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Tuesday, 17 September 1985
Page: 627


Senator BJELKE-PETERSEN —My question is addressed to the Minister for Finance. Further to an earlier question asked by Senator Jones comparing figures for Queensland and New South Wales, I ask: Is the Minister aware that the New South Wales Labor Treasurer, Mr Booth, dismissed the figures given by the Leader of the New South Wales Opposition for `being arranged inconsistently'? Is he aware that Queensland is the only State in Australia to create jobs in the month of August? Is he also aware that 58 per cent of jobs created in Australia since February have been created, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics figures, in Queensland? Does he disagree with the Australian Bureau of Statistics figures?


Senator WALSH —I do not know whether Mr Booth criticised the figures for being inconsistently arranged, but I do know what Mr Greiner's analysis showed. It was not a biased analysis; it was prepared by the Liberal Party of Australia and it showed that Queensland had the highest rate of unemployment of any State. It lost, per thousand workers, almost twice as much time through industrial disputes as did any other State. It had the smallest growth in new dwelling commencements for the year ended March 1985. It had the second slowest breakdown in inflation, being second only to Tasmania in that negative respect. Its rate of private fixed capital investment was one-third of the national average, and so on. Those figures relate to the month of August. The monthly ABS survey of employment which, I suppose, Senator Bjelke-Petersen is referring to, is noted for swinging quite wildly from month to month, even on a national basis and on a State basis it would be likely to swing even more irrationally. Despite all the apologetics-


Senator Boswell —Don't the figures suit you?


Senator WALSH —I say to Senator Boswell that the figures suit me excellently. If I wanted evidence or a political platform from which to support the fact that over recent years Labor State governments in comparison with non-Labor State governments have had a vastly better economic record, the figures would suit me excellently. They show that the State of Queensland is the sick State in Australia. In spite of being dragged down in almost every economic indicator of any consequence whatsoever, the national performance is still extremely good. This is because we are fortunate enough, apart from the State of Queensland, to have only the small State of Tasmania governed by a non-Labor government. We have four Labor States and a Labor Federal government. Therefore, in spite of the burden in reducing the average that Queensland imposes on the rest of Australia, the national performance is extremely good.