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Tuesday, 17 October 1972
Page: 1555

Senator GIETZELT (NEW SOUTH WALES) - My question also is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service. Is it a fact that figures gathered by the Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics indicate that up to 15 per cent of unemployed people do not register for unemployment relief, thereby creating a falsely optimistic picture in the figures released by the Department of Labour and National Service? If this is so, can the Minister explore ways and means of including this factor when presenting an accurate picture of unemployment figures and trends each month?

Senator WRIGHT - I am unaware of any figure which indicates that 15 per cent of the unemployed do not register. I should think that it would be a matter of guesswork for anybody to give such a figure, but common sense would indicate that there is a percentage of unemployed who for various reasons, do not register. I think it is quite unfair and imprudent for the honourable senator to suggest that that factor creates a falsely optimistic appearance in the figures that are issued. The Statistician's figures have been established on objective studies and consistently maintained, and it would be altogether wrong to suggest, just on guesswork, that the statistics, which have been based on experience over many years, give a falsely optimistic picture. I shall refer the question, as to whether this unascertained element of unemployment can be brought into the record on any reliable basis, to the Department which probably will consult the Statistician to see whether any improvement, as suggested by the honourable senator, can be made.

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