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Tuesday, 12 November 1974
Page: 2210

Senator GREENWOOD - My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Labor and Immigration. How is it determined whether a person who becomes unemployed is granted the ordinary unemployment benefit under Commonwealth legislation or the 6 months full pay which is supposed to be provided to persons who lose their jobs because of the Government's tariff cuts? Is it consistent with proper practice in the dispensing of public moneys that such moneys should be dispensed on the unchallengeable discretion of a Minister? Why has \not tie Parliament been able to approve the terms and conditions on which such payments are made, instead of their being left to the Minister to ase his discretion for personal and political patronage?

Senator BISHOP -The Senator raisesa number of issues which go beyond the responsibility ofthe Minister for Labor and Immigration. For example, the structural adjustment system is a matter about which Senator Wriedt, as Minister representing the Minister for Manufacturing Industry, would answer today in this place. Mr Clyde Cameron and an ad hoc group of Ministers administer what is called the RED schemethat is, the regional employment development scheme. I think the honourable senator's question arises from a matter which is currently under examination by the Minister for Labor and Immigration, and that is whether those workers who have been retrenched by the Ford Motor Company of Australia should get the structural adjustment assistance. I attempted to get some information from the Minister before I came into the Senate this morning, but I was not able to do so. I would expect that the Minister would tell me today what he proposes to do in respect of that matter. The general question which the honourable senator raises relates to responsibilities of other Ministers and, I think, of the Cabinet, and his inquiries would be best served if I asked the Ministers concerned to reply. When I get that information I will give it to the honourable senator and to the Senate.

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