work—they actually budgeted for that. Now they are budgeting for a million people to be out of work. So much for being the friend of the workers! They said their initial stimulus package would create 75,000 new jobs. Since October last year, not one new job has been created. That is the track record of this government—they are actually putting people out of work, putting them onto the dole queue. Tonight’s budget is going to confirm that.

Yesterday in the Age Michael Costa said:

… the Prime Minister and his Treasurer don’t know what they’re—

(Time expired)