Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Tuesday, 11 August 2015
Page: 4927

Employment


Senator LINES (Western Australia) (14:00): My question is to the Minister representing the Prime Minister, Senator Abetz. I refer to the Prime Minister's promise last week that 'everything this government does is about jobs and growth'. With unemployment increasing to 6.3 per cent, the highest in 13 years, and the government's own budget predicting that unemployment will rise further, to 6.5 per cent, isn't this just another one of Mr Abbott's broken promises?


Senator ABETZ (TasmaniaLeader of the Government in the Senate, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service and Minister for Employment) (14:00): I thank Senator Lines for the question, because it allows the government to set out a record of employment creation that was only dreamed about under the previous, Labor, government. Indeed, the jobs growth we have seen in this first short period of the coalition government, just in recent times, is four times the job creation Labor was able to achieve in its last year of government—namely, 2013. We have seen, since the election of the coalition government, 336,000 jobs created in our country. Has the unemployment rate increased? Yes, it has, but like so much of statistics you have to deal with all the facts. Do we have the highest number of Australians in employment ever? Yes, we do.

Why and how is it that you can have an increase in employment, have the highest number of Australians in employment and simultaneously experience an increase in unemployment? It is very simple, and the statistics bear it out: there has been a huge surge in job participation, where people now have the confidence to put themselves into the job market and look for a job. We never like an unemployment figure that is anything but zero, and we will work hard to drive it down. That is why we would invite Senator Lines to support our free trade agreements, to support our deregulation agenda and to support the Australian Building and Construction Commission, all of which will help grow jobs. (Time expired)


Senator LINES (Western Australia) (14:02): Mr President, maybe we will get closer to the truth with my supplementary question. I refer to the Prime Minister's election promise that his economic plan will 'deliver more jobs' for all Australians. With 800,000 Australians now in the unemployment queue, hasn't he broken that promise too?


Senator ABETZ (TasmaniaLeader of the Government in the Senate, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service and Minister for Employment) (14:03): In relation to the first question, there was no broken promise. We promised we would create one million jobs in the first five years of a coalition government, and on the figures to date we are on track, having achieved a job creation growth rate four times that delivered by the Labor Party in its last year of government. I am delighted that Senator Lines raises the issue of an economic plan. We have an economic plan. It is about bringing the budget back into a sustainable position. It is about free trade agreements. It is about bringing the Australian Building and Construction Commission back. It is not about reintroducing a carbon tax higher than the one Labor had introduced when they were thrown out of office. They had not learnt the lesson the Australian people taught them at the last election. (Time expired)


Senator LINES (Western Australia) (14:04): Mr President, I ask a further supplementary question. With coalition MPs saying that 'the government has become a preservation society to get Mr Abbott from week to week', isn't it true that the only job Mr Abbott is looking out for is his own?


Senator ABETZ (TasmaniaLeader of the Government in the Senate, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service and Minister for Employment) (14:04): The Prime Minister has a very distinguished record of service to the Australian people, and he has dedicated his life over the past two decades to exactly that cause—unlike the leader of the Australian Labor Party, who has dedicated himself to only one task: getting the leadership of the Australian Labor Party, which has seen him say one thing to Mr Rudd and then do another, and to say one thing to Ms Gillard and then do another. It is the same with his economic policies. He would say to Mr Latham, 'Support free trade agreements,' and then stand at Australian Workers Union rallies and condemn free trade agreements. That is the two-faced approach by the Leader of the Opposition, whereas with this Prime Minister, whether you like him or not, people know where he stands and why he stands, because he has a vision for the country and has a sense of duty of national service to our country, to which he has dedicated himself. That is why I am so pleased to be a supporter of his. (Time expired)