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Monday, 20 March 2017
Page: 1377

Employment


Senator GALLACHER (South Australia) (14:55): My question is to the Minister representing the Prime Minister, Senator Brandis. The latest ABS labour force data shows that the unemployment rate rose in February by 0.2 per cent to 5.9 per cent, the highest rate of unemployment in 12 months. Can the minister confirm that there are now 61,800 more people in the unemployment queue than when the Abbott government was elected in 2013?


Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandAttorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:56): Thank you, Senator Gallacher. What I can tell you is that, since the Abbott government was elected, there are 534,400 more jobs than there were before—534,400 jobs have been created in the Australian labour market since the election of the coalition government in 2013. You referred to the labour force statistics. But what you did not refer to is one of the pleasing outcomes of those statistics, which show an increase in full-time employment of 27,100 jobs. You and your colleagues, on a previous occasion, were critical of the government because the increase in a particular reporting period was in part-time employment. But on this occasion, in this reporting period, the increase has been in full-time employment—27,100 additional jobs. That is what the latest labour market statistics report.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Gallacher, a supplementary question.



Senator GALLACHER (South Australia) (14:57): The latest ABS data also shows that the youth unemployment rate increased a full percentage point to 13.3 per cent. What advice does the government have for the 279,900 young Australians unable to find work?


Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandAttorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:57): The fact is that the labour market statistics to which you refer show that 27,100 new full-time jobs were created, which contributes to the more than half a million new jobs that have been created since the coalition was in power.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Gallacher, a final supplementary question.



Senator GALLACHER (South Australia) (14:58): Given that the minister considers the employment rate to be 'the key indicator' of the health of the market why are working- and middle-class Australians continuing to lose out under the Turnbull government?


Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandAttorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:58): That is just not so—and you know it is not so. The fact that you selectively quote from the latest ABS figures without acquainting the Senate with the fact that they report an increase of 21,700 new full-time jobs reveals very much about where you are coming from. Young Australians, middle-class Australians, lower middle-class Australians and every demographic you care to name will always be better off under the policies of a coalition government.