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Tuesday, 20 October 1964


Senator MORRIS (Queensland) .- I have listened to Senator Benn with interest, because I know that prior to his entry into this House he was associated with the Queensland Department of Labour and Industry, where he gained a great deal of experience. Naturally one listens to him with interest and anticipates hearing things of moment. I agree thoroughly that the report from which Senator Benn quoted is a very important document. I doubt that any of- us would disagree with the major findings it contains and with the expression of the need in Australia for a continuous increase in the number of apprentices being trained for skilled occupations. However, I do not think we can stop there. After all, we must realise that whilst all efforts can be made and are being made to persuade the youth of our community to become apprenticed to trades, there surely would not be any suggestion that we should go beyond that encouragement and should try to force young men into the types of training which we, in our wisdom or otherwise, might select for them.

This is a free country and our youth has the right to make its own choice. We all deplore the present lack of tradesmen, but goodness me, no government can, from within the nation's population, increase the number of young men who are ready to become apprentices. But the present Federal Government has, over the last 10 years, very effectively examined this problem. It realises that Australia needs more and more skilled tradesmen. Because it was not possible for us to produce enough tradesmen, the Government has been active in implementing very attractive proposals to bring to Australia the numbers of people needed to supplement our native-born Australians. I believe the Government's efforts have been outstanding in this field.

It is all very well for us to take a report written 1 0 years ago and select certain parts of it. In the light of our present knowledge we can say: "Yes, over this 10 years events have borne out the statements in the report". It was an altogether different situation at the beginning of the period, at the time when the report was being made.







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