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Wednesday, 10 February 1999
Page: 2417

Mr McClelland asked the Minister for Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business, upon notice, on 24 November 1998:

Did he issue a media release dated 26 July 1998 titled "Arrogant Democrats reject reform mandate" which claimed that the Democrats had already cost 50 000 Australians a job; if so, (a) does the claim imply that 50 000 Australians have (i) been dismissed from their employment or (ii) not obtained employment, as a result of action by the Democrats and (b) how was the figure of 50 000 obtained.

Mr Reith (Workplace Relations and Small Business) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:


(a) (i) No.

(ii) Yes.

(b) The estimate of 50 000 jobs comes from small business organisations, including the Chief Executive of the Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia, Mr Rob Bastian. The basis for Mr Bastian's estimate has been provided previously in response to Parliamentary Question on Notice No. 10 from Senator Murray. That response stated:

`The Chief Executive of the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia, Mr Rob Bastian, based his estimate that 50 000 jobs would be created if small businesses were exempt from federal unfair dismissal laws on the, in his view conservative, premise that 1 in 20 small businesses would hire at least one more employee if the exclusion was to come into force.'