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Wednesday, 8 March 1961

Mr HAROLD HOLT - I have given special attention to the Queensland situation because at this time of year there is a seasonal unemployment pattern in Queensland which normally is relieved from about March onwards. We do not wish economic tendencies to develop there which would produce a generally unsatisfactory employment position. In point of fact, the registrations for employment at the end of January, 1961, whilst slightly above those at the end of January, 1960, which of course was the year in which the Government felt it necessary to take measures to check excessive buoyancy in the economy, were actually lower than those at the end of January, 1959, and January, 1958. My colleague, the Minister for Labour and National Service, will no doubt give details of this shortly, but so far as I am able to ascertain the position, the figures at the end of February showed approximately the same position as at the end of January.

Mr Calwell - That was that 3.3 per cent, of workers in Queensland were unemployed.

Mr HAROLD HOLT - As the Leader of the Opposition is only too well aware, under the seasonal unemployment pattern in Queensland there is a body of workers who for much of the year are employed on seasonal work and who receive a wage which is loaded because of their seasonal employment. If he wants to have it both ways and have those seasonal workers looking to full employment throughout the year, he will have to face up to a readjustment of the wage to meet that situation. That, I am sure, he would not wish to do. The honorable member for Wide Bay may be assured that in all the respects that are relevant in Queensland we not only are maintaining a close watch, but also, where desirable, have put in train action to keep the position in balance as far as that is practicable.

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