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Thursday, 12 November 2015
Page: 8459

Employment


Senator EDWARDS (South Australia) (14:03): My question is also to the Leader of the Government in the Senate, Senator Brandis, representing the Prime Minister. Will the Attorney-General please update the Senate on the labour force data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics and on what this means for our economy?


Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandAttorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:04): Thank you; it is a very important question that you ask, Senator Edwards. I am delighted to be able to tell the Senate that the labour force data released earlier in the day showed that the unemployment rate has fallen from 6.2 per cent to 5.9 per cent over the past month. That is a remarkably large fall on a month-on-month basis. The data showed that 58,600 jobs were created in the month of October alone. It showed that employment rose by 40,000 full-time and 18,600 part-time places. It showed that the participation rate had increased at the same time as the unemployment rate had substantially fallen. This is good news for Australia. It is good news for all Australians, and I am disappointed that the Australian Labor Party over there is not rejoicing in the good news that we have heard this morning, that there has been this very substantial reduction in the unemployment rate.

Today, CommSec published in its Economic Insights document this headline: 'Biggest annual lift in jobs in 7½ years'. Why is this happening, Senator Edwards? It is happening for one reason. It is happening because confidence has returned to the Australian economy. People have confidence to hire, they have confidence to invest and they have confidence to spend. And that confidence is reflected in, among other things, the labour force figures. The naysayers on the other side of the chamber might regret to see this happen, but the Australian economy is buoyant and confident today. (Time expired)

Senator Conroy: Oh, it's a great time to be alive!

The PRESIDENT: Order on my left—Senator Conroy.

Senator Cameron: Eric and—

The PRESIDENT: And Senator Cameron—before you even start interjecting, Senator Cameron.

Honourable senators interjecting

The PRESIDENT: A pre-emptive strike!







Senator EDWARDS (South Australia) (14:06): Quite rightly so! Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. Will the Attorney-General advise the Senate of the government's track record when it comes to job creation in this country?


Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandAttorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:06): I am delighted to be able to advise you of the government's track record when it comes to job creation, Senator Edwards, because it is a very strong record. Since the government came into office, we have had 366,400 jobs created in the Australian economy. In 2013 when the Labor Party left office, employment growth was at the rate of approximately 2,000 per month, an annual jobs growth rate of about 0.2 per cent. In the past year, the jobs growth rate has been more than 10 times that in the last year of the Labor government, with more than 26,000 jobs created every month, an annual growth rate of 2.7 per cent. It was 0.2 per cent under the Labor Party and it is 2.7 per cent annualised now.

Senator Back: Ten times!

Senator BRANDIS: It is more than 10 times higher, Senator Back—quite right—under the coalition, a record of which we are very proud. (Time expired)




Senator EDWARDS (South Australia) (14:08): Mr President, I ask a further supplementary question. Will the Attorney-General inform the Senate of what the government is doing to encourage further job creation in our economy?


Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandAttorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:08): There is a reason why confidence has returned to the Australian economy. It is that this government, the Turnbull government, is creating a foundation for future investment and jobs growth in this country by aligning our economy with the fastest growing and largest economies in the world through the most ambitious push for free trade agreements Australia has ever seen. I can tell Senator Edwards that the independent modelling has shown that the China, Japan and Korea free trade agreements alone will add $24.4 billion to the Australian economy by 2035. In addition to that, the Trans-Pacific Partnership will open up great new opportunities for businesses to expand and employ more Australians. Meanwhile, we are working to establish an innovation culture, and in the weeks to come there will be a major innovation statement. This is a good story for Australia— (Time expired)